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Bay Bridge: Media sky suddenly darkens over Willie Brown caper

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Now that maybe any minute the state Senate will add its blessing to name the historic west span of the Bay Bridge for Willie Brown, alarm bell decibel levels are rising. Latest example: a Mercury News editorial that calls the idea “insulting” for the reasons that . . . well, you can read them here. The Merc intimates that Gov. Jerry Brown, who’s opposed to the name and who does, after all, have authority over Caltrans, should refuse to comply with the Legislature’s wishes, if it comes to that.

The governor can’t simply veto the measure, since Willie Brown’s cronies in the Legislature cleverly (good job, Willie) constructed the naming scheme as a non-binding resolution. Best bet: you’ll see a lawsuit if the Senate actually does the deed.

From a media standpoint maybe the strangest response to the Willie Brown Bridge caper is the Chronicle’s editorial from the day after Labor Day. Not strange for anything it says. But as unintended testimony to the Chronicle’s deep-seated schizophrenia over Brown, its star columnist. The editorial: “Willie Brown Bridge? Wrong man, wrong time.” Read it here. This is the same newspaper responsible for perpetuating Brown as a local ornament, promoting him as a kind of Herb Caen knock-off, subjecting him to no known ethics policy, and providing its pages and pixels as the podium to advance his astonishing, unchecked career after-life as a self-absorbed dandy. And they don’t want to name the bridge after him?

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