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Opposition to AMS Name Change Gains Momentum; Protest to be Held Tonight

A march is scheduled for Tuesday evening in opposition of the name change. A similar march was held Monday.

Though the New Haven Board of Education says it has already agreed to rename Alvarado Middle School, the decision may be tougher than expected as opposition is increasing.

A protest is planned for tonight at 5:30 p.m. on the corner of Smith and Fredi streets in the Old Alvarado district. A similar one was held Monday evening on the corner of Smith and Horner streets.

Many of those participating in the protests are descendants of Alvarado’s original families who claim the Alvarado name is sacred to the community and “should under no circumstance be changed,” organizers said.

“The community is not happy with the current anti-Alvarado protests that have been going on,” said Joseph Garcia, 17, a member of “(Old) Alvarado United,” the neighborhood group organizing the protests. “[We] recognize what the Filipino community is doing and respect that, but feel the history of the area should not be taken away in such a manner.”

They also argue that renaming the school is not an “extraordinary circumstance” as outlined in the board’s naming policy.

The group intends to hand out petitions throughout the community and collect signatures of those against the proposed name change.

As the (Old) Alvarado United movement gains momentum, resident Lance Nishihira is independently circulating an online petition to reverse the decision to change the school’s name.

“It’s not a slam dunk” for the proponents of the name change, said Nishihira, one of the leading voices of the opposition.

Though Nishihira is affiliated with AMS’ School Site Council, the petition was an independent act, fueled by his dismay with the lack of public discourse prior to the board’s Jan. 15 vote to change the school’s name.

According to school district records, the Board of Education voted 5-0 on Jan. 15 to rename the school. But opponents say they were not informed about such discussions.

“It did not appear that there was an earnest and diligent attempt to gather public feedback and sentiment,” Nishihira, a 39-year-old father of three New Haven students, told Patch. “There’s been a lot of organization on the proponent’s end but I don’t think we’ve even had time to prepare the opposing view.”

Nishihira hopes to unify the opposing voices into a community coalition.

“I’m here to report that there is opposition,” Nishihira said. “There is dissension in the community, and it will continue to divide us.”

Though no name has been decided upon, board members have discussed renaming the school after Filipino American labor leaders Larry Itliong and Philip Vera Cruz, who were contemporaries of Cesar Chavez. Heavily attended board meetings and community marches in support of the name change earlier this month have sparked controversy and vehement debate.

Those supporting the name change say it will be a significant milestone in American history as it would be the first school named after Filipino Americans.

“We are not just trying to rename a facility, we are trying to instill a strong sense of self,” said Erica Viray-Santos, a San Leandro teacher and former New Haven teacher who has helped spearhead support for the name change, at a March 19 meeting. "This is not just Filipino history, it’s American history."

According to school board members, the idea of an Itliong-Vera Cruz school has been tossed around several times in the last 13 years, and was in consideration when New Haven Middle School was renamed after Cesar Chavez.

Several school board members, including board president Linda Canlas, support the name change.

“New Haven Unified celebrates diversity and equality. These ideas are the pillars of strength the district prides itself,” Canlas said at the March 19 meeting. “This community is ready to make room for others that have been forgotten and have been invisible.”

The decision is not final, and those in opposition are hoping they can sway the board in their favor before the matter is discussed again.

“I’m not really sure what anyone intends the end result of a name change to be. Will renaming the school raise student achievement? Improve the student to teacher ratio? Reduce furlough days? Save co-curricular activities? I have a hard time believing that it will, but that is the responsibility of the School Board,” Nishihira said.

The board will hold a meeting on April 16 to discuss the matter and possibly choose a new name for Alvarado Middle School. At that time, the naming committee, established after the Jan. 15 meeting, will provide up to three names for consideration.

According to board members, the board can change their previous decision or delay the action if three or more trustees agree to do so.

