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The Deeper Problem with “Willie L. Brown, Jr., Bridge”

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This is a portion of an op-ed piece that John Lumea wrote yesterday. John is heading the Emperor’s Bridge Campaign, which is trying to name the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge after Emperor Norton. You can read the entire op-ed piece  here.

Tomorrow morning on Treasure Island, the California NAACP together with assorted state and local elected officials will throw a party for former California Assembly speaker and San Francisco mayor Willie Brown. Their cause for celebration: the state Legislature’s recent naming of the Western section of the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge as “The Willie L. Brown, Jr., Bridge.”

For all the justifiable hand-wringing over Sacramento’s choice of non-deceased honoree; over the Legislature’s disregard for the local population’s wishes in the matter; and over state lawmakers’ determination to suspend every rule in the book, to get this naming done…

Where the Bay Bridge itself is concerned…

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The deeper long-term historical problem with the Western section’s new name has less to do with the phrase “Willie L. Brown, Jr.,” than with the word “Bridge.”

::   ::   ::

TO BE SURE, the Western section technically is a bridge — part of a two-bridge systempunctuated by Yerba Buena Tunnel.

But this system was conceived as a single “bridging” of the entire Bay — from Oakland to San Francisco.

The system was given one name: the “San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.”

Even the euphemisms “Western span” and “Eastern span” reflect the reality that this two-bridged system always has lived in the hearts of the people as one bridge: the Bay Bridge.

The National Park Service reinforced this in 2001, when it placed the Bay Bridge on the National Register of Historic Places. In doing so, the Park Service recognized the entire Bay-spanning landmark — from end to end — as a unit.

As the State and the people of California have been doing since the Bay Bridge opened in 1936.

Read the rest of the op-ed right here.

photo from SF Gate

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Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Broke-Ass Stuart - Editor In Cheap

Stuart Schuffman, aka Broke-Ass Stuart, is a travel writer, poet, TV host, activist, and general shit-stirrer. His website BrokeAssStuart.com is one of the most influential arts & culture sites in the San Francisco Bay Area and his freelance writing has been featured in Lonely Planet, Conde Nast Traveler, The Bold Italic, Geek.com and too many other outlets to remember. His weekly column, Broke-Ass City, appears every other Thursday in the San Francisco Examiner. Stuart’s writing has been translated into four languages. In 2011 Stuart created and hosted the travel show Young, Broke, and Beautiful on IFC and in 2015 he ran for Mayor of San Francisco and got nearly 20k votes.

He's been called "an Underground legend": SF Chronicle , "an SF cult hero": SF Bay Guardian, and "the chief of cheap": Time Out New York.