HOLLYWOOD (CBSMiami) – Two months ago a tense scene unfolded in Hollywood. People for and against the renaming of three city streets named after Confederate generals made their opinions heard.
On Wednesday, the scene might turn tense again as Hollywood city commissioners are expected to take a final vote on whether to change Lee, Hood and Forrest Streets, the last of which was named after the first leader of the KKK.
Sean Atkinson has lived in Hollywood for 16 years.
“I can’t believe we’re having this conversation in 2017,” he said. “I just find it galling that we’re naming streets after people that attacked our country and did it for the worst reasons in the world — for the right to own another person.”
Brian Turner also lives in Hollywood. He’s a member of Save Our Streets and is also a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He wants the street names to remain as they are.
“We are not respecting American history,” he said. “If it hurts your feelings, people want to change it. We shouldn’t look at history that way.”
Turner said that his group does not endorse white supremacy or white nationalism in any way.
“We’re not celebrating white supremacy,” Turner said. “We’re not celebrating racism. That’s not what we’re about.”
If approved, the street names would be changed to Louisville, Savannah and Macon. Many residents like Jacob Santiago, who lives on Forrest Street, say they’re concerned about the nuisance of changing their address.
“The main concern of everybody the trouble it’s gonna cause everybody to change their address on every document, the license, the bills that they get,” he said, adding that he fears there will be a cost incurred from the changes.
Late Tuesday, CBS4 News spoke with State Rep. Shevrin Jones, who confirmed that he received word from the State Department of Transportation that fees for affected residents to change their drivers licenses will be waived with proof that they live on one of the three streets.
An immediate concern for police is making sure that what happened in Charlottesville, Virginia a few weeks ago doesn’t happen in Hollywood on Wednesday.
“Anyone who engages in criminal activity, physical violence or property damage or damages property, they will face the consequences,” said Miranda Grossman, public information manager for Hollywood Police.
Police say they’re monitoring social media to see if any outside groups plan to descend on Hollywood and protest. Police are hopeful that things will remain peaceful.
For each side in this debate the question of whether these street signs should be allowed to celebrate Confederate generals elicits a different response.
“We have to present history the way it actually was,” Turner said.
“That’s what you learn from street signs. That’s what you learn from statues, is what is celebrated and we no longer celebrate discrimination and slavery,” Atkinson said.
The discussion on this issue will begin sometime after 4 p.m. on Wednesday at Hollywood City Hall. There will be a public hearing and then commissioners will vote.