Ban proposed for honorary street signs

March 2, 2006 at 6:14 PM

CHICAGO, March 2 (UPI) -- Controversy over a proposed honorary Chicago street sign for Illinois Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton is fueling calls to ban all such honorary signs.

There are nearly 1,300 honorary street signs in the city, saluting everyone from Frank Sinatra and Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner to police officers and civil rights martyr Emmett Till.

Alderman Thomas Allen, chairman of the City Council's Transportation Committee, says enough is enough and Mayor Richard M. Daley agrees.

"Everybody will want a street sign -- every citizen. Some corners will get three or four signs. If anybody reports that I was on such-and-such a street and we don't ... send an ambulance, we're liable," Daley said.

The Fraternal Order of Police opposes a "Chairman Fred Hampton Way" but U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush, D-Ill., a former Black Panther, said he'll fight to honor Hampton, who was killed in a 1969 police raid. Hampton advocated black self-determination and self-defense, including violence against police under some circumstances.

"Race is the subtext for most of the controversies in this town," Alderman Toni Preckwinkle told WTTW-TV.

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