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Downey Residents Complain About the New 'Bastards' in Town

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A new sports bar is creating a stir in the family-friendly of city of Downey.No, the residents don't have any problem with another bar in town—it's the bar's name that's rubbing them the wrong way. Resident Claudia Marroquin-Frometa's letter to the Downey Patriot explains the problem she and other residents have: "The Bastards name is not only offensive, it is not appropriate for this family-friendly city that places high value on character."

But the owner Nicholas Velez explained to The Downey Beat that the bar isn't an offensive ode to illegitimate children but a way to pay tribute to other vets like himself. The "Bastards" name comes from the United States Marine Corps, nicknamed the ‘Magnificent Bastards,’ 2nd battalion 4th Marines.

He explained to The Downey Beat, "To some the name 'Bastards' might be offensive. To others like myself, and all those men who served in 2nd battalion 4th marines, it is a badge of honor. I wake up every day proud to be a bastard, so we did not name our restaurant 'Bastards' to offend anyone."

So many people complained to the city that it had to release a statement admitting that the First Amendment barred it from forcing the bar to change its name:

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The City can regulate the size and placement of a business sign and can meet with business owners to encourage that they choose a business name that is appropriate for the community and will help them to succeed in Downey. However, the Supreme Court has already said the City is not allowed to regulate what the sign actually says - it is a matter of free speech.

But some of the officials have come around, like Councilman Mario Guerra who admitted he didn't like it at first. He told Downey Beat, “You can take the name both ways, and the reason behind it is awesome."