kpix-7-2013-masthead kcbs 7-2013-masthead

Local

Willie Brown Reflects On Naming Of Bay Bridge Western Span In His Honor

View Comments
Formor San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (Trisha Leeper/Getty Images)

Formor San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (Trisha Leeper/Getty Images)

PhilMatier01-370 Phil Matier
Whether it's politics, personalities or analysis Phil Matier is one ...
Read More

Get Breaking News First

Receive News, Politics, and Entertainment Headlines Each Morning.
Sign Up
Trending Stories On CBS SF

jung Willie Brown Reflects On Naming Of Bay Bridge Western Span In His HonorNotorious Ex-Cocaine Kingpin George Jung Out of Prison, Living In San Francisco

taco bell 72763825 Willie Brown Reflects On Naming Of Bay Bridge Western Span In His HonorHigh School Brawls Force Antioch Taco Bell To Close Dining Room In Afternoon

455497972 8 Willie Brown Reflects On Naming Of Bay Bridge Western Span In His HonorMexico Tourists, Locals In Survival Mode After Los Cabos Hurricane; No Power, Water, Food

lake tahoe2 Willie Brown Reflects On Naming Of Bay Bridge Western Span In His HonorIronman Organizers Say Triathlon In Lake Tahoe Still A Go Despite King Fire

hurricane odile Willie Brown Reflects On Naming Of Bay Bridge Western Span In His HonorHurricane Odile Slams Into Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula Near Cabo San Lucas

SAN FRANCISCO (KPIX 5) — The Western Span of the Bay Bridge is going to take on the name of one of the Bay Area’s most recognizable politicians. But it didn’t happen without controversy and a fight.

When it comes to California politics, it would be tough to find someone more controversial than the flamboyant former San Francisco mayor and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown. In fact, Brown is so controversial, that even he was against renaming the bridge in his honor.

“I didn’t think they could succeed and I frankly didn’t want to be embarrassed,” Willie Brown told KPIX 5.

His supporters, however, had bigger ideas. “The NAACP, in its own wisdom, decided the State of California needed something that African-Americans could point to other than a school or a playground or community center. In that regard, they looked around to see what African-American they thought could merit such an honor.”

But not everyone thought brown was the right choice, including three former presidents of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors who felt Brown represented many things that are wrong with government.

“They were not interested in input from the neighborhoods, they were not interested in input from the little guy,” said former San Francisco Supervisor Aaron Peskin. “Water flowed uphill to money in that administration.”

Gov. Jerry Brown also came out against it.

“I don’t think it was personal with (Gov. Brown). I think he’s just opposed to anybody’s name being attached to anything,” Willie Brown said.

But in the end, Brown and the NAACP had the votes that counted.

“We lost fair and square,” Peskin said.

Oddly enough, if Willie Brown had succeeded in his first dream, none of this would have happened. Believe it or not, as a young man Brown had a completely different career in mind: Becoming a math teacher instead of a lawyer and eventually one of the most powerful politicians in the country. “So I failed,” Brown said, laughingly.

View Comments
blog comments powered by Disqus
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 53,931 other followers