Temple native Little Joe Hernandez revolutionized Tejano music, winning multiple Grammy awards in a career spanning more than five decades.
To commemorate his accomplishments, the Temple chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens is proposing the city rename a street in honor of Hernandez.
Brian Chandler, director of planning, presented the proposal to the City Council at Thursday’s workshop session.
“The request essentially is to consider renaming Second, Fourth or Sixth Street in honor of Little Joe Hernandez,” Chandler said.
Chandler said the most appropriate option would be to use Sixth Street, as it would intersect the proposed MLK Festival Grounds.
“First of all, Sixth would bisect the festival grounds, so it’s certainly very appropriate with all the music that will be hosted in that festival grounds to have that street named after Little Joe,” Chandler said. “Also, there are no buildings along that section that would be affected.
Mayor Danny Dunn said while he typically doesn’t approve of street renaming, he believes it’s appropriate in this situation.
“I’m not a huge fan of renaming streets, only because there’s the potential that property owners will be affected, but this idea makes sense,” Dunn said. “I like the idea of combining it with the festival grounds.”
Dunn said many Temple residents may not realize the impact Hernandez had in the music industry.
“What a lot of people in Temple don’t know is that Little Joe started orchestral Tejano music and basically did what Chuck Berry and Buddy Holly did for rock and roll,” Dunn said. “He is revered around the state and around the world. The fact that we don’t realize that certainly makes this something we need to do to honor this family and the contributions he’s made in the world of music.”
Councilwoman Judy Morales serves as president of the Temple LULAC chapter. She told a story to put Little Joe’s popularity in perspective.
“One time, I was riding a train … and when we got to Temple, (the conductor) said, ‘This is the home of Little Joe y La Familia.’ I thought that was cool,” Morales said. “It brings recognition to the city of Temple.”
Morales said she would even like to see the city consider recognizing other influential residents.
“I think it’s behooving to us to begin to recognize individuals who contributed to our city. They bring Temple to the world,” she said.
The street would officially remain Sixth Street, but stacked street signs would recognize Little Joe. Interim City Manager Brynn Myers said the proposal would have a minimal impact on residents.
“I think staff’s proposal balances the desire to honor Little Joe and also the desire to limit the impact on property owners,” Myers said. “Most of the property affected is actually city-owned property. There is a little bit that’s not, but it’s vacant.”
The Council will vote to adopt the renaming at a later date.