Plan to rename San Francisco Bay Bridge after Willie Brown


Lawmakers are debating whether to rename the western side of the bridge after former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. And whenever Brown is involved, politics are too.

People are impressed with the beauty of the new span of the Bay Bridge but there are lots of moans and groans about the prospect of naming the western span after Brown.

"The guy comes up to me and says, 'You know Willie Brown, I don't like you very much, but I damn sure think they ought to name that bridge after you.' I said why? He said 'So I can run over you every day,'" said Brown.

As the longest serving assembly speaker in California and two-term mayor of San Francisco, Brown was colorful and controversial.

"There's always going to be, you know, people who like Willie Brown and some people hate Willie Brown. And that, you know what, if you do your job well, that's how it should be," said St. Sen. Roderick Wright, D-Los Angeles.

Opponents of the proposal include three former San Francisco supervisors, including Matt Gonzalez who sent a letter of protest to state lawmakers that read:

"While we respect Mr. Brown's years of public service, Mr. Brown remains a very controversial figure in San Francisco."

Gonzalez believes naming honors should only go to the dead.

"I think if you are going to do this for somebody that is still alive, there ought to be really consensus about it. And I don't think there is, at this time, about Willie Brown." he said.

"You don't recall them saying it when George Miller had a bridge named after him. Or when John Burton had a roadway named after him. Or when Quentin Kopp had a roadway named after him. You don't recall them saying that at all. It's only when it's Willie Brown," said Brown.

"I would make an exception if the public were to vote for it," said Gonzalez.

If the resolution passes in Sacramento, Caltrans would be asked to put up the signs, which Brown or his supporters would pay for.

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