A group of State Assembly members in Sacramento, their palms still greasy from their lunch of Subway no doubt, introduced a resolution Wednesday to name the big, flashy western span of the Bay Bridge after San Francisco's most celebrated eater, hat wearer and former mayor.
The resolution, ACR 65, would recognize the once and future mayor's lifetime of accomplishments by naming the span closest to San Francisco (meaning: not the new one) the "Willie L. Brown, Jr. Bridge" — a mouthful to be sure, but Da Mayor is nothing if not wordy. The S.F. Chronicle, where Brown is currently employed, suggests we call it the "Brown Bridge," which: no.
Surprisingly, Willie had no hand in suggesting the state name a bridge after him. According to the Chronicle, the NAACP came up with the idea and asked Assemblyman Issadore Hall III, a Democrat from Compton to introduce the resolution. Willie allegedly hasn't even heard about it yet.
Hall said the West span was a better fit than the brand new span opening (hopefully) in September because it faces San Francisco. He also suggested someone from the East Bay should have their name on the new bridge, so we might as well go ahead and start calling that one the Edmund Gerald "Jerry" Brown Bridge. (Which would be great, because then we'd have two Brown Twins and everyone can pretend the two bridges are named after two sweet old ladies instead of Titans of Ego.)
Adding to the confusion, another Brown — Cheryl, Democrat of San Bernardino — chimed in with some kind word about Willie: "He was able to bridge all kinds of people and I think he is very deserving of this." Adding, slyly: "The caveat is that it is unfortunate that they are only naming the bridge that needs the most work after him. As I understand it, that span needs the most repairs." (Assemblywoman Brown later deleted that statement, saying she misspoke.) Of 10 co-authors on the bill, only three are from the Bay Area: Bonta, D-Alameda. Levine, D-San Rafael. And Phil Ting — our own Assemblyman for half of San Francisco.
Like Brown, who pulled himself up from his bootstraps to earn a lifetime of free dinners at Kokkari and a nice penthouse at the Ritz, the Bay Bridge is all dressed up these days with the Bay Lights installation. Money to pay for the new signage will come from private donors, which we assume he will have no trouble lining up.
The resolution only needs a majority vote to pass and Jerry Brown doesn't even need to sign off on it , so expect Willie to start lobbying this Sunday with his Willie's World column in the Chronicle. (Which, also like the bridge, you will need to pay a toll to read.)