Once upon a time in 1855, a humble milkman by the name of Charles H. Gough became an alderman and was asked to join a committee tasked with naming the streets of the Western Addition, west of Larkin Street, which was still undeveloped. Naturally, he named one after himself, and one, Octavia Street, after his sister. He also seems to have named Steiner Street after a good friend, one L. Steiner, whose 1911 obituary states that he was a water delivery man in the pioneer days when Gough was delivering milk, and both became prominent S.F. businessmen in the late 19th Century.
So, you see? If you take the time to join committees and attend public meetings, you just might have some lasting influence.
You can learn this and more by checking out this cool new interactive map by Noah Veltman. Unfortunately it's still lacking some vitals on the smaller streets with intriguing names like Clementina, Jessie, Ramona, and Dore (we've heard rumors that some of those SoMa alleys were named for prominent prostitutes), and much of the info appears similar to what is here. But perhaps he can explore the Little Streets of San Francisco blog and fill some more stuff in.
History of San Francisco Place Names [Noah Veltman]