Letter: Should we rename Tom Petty Park?

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Should we rename Tom Petty Park? I don’t know…

Should we change the name of Tom Petty Park? He used to support the confederate flag. I’m not sure that his apology
counts or was genuine.

Should we rename the park out of respect to the BLM movement? JJ Finley school is getting a rename.

I don’t know if the city would want to touch this with a 10 foot pole, but it may be a part of the healing that’s needed for the city to show that it’s not hypocritical when it comes to racism. This may be a good first step to stop the hurt that exists in our community. Keeping the park named after him  might be thought of as white privilege to some. It may ruffle a lot of feathers.

UF is getting rid of the “Gator Bait“ chant, the City of Gainesville needs to do more to heal the hurt.

There’s no excuse for racism in any form… If you’re going to get rid of Aunt Jemima and the “Gator Bait” cheer, there are a lot of other things and people that must also be removed, and Tom Petty is one of them. What do you say?


Richard Selwach, Gainesville

  • How about calling it Northeast Park again? That shouldn’t offend anyone…

    • I was thinking rename it : “Juneteenth Park”…
      The city could hold annual
      Events there in celebration of freedom & liberty from
      Slavery and in support of the emancipation proclamation. Didn’t
      The city just do a proclamation to Juneteenth?
      It has more meaning than NE Park, or an ex-confederate
      Flag sympathizer…

  • If confederate statues and flags are a part of American history,
    should they be torn down and removed because they are offensive to some? Should the statues that came down be replaced? Was it ok for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers to profit from the
    Confederate flag on their albums and concerts and is
    It ok to name a park after Petty because
    He was a part of Gainesville’s History? Was Petty’s use of
    The confederate flag ok because he was a southern
    Gentleman? I have received personal comments from people that will not comment on this forum like: “Really?”
    or “this should bring you a lot of fan mail”…

    • Since you inquired. The statues and flags are a part of American history, albeit a tragic and horrific part of that history. Destroying the images of that history will never erase it. Although I’m sure that Tom Petty profited in some way from concert sales of such memorabilia, I’m not sure he meant it with racial undertones. He’s dead so he can’t offer an explanation any more than Thomas Jefferson, Teddy Roosevelt or others with likenesses being destroyed. Let’s also not forget that others, especially during the Covid 19 pandemic are also profiting from the sale of items.
      When will it stop? I would venture to say that there is not a single person on this Earth who is not offended by something or someone in some way. The examples would be endless. Does it take a single person to be offended to change our ways or does it, should it, depend on the number affected? That’s a question that deserves to be answered. If the current environment says if a single person is offended, it shouldn’t be done or exist… that’s a problem in itself. Every individual would then be judge and jury. Is that what we want from a society of individuals?
      We have the choice of forgiveness or persecution, attempting to erase history will not solve either.

        • I don’t believe so. After all, one man’s trash is another one’s treasure…you say tomatoe I say tomato. Too many variables…should I say personalities? In fact, some have more than one personality depending on the day of the week.
          We are an imperfect people in an imperfect world. The great thing about it is that we have the ability to affect change without the destruction of society. If this country is as bad as many claim then I have two questions, 1. Why don’t you leave? and 2. Why do so many want to come here?
          The United States of America still provides the greatest opportunities for all people to pursue their dreams, although there are rules/laws that are to be followed.
          Personally I feel people that are promoting or participating in the destruction of this country, if they aren’t willing to follow the legal means to affect change, those individuals should be deported. Deported without their passports and let them have the opportunity to see how other countries deal with insurrection.

          • Hmmm. Deported to where? Who would accept them?
            Jail , “no fly list,” & garnish government check sounds more reasonable…

  • What needs to be understood about this statue thing is that this isn’t just about getting rid of so-called “racist” statues, it’s about erasing our history. Statues of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are being torn down. This is some of the first actions taken by despotic movements. It happened this way in Germany and, very recently, it happened precisely this way in Venezuela. It ALWAYS happens like this. You should be very afraid.

