An Excerpt From Faux Willie Brown's Diary: Why He Doesn't Want His Name on the Bay Bridge
Truth be told, I really didn't give much thought to the renaming of the Bay Bridge in my honor. What I cared about was whether all the bodies I'd buried under the old bridge would float to the surface. You'd be surprised who's down there, and what they're wearing. You wouldn't think it, but Prada floats.
Lucky for me they're staying put: The Chinese do good work.
Besides, if I cared about putting my name on things that belong to me I'd have branded my initials on Mayor Ed Lee's face. My phone number actually is on Kamala Harris' ass, but that wasn't business-related. I keep telling people that politics isn't about fame, it's about money. Even if the Bay Bridge is named after me, I don't make a cent, and that's why I don't want my name on the bridge.
What I want is to sell the naming rights.
Legally, if the bridge is named after me, I can change the name of the bridge to whatever I want. At least, that's how the law will be eventually interpreted by a panel of judges looking to attend a fund-raising dinner thrown at the Getty's mansion by a guy who doesn't have to register as a lobbyist. We'll call it a "fact-finding mission," or maybe I'll pretend it's research for the column I write for the Chronicle, assuming the Chronicle is still around. I'm pretty sure the paper's last check bounced.
How much do you think General Electric would pay for millions of people to cross "The General Electric Bay Bridge?" Whatever number you're thinking of, you're thinking too small. I bet Vladimir Putin would pay more, just to mess with us. And Kim Jong-un? Now we're talking real money. But it's not just the money: the one thing I've never been able to get, the one dream I have left unfulfilled in my long life, is to have my suits hand-made by my own political prisoners. He can make that happen.
The North Koreans do good work.
But there's more than that at stake. The other day while I was collecting my protection money over at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church (you'd be amazed how many churches spontaneously combust), this black kid comes up to me and says, "How'd you get that bridge named after you?"
I saw that this kid was a potential drug dealer or gang member in the making, and that I had his attention now, and this was my chance to make him proud and put him on the right path.
So I told him the truth: "White-collar crime."
His eyes lit up. I immediately saw he got it. "Someday," he said, "I'm going to have a bridge named after me."
"Stay in school," I told him. "That's where you meet unindicted co-conspirators."
Then he pedaled away.
They say if you can reach just one kid, a miscarriage of justice is worth it.
I really hope that the Obama administration does not lead us into the third Middle Eastern war. I, too, condemn the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government, because they're not a client. But they could be, there's still time.
Here's my strategy for getting rid of unwanted rebels: Gradually raise the rents until they have to move to the cheaper neighborhoods in Jordan or Oakland. It works every time. One phone call, and Twitter and Zynga will be setting up new offices in Damascus to take advantage of tax breaks. The war will be over in six months.
One more thing about the Bay Bridge: A member of the city's Ethics Commission has just challenged the decision to name it after me in court.
"Ethics Commission." After all these years, that one still makes me laugh.
Benjamin Wachs is a literary chameleon.