Proposal to rename Bay Bridge draws controversy

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The proposal to rename the western span of the Bay Bridge after former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown is generating more controversy as it hurtles through the approval process in Sacramento, where lawmakers are staring down a Sept. 13 deadline before the legislative session ends.

Gov. Jerry Brown has expressed opposition to the idea, and the proposed name change prompted yet another scathing editorial from the San Francisco Chronicle. Former Mayor Brown, who also served as Assembly Speaker, publishes a weekly column in the Chronicle.

Chronicle columnists Matier and Ross reported Sept. 10 that Gov. Brown had met with Alice Huffman, a key supporter of the proposal and president of the California NAACP, about the proposed name change.

The partial renaming of the 77-year-old Bay Bridge has seen very little opposition in the state legislature, and backing from the NAACP might be a key reason why there has been such broad support from lawmakers. As it happens, Huffman has long been described as a friend of Willie Brown’s – she briefly worked for him when he was Assembly Speaker and later served as a political advisor, according to Los Angeles Times coverage.

Assembly Member Tom Ammiano opted to stay out of the fray and abstained from voting, a decision his spokesperson Carlos Alcalá explained by saying, “he’s hesitant to vote against it, because of course Willie Brown was a very important figure” in the California Legislature.

At the same time, Alcalá said Ammiano couldn’t support renaming the bridge, because “it has significant opposition,” and “he thought it was inappropriate to name it after a living person.”

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. 

On Aug. 29, former Board of Supervisors presidents Matt Gonzalez, Aaron Peskin and Quentin Kopp fired off an open letter to Senate pro Tem Darrell Steinberg in an attempt to halt the proposal from going any further. They urged him not to hear the resolution in the Senate Rules Committee, because the proposal appeared to conflict with Senate rules and "there exists significant concern in our community that naming the Bay Bridge for him is not appropriate."

So far, the former elected officials haven’t gotten much in the way of a response.

“The state Senate has always been a club, and all those elected officials hope that someday things will be named after them,” Peskin told the Guardian. "I think they should name the old eastern span, that they're demolishing, after him," he added with a chuckle. "You know why? Because it's old and crooked and a danger to society."

Comments

And forever be branded a racist

Posted by anon on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 2:22 pm

Their all to chicken to buck the NAACP, and be called racists. It's good to play the race card when you stack the deck.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 3:02 pm

any tax payer paid property should not be named after elected person

Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 5:18 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 5:21 pm

tells me in my dreams.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 5:32 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 5:43 pm

pathology is different than Randism is a mystery.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 7:04 pm
Posted by Greg on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 11:58 pm

as I suspected, thanks for clearing that up Greg.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 8:46 pm

any tax payer paid property should not be named after elected person

Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 5:21 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 5:45 pm

He was all for naming the airport after Harvey Milk.

He is all for the moronic naming fetish of things until he is opposed to it.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 6:48 pm

He said Willie Brown was too controversial, which is true. Milk is a lot less controversial. Only a few knee-jerk internet trolls opposed him. And crucially, he said it's inappropriate to name it after a living person. Milk isn't living. He should have been straight and just said he opposes naming things after corrupt corporate shills, but of course he can't say that in politics. Unfortunately Ammiano now opens himself up to the possibility of hypocrisy. You can't accuse him of that now, but if WLB kicked the bucket in the near future, and Ammiano opposes it anyway, then you might have a leg to stand on. Personally, I wouldn't mind having that debate in the near future.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 11:56 pm

Milk was essentially a single-issue activist whose main claims to fame are getting elected (just) and getting shot (definitely). Getting murdered means you remember him - how many other supervisors from back then can you name?

Willie Brown helped SF transform itself from Silicon Valley's ugly step-sister into a world capital of technological innovation and success.

Oh, and Ammiano could have voted against renaming the bridge, but did not do so. In fact, so far, nobody has voted against the idea, and that has almost never happened in Sac.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 5:54 am

"Willie Brown helped SF transform itself from Silicon Valley's ugly step-sister into a world capital of technological innovation and success."

Willie, Willie, Willie - would you stop with the bullshit for just once???!!! The only transformation you did in SF was to use corruption to get your way like when you illegally had only Hunters Pt be able to vote in the weekend before the mayoral election.