    • You may have taken my words about music out of context slightly…Music can unite. I don’t listen to that violent, hateful, or evil stuff…Stuff with bad lyrics. Lyrics are words.
      The bad stuff may unite the haters…the
      Good music unites the good. Music without lyrics can unite all may be more of an axiomatic statement..I .only allow good things to enter my brain, not evil…Positive thoughts, not negative…There’s pure good, pure evil,
      And everything in-between in this Universe. I do believe
      That good triumphs over evil…pretty much I agree with
      Everything else you have talked about…one closing
      Statement: I’m not sure there will be any more citizens
      Comments after August 1st on items NOT on the agenda.
      I tried to get clarification from the city manager…something
      About the rules possibly staying the way they are now
      And only being able to comment on things on the agenda…

      • This comment was intended for real truth in the discussion further down…where he says “not all music unites”…

      • Very funny. They do need to rename that bus terminal
        They named after her…Because of her health condition,
        The let her out early because of the fauxvid19. When
        They get the vaccine, she should have to finish out her
        Prison sentence…

  • OK, getting back on topic : Should we rename Tom Petty Park?

    A recent headline states: “Tom Petty family issued a cease & desist after
    Trump uses “I won’t Back Down” at Tulsa Rally”…in addition,
    Benmont Tench III, a founding member of Tom Petty &
    The Heartbreakers said, “I, in no way approve of Trump even whistling any piece of music associated with our band, I hope that’s Clear enough”….

    You know, I view music as a healer…”let there be songs,
    To fill the air”…I see music as a universal language…something that unites us…” it calms the savage beast”…

    It’s a shame that the Petty relatives and Mr.Tench are
    So negative and hate filled…instead of being part of the
    Solution, they’re a part of the problem. It’s a compliment
    That our president feels so strongly about the music and
    The lyrics, and the family & Tench get so ugly…they’re
    Being stupid…and Tom Petty himself said he was stupid
    For supporting the whole confederate flag thing.

    Ok. Should we rename Tom Petty Park? I contacted
    City Manager Lee Feldman and he said “ thanks for
    Sharing and that I made some interesting points”….I appreciate the city manager getting back with me…
    However, I did contact the city commissioners and sent
    A link to this article and none of them has contacted me back…
    Not a word.

    I was sure hoping that Commissioner Gigi
    Simmons would have contacted me. I don’t even
    get a response that they’ve received my email…I
    Guess they think if they ignore me, that I’ll go away…

    As soon as the commission meetings are open again
    Where I can appear in-person, I will definitely be
    Bringing this subject again. They should just change
    The name to “Juneteenth Park” now so they won’t have
    To Listen to me bringing up the past transgressions of
    Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers usage of the confederate

    The city needs to put a plaque at the bottom of
    The park sign saying “ Tom Petty used and supported
    The confederate flag in his shows, on his record albums,
    And his merchandise and apologized for this before
    His death”…You know, a disclaimer like what they’re
    Doing with the movie “Gone with the wind”…

    • I thought my position was pretty clear although I must disagree with you that not all music unites. I’m sure there are many policeman who object to the rap music that glorifies shooting cops. Many women I’m sure also object to the music videos that show men and women, showing the opposite sex as objects. Unfortunately the current “movement” fails or chooses to ignore these types of musical renderings and instead want to focus on the “perceived” injustice of our national anthem.
      The city commissioners won’t answer you. They are capable of an independent thought and will wait for King Poe to tell them when and if to make a response. Simmons and Johnson are both just as biased and prejudiced as the people they accuse. That is easy to determine just from their past statements.
      Poe and his cohorts will continue to keep Gainesville and it’s residents in bondage, subject to their tyranny, their lies…all behind the disguise of a mask.

      • Real Truth, I responded to you, but somehow it ended up as a reply under Deborah Bucci…Please see my reply
        To you above under Bucci. I end with there might not
        Be anymore citizens comments time for items NOT on
        The agenda…

        • Sorry my reply didn’t post…guess it didn’t make it through the “vetting.”

