By Geraldo L. Cadava
One year before the 1980 general election, in November 1979, 10 Republicans competed for their party’s nomination. Most held the usual credentials – congressman, senator, governor – and famous last names, such as Reagan, Bush and Dole. But among them also stood a man from Calabasas named Benjamin “Boxcar Ben” Fernandez, a 53-year-old Mexican American born in 1925 in the rail yards of Kansas City, Kan. His parents were undocumented immigrants from Mexico and were so poor they lived in a converted railroad boxcar, where Fernandez was born. Hence his nickname.