State College Borough Council: Paterno Way Decision Tabled Indefinitely
The decision to rename Park Avenue Paterno Way has been postponed indefinitely, Don Hahn, president of State College Borough Council, said Monday night.
Council's regular meeting was nearing adjournment when it was time for the president's report.
Hahn announced the decision to shelve Paterno Way plans and said he collaborated with David Fryer, the College Township Council Chairman.
"Paterno may end up the Robert E. Lee of Penn State," Hahn said.
The range of opinions has "certainly contributed" to the decision, Hahn said.
After the meeting, the State College Borough president explained his rationale behind the comparison between the former football coach and the commander of the Confederate army in the Civil War.
"(Robert E. Lee) was identified as a hero by some and vilified by others," Hahn said.
However, after reflection over years and time, people came to honor the career military man, which may be the same case with Paterno, Hahn said.
"Paterno made some bad decisions that have caused a lot of pain," he said. "After time, he may be seen for the good he's done."
Hahn also noted that it was a year after the death of former State College Mayor Bill Welch before the plaza in downtown State College was renamed in his honor.
No public hearing has been set to discuss the future of Park Avenue at this time, Hahn said.
Meanwhile, the other major issue of the night focused on the proposed Pennsylvania Voter ID Law, which Council as a whole does not support.
If passed, the law will require each voter, not just first-time voters, to present particular forms of identification. That means students would not be permitted to present their Penn State ID, as it has no expiration date.
While some council members were hesitant to vote on the resolution to oppose the law without having a public hearing, Peter Morris did express his contempt for it.
"It will have the effect of decreasing the Obama vote in Pennsylvania, which is the point, and we all knew that," Morris said. "It's a terribly undemocratic way to proceed, to use the laws, to twist the election process so that your side wins – if that isn't a bad thing for a legislature to do then I can't think of a bad thing for a legislature to do."