This morning in Sacramento, the herd of water buffalo we refer to as the "State Senate" collectively decided that the west, city-facing span of San Francisco Bay Bridge shall henceforth be known as the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge. The "L," in case you were curious, stands for Lewis.
Going against popular opinion, those people chosen to represent all of California shook our faith in a bicameral legislature by first voting 68-0 in the state Assembly and then 26-7 in the Senate. Unlike previous bad decisions, we can't blame this one on the rest of the state. Mark Leno and Leland Yee, San Francisco's chosen representatives in the State Senate, both voted in favor of calling it the Willie L. Brown Jr. Bridge, even though, in practice, we're almost certain they never will.
Governor Jerry Brown, an Oaklander and fellow bridge user, also dislikes the plan. As one of his reps told a Chronicle reporter earlier this week, "the iconic Bay Bridge should keep the name that it has had for nearly 77 years." (Jerry would know, he's been alive for 75 of them.) But the Governor will have no real say in the matter. Because the proposal involves no taxpayer dollars, he will not have the opportunity to veto the measure. Shit happens. We'll see you on BART.
What comes next? Hand-wringing. Blog posts. Alcoholism, probably. But after that there's a lawsuit already in the works that formalizes our collective complaints and calls the state legislature out for fastracking the bill even though renaming a bridge was hardly a pressing matter. The effort is hopeful, but you'll forgive us if we don't have a lot of faith in its success.
And then there's the signage: because we the taxpayers mercifully won't be footing the bill for this one, the money for the signs declaring the new name will be privately funded. Which means theres another opportunity to curry favor with Willie and another sponsorship opportunity for Subway sandwiches.
Previously: The Willie Brown Bridge Is Moving Forward Despite Growing Opposition, Common Sense
Sacramento Wants To Rename The Bay Bridge After Willie Brown
The Very Best Time We Ended Up At Last Call With Willie Brown