Willie Brown Bridge It Is
May as well start the lawsuits now. The California state legislature just greenlit an extremely contentious Assembly Resolution to rename the 77 year-old western span of the Bay Bridge after erstwhile San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.
Despite protests from Supervisor John Avalos, three former Board of Supervisors presidents, and Governor Jerry Brown, the vote passed with 26 ayes, seven nays, and six abstentions -- enough to constitute an overwhelming majority.
Lawmakers in both houses were all too willing to overlook state laws that require major transit architecture to be named after deceased people. They also brushed off the rule that an assembly resolution to rechristen a bridge must bear the imprimatur of an assemblyman whose district includes said bridge. They even ignored the bridge's current (if largely unused) namesake, former San Francisco mayor James B. Rolph (1912-1931). His descendants will most likely not be uncorking a bottle of champagne over the new Brown Bridge's figurative prow.
Former Board of Supes President Aaron Peskin is still embattled. He says that legislators should have reserved the "Brown Bridge" moniker for the eastern span -- the one facing demolition. "Because like Willie," Peskin says, it's old, crooked, and a danger to society."
Proponents of an alternative name -- for self-proclaimed Imperial Majesty Emporer Norton -- haven't given up, either. They're hoping the Brown Bridge will lose in court.
And sure enough, we've just received news that City Ethics Commission veteran Bob Planthold made good on his threat to sue the State of California, challenging ACR-65. The case, Planthold v. State of California, was filed in San Francisco Superior Court this morning.