The western span of the Bay Bridge

California’s state Assembly voted unanimously in late August to name the western span of the Bay Bridge in honor of former San Francisco mayor and Assembly speaker Willie Brown. Governor Jerry Brown opposes the proposal, which awaits a vote in the state Senate. What do you think the western span should be called?

Should the Bay Bridge’s Western Span Be Named for Willie Brown? 12 September,2013forum
  • loujudson

    WHAT??? That is a crazy idea. Does it look like a bowler hat, or whatever that trademark chapeau was called? Who was mayor when it was built, that is who it should be neamed after, not the overblown egotist Mr Brown. What good did he ever do for the city except make himself a petty famousi and richer at the city’s expanse? Who paid for this piece of frivolous legislation?

    Or maybe call it the Silver Bay Bridge. It sure ain’t brown!


    NO WAY , the man is a sleaze ,shady,and corrupt ,he made lots of money from lobbies specially the tobacco companies.

  • John

    I recall Brown being one of the worst mayors in the city’s history. I’m not sure why this would even be on the table.

  • olive

    I vote No.

  • Open Your Mind

    Why not name the bridge after the Native Americans who lived in the area for over 10,000 years before we showed up? (See map below) Or how about a descriptive term from their language?

    A local tribe:

  • bernice

    What about Nancy Pelosi or Dianne Feinstein, who are much more influential?

  • Bill_Woods

    Avoid the Edifice Complex — don’t name things for anybody who hasn’t been dead for at least a decade.

    Maybe name the bridge for former governor Ronald Reagan?

  • Dorin

    I like Willie, but I think it stupid to change the name of anything that has been in existence and has a perfectly good name. remember Candle Stick Park for instance.

  • erictremont

    As mayor of SF for 8 years, the city’s budget doubled under Willie Brown yet there was essentially zero improvement in the city’s public infrastrucure (e.g., Muni) and homeless situation; most of the additional expenditures went into the pockets of public employee unions who contributed generously to Mr. Brown’s campaign. Hard to think of a more cynical politician who is reviled by much of the progressive left as well as conservatives.

  • Simy Rajan

    Should be named Treasure Island bridge! I live on the island:)

  • John Lumea

    More than 3,800 citizens have signed the petition at calling for the entire Bay Bridge — *both* spans — to be named for Joshua Abraham Norton, the self-styled Emperor Norton (1819-1890), who in 1872 issued three proclamations calling for a suspension bridge to be constructed from Oakland to San Francisco via Goat Island (now Yerba Buena Island).

    The idea was his.

    It also is worth noting that Norton was a 19th-century champion of racial and religious unity; an advocate for women’s suffrage; a defender of the people; and a general ambassador of San Francisco who embodied the values that came to be known as “San
    Francisco” and, for that matter, “Bay Area.”

  • Open Your Mind

    Don’t name it after war-monger Diane Feinstein, please.
    Seriously, how much BLOOD does she have on her hands?

  • victoria s.


  • Alfred

    Since they have found more radioactive cesium on Treasure Island, why not call it the Cesium Bridge?

  • Alys

    I remember Willie Brown saying such gems as, “This neighborhood is decrapitated.” and “If you don’t earn at least 150,000 dollars, you shouldn’t live in this city.”

    Why not just keep the name as is? The Bay Bridge. If you want to choose someone to name it after, how about a non-politician like an author, artist, nobel prize winner, or humanitarian – someone we can actually collectively admire.

  • Robert Thomas

    Due to its subdued elegance and longevity, the WESTERN span could be renamed for

    Cyril Magnin

    No one really likes “Yerba Buena” anything. I think that Goat Island would be fittingly renamed for

    Emperor Norton

    Because of its new double-barreled countenance (from Google Satellite, anyway), the new twin roadways of the EASTERN span strongly suggest

    Huey P. Newton / Eldridge Cleaver People’s Parkway.


    A friend suggested “Silver Strait”. That’s nice.

  • Guest

    I suggest that the bridge segment is named for all the black youth who died violent deaths under Willie Brown’s tenure.

  • John Catapano

    call it the “Treasure Oakland”

  • Snowden

    Name it after the Native tribes of the two cities

  • No New Name

    I don’t think the bridge needs a (new) name; I certainly don’t think it should be named after Willie Brown. Why try to make it more difficult for out-of-towners to find their way around by naming it after a person? We’re all just going to continue to call it what it is anyway – The San Francisco Bay Bridge (which is clear, concise and accurate). And, personally, I’m much more concerned about those bolts.

  • Anita

    No way. No way No way. (3 votes from all of my family)

  • Rob

    Regardless of the merits or otherwise of prospective namees, I would suggest that politicians and public safety employees (who together seem to be the go-to candidates) should be ineligible until at least five years after their death, to allow some perspective on their contributions. There are many deserving citizens in the bay area who might be considered for naming public structures and spaces (Chesley Sullenburg anyone?) who have brought credit to their vocations or sacrificed for others, but are not politically visible when the naming game kicks off.

  • John Lumea

    A quick fact check…

    It’s not accurate to say that the Assembly voted “unanimously” for ACR 65 to name the Western span of the bridge for Willie Brown.

    The vote was not 68-0. It was 68-0-10. Almost certainly, most of those 10 abstentions were de facto “noes” registered by lawmakers — including people like Tom Ammiano, the Assembly member whose district takes in the Western span — who opposed the measure but who, for other political reasons, didn’t want to go on record against the California NAACP, the original sponsor of the bill.

    On a similar note, a number of news reports characterized yesterday’s 26-7 vote by the Senate as an “overwhelming” majority. But, here too, there also were 6 abstentions. The full vote was 26-7-6, meaning that a full third of the Senate — 13 out of 39 — dissented from the bill.

  • Robert Thomas

    We done found The Stroke
    We done found The Oakland Stroke
    You gonna find The Stroke
    You gonna find The Oakland Stroke
    We All gonna find The Stroke
    You gonna find The Oakland Stroke

    They be goin’ for Broke – It ain’t no Joke

    They done found – The Oakland Stroke


    Can the new suspension tower be called anything but the

    Tower of Power

    at least as long as pedestrians and cyclists must turn around and go

    Back to Oakland?

  • utera

    Of course not, even democrats don’t respect that guy. Its bizarre to bestow such an honor to a guy who is both still living, and frankly not a pivotal figure for our state or even city. The only reaction to this is WTF, and the fact that the vote was unanimous…those people need to lose their seats, give them the boot. I don’t know what willy has on them, but it must be dirt.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor