When does a public school naming smell not as sweet as —but more sour than— a rose?
That’s the issue that Daily News Albany Bureau Chief Joe Mahoney uncovers today in his reporting that a Queens public school will be named for a sitting 19-term state senator. Turns out that Frank Padavan, the soon-to-be namesake of Bellrose’s Glen Oaks campus, is being challenged by a City Councilman James Genaro in what may be one of many competiteve races in the state Senate.
While the value isn’t on the order of the $20 million a year Citibank will reportedly pay the Mets for naming rights to the new stadium Citi Field, the naming of a public school may amount to a form of advertising. It’s no matter if the senator deserves such a honor, which he claims he does, since he was influential in creating the campus in the first place.
There is a legitimate purpose to naming buildings and monuments to honor public figures (John F. Kennedy School, anybody? The late president’s name adorns the façade of my public elementary school on Long Island.) However, it’s a bad idea, at the very least, to do so during a campaign. And it raises the question of an in-kind contribution and/or using public property to promote a reelection campaign.
This name change smells more like skunk cabbage than roses.