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Place names are the domain of an obscure U.S. board

Mt. Diablo or Mt. Reagan? And shouldn't it be the Gulf of America? The U.S. Board on Geographic Names has to decide.

March 16, 2010|By Richard Simon

On the other hand, the board recently approved changing Negrohead Mountain in Los Angeles County to Ballard Mountain after John Ballard, the first black man to settle in the hills above Malibu.

Proponents of name changes offer a wide range of reasons: One man sought to change No Name Lake in Montana to Engagement Lake because he and his wife got engaged there. It was rejected.

Stream of Consciousness was rejected for lack of local support. Golden Arches was rejected as too commercial.

Spasticville, Kan., changed its name last fall to Trails View.

"In these times of political correctness, citizens were not happy to see all of our maps with the name Spasticville," said Joel Pile, city administrator of Valley Center, which includes the community, once home to a mental institution.

"Nor did it help our economic development efforts to have our community appear on a map next to Spasticville."

At its meeting last week, the board's domestic names committee may have signaled what it thinks of the Bay Area man's complaints about a mountain named after the devil.

It approved naming a mountain near Escondido Devils Anvil Peak.

richard.simon@

latimes.com

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