The problem with Willie Brown Jr. Boulevard


Ok, Eve Batey has a fun item on SF Appeal: Even the Chronicle, which pays Brown to write his deeply conflicted newspaper column, doesn't want to see Third Street renamed for the former mayor. That's probably because Hearst Corp., which owns property on Third Street, doesn't want to spend the money to change all of its letterhead, documents, mailing address etc. to reflect a street name change. We saw a lot of the same complaints when Army Street was changed to honor Cesar Chavez; some local businesses got mad because of the (modest) costs involved.

I've got a much bigger problem with the name change.

You name a street after someone who deserves a major civic honor. Naming a street in the Mission after Cesar Chavez makes a strong, positive statement about San Francisco's values. So what would Willie Brown Jr. Boulevard celebrate?

One of the most corrupt mayors in San Francisco history, a guy who sold out the city to developers, stood by and allowed the greatest displacement of low-income San Franciscans in modern history, presided over the economic cleansing of San Francisco, and now flaks for PG&E, the pharmaceutical industry, and who knows what other private clients (despite writing about politics in his column, he hasn't disclosed the list of which political interest groups are paying his sizable legal fees).

Brown's a fun guy, and I always read his column, and when he did a radio show, he often had me on as a guest, and we joked about the old days, and I have to admit, he's the life of the party. But let's not forget the history here; his record in politics stinks.

Besides, he's still alive -- and although he's smart enough that he's never been caught doing anything illegal, you never know what trouble he could get into, and how badly he could embarrass the city, in the years to come.

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