Ted Stevens International Airport?
October 28, 2008 7:44 AM   Subscribe

"Ted Stevens International Airport". What happens now? How does the law work? Can they still keep the name?
posted by matteo to Law & Government (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I mean, is it up to the legislature to decide, since they're the ones who named the airport after him, or is there something in the books somewhere that makes it impossible to name public buildings after convicted felons?
posted by matteo at 7:49 AM on October 28, 2008

is it up to the legislature to decide

Yes, clearly. His name is on a lot of other things in Alaska as well. From AP: [H]is name is everywhere: The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport; Ted Stevens Marine Research Institute; Ted and Catherine Stevens Center for Science and Technology Education and the Stevens Family Chalet at the Hilltop Ski Area in Anchorage.

And sometimes, rectifying an inappropriate name can take a long time.
posted by beagle at 7:56 AM on October 28, 2008

beagle, your link there is broken.

General Macarthur got fired for pointedly ignoring commands from civilian leadership and there's still no end of places named after him.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:09 AM on October 28, 2008

Reagan still has squillions of things named after him, and he was a senile war criminal.
posted by cmonkey at 8:09 AM on October 28, 2008 [4 favorites]

Yes, they can name it whatever they want. It's their airport.
posted by Pants! at 8:14 AM on October 28, 2008

My alma mater- Middle Tennessee State University still has a building named after Nathan Bedford Forrest. It's only been in the last two years that they've considered renaming it.
posted by kimdog at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2008

This doesn't answer the question, but it's not entirely inappropriate to have something named after the guy even if he is a felon. He's funneled billions in pork barrel money into Alaska and could be given partial credit for helping to build up the state's infrastructure (it's only been a full US state for less than 50 years).
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 AM on October 28, 2008

Reagan still has squillions of things named after him, and he was a senile war criminal.

yes, I understand; of course J Edgar Hoover still has his FBI building, but neither Reagan or Hoover, to my knowledge, were convicted of a felony during their lifetime. That's the point of my question -- I'm wondering if someone who cannot even vote for himself can still keep an airport named after him, that's all. Would a simple vote by the legislature be enough to rename the airport? I'm curious and I just cannot Google it.

I guess this is one of the reasons it's wise to wait until someone has died before you name stuff after them
posted by matteo at 8:24 AM on October 28, 2008

I think some of you are missing the point of the question. Yes, some buildings are named after persons of ill-repute. But almost none of the examples cited here are people CONVICTED of anything.
posted by GilloD at 8:30 AM on October 28, 2008

But almost none of the examples cited here are people CONVICTED of anything.

Well, there's always the Alferd Packer Memorial Grill at the University of Colorado.
posted by TedW at 8:37 AM on October 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

Unless something in the Alaskan constitution prevents it (and I doubt that), there's no reason why the legislature couldn't rename it whenever they want.
posted by grouse at 8:39 AM on October 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Two years ago, following complaints from the New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association and the Republican members of City Council, the chancellor of CUNY removed the name of Assata Shakur from the entrance to a City College student center. Shakur, Tupak Shakur's aunt, was convicted for killing a NJ state trooper in 1973.

So it might not be illegal to name a building after a convicted felon, but if you wanted it to change you could probably drum up support for your cause from people with clout.
posted by billtron at 8:56 AM on October 28, 2008

*Tupac. My apologies if you are reading this, Makaveli.
posted by billtron at 8:57 AM on October 28, 2008 [2 favorites]

We've had LOTS of convicted ex-governors here in WV. More convicted than not, actually, if memory serves. Names remain. So it goes.
posted by TomMelee at 9:36 AM on October 28, 2008

You can find the Alaska statutes here. Odds are poor that they have anything firmly on the books requiring a name change; few places do, to my knowledge.

In Miami in the late 80s and 90s we had a long run of embarrassing news stories when streets were named after unsavory characters. If I recall correctly the straw that broke the camel's back was when Jose Canseco flipped his shit and crashed his car into his wife's car... within a month of his honorary street naming. However even after that the name persisted and a quick googling shows that steroid abuse may finally motivate the council to do what repeated spousal violence didn't: there's talk about finally renaming the street.

Anyway, in that case they put in place some rules requiring certain delays before doing honorary naming, though whether they persisted I couldn't tell you.
posted by phearlez at 11:48 AM on October 28, 2008

[a few comments removed - this is getting pretty far afield]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 2:36 PM on October 28, 2008

Considering how beloved Stevens still is in Alaska, I doubt that any of these buildings will be changing their name anytime soon. I do not think there is anything in Alaska law that requires names to be changed if the namesake is convicted of a crime. I think that would be a little too odd of a scenario to have put into law in a 50 year old state. Of course, it was a territory before but, even so, I would doubt this has been something codified.
posted by Foam Pants at 6:50 PM on October 28, 2008

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