Bay Bridge turns Brown


The California Senate gave its blessing to the rename the western span of the Bay Bridge after former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown on Sept. 12, blatantly disregarding its own rules and strong local opposition to the proposal.

Since ACR 65 is a nonbinding resolution, Gov. Jerry Brown cannot veto it even though he went on record earlier this week saying the 77-year-old bridge should keep the same name it's always had.

San Francisco Sens. Mark Leno and Leland Yee both voted in favor of the resolution.

As the Senate gave final approval to the measure, attorneys G. Whitney Leigh and Lee Hepner filed a complaint seeking injunctive relief to overturn the resolution on behalf of their client, good government advocate Bob Planthold.

At a press conference, Planthold said the lawsuit "has nothing to do with Willie," but rather sought to remedy what he perceived as state lawmakers ignoring their own rules, including reserving such honors for the deceased, a state of affairs he characterized as "Orwellian."

Leigh questioned why Sacramento legislators were in such a rush to rename part of the Bay Bridge when construction of the eastern span had only just been completed, following long delays and overruns partly caused by Brown when he was mayor.

"There is a shadiness and irregularity to this procedure," Leigh said.

The suit alleges "arbitrary suspension and/or violation of legislative rules and policies" to fast track the legislation. Specifically, Hepner said, lawmakers ignored an established timeline for introducing new proposals, instead allowing ACR 65 to be submitted four months after the formal deadline.

Formal Assembly criteria states that clear community consensus must be in place when a major piece of public infrastructure is renamed. Yet in the case of the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge, no such consensus exists.

Leigh is the former law partner of Matt Gonzalez, a former president of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, who joined former board presidents Quentin Kopp and Aaron Peskin to formally call on Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg to stop the resolution from going forward.

On Aug. 29, the trio fired off an open letter to Steinberg in an attempt to halt the proposal from going any further, claiming "there exists significant concern in our community that naming the Bay Bridge for him is not appropriate."

Peskin had a more colorful take on Brown and bridge when he spoke to the Guardian: "I think they should name the old eastern span, that they're demolishing, after him. You know why? Because it's old and crooked and a danger to society."


Can we get over that and move on?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 5:17 pm

We should be gravely concerned at the flip manner in which the legislators have eschewed their duties; a familiar pattern in many of the Willie Brown years.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 17, 2013 @ 7:57 pm

It was a State decision. The State decided, almost unanimously to honor someone who has worked hard for decades to update the State and City.

I could not be happier with the renaming and find such objections to be churlish and self-serving.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 6:00 am

It was a Bay Area decision. The original naming was proposed by a legislator from LA, but that violated the rules so Phil Ting had to sign on as a cosponsor. This is a bullshit push by legislators who want to help set a precedent in case they ever want a structure named after them. This is a vanity self-tribute from Brown who used the NAACP to ramrod it through. He knew no one will stand up to them because they either need their support in a coming election or are afraid of being called a racist.

Speaking of not wanting to be called a racist... why didn't Rebecca castigate the NAACP for pushing this? Or how about adding Amminano to the list of people who voted for this? I know he didn't actually vote for it and abstained, but he pussied out by not taking a stand and then mealy mouthed some platitudes about how he was uncomfortable with it. To me that's even worse than actually voting for this bullshit change.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 6:24 pm

1. Bay bridge represent Bay area on the map.

2. Bay bridge is the original name before reconstuction.

3. The interest(benefit) of state(or county) should be above one person(recognition). When we see on the map or referring the bridge are we advertising the Bay Area or Willie Brown?

4. I like Willie Brown smile and style or maybe his doing but not enough to replace Bay Bridge with his name. Rosa Park made more sense for her contribution in transportation. This is an insult to Bay Bridge.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 7:57 am

She is dead though, which some say is important.

I'm fine with the Willie Brown Bridge. It has a pleasing cadence to it.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 8:39 am

Exactly. Brown is selfish. It would suck to be from the "Brown Area"

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 2:05 pm

He changed the face of the city, like it or not.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 2:19 pm

It was called "The Battle of the Browns" which was a battle of the two pompous ass egotist mayors Jerry and Willy who delayed and waisted tax dollars in a battle of wills.
It should be named after both and I would call it the Brown Hole.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 10:16 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 10:46 am

A bridge should not be named for a live person. If Willy kills himself - especially by JUMPING OFF THE BRIIDGE - then the issue could be re-visited.

Posted by Wow on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 8:40 pm

I'm sure if Willy was going to jump off a bridge it would be off one that is named after him.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 23, 2013 @ 11:55 am

I think it's a moot point now (if indeed Willie Brown Bridge is final), but I'm wondering if there was discussion of naming the Bay Bridge after Harvey Milk? I think the proposal to rename SFO after Milk unfortunately failed, but was there any push by government leaders to name it the Harvey Milk Bridge? (Though this might be an insult to his legacy....he probably would have made sure the bike and pedestrian path actually reached Treasure Island...)

Posted by Guest on Sep. 23, 2013 @ 2:10 pm

controversial and divisive a figure to get consensus amount the Assemblymen in Sacramento.

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