A portion of Bailey Street may be renamed to the late Mexican Mariachi singer ” Vicente Fernandez Street’ – a motion that was being considered by Councilmember Kevin DeLeon.
However the Planning and Land Use Committee came out with a Community Impact Statement opposing Councilmember Kevin Deleon’s proposed motions after hearing about Fernandez’s sordid past.
The singer has multiple sexual allegations against him as well as stating some homophobic remarks. Fernandez once said that he did not want to receive any organ transplant from an “addict or “homosexual”
Councilmember DeLeon only informed immediate stakeholders on this small stretch of street and did not do any outreach to a significant number of stakeholders nor the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.
The Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council made a decision to oppose the renaming.
“Vicente Fernández is a beloved figure of music,” said David Silvas, the council’s vice president. “[But] we’ve heard comments that this would deeply affect and hurt members of the LGBTQ community.”
In a letter to De León’s office, the neighborhood council wrote that they do “not feel it is appropriate to rename a street within the community after Vicente Fernández, nor any other civic memorialization.”
Community activist Carlos Montes –who is a board member of the Neighborhood Council not on the committee– said that he had informally polled a number of musicians who work at Mariachi Plaza and found no one who opposed the renaming. Montes said that if the full Neighborhood Council were to approve the statement it would be an embarrassment for the neighborhood.
Instead, the council requested that public spaces be named for “non-living, historic figures who have had tangible and direct ties to the community of Boyle Heights.”
Pete Brown, a spokesperson for De León, said that despite the council’s letter, there’s been an outpouring of support for the street name change.
The L.A. City Council will make the final decision about the proposal.