I thought the idea of naming SFO after HM was a stupid political stunt by Campos but to call HM more controversial than you, Willie??? Come on Willie - just stop it! People who were around then aint gonna go for your lies. You must be working the people who weren't around here then.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 12:09 am

"Milk is a lot less controversial."

LOL. Check out Milk's long-term support for the People's Temple sometime.

Posted by A New Cash-Only Business! on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 10:44 am

and many others for that matter. What's your point?

From Wiki:
"Willie Brown visited the Temple many times and spoke publicly in support of Jones, even after investigations and suspicions of cult activity."

Posted by Greg on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

and many others for that matter. What's your point?

From Wiki:
"Willie Brown visited the Temple many times and spoke publicly in support of Jones, even after investigations and suspicions of cult activity."

Posted by Greg on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 10:24 pm

Yes Greg, Ammiano's positions are based on what you proclaim.

And Nixon was a deep thinker.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 9:55 pm

You're completely incoherent.

Posted by Greg on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 10:21 pm

Ammiano's concern is that they are naming something after a living person. You believe that Greg? For real? Seriously?

When Greg doesn't get his way he usually howls bigotry or racism if that is an option for him. When people mentioned that they were opposed to renaming the airport after Milk, Greg did his usual bigotry howl. In this case everyone has shown more class than Greg ever could and didn't resort to that usual Greg tactic towards clowns like Greg.

It's interesting how much Greg complains about how unfair all of life is, while he believes Ammiano's talking points and people are nice enough not to use his irrational ravings style towards him.

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 6:27 am

Greg Greg Greg, Greg Greg Greg Greg! Bigotry howl Greg. Unfair life seriously believe Greg, interesting Greg complains tactic progressive clowns Greg. Ammiano talking points Greg irrational ravings Greg, Greg! I'm so obsessed with Greg I can't let go. I must have the last word Greg!!!!

Posted by Meatlick on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 8:21 am

Hates cops, Asians, America, success and anyone who doesn't support his narrow, extremist, anti-American agenda.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 8:39 am

You like Greg can't form any sort of coherent world view so all you are left with is this?

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 6:09 pm
Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 12:51 pm

It's a very, very bad idea. Wrong man, wrong name, bad idea.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 7:09 pm

Would "draws fire" be a bit too edgy?

Do the Willie Brown Bridge rename cohort even begin to understand just how fucking much it is an intolerable idea?

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 7:54 pm

A majority re-elected him.

A majority gave him good approval ratings.

A majority have good memories of him.

The CA Assembly voted 68-0 to rename the bridge.

And a few progressives hate him. Do those progressives even begin to understand just how fucking little that matters?

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 5:56 am

If this is such a popular idea, why is everyone from the Chronicle (which he actually works for) to the BG opposing it? Why is it that if you read through the comments section on almost every Bay Area news site, the votes are overwhelmingly against it? I'm a conservative and think naming a part of the bridge (and the eastern span no less) is completely ludicrous.

This is not a Progressive/Moderate/Conservative issue. This is a Bay Area resident issue and the people have overwhelmingly spoken out against it. Just because the legislators in Sacramento are ignoring the people, are afraid to oppose the NAACP for fear of being branded a racist and not getting their support for reelection, or just plain owe Brown a favor, does not mean this is a good idea.

And his being elected and reelected mayor is a nonstarter. Yes, he was elected, but who was his competition? Frank Jordan? Tom Ammiano? It's just like Ed Lee when he ran against John Avalos. You might not like him, but you hold your nose and do it anyway because the alternative is a scenario that you can't even contemplate.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 12:27 pm

funds. Sac gets to decide.

No shock that the SFBG is against it any more than that they want tor ename SFO as Milk Airport - much worse IMO.

And it is not unpopular at all - it passed in the Assembly with ZERO votes against.

Posted by anon on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 12:39 pm

Cmon anon. I usually agree with you on most issues but your stance on this is dead wrong. The BG was wrong about SFO and right about the Bay Bridge. I get that you're irked at the hypocrisy of their stance (as am I) but I still say it is wrong to name this after Brown. Brown is the main reasons that it cost 6.4 billion rather than the 2 million or so it was originally slated to cost.