Maryanne March 28, 2013 at 06:59 AM
We can't afford it financially or in political-community good will. We are faced with continual losses and sacrifices and and now angry, taxpayer outcry and revolt. We will loose all goodwill and never again get a bond measure passed. For years I've listened to other local parents complain of corruption and mismanagement by our school district/school board and I'm finally beginning to believe it. Just like we screamed with Bush: it's the economy stupid!
Andrew March 28, 2013 at 07:35 AM
This dint no dam race war that's what u guys want to happen but it ain't I got Filipino Chinese black Tongan Afghans friends that are against the name change so what y'all talking about .... Ok y'all had yaw Filipino flags y can't we have ours u just wait to see how many diversity flags we got
Zade March 28, 2013 at 02:22 PM
I wish there was a growing momentum against dismal school rankings around this area instead of this name change fiasco. (sigh)
Quincy Jay Victoria March 28, 2013 at 05:25 PM
I wish I knew what you were talking about. We don't mind you being angry about what's going on, but you don't need to talk like an internet gangster to get your point across. You obviously missed the whole point of the use of flags. All you have to do is talk clearly and coherently and we'll respect your opinion so much more. Tell you what. Let me put this in terms you can understand: We ain't tryin to start no race war, but folks are up in the spot waving mexican and ufw flags like it's supposed to be part of the argument. Tell them fools to quit with that cuz they ain't doin nothin but instigating instead of helpin.
vanessa March 28, 2013 at 08:24 PM
Wow all these comments are crazy with all the race hate! This is about a name that has been their for so long that shouldn't be erased for someone else's greed and ego. Don't erase history .GO MAKE YOUR OWN!! Build a school make a statue but its not coming out of my tax dollars! All these layoffs and teachers being under paid, school programs being shut down..come on! Change ok change where the money goes towards. Union city doesn't need changes that don't need to be done! I went to AMS and I don't want my past / history to change.
Keep the name March 28, 2013 at 10:00 PM
Squincy think he's funny don't even argue back wit that ignorant punk @Andrew @quincy
Quincy Jay Victoria March 28, 2013 at 10:33 PM
I wasn't trying to be funny. I was trying to show Andrew how stupid he looks by trying to argue with folks, when he can't throw out a coherent statement. You want people to respect your opinion? Do so intelligently. Nobody's trying to hear you if all you can do is call folks names, talk like an internet thug, and not even get your facts straight. "Ok y'all had yaw Filipino flags y can't we have ours" ~Andrew What does that have to do with anything? Nobody said anything about Filipino flags. The only flags that came into argument was the ones the people on the corner were carrying (which, by the way, I thought was absolutely unnecessary because it had no relation to the issue that's being opposed). Come see me when you have something better to say related to the issue at hand instead of calling me an "ignorant punk". I know exactly why folks are for and against the issue, the history of the people behind this, what's working and what's not, and alternatives to solving this issue. I'm far from ignorant and I'm also not afraid to put my name out there.
Keep the name March 28, 2013 at 11:22 PM
Damn boy you must have a lot of time on your hands mr by writing these essays don't you work or something .. If the flags are an issue then address them to the people holding them go by and talk to them and try to reason with them like come on mr just honk your horn next time u see them lol ... And it's actually smith and Freddie not Horner so get it right .... But I'm not on this to argue so thanks for your time mr. SQUINTSY @quincy
Quincy Jay Victoria March 28, 2013 at 11:58 PM
Lol you got jokes. I have a great job where i can afford to do what I want online. Btw I know exactly what corner that was at. I never said Horner.
Union City Resident March 29, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Can I try to be a voice of reason? Before a diverse city insults each other? Name a school after an Asian leader that we know and admire, pick a school that won't replace a historical name. Why didn't our elected school board reps recommend this? No resentments, Alvarado is the original name of that side of the city and the County seat of Alameda, a proud Hispanic name. Elected school officials have forgotten to honor our past and acknowledging our present. Asian community is offering to pay, base it on a study, money in advance. Asian Community is not making a big mistake here, it's the school board. Oh, sure print the agenda and mail it to a fraction of a percentage of citizens and call that sufficient. uh, NO, if that's the best this school district can do to reach out to the community, it's time for a new election. Dissention, is what the school board has created.Talked for 13 years, why didn't they pick a school that did not represent the core of our city's history? They don't own the streets and can't name them, saying a street is already Alvarado, is not the same as a school name Alvarado. Hispanics culturally celebrate with flags. Simple solution to peace. Stop arguing.The board should have gone out INTO the public at least to Alvarado school and held a meeting. Is it too much to ask for good representation? Equal representation to Hispanics and Asians, okay? Be proud, Hispanic or Asian. And school board priorities?! Alice Arce, former City Council member
Bob R March 29, 2013 at 04:14 AM
Agree, if they want a school named after their migrant worker hero then I would suggest starting a charter school. Who's up for posting a giant "FOR SALE" sign in front of the school?