        • Let’s try this again…
          While I do not know the types of music you like, I can agree with you on what we do not like. That being said, we may have to keep those thoughts to ourselves because you never know who may come knocking on our doors in the middle of the night.
          As far as the comments to the city commission, my personal opinion is that we will see them continue to find ways to greatly restrict citizen comments. You and I have already experienced the same screening via email. I think they fear the “wokeness” the citizens of Gainesville are starting to experience. How long before the citizens rise up and vent the pent up frustrations on the people that are supposed to be representing them?
          One day, hopefully during our lifetimes, the residents of Gainesville and Alachua county will wake up to realize the self serving, egotistical COMMISSIONS for who they really are and not who they claim to be.

      • You do make a great point with the national anthem.
        Taking the knee is very divisive and offensive to me. Why? Because I’m not the bad guy, I’m the good guy….
        They are missing the target and inadvertently hurting
        The good guys with the gesture and what good does it do to to hurt the good?

        I find these words from the pledge of allegiance to be very beautiful:
        One nation, under god, indivisible, with liberty, &
        Justice, for all.

        I’m not even sure if they still do the pledge of allegiance in public school anymore…they should. Shouldn’t they?

        • To the comment regarding deportation I think Antarctica would be a good start. Virtually uninhabited and with many of those who openly and vehemently denouncing this country, that would be a great choice. Especially with the current propensity of lighting fires… they’ll need one or two. LOL

  • Where does it all end? Today’s headlines in MSM:
    “Now the star spangled banner has to go”…

    • That’s because many aren’t capable of singing it and many of those that can don’t know the words.
      Maybe we should switch it with what’s popular for the year…”Baby shark, doo, doo, doo, … wait, I find that offensive since it could be interpreted as ca-ca.

  • Getting back on topic: Should we rename Tom Petty
    Park? it’s ok for some if he’s a confederate sympathizer
    That you like… They didn’t like the statue of “Old Joe” downtown…
    He was taken down and I don’t know where he is now…Did he get
    Moved to a cemetery or something? Where’s “ old joe”?

    • How do we know which things with connections to
      The confederacy to keep? Statues? They go. Schools? They go . Flags?
      They go…Confederate flag waving musicians? Do they stay
      Or go and why?

    • No…but I don’t think many others will respond.

      As for “old Joe,” in my old military days he stayed in the coffee pot until someone made some fresh.

      • King Poe would probably say No too and agree with you….But what about all
        The arguments for removing all the history that relates
        To racism, slavery, the kkk, the civil war, the confederacy etc., the renaming of JJ Finley elementary, the removal of the
        Confederate statue of “ol joe” downtown? The removal of confederate flags? Do BLM
        Matters sometime? What about George Floyd?

        As far as erasing history…try to purchase a confederate
        Flag or sticker now. Walmart no longer sells them.

        They have an autographed photo of Tom Petty & the
        Heartbreakers with Tom Petty and ALL the heartbreakers signatures with a certificate of authenticity on stage in front of a yuuuge confederate flag on sale in a listing on the internet ($1,200)…
        I sent a copy of the item to King Poe & the CC with
        The subject headed: And we have a park named after him? …The only thing worse would be for Petty & the heartbreakers to be
        Wearing white sheets & pointy hats playing in front of a
        Burning cross…

        I’m still still not convinced about keeping
        Tom Petty park though….As black man trapped in a white mans body (I.e, transracial, same theory as transgendered: letting men in woman’s bathrooms…where’s Craig Lowe now?) you don’t understand
        What the emotions this imagery conjures up for people of color
        Who are victims of systemic racism and police brutality…

        Once we get rid of all the negative things from
        American history associated with slavery & racism,
        Will they re-write History as if it never happened?

        Once they get rid of all the stuff associated with slavery,
        Then it never happened? The pain will be gone and no
        More riots and looting?

