Judge rules against community group seeking to halt Cesar Chavez Blvd. renaming

While a Fresno County judge ruled against 1 Community Compact, the group has been given the option to file an amended argument over the next month.

An effort to prevent the renaming of Fresno’s Kings Canyon Road, Ventura Street and California Avenue to Cesar Chavez Boulevard took a major hit in court this week. 

Thursday, Fresno County Superior Court Judge Jon Skiles denied a motion for a preliminary injunction that had been filed by local group 1 Community Compact and also effectively said the group does not have a case as presently argued. 


The backstory: Last year the Fresno City Council voted 6-1 – with Councilman Garry Bredefeld opposing – to rename the three streets after the late UFW-co founder. 

  • 1 Community Compact formed shortly after, including members from Fresno’s Black and Armenian communities, as well as business owners along the streets. 
  • 1 Community Compact filed a lawsuit against the city last July, accusing the council of renaming the streets for ideological and political reasons, and in January the group filed a motion for a preliminary injunction to block the streets from being renamed until the matter is dealt with in court. 

The big picture: Skiles ruled that all nine causes of action argued by 1 Community Compact were insufficiently stated. 

  • Among 1 Community Compact’s arguments was that the city violated due process in the California Constitution, but Skiles said in his ruling that the group failed to clearly allege any loss of property rights. 
  • Skiles also shot down 1 Community Compact’s argument that its First Amendment rights were violated. 
  • “[T]he court is unaware of any law that considers street names, which are informational, as compelled speech,” Skiles wrote. “As alleged, the choice to rename the street was for the purpose of honoring Cesar Chavez for political and ideological reasons… However, the individuals who reside on the streets at issue are no more forced to adopt the political and ideological intentions of Defendant than this court must by residing on O Street.” 

What we’re watching: Skiles ruled that 1 Community Compact can file an amended complaint before April 19, leaving the door open for the group to potentially keep the city from renaming the streets. 

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