Bob R March 29, 2013 at 04:16 AM
Boy, that is sure the truth! Ironic also how the folks wanting the name change have kids that average on the lower end of the school score spectrum. Perhaps magically the name change will improve their grades?
Edward April 03, 2013 at 03:47 AM
It is all about Race. Why change a perfectly respectable School name honoring both a Governor of EARLY CALIFORNIA and the EARLY STATE CAPITAL, a city, (Alvarado) to a Pinoy Union Labor movement (thugs) Names, Unless it was Racially and politlcaly motivated. The 28% wish to RULE the Town and SCHOOL and disenfranchise the other 72%. Pick a side, and join a GANG. Is this what we want our Schools to TEACH? Union City has had a lot of GANG VIOLENCE on both sides of the Freeway. The Filipino Flags, at the school Board meeting, should be a Clue to how racially motivated this issue is.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 03:52 AM
It is all about Race. Why change a perfectly respectable School name honoring both a Governor of EARLY CALIFORNIA and the EARLY STATE CAPITAL, a city, (Alvarado) to a Pinoy Union Labor movement (thugs) Names, Unless it was Racially and politlcaly motivated. The 28% wish to RULE the Town and SCHOOL and disenfranchise the other 72%. Pick a side, and join a GANG. Is this what we want our Schools to TEACH? Union City has had a lot of GANG VIOLENCE on both sides of the Freeway. The Filipino Flags, at the school Board meeting, should be a Clue to how racially motivated this issue is. Eleven years in the making, this is a Calculated overthrow of Early California History in Favor of Pinoy Pride.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 03:56 AM
Hillview Crest Elementary, In Hayward, is not 28% Pilipino. Alvarado Middle School is.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 04:32 AM
The UFW flag is the one the "heros" stopped soluting when they quit. The Mexican Flag is the one that flew over Alverado when it was the "State Capital". This used to be a "Farming Area" with mostly Latio Owners and Workers. The people who lived here LIKED the Alvarado Name and most still do.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 04:35 AM
Alvardo Middle School Forever ! Except when it is called Alvarado Junior High ! What we realy need is An "Alvarado High School" so be don't have to jam the roads to LOGAN.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 04:38 AM
How many "California Bear Flags" or "American" Flags did you see?
Edward April 03, 2013 at 04:52 AM
Thank you Alice. You should have been elected Mayor. I still have your "Lawn Sign" hoping you would run again. You know they are selling off "Cabellio Elementary" to raise funds for the School District and the adjacent park could be named after these two Union leaders without all this hassle. Just 3 blocks from Alvarado Middle School, this park has Lighted Tennis Courts, Baseball Diamond and is owned by the City. Here is a perfect oppertunity to name somehting that will change it's Name anyway. As a Former Union leader yourself, you know there needs to be recognition without Alienation.
Edward April 03, 2013 at 05:01 AM
Thank you Alice. You should have been elected Mayor. You know they are selling off "Cabellio Elementary" to raise funds for the School District and the adjacent park could be named after these two Union leaders without all this hassle. Just 3 blocks from Alvarado Middle School, this park has Lighted Tennis Courts, Baseball Diamond and is owned by the City. Here is a perfect oppertunity to name somehting that will change it's Name anyway. As a Former Union leader yourself, you know there needs to be recognition without Alienation. Hillview Crest Elementary is not in the Area highly populated with Asians as the Area west of Alvarado Blvd. that populates Alvarado Middle School. Cabellio Park Is. Lets see if that could be put on the City Agenda and taken off the School Board Agenda.
Union City Resident April 03, 2013 at 06:19 AM
LOL, thanks Edward but there are five school board members to represent you. I won't be going to any meetings. But so many good ideas, check the stats and yes, there is still a very high Asian presence on the West side of town and there is Pioneer School. Also more local for them when it's time to meet as a total community and honor the recipient. Latinos and fillipinos have a combined history for Farm Workers and as leaders of unions representing the most destitute. I admire the memory that Cesear Chavez worked with them also. It really brings harmony to the community to do both things. No name change on Alvarado therby no offense whatsoever of any kind to our latino community. Then rename another school on the West side for the leader chosen by the community. No offense for anyone. Union City will be the first in the state to name a school after a fillipino leader. We can all get together and celebrate as a united and progressive city again. Then hope for a new election sometime soon. Also, we could name the school after Manuel Fernandez who to my knowledge was the first Fillipino leader in Union City ever. He served on the city council through three mayors and was a very dignified representative of the entire community.Toss that name in for consideration, he earned that kind of respect. Hope it all works out quickly and satifies everyone. Your Board Members will be watched closely to see how good they are are as elected representatives.We gave you solutions.
Union City Resident April 04, 2013 at 06:52 AM
