"Governor Brown believes that the iconic Bay Bridge should keep the name it has had for nearly 77 years, a name that lives in the hearