Things That Matter

LA Community Divided Over Vicente Fernández Street Naming

Earlier this month, Los Angeles City Councilmember Kevin de León announced that a street in the Boyle Heights neighborhood might be renamed after Ranchera legend Vicente Fernández following his death this past December. But the Boyle Heights community is divided over the proposal. 

The proposal initially sought to rename Bailey Street to “Vicente Fernández Street” from First Street to Pennsylvania Avenue. But many residents of Boyle Heights were not aligned with De León’s proposal to name the street after the “Hermoso Cariño” singer.  

According to a statement published by the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council (BHNC), the motion was not discussed with the neighborhood council initially. The council has vetoed this decision, citing documented incidents showcasing Fernández’s past homophobic comments and history as a womanizer.

In the statement, the BHNC pointed to four reasons why they opposed the proposal.

First, they mentioned Fernández’s opposition to a liver transplant when Fernández allegedly said, “They wanted to put another bastard’s liver on me and I told them ‘I’m not going to sleep with my wife with another man’s liver,’ and I don’t know if he was homosexual or a drug addict.”

Second, BHNC pointed to a comment he made in a 2019 interview with Mara Patricia Castañeda where he openly admitted to being unfaithful to his wife, Doña Cuquita and being a womanizer. 

Third, BHNC claimed that there are published incidents of Fernández having been involved in various instances of touching women inappropriately. Most recently, the month he died, a new incident was reported. The victim said, “I don’t care if it’s Vicente Fernández, he shouldn’t have touched my body without my permission, especially in that area. I’m sure many women have experienced the same.” 

Finally, BHNC stated that there was previous opposition to a similar motion to rename the street after the late mariachi singer Lucha Reyes. 

The statement concluded by demanding that “any memorialization or naming of streets or public squares be for non-living, historic figures who have had tangible and direct ties to the community of Boyle Heights. There are many uncelebrated local heroes that deserve this honor.” 

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