On Friday morning, Aaron Carruthers looked out the window and was greeted by new street signs at the Crocker Village development across the road. He decided to drive around, curious as to the names of the signs.
The signs at the new intersection read: “America First Avenue” and “Ronald Reagan Street.”
Carruthers, who moved to Crocker Village community last year, called two neighborhood groups and the homebuilder to ask about the new signs. He also reached out to neighbors, who were “immediately irate.”
He said, “These are not neutral names. These seemed specifically designed to be overtly political.” The signs also include Bronze Star and Omaha Beach.
The City Council will likely have to address the street names at Tuesday’s meeting, whose agenda also includes deciding whether to approve the map for a section of Crocker Village.
The map includes a street called America First Avenue, which intersects with Giovanni Street and Bronze Star Way in the development, where homes are still under construction.
“America First” is President Trump’s slogan and policy platform proposing shifting investment away from other countries so as to focus on priorities within the country. However, some civil rights and advocacy groups have maintained that the slogan is discriminatory against immigrants. The phrase has also been used for over a century, and has some dubious associations.
According to U.S. Federal Election Commission records, Paul Petrovich, the owner of the development company behind Crocker Village, donated $10,000 to Trump’s campaign in 2016, although almost 80% of Crocker Village residents voted for Hillary Clinton.
The Petrovich Development Company has a contentious relationship with the city of Sacramento, as Petrovich sued the city in 2016 after officials voted against the establishment of a gas station in Crocker Village near the Safeway. The decision was later overturned by a judge, but was upheld by an appeals court in April.
Neither Petrovich nor the City of Sacramento spokesperson was available to discuss the street signs.
The America First Avenue sign was removed by Saturday afternoon.
Carruthers stated that he hoped all the street signs could be changed, maybe to recognize historical Sacramento names as well as the rail yard location of Crocker Village. He maintained that his issues with the street names went beyond the America First sign.
He said, “That’s one street in a whole mix of mess. All of these street names need to go. They need to start over.”