I hate the nasty rumor that has been started saying the school name change was being rushed so there would be some kind of grant money if they do it. what??? That would mean they planned ahead on the vote because they knew it might help them get some more money for looking more diverse. Man, we are diverse even without a grant to confirm that. That should have no influence and I want to know did the school board know about the grant before the vote? If so, violation of the Brown Act. Also, since it was not properly placed on the agenda as school name change, they also did not post it legally and should be made to recind their vote and go back and place it on the agenda. They can't vote on it if it wasn't on the agenda. The public has rights. The school board is doing some questionable things. I'm concerned about their schemes now more than a school name change which we don't need to rush into. The public deserves a chance to hear the issue. Our representatives did not represent all of us that night. You are supposed to represent all the community so we can all hold you accountable for your questionable vote on an item not on the agenda and did the school board know and ever discuss how they would feel about supporting a name change? If three board members knew, told how they would vote or three even talked about the issue and then voted on it, they broke the law. Let's clear up the legal issues first then move on and do it right. Okay??
John April 04, 2013 at 08:12 AM
No this city is corrupt and will always do corrupt things....its very easy to spot look at some city council minutes and/or look to see what they spend money on and what their liabilities are (your in for a rude awakening as that city is in debt beyond recognition) -- the police force is a under staffed as everyone is a top level earning top dollar which do not have enough patrols...Firemen do more card playing and gathering OT than doing anything else. City council spends more time on how to get their name pasted into the city in someway shape or form by using street names or renaming things.....etc... UC eventually will go bankrupt... so yes they will continue to march to their own drum without any regard to its citizens
Davis April 04, 2013 at 05:12 PM
John, The City is not corrupt. The City government MAY be, but one thing for sure, the School Board, a group of Tier 8 politicians who were elected by the citizens of Union City to do what is right for the Schools has sold their SOULS to the Teachers Union, the Democrat party, and the Filipino community. The School Board has arbitrarily over reacted to the Sandy Hook School shootings by pissing away $500 thousand on class room door locks. And, how about those two parcel tax issues? Now they spend their time trying to rename a school. They need to be RECALLED. Period, end of rant
MD April 09, 2013 at 06:04 PM
The school have a new survey about the change, please send your vote here: http://bit.ly/amsname
Edward April 14, 2013 at 02:56 AM
Hey Kids!!~ lets name that school!!! Lets see what funny names we can call the Middle Schools of Union City. Lets start with Cesar Chavez Middle School. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C%C3%A9sar_Ch%C3%A1vez How About "Lit'le Ceasars" after the Pizzas they try to bribe us with. http://www.littlecaesars.com/home.aspx. And how about the New name for the west side middle school they want to name Lary Itliong ( http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/19/us/larry-itliong-forgotten-filipino-labor-leader.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&; ) and Philip Vera Cruz ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philip_Vera_Cruz ) Both were contrivercial like Marajuana so we could call it "Itchy BONG" because the school board must be "smoking something" to be so itch to change the name. Just look at all the posters of these guys to know they wanted change and nothing like implying legalization of marajuana to embody their revolutionary spirit. http://legalizationofmarijuana.com/ Hey Kids, It's your school. You Name the school for the 4 years you are there, then, the next Class gets to re-name it.
Edward April 14, 2013 at 03:19 AM
" Itchy BONG" Middle School.
Edward April 14, 2013 at 03:20 AM
Itchy BONG ....Melllow!
Lance Nishihira April 15, 2013 at 11:43 PM
SURVEY RESULTS. The School Site Council has conducted a survey and would like to share the results. Of the 201 respondents, 97% want the name to continue to be Alvarado Middle School. Here are the full survey results: https://sites.google.com/site/amsname/key-findings
Edward April 19, 2013 at 02:42 AM
Re-naming Schools after labor leaders when the School District does not Honor labor in Contracts, it has with contractors, service providers and even with it's own teachers, like what happened to all the Music Teachers and Band Leaders, does not honor the persons they are naming the Schools after at all. What Larry Itliong. Philip Vera Cruz and Cesar Chavez all had in common was getting workers united to gain a fair share in the wealth of California dominated by Agriculture and Land Barons. Now that the School District is commited to naming their schools after these labor leaders, they need to step up and stop playing Games with Labor. Union City needs to be a UNION TOWN and New Haven Unified needs to do it's part and not just give "lip Sevice" to ethnic groups by saying they "Honor Labor" when they realy don't. Watch who gets the School building and modification contracts with that $29.2 Million they had bestowed on them. One of the first things the New Haven Unified School Board should do is to "Honor Labor" by signing a "Project Labor Agreement" (PLA) where they will get competative bidding only from union Signatory Contractors and suppliers. They get Guanteed Quality workmanship, Fair Bidding, Lowest Reasonable prices without having to go back and fix what "LOW BALL BIDDING" gets you. If you are brash enough to name two schools after labor leaders, in a town named Union City, you should be smart enough to sign a PLA with the Alameda County Building Trades.

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