Controversy at Commissioner's Meeting About Name Change
By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

ODESSA - What's in a name? Well for the seniors who gather at the South side Senior Center in Odessa, it means everything.

County Commissioners voted last month to change the name of the center and those seniors said they were left out of the loop.

But those who want to honor a World War II veteran disagree.

Both sides of the debate showed up Monday morning and even County Commissioners were surprised at how big of an issue this became.

"I'm upset because this issue has driven a wedge between our community," a concerned citizen said.

That wedge is one many said could've been prevented, but others said everything was handled the way it should be.

Ector County Commissioners voted in December to change the name of the South side Senior Center, to pay tribute to hometown hero, Sal Guerrero.

But not everyone was happy about a decision they say they didn't know anything about.

But supporters of the name change argue, that's simply not true.

"The Commissioners did it right," Carol Uranga said. "They posted the hearings, they had their first hearings, second hearings, readings like they do."

Gene Collins said he goes to the Senior Center often. He knew Guerrero but he also feels for the seniors.

"They have put a lot of volunteer hours in there," Collins said. "They've lobbied to improve it and what have you, so there's a sense of ownership that I think the commissioners were not aware of."

And that wasn't the only issue brought up. Some residents from the center said the name change to honor Guerrero would make them feel unwelcome in a place they call a second home.

"To say that because it was going to be a Hispanic name on a South side building or on the building it self, that would mean they could no longer use it. That was not the issue," Uranga said.

"Maybe they did not realize the depth of the passion on the side of the people that go there all the time," Collins said.

And although they might disagree about the name change, both sides do agree on one thing.

"He was a very caring man and he took the steps," Uranga said. "He was a man of action."

"I think he's one that needs to be honored," Collins reciprocated. "No question about it."