- Associated Press - Wednesday, April 8, 2015

HOBBS, N.M. (AP) - A Hobbs official says the southeastern New Mexico city hasn’t received any formal request to rename a portion of a busy street in honor of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., putting the future of the renaming in doubt.

Hobbs development director Kevin Robinson told city commissioners that although his office has received inquiries about the name change, it was unclear if the proposal would happen, the Hobbs News-Sun reports (http://goo.gl/RfNWJa).

That’s because three-fourths of the property owners within the affected area would have to sign a petition in favor of the name change, he said.

Business owners have been vocally opposing the change.

David Anchondo, owner of an income tax business on the street, said he was against the proposal because the change would result in a loss of income and devaluation of property.

“Changing all the paperwork, to include my business signs, will cost me more than $100,000,” Anchondo said. “Additionally, I will lose business because customers will not be able to find me.”

Renaming a stretch of Dal Paso Street has drawn support from Hobbs City Manager J.J. Murphy and District 3 Commissioner Crystal Mullins.

Murphy said the consideration came after Joe Cotton, president of Hobbs NAACP, approached city commissioners about changing the street name.

Murphy said the NAACP submitted its informal request to commissioners after a recent MLK celebration where participants marched down South Dal Paso.

Mullins said during a meeting Monday that after publicity around the change spread she received “nasty” comments from people via Facebook postings and emails.

“The last couple of weeks have been rough. I have prayed, cried and even found myself getting a little upset because of all the misinformation and one-sided stories - gotta love social media - the personal attacks on my character,” Mullins read from a prepared statement.

The commission did not vote on the issue but plans to review the city’s street name policy.

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