Vicente Fernández’s name will indeed adorn a street in LA

The Los Angeles City Council voted on Tuesday to approve the renaming of a street in Boyle Heights in honor of legendary Mexican ranchera singer Vicente Fernández, who died in December at the age of 81.

“Today our City Council took the rare step of recognizing ‘Chente’ for his cultural contributions by commemorating him at one of our city’s most beloved venues, Mariachi Plaza,” said Councilman Kevin de León. during the meeting, according to City News Service. “Through his music, he has etched his place in history and in the hearts of fans who will cherish him forever.”

The street to be renamed is one block from what is currently Bailey Street, east of Mariachi Plaza and north of First Street.

Objections to the name change had been raised by a committee under the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council. After the motion was tabled, a small number of residents and activists raised concerns. They noted a homophobic remark the singer once made – he said in an interview that he refused a liver transplant because he didn’t know if it was from a gay man or a drug addict – as well than allegations that he touched women inappropriately.

Some of those who objected also did so in part because De León had not consulted with the neighborhood council before bringing the January 12 motion to rename the street.

“Kevin de León’s office ignored us and instead reached out to mariachis and mariachi businesses and got a really skewed perspective of what the community wanted,” David Silvas, vice president of the ward council, told The Daily Mail. Times earlier this month.

Bailey Street between First Street and Pennsylvania Avenue will be renamed in honor of Mexican ranchera singer Vicente Fernández, the city council decided on Tuesday.

(Irfan Khan/Los Angeles Times)

However, De León’s director of communications, Pete Brown, told CNS after Tuesday’s vote that the councilor has received “an outpouring of support” from the Boyle Heights community.

Councilman Mitch O’Farrell, who is gay, spoke in favor of the name change at last Wednesday’s public works committee meeting, Channel 4 NBC Los Angeles reported. O’Farrell said celebrating anyone in a public space is “always heavy to some degree because of people’s imperfection.”

And Carlos Montes, another ward council member and longtime resident of Boyle Heights, recently told The Times, “Not naming the street after Vicente would be an outrage, honestly, and would make us look bad locally and internationally.

“We support LGBTQ+ rights, but there are better ways to do that than just throwing away the accomplishments of a major cultural hero who is loved here,” Montes added.

It is not known when the name change will take place. Road signs will need to be replaced and addresses will need to be changed, and emergency response agencies will need to adapt.

Fernández, often described as the Mexican equivalent of Frank Sinatra, began singing in the streets of his hometown, Guadalajara, and recorded over 50 albums in Spanish and sold tens of millions of copies. Almost half of them were sold in the United States

The winner of three Grammys and eight Latin Grammys, he had suffered from various health problems in recent years, including liver and prostate cancer. Fernández performed his last live show at Azteca Stadium in Mexico City in 2016 and died on December 12 in Guadalajara.

Los Angeles Times

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