Hol­ly­wood votes to­day on chang­ing street names

Sun Sentinel Broward Edition - - LOCAL - By Su­san­nah Bryan Staff writer NAMES, 7B

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

Is­rael

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