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Molina Proposes Renaming Streets in Honor of Chavez

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina proposed Friday renaming two Eastside Los Angeles streets Avenida Cesar Chavez in honor of the Latino labor leader who died last week.

Molina’s proposal seeks to rename a seven-mile stretch of Brooklyn Avenue and Macy Street. Avenida Cesar Chavez would run from Olvera Street downtown through Boyle Heights and unincorporated East Los Angeles to Atlantic Boulevard in Monterey Park.

Renaming one of the Eastside’s most important and busiest streets in honor of Chavez would be a fitting tribute, Molina said, for one of this country’s “most noted leaders in the continuing struggle for justice, dignity and fair working conditions.”

Creating Avenida Cesar Chavez would require review by a committee of representatives from the county Planning Department, Caltrans, the U.S. Post Office and other agencies. The proposal also requires approval by the cities of Los Angeles and Monterey Park as well as by the County Board of Supervisors, which would hold a public hearing.

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“It ties the traditional birthplace of the city to the heart of East Los Angeles,” Molina spokesman Robert Alaniz said of the proposed street name change. “This is a community that was touched by Cesar Chavez and his cause.”

Alaniz acknowledged that the proposal might meet opposition from business owners and others who would be inconvenienced by the change. Renaming the street would also require changing hundreds of street signs.

City Councilman Richard Alatorre said he would be “very supportive” of the Molina proposal.

“I want to be cooperative, but I want to make sure all the bases are covered,” Alatorre said. “It sounds like a good idea. I’m committed to doing something for Cesar Chavez.”

Alatorre said he and City Councilman Mike Hernandez were considering renaming other Los Angeles streets and parks in honor of Chavez. State Sen. Art Torres (D-Los Angeles) has proposed establishing a state holiday in honor of Chavez.

Chavez died at age 66. He became a hero to Latinos during the 1960s and early 1970s when he founded and led the United Farm Workers union in a series a victorious battles against agribusiness. More than 35,000 people attended his funeral Thursday in Delano, Calif.

Some have compared Chavez to Martin Luther King Jr. The city of Los Angeles renamed Santa Barbara Avenue in honor of the slain civil rights leader in 1982.

Brooklyn Avenue is one of the Eastside’s most active business strips. It runs past Belvedere Park, site of the 1970 Chicano Moratorium, a seminal event in Southern California’s Latino history.

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