Soon after the first black US president was elected, Rev. Hubert H. Lusk attended a minister’s alliance meeting where how to commemorate this historical event was discussed. Lusk and some other Seaside, CA residents formed a committee to pursue the idea of renaming a street for Barack Obama.
Former Seaside mayor Don Jordan was also on the committee and with his experience, he had a good idea of what was feasible. Jordan suggested that a commemorative name might be best because it would get the signs posted while saving the city and street residents the expense of a complete name change.
There was some discussion in the City Council that perhaps it was too early in his term to honor President Obama and that there were plenty of local people who could be honored first. But while agreeing that local honorees were important, the committee pointed out that, regardless of his performance in office, Obama will always be the first black president which should be commemorated.
The Seaside City Council waived some of the required process and approved the double-naming of Broadway Avenue from Del Monte to General Jim Moore boulevards to Obama Way with a vote of 5-0.
The committee, including Jordan, Lusk, Ruthie Watts and about a dozen others, held fund-raisers and went door-to-door in the community to raise the money for street signs. In four months, they raised over $11,400, $1,000 more than their goal. The commemorative signs are posted below the original ones.
On September 15, 2010, Mayor Ralph Rubio unveiled the new Obama Way signs during a neighborhood celebration. Councilman Ian Oglesby was quoted as saying “It’s important for our citizens to be able to look at our street signs and aspire to be all they can be.”
Both street names will continue to be used and the Post Office delivers mail to either address. Some businesses on the street have changed their address to Obama Way while others continue to use Broadway.