        • Like I said I would not. However in this great country of ours everyone is supposed to be entitled to their opinion. I do believe that I also said that ALL lives matter…ALL THE TIME. That includes the unborn babies who are aborted every day in this country. I’m sorry that people are offended by this country’s past history and some of the things that have been put on display during the past several weeks. Is there any country or civilization on Earth that does not have some regret? I don’t know… haven’t been to every country nor do I claim to know the past histories of those countries.
          Some people enjoy the image of the Confederate flag. That’s their choice. The South LOST the war! Not exactly what I would be shouting from the rooftops. It’s a sad part of American history that people fought over the bondage of men and women. What’s even worse is the sheer number of people who died. What many also fail to admit is that many of those men and women were sold to slave traders by their own countrymen. Why aren’t groups going to the original countries and burning them down? History can’t be rewritten nor can it be erased. You can’t convince the Jewish people the Holocaust never happened any more than you can tell the Japanese that atomic bombs were not dropped on their cities. What we can do is learn from our past and I think we are. Unfortunately it doesn’t happen as quickly as we would like.
          Personally I don’t know why they named a park after Tom Petty other than he’s one of the few people who managed to escape Gainesville and become famous. Did he do a lot for the community? I don’t recall much and I don’t think he even performed here that often. Corrine Brown is a convicted felon and she has something named after her. Don’t hear many expressing their displeasure with that.
          The individuals who are so offended by the “imagery” of things, ie. the Confederate flag, were not alive during slavery or the Civil War. I didn’t own slaves and I don’t support slavery so why should I be blamed and persecuted for it? I also don’t support the destruction of society or historical monuments. Contrary to what some in the BLM movement want you to believe, not all cops are bad and not all white people are racists.
          I will close with this, I have enjoyed our conversations posted here and hope others may read and appreciate that a meaningful dialogue can be achieved. Until later, take care of yourself.

          • You have provided an absolutely beautiful closing
            To the topic. I have also enjoyed the conversation.
            You are a gentleman and a scholar. Keep well too!

  • Well, OK…According to “YouGov”: “the confederate flag
    was made to represent a divided nation”…a flag separating the North from the South…

    The flag is still dividing our nation…some people think
    The flag should remain because it represents “southern heritage and history”, others associate the flag with racism, slavery,
    and terrorism. I understand both viewpoints. However, I
    understand the pain that people of color experience
    with the negative imagery part. In my mind, I am woke to
    the fact that the KKK (a hate group) has hijacked the
    use of that flag in their rituals by wearing white sheets,
    Pointy hats, burning crosses, images of nooses, & even
    Swastikas…I certainly would not like to be at the wrong
    Place at the wrong time.

    As far as the swastika is concerned…Wikipedia is a good
    Source of information on that subject…the swastika is
    An ancient symbol representing the universe. American
    Indians use the symbol to represent the sun, the four
    Seasons, and the four directions (N,S,W,E). Other
    Cultures see the symbol as good luck, Buddha’s footprints,
    And so on…

    Ok, time to make my point. Since the nazis
    Hijacked the swastika symbol in the 1930’s, the good things that the
    Swastika represented has been overpowered and hijacked…To many
    People, the German swastika represents antisemitism,
    Concentration camps, Holocaust, & terrorism….

    Do you like to see swastikas graffitied on walls in your city?
    Do you like KKK imagery with confederate flags & swastika?
    Do you want to see a NASCAR car zooming around
    the racetrack with a big ol” German swastika on it?
    My answer is no…To people of color, the confederate
    Flag is offensive. Just like the swastika is offensive to
    Jewish people.

    Based on the above facts, reasoning, logic, and discussion on this forum, this is why
    I’m petitioning the city of Gainesville to rename Tom Petty Park to
    “Juneteenth Park”. Contact Mayor Poe and the city commissioners if you agree with my viewpoint.

    We are People and, United we stand, divided we fall. It’s
    Time to heal the hurt.

    God bless you and America.

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