In my small city, there's a few designated "neighborhood names". A couple are names reflective of the "official" neighborhood associations that exist and are part of an association of neighborhood associations in the city. Others are related to old subdivison names from the 1920/30s that are out of common use.
No, no, it’s not the tenderloin, it’s lower nob hill (just making that up). But that’s how it goes.
There is the incorrect neighborhood assignment by Pitney Bowes. I believe that is the fault you are referring to.
There is Google's choice to use Pitney Bowes instead of a (possibly more correct but expensive) data source, or instead of doing it themselves (also more expensive).
There is Google's decision to handle error reporting through means which - according to the article - may be disadvantageous for neighborhoods where 25% are senior citizens and 40% lack internet access.
There is Google's choice to not reveal where the data comes from, making it harder for others to figure out the root source of the error. Consider if you are denied an apartment rental because you failed a credit check, and the rental agency refuses to tell you where they got the data, and the credit agencies all refuse to tell you where they got the data. How would you correct any data which wasn't accurate in your eyes?
I have direct experience with something like this myself. My Grandfather homesteaded in Montana in 1911, and the land remains in the family to this day. My Aunt Elsie, who was a force to be reckoned with, had the name of the road changed successfully. So their address had the family name. I noticed that Google did not have the name, so i simply clicked on the button at the bottom that says "send feedback". I noted the post office had that as the name and one other reference. I got mail back months later refusing to change the notation. I sent the request again perhaps a year later, and this time they did change it. It is there today.
While I understand the communities distress, it appears from the story that nobody attempted to contact Google.
And you don't have to be a city official to do so.
It says a lot of people don't have the skills to figure out how to click through a multi-layer sequence (I never thought of that as a "skill" but I can see how it really might be one). Also as you said yourself Google doesn't always follow through on random comments. And in the end the root problem wasn't Google at all!
Plus it wasn't clear to the people if the city had been involved in changing the name? (Answer: not really).
And I think this is the kind of hyperlocal thing city councils are for.
Even though the cause of the problem was not in Google's hands, given that they got the data from outside sources, nonetheless I would presume that they have the ability to correct errors.
I do agree that it does take attention span--but it sounds like the process or complaint. has gone on for a number of years already.
It's Google, it's not an official map or treaty, yet they saber rattled for a couple of days till someone pointed out the silliness of it.