With five council members present Monday — Jim Walker was stranded in Minnesota following the weekend storm — a motion to rescind the council’s decision two meetings ago about the naming of the park in north Nevada failed.
Before the vote, however, there were several comments made about the matter of the park and its name.
Councilman Dane Nealson had moved to rescind the earlier decision of naming the park, Hattery Park, after he said he was moved by comments made on behalf of the park’s benefactor, Julia Walker, by both Kris and Henry Corbin at the previous council meeting. And, Nealson said, he felt there had been some errors made along the way in regard to the park’s name, due to records not being kept and due diligence in the matter, which allowed for the park to become Hattery Park in the 1970s.
Barb Mittman concurred with Nealson, and seconded the motion to rescind the earlier decision, saying basically that she was moved also by what the Corbin men, both members of the Historical Society, had said at the previous meeting.
Councilman Jason Sampson, while having voted in support of the Hattery Park name two meetings ago, also seemed to be having a change of heart, saying it might be best for the council to think about the future and whether anyone will give something of value to the city if they feel that it won’t be honored as they intended.
Councilman Luke Spence, however, was sticking to his guns about voting in favor of the park remaining Hattery Park, and he stated his concerns about a vote to “rescind” a vote.
“Have we ever done something like this before? What kind of precedent are we setting…?,” Spence asked.
Councilman Brian Hanson agreed with Spence, saying in all his years on the council, he couldn’t remember ever voting to rescind a previously passed council decision. Hanson said he didn’t want to take anything away from Julia Walker, but he was satisfied knowing that there will be a line on the sign saying that she gave the land, as well as a memorial sharing information about her next to the sign.
Kris Corbin spoke before the council, with basically one question. Corbin wanted to know what harm there would be in having both people’s names as part of the park’s name. He didn’t feel that a shared park name would take anything away from John Hattery and his many contributions to Nevada, but that instead, it would honor two deserving individuals. Later, his son Henry said he shared the same feelings as his father.
Bob Hattery was present and said he didn’t understand why Kris and Henry hadn’t spoken at the original meeting, two meetings ago, when the matter was considered and they were present. He stood by his feelings that the City Council voted in 1979 to name the park after his father, and he thought the idea of the monuments to recognize the contributions of both Walker and his father were a good idea. “There’s no rationale anywhere to reverse the decisions of 1979…and 2019,” Hattery said.
Spence again spoke to the matter of rescinding an earlier decision, thinking that this action would take away from the confidence of the public in the council when any vote is made.
“My opinion on the park name will not change from what I (voted for) last time,” Spence said. “Mr. Hattery gave his time and his blood, sweat and tears to this town, and I think that means more than someone who gave money…” Spence made clear that he thinks giving money is an honorable thing, but he just feels there’s a difference.
“Having said that,” Spence continued, sharing that one of the first things he said after the most recent council meeting was, “How the hell am I going to vote against Henry Corbin? … You gave a great presentation,” Spence said talking directly to Henry in the audience, and noting that he wouldn’t be surprised if the town is someday looking to honor Henry in some way. “I respect you a lot and your family,” Spence added.
Hanson again stated that he would be inclined to change the name of the park if he felt there were a huge injustice being done. But, “I can’t think of a bigger honor or tribute to anybody than having a memorial forever entrenched in granite…,” he said.
In the end, a two-thirds majority vote is needed to rescind a previous council vote. The vote came in 3-2 in favor of rescinding that motion. Therefore, because it did not pass by a two-thirds majority, it failed.
The park will continue to be known by the name of Hattery Park, in honor of the late John Hattery. A line on the sign will denote Julia Walker’s contribution of land, and two granite stones will share a little more information about both Walker and Hattery.