And don't give me that it passed the Assembly with zero votes against. Here are some reasons why a legislator would vote for it:

- someday he might want something named after him (while he's still alive)
- it's backed by the NAACP and opposing it could lead to him being called a racist
- he needs NAACP support when he's up for reelection
- he owes Brown a favor

These legislators don't give a damn about anyone but themselves. Look at any Bay Area news site and the comments sections and editorials are overwhelmingly against Brown. The Chronicle wrote 3 editorials against it. Deborah Saunders came out against it. The Bay Guardian is against it. Opposition is coming from all ends of the political spectrum here. But the legislators don't give a damn. If this were to go on the ballot, what do you think would happen? It would be voted at LEAST 80% against.

Just because the BG was hypocritical in terms of the SFO issue doesn't mean we should automatically and reflexively oppose them here.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 1:50 pm

way the bridge gets renamed or not. But if the SFBG is against it, then it's worth supporting for that reason alone.

I'd support nothing being renamed in SF (although the east span is more in Oakland than SF anyway) because generally it's some hairbrain scheme to name something after some disabled trans-sexual union organizer.

Posted by anon on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

" if the SFBG is against it, then it's worth supporting for that reason alone. "

Posted by Greg on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 10:20 pm

Cmon anon. You're better than that. Otherwise you'd be as Pavlovian as Greg in regards to cops or Asians.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 11:05 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 11:14 am

and only a genuinel troll would admit such.

No boon was conferred to the board by doing so, and so no thanks are deserved.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 11:27 am

The peculiar SFBG definition of "trolling" is making any statement or argument that hasn't been sanctified by the far-left extremists.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 11:38 am

so I don't see how you are any different.

But yes, sometimes the SFBG takes itself so seriously that it amuses to lampoon them for it. Satire is a legitimate debating gambit.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 11:31 am

You're wrong Willie on several things you say. And I not even sure a majority re-elected you since Ammiano was also in the race and got a bunch of votes. And the notion that a majority have good memories of you, Willie, is laughable. I think you, Willie, and the dummie politicians like Phil Ting (work to defeat that fool when he runs for re-election) are the only ones in support of this.

In the articles in the Chron, almost 100% of the comments (over 200 I believe) are against the renaming. And each of those comments is getting about 20 thumbs up for every thumbs down.

People know a corrupt politician when they see one. And remember all the SF supes who were alligned with you (Michael Yaki and the rest) got tossed in their re-election bid because the corruption stink from you Willie was making them stink?

It's good you got out Willie when you did because by the time you were done, SF voters had realized by then what a snake you were - as evidenced by the defeat of all your allies on the bd of supes.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 12:19 am

I love the last paragraph.

Posted by Dean Clark on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 8:30 pm

isn't a conniving little runt?

Posted by Matlock on Sep. 11, 2013 @ 10:30 pm

If you had a quarter of the intelligence he did, you might be able to post a comment that made some sense. As it is, you almost always come off like an alcoholic fool.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 12:24 am

Absolutely brilliant and well worth re-mentioning: crooked; old; a danger to society.

That said, I think the old bridge should have been fixed. That we had such a screamingly superficial tool in charge of proclaiming one design or another "beautiful" or "deserving" is just spice on top of the whole Willie Brown era.

Posted by lillipublicans on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

And how would people have gotten to SF every morning while you were fixing it.

As for Peskin's snide comments, no doubt they will be remembered when he wants something named after him.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 3:30 pm

Tom Ammiano is a coward for not actually voting against it but yet saying (via his staff) to any newspaper that will listen that he was against the bridge being named after Willie Brown. So happy that man will soon be out of office.

Posted by Kristin on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 3:32 pm

But like you say, he's on his way out anyway.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 12, 2013 @ 3:45 pm

Do you really think Ammiano is going away? He's going to get some sort of patronage job where he'll pull down 150K a year. Plus allowances. Plus per diems. Plus job security. And what will the tax payers get for that? Him sitting on his ass and doing jack shit.

Why do you think David Chiu and David Campos are fighting over his seat? State assembly is the 2nd step (SF supervisor being the first) to getting a no work job for the rest of your life. Add in lifetime job security and not being able to be fired for anything (hello Carole Migden) and you are good to go.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 13, 2013 @ 11:03 am

This iconic bridge that has always been built in the name for all the bay area cities To change the name for one SF supervisor is appalling, did the east bay get one vote In for the SAn Francisco Bridge. Y now daaaaa

Posted by The Willie Brown / San Fansico bridge on Sep. 18, 2013 @ 7:07 pm

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