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Friends of Willie Brown want to name the Bay Bridge’s west span after him

Friday, June 14, 2013

Several state lawmakers have unveiled an effort to put the Chronicle columnist and former mayor’s name on the west span of the Bay Bridge. It’s the first such naming attempt since the plot to re-designate a few blocks of Third Street downtown as Willie Brown Boulevard went nowhere before Gavin Newsom left the mayor’s office.

Just why co-sponsors of the bill to create the “Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge”—from places like Compton and Pasadena—would seek to intrude into the sensitive area of renaming one of the Bay Area’s most iconic structures is, shall we say, curious. You can almost smell one of those I-had-no-knowledge-of-it-but-would-be-flattered Sunday columns from Brown any week now.

One lawmaker who wasn’t a co-sponsor—San Francisco’s own Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, is quoted in the Chronicle as saying: “Usually, I prefer that someone is dead before we name something after them.” An excerpt:

The resolution states, "That the California Legislature takes great pride in recognizing Willie L. Brown Jr. for all of his political, professional, and personal accomplishments by naming the western span of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge to honor and commemorate his many contributions to California."

Oh, and as has happened before in sensitive matters involving Brown, the Chronicle columnist “couldn’t be reached for comment on the proposal,” the Chron says.

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