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State rejects renaming of Black Mountain

The late wine mogul Jess Jackson's bid to change the name of a prominent mountain next to his Alexander Valley estate has been rejected by a state board.

The California Advisory Committee on Geographic Names on Wednesday unanimously recommended against his company's application to change the long-standing name of Black Mountain to Alexander Mountain.

The committee gave a number of reasons for turning down the request, including citizen opposition and the appearance of an ulterior motive.

"There seemed to be a commercial implication in that the application has been made to create an Alexander Mountain wine appellation," committee chairwoman Barbara Wanish stated in an email.

The state committee does not have the final say. Their action was a recommendation to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, the final arbiter in the matter.

But about 90 percent of the time a state board's recommendation is followed, said Jennifer Runyon, a senior researcher for the U.S. board.

"Its unusual for the federal board to go against the state," she said Wednesday. On the other hand, she said the state opinion is one of many that are considered.

Runyon added that the geographic board "is "very reluctant to change long-standing names. There have to be really compelling reasons to change a name."

The request to rename the 3,128-foot peak "Alexander Mountain" was made several years ago by Jackson Family Wines, owned by Jackson.

He died in April at the age of 81, from cancer.


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