The activists who successfully pushed to rename Hollywood streets dedicated to Confederate icons are facing a new hurdle as a city ordinance stipulates they must pay for the changes.
The activists lobbied to change the names of Forrest Street, Forrest Drive, Hood Street and Lee Street – named after the Confederate States Army’s Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Gen. John Bell Hood and Cmdr. Robert E. Lee.
“When something is wrong, it needs to be corrected. It’s just that simple,” activist Benjamin Israel said. “It was at that time that it was agreed upon that everything was gonna be done. The street names were gonna be changed and so forth and so on. Now it’s only now that they come up with the idea that we have to pay $30,000.”
The streets will be renamed to Hope, Liberty and Freedom.
The City of Hollywood said the activists were forewarned they would have to pay the cost of changing the street names. The Hollywood City Clerk’s Office said it provided a letter to the activists in December.
“Pursuant to the City of Hollywood Naming Policy and Procedures, Section II, D.2 states the applicant shall bear all costs associated with the street renaming, including but not limited to, the cost of City mailings, recordings, administration and the costs of all road signs,” the letter reads.
Israel said that while the activists who pushed to change the names are prepared to pay, the city’s move amounts to “extortion.”
“I want to say it loud and clear. What this amounts to is an attempt at extortion. That’s what it is because they have the money. We could raise the money, there’s no question about it but we didn’t create the problem,” Israel added.
The city said an engineering staff will determine the exact estimates for the manufacture and installation of replacement signs.