Bailey Street near Mariachi Plaza. Photo by Antonio Mejías-Rentas

Just days after the City of Pico Rivera named a local street in memory of Vicente Fernández, the Los Angeles City Council took a final vote this week towards the renaming of a Boyle Heights street after the late Mexican singer.

Tuesday’s City Council vote will allow for a short segment of Bailey St. near Mariachi Plaza to be renamed Vicente Fernández St. and for addresses in the area to be legally changed to reflect the name change.

A date for the renaming ceremony will be announced soon, said Councilmember Kevin de León, who proposed the renaming in January shortly after Fernández’s death.

“The legacy of Vicente Fernandez continues to resonate and inspire people worldwide, making us proud to call ourselves Latino,” de León said in a released statement. 

“Today, our city council approved the final step in the process to formally rename a portion of Bailey Street to Vicente Fernandez Street, recognizing “Chente” for his cultural contributions by memorializing him at one of our city’s most cherished venues, Mariachi Plaza. Through his music, he has etched his place in history on the hearts of fans who will forever cherish him.”

Kevin de León

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Sandra Villalobos, a representative of Organización de Mariachis Independiente de California (OMICAL), attended the council vote.

 “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,” Villalobos said.

Fernández, who died December 12 at his home in Jalisco, Mexico, was considered the king of rancheras (the genre most often played by mariachis)  and one of Mexico’s most iconic performers.

But De León proposal to rename Bailey St. faced some local opposition because of concerns over documented homophobic remarks by Fernández, insensitive comments toward people who use drugs, as well as allegations that the performer inappropriately touched women. 

In spite of a letter opposing the renaming sent by the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council, the Los Angeles City Council voted unanimously to rename the street in February.

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Boyle Heights Beat

Boyle Heights Beat is a bilingual community newspaper produced by its youth "por y para la comunidad". The newspaper and its sister website serve an immigrant neighborhood in East Los Angeles of just under...

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