Hollywood votes today on changing street names
HOLLYWOOD It was a two-year fight — but Benjamin Israel is close to winning his battle to remove the names of three Confederate war heroes from Hollywood streets.
Today, after months of debate, Hollywood commissioners are expected to sign off on a plan to change the names of the streets to Freedom, Hope and Liberty.
For the past 91 years, those same streets have honored John Bell Hood, Robert E. Lee and Nathan Bedford Forrest, also known as the first grand wizard of the KKK.
“Forrest was a monster and yet you have a street here named after him,” said Israel, an African-American and Orthodox Jew who made it his mission to banish streets named after “slave owners and traitors.”
Five of the seven commissioners must vote yes for the names to change.
“I’m happy that the city can right a wrong of the past,” said Mayor Josh Levy, who helped shepherd the issue through a sometimes reluctant commission. “[The new names] reflect the ideals of our community.”
The long-running controversy over the street names prompted three protests – two backing the name change and one against – six arrests, one lawsuit and beaucoup headlines.
The debate over Forrest Street first came up in 2002, when resident Barry Sacharow argued that a former KKK leader was too polarizing a figure to have a street named after him.
"It's unfair for my town to celebrate the name of a man whose background we should