California Gives Reagan His Own Day

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    UNDATED: (FILE PHOTO) Former U.S. President Ronald Reagan speaks at a rally for Senator Durenberger February 8, 1982. Reagan turns 93 on February 6, 2004.(Photo by Michael Evans/The White House/Getty Images)

    Tributes to Ronald Reagan are hardly rare in California, where a freeway, medical center, state office building and other landmarks already bear his name.

    Now the conservative icon has his own day on the calendar.

    Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed two bills Monday paying tribute to Reagan, a former Republican president and governor who died in 2004. Schwarzenegger praised his fellow actor for his dedication to freedom and democracy and his spirit of optimism.

    The first bill, SB944, designates Feb. 6 as Ronald Reagan Day and encourages schools to spend the day commemorating Reagan's life and accomplishments. The second, AB1911, establishes a commission to plan the celebration of what would have been Reagan's 100th birthday next February. The nine-member commission will use private donations to pay for the festivities.

    "In keeping with President Reagan's distrust of bigger government, this bill won't use taxpayer dollars and won't grow the bureaucracy," said the bill's author, Assembly Minority Leader Martin Garrick, R-Solana Beach.

    Earlier this year, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors rejected a request to change the name of Mount Diablo to Mount Reagan in honor of the country's 40th president.

    Oakley resident Arthur Mijares wanted to change the name of Mount Diabo because he believes the word "Diablo," Spanish for "devil," is "derogatory and profane." Instead, the devout Christian says, the 3,864-foot high landmark should be called "Mount Reagan" in honor of the late president.

    Ronald Reagan Day is the third special day of recognition in California dedicated to an individual.

    The first honors famed Bay Area conservationist John Muir. Last year, lawmakers also established a day honoring Harvey Milk, a gay activist and former San Francisco supervisor who was gunned down at City Hall in 1978.