By JAVIER MANJARRESUsually when a local, state or federal government names a street after someone, that someone is usually deceased, or if they are a past elected official, they are at the very least out of office for five minutes. But a growing trend of naming streets after currently serving elected officials is growing in Florida, as the city commission of the city of Miramar, Florida, has decided to rename a street after Democratic Congressman Alcee Hastings.
If the city renames the street “Alcee Hastings Way,” it will follow the lead of the city of Fort Lauderdale who just a couple of years ago, renamed one of their streets after President Barack Obama.
The city of Miramar is getting some push back from a small group of concerned citizens arguing that because of Hastings checkered past, and because he is a living person, he should not have a street named after him.
So what is all the fuss here about Hastings? What about his past is so bad that citizens do not feel comfortable having a street in their community named after him?
Back in 1979, Judge Hastings was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, but was impeached and booted from office in 1989, putting him in a very distinct fraternity of 7 other federal officials in U.S. history to be impeached and removed from their office. Here is the timeline of Hastings fall from grace-
- In 1981, Hastings was charged with accepting a $150,000 bribe in exchange for a lenient sentence and a return of seized assets for 21 counts of racketeering by Frank and Thomas Romano, and of perjury in his testimony about the case.
- In 1983, he was acquitted by a jury after his alleged co-conspirator, William Borders, refused to testify in court (resulting in a jail sentence for Borders) President Bill Clinton (D) gave Borders a full pardoned on his way out of the White House.
- In 1988, the Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives took up the case, and Hastings was impeached for bribery and perjury by a vote of 413-3.
- In 1989, he was convicted by the United States Senate, becoming the sixth federal judge in the history of the United States to be removed from office by the Senate. The Senate, in two hours of roll calls, voted on 11 of the 17 articles of impeachment. It convicted Hastings of eight of the 11 articles.
- The vote on the first article was 69 for and 26 opposed, providing five votes more than the two-thirds of those present that were needed to convict. The first article accused the judge of conspiracy. Conviction on any single article was enough to remove the judge from office.
“I couldn’t feel good about saying who that is [to my kids]. Let’s make if after someone we can all be proud of.”- Joel Gandara, concerned citizen
In additon to all this, back in 2009, Hastings injected himself in the Presidential election by making an ‘off-color’ remark directed at Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin.
“If Sarah Palin isn’t enough of a reason for you to get over whatever your problem is with Barack Obama, then you damn well had better pay attention. Anybody toting guns and stripping moose don’t care too much about what they do with Jews and blacks. So, you just think this through.”-Rep.Alcee Hastings
So again, why is all the fuss? It seems as if Hastings meets all the criteria to have a street named after him, right? (Sarc)
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