Vicente Fernández street renaming: LA Council finalizes plans to honor legendary Mexican singer

City News Service
Wednesday, August 31, 2022
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The Los Angeles City Council finalized the renaming of a Boyle Heights street east of Mariachi Plaza after Mexican singer Vicente "Chente" Fernández, who died at the age of 81 last year.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) -- The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday finalized the renaming of a Boyle Heights street east of Mariachi Plaza after Mexican singer Vicente "Chente" Fernández, who died at the age of 81 last year.

A date for a renaming ceremony is expected to be announced in the coming days, according to the office of Councilman Kevin de León, who introduced the motion.

"The legacy of Vicente Fernández continues to resonate and inspire people worldwide, making us proud to call ourselves Latino," de León said. "Through his music, he has etched his place in history on the hearts of fans who will forever cherish him."

In an earlier statement, the councilman called Fernández a "cultural icon," adding that his "music and talent impacted generations of Latinos, not only in his native homeland of Mexico, but across the globe."

"This name change will benefit the mariachis at La Plaza and increase people visiting Boyle Heights, allowing all of the businesses to benefit from the food and music that we serve there," said Sandra Villalobos, a representative of Organización de Mariachis Independiente de California.

The council's decision follows the city of Pico Rivera remaining a street leading into the Pico Rivera Sports Arena last week in honor of Fernández.

But Boyle Heights honor did not come without opposition.

After de León introduced the motion in January, David Silvas, the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council's vice president and chair of its Planning and Land Use Committee, submitted a letter to the City Council's Public Works Committee to oppose it, citing a comment Fernández made during an interview in which he said he refused a liver transplant because he didn't know if the donor was homosexual or addicted to drugs.

Silvas also noted reports of Fernández being accused of inappropriately touching women. In his letter, Silvas said naming the street for Fernández would be "insulting and denigrating to the LGBTQ+ community and anyone facing the struggles of addiction" as well as "victims of sexual abuse."

Fernández retired from the stage in 2016. He died in Guadalajara, Mexico, where he was also born. His death followed months of health issues and an August 2021 injury at his ranch in Guadalajara.

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