DOWNEY - We have of late been witness to, in addition to large crowds at Porto's Bakery and frantic efforts to repair potholed city streets, a surge in naming unnamed roadways and little side streets. The activity seems harmless enough, and it really doesn't cost that much, so it gets our endorsement.Although the naming of the by now familiar little artery happened in 2009, the appellation of the 4-lane roadway stretching from Bellflower Boulevard to Imperial Highway and roughly bisecting the southern section of the former 160-acre NASA site while skirting the new Kaiser Permanente building as 'Congr. Steve Horn Way', to honor the recently deceased congressman who played a major role in the city's acquisition from the federal government of the 160-acre former NASA property, brooks no argument. Just recently, to further promote the ethic of Character Counts, "Caring Way" - a little stretch of road between Kaiser and the Columbia Memorial Space Center - was inaugurated, as part of the city's efforts to "make the 'Six Pillars of Character' more visible throughout the community." (Even before this, the city last year named a driveway behind City Hall "Responsibility Row"). And because of the laudable contributions of California Sen. Dianne Feinstein through her championing in the pivotal years (early to mid-1990s) of an amendment that finally facilitated the conveyance of the former NASA property to the city of Downey at favorable terms, and in view of her continued backing to the present day of Downey's interests in the halls of the Capitol, a movement spearheaded by Mayor Luis Marquez has been initiated, to name the street fronted by the Columbia Memorial Space Center and joining up with Congr. Steve Horn Way in the center "Sen. Dianne Feinstein Way". The meeting of the roadways will symbolize, says Marquez, the fruitful partnership on behalf of Downey of the U.S. senator from California and the rookie congressman from Long Beach. It comes at a time when the sprawling former NASA site is slowly but surely springing into life and, barring any unforeseen setbacks, reclaim at least a good portion of its former glory. After Downey's well-documented glory days, there was a distinct letdown when Rockwell left, then NASA shuttled the facility in 1999, and saw its fortunes dwindle down to little more than a huge parking lot. Then by dint of farseeing planning and patience by a succession of city councils and city staff, it began to experience a turnaround. First, Downey Studios, then Downey Landing, then Kaiser Permanente, then the Columbia Memorial Space Center. Next, in the city's sights, is the much-studied, much-hoped for, ambitious Tierra Luna project. These, plus the other planned developments downtown and elsewhere, carry the seeds of well-founded hope for the city's future. There are many figures of note to thank, of course, in this connection, including such names as councilmen Gary McCaughan, Keith McCarthy, Meredith Perkins, and others too numerous to mention. The name of city manager Gerald Caton also comes up, so do those of Sen. Barbara Boxer and Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard and, almost surely, that of Don Knabe. To be sure, more opportunities for roadway-naming will open down the road (pardon the pun), with pillars of character to match. It will be interesting to see which pillar is picked next. "It's time to recognize the senator for her contributions to the city of Downey," said Marquez. "I'm hopeful but very optimistic that my colleagues will support my recommendation that we name the indicated segment of road Sen. Dianne Feinstein Way in recognition of her significant contributions to the acquisition of the NASA property."
********** Published: March 17, 2011 - Volume 9 - Issue 48