2010-01-08 / Front Page

Hernandez Left Off Street Naming List

By Howard Schwach
On July 10, 2008, star football player and student Patrick Hernandez, 18, was walking home with his brother from his summer job working on the beach when he was shotgunned to death by another youth who later admitted that he was jealous of the victim’s success.

The families of Patrick Hernandez and Beverly Baxter at the June Community Board 14 meeting that approved the renaming of a street in his honor. The families of Patrick Hernandez and Beverly Baxter at the June Community Board 14 meeting that approved the renaming of a street in his honor. Hernandez’s death stunned the community and started a movement to end gun violence in Far Rockaway.

There were many in the community who wanted to do something more to honor Hernandez and his accomplishments during his short life.

Pastor Barrielevia Evans and Hernandez’s mother began a movement to have a street named in his honor.

They got lots of support from the community and presented a petition with more than 2,000 names.

On June 9, Community Board 14 held a public hearing and approved street renaming ceremonies for Hernandez and west end activist Beverly Baxter.

Last week, the semi-annual list of street renamings was approved by the City Council. There were 70 names on the list.

Baxter was there.

Hernandez was not.

The rules call for an approval by the local community board and then for the City Councilman who represents that area to submit the name to the Council for inclusion in the next bill.

New City Councilman Eric Ulrich put Baxter’s name in the hopper and she was on the list.

Insiders say that they believe that City Councilman James Sanders Jr., who represents Far Rockaway, never submitted Hernandez’s name, as required by Council rules, or, at best, submitted it too late to make this list.

The district manager for the community board is puzzled.

“I don’t know why [Hernandez’s] name wasn’t on the list, you’d have to ask Sanders about that,” said Jonathan Gaska. “We sent the request and the affirmative vote of the board to Sanders right after we approved it. He then had to submit it to the Council.”

“We’re done with it,” Gaska added. “We sent everything we were required to send to Sanders and I was surprised that [Hernandez’s] name was not there.”

Donavan Richards, a spokesperson for Sanders, said that he “did not know the status” of the renaming request.

“I think it’s in committee,” he told a Wave reporter calling for comment. “We’re moving our office and I don’t have the paperwork in front of me. I have to check with Parks and the Council, and I probably won’t know anything until next week.” He added, “The Council committee is in serious backlog. A name that I submitted last year just made this list.”

“Those names [that were approved] were probably put in earlier,” he offered, even though Baxter’s name was approved the same day as Hernandez. “We have to wait for it to go into committee, and then they vote for it.”

He further commented, “The councilman should not be beat up because of this. I know that [Hernandez’s name] was submitted.

Pastor Evans said on Wednesday, however, “I believe [Sanders] never honestly submitted it. He assured his mother, father, friends and family [that] Patrick’s name would be on the list. He promised he would put the information in.”

A Council spokesperson told The Wave that the list that was just voted on included all of those names submitted over the past six months and there probably would not be another renaming bill before the Council until June or July.

Gaska said that this is not the first time that Sanders has fouled up a street renaming request made by the community board.

“While you have Sanders on the phone, ask him what happened to the renaming for Mario Russo and Gloria Warshofsky,” Gaska said. “We sent those to him years ago and they were approved by the Council, but Sanders never set up a ceremony. We keep asking him, and he keeps putting us off.”

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