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Honoring neighborhood icon isn’t easy

Posted: March 17th, 2017 | Communities, Features, News, San Carlos, Top Stories | No Comments

By Doug Curlee | Editor at Large

The people around Tuxedo Park in San Carlos loved Jim Brannick, and they want to make sure he’s not forgotten.

Back In September, we told you about the 83-year-old neighbor who came to the park just about every day with a smile and a good word for all his two-legged friends, and pockets bulging with doggie treats for his four-legged buddies.

Brannick’s big heart gave out on him and in the wake of his passing, people started talking about how to remember him.

That’s when the trouble started.

Trouble might be too strong a word, but disagreement quickly sprouted between two camps — those who wanted to rename Tuxedo Park after Brannick, and those who wanted some sort of much smaller remembrance of him.

Tuxedo Park in San Carlos will retain its name after a compromise between residents who wanted to change the name to Jim Brannik Park and residents who wanted to keep the original. (Yelp)

There were arguments between people on both sides of the issue, a few face to face, but the vast majority on the local social media site, NextDoor San Carlos.

Hard feelings were starting to become more evident, to the embarrassment of many people who used to socialize with Jim daily.

This all came to a head, more or less, at the last meeting of the Allied Gardens Community Council. Some angry words were spoken, and more feelings were hurt.

Finally, someone said, “let’s take it out in the parking lot.”

Uh-oh.

Ann Aydelotte and Heidi Vogel weren’t looking to pull out their six-shooters and do combat, though. They were looking to reach a possible compromise.

Vogel’s side was looking to change the name of the park itself, which was a non-starter so far as Aydelotte’s people were concerned. Aydelotte’s side knows there should be something to honor Brannick’s memory, and that’s what she was looking for.

“We’d like to do something like name the walkway where Jim always fed treats to those dogs, and talked with people,” she said. “Maybe put a name plaque on one of the benches in the kids’ play area.”

Vogel had been told before that changing the name of the park is a long, difficult slog through the city’s bureaucracy, and it fails more often than it succeeds.

“We realize that’s probably not going to happen, so we’re okay with doing something smaller, like the plaque or the walkway,” she said. “We just needed to talk about it with each other instead of on NextDoor.”

So both sides, now more or less in agreement, will be talking with Councilman Scott Sherman’s office to see what can be done to advance this memorial idea.

You kind of feel that Jim Brannick is looking on from somewhere, saying, “that’s much better!”

—Doug Curlee is Editor at Large. Reach him at doug@sdcnn.com.

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