Sometimes, local governments are a microcosm for the problems happening in the nation, and that seems to be the case in Kyle, Texas, where the city council unilaterally decided to rename its Rebel Drive.
And that’s just the beginning of the strange story.
Maybe the council had an excuse for the name change in August, when statues were being toppled, cities were burning and leftists were on a witch hunt for anything that had even a whiff of nostalgia for any era that wasn’t as “woke” as today’s America.
And, to be fair, the school district comprising the Kyle area already had nixed its rebel mascot at a high school, but this city council went rogue to try to erase the city’s ties to its Confederate past.
However, rather than requesting residents’ suggestions, the council voted to change the name to Fajita Drive, ostensibly to move away from the Confederate ties of the old name, according to multiple reports.
According to KXAN-TV, new street signs were ordered with the moniker of the sizzling, savory dish from Mexico about a week before the council had even voted on the name change, let alone before any residents had their say.
“I just thought it was so presumptuous that they would do such a thing without community input,” longtime Kyle resident Brenna Kadjar told the news outlet.
Residents began a petition that garnered over 1,000 signatures, stating that the name Fajita Drive would subject “the city to jokes and humiliation and does nothing to contribute or better our diverse and growing community.”
In response, the city backed off from the name change, and the issue remains unresolved.
After a public hearing in August, the city council rescinded its previous vote renaming Rebel Drive to Fajita Drive, according to KEYE-TV.
Because a new name hasn’t been selected, the street now is known by its state designation: West Ranch to Market Road 150.
On Oct. 6, the council created a committee to come up with suggestions for a new street name, according to KXAN. The outlet reported that an invoice garnered through a public information request shows $1,492.50 was spent on the new street signs.
Mayor Travis Mitchell said he was sorry for “getting out ahead of my skis” in the renaming to Fajita Drive.
“There’s an element for staff preparing for items that is kind of a ‘go with your gut’ kind of situation, and from the vantage point that I had, doing the best that I could without discussing with all of council, I felt like — I felt like the renaming of Fajita Drive was going to happen,” Mitchell said on Aug. 25, according to KXAN.
That same day, he elaborated on his decision in a social media post, and that’s where the lid blows off the ridiculous situation.
“I encourage anyone who thinks the council named the street ‘after a piece of meat’ to watch the discussion of our council from last week,” Mitchell wrote on Facebook.
WARNING: The following Facebook post contains vulgar language that some readers may find offensive.
“Council and staff have been openly celebrating the legacy of Sonny Falcon [a local icon nicknamed the “Fajita King”] and Kyle’s place in fajita history for some time. From our standpoint, naming the street Fajita Drive made a lot of sense — which is why it passed unanimously and joyously.”
Then Mitchell’s post shifted to an apology for the “tone and tenor of the text exchange” between him, two other members of the council and attorney Chevo Pastrano, who published the exchange.
What was in those text messages? Well, it turns out the men responsible mocked what they were doing and acknowledged ramming the change through.
“Let’s keep Rebel,” Mitchell allegedly wrote in the text, mocking dissenters. “Good vibes. F— change. Rebel Pride Never Dies!”
That text was a response just after Rick Koch, council member and mayor pro tempore, praised the publicity Kyle was receiving and bragged how it bolstered “Hispanic culture and pride.”
But the whole exchange became contentious between Pastrano and the two councilmen as Pastrano admonished them for turning the city into a joke.
Koch sarcastically retorted at one point, “Maple, is that non-Mexican enough for you?” before sharing a screen shot of a photo of a street named Roast Meat Hill Rd.
So it appeared they knew what they were doing was ridiculous, unpopular, and didn’t care one iota — just like other cowards who won’t even have a public discussion about keeping ties to their Confederate past (even if not to repeat them).
Throughout the South, ties to Confederate monuments, cemeteries and places named after historical figures run deep because it is the region’s heritage, even if slavery was a repugnant part of it that should spark discourse rather than unilateral destruction of the past.
It looks as if some in the city of Kyle were right when they tried to recall Mitchell and Koch in 2019 for supposedly not having the best interests of the city in mind, the Hays Free Press reported at the time.
This strange story with crazy twists really does illustrate the current political climate, where elected officials aren’t interested in what their constituents want or have to say, just in what the officials think needs to happen.
The move away from glorifying our Confederate past might eventually happen anyway, but it is up to the public — not bureaucrats — to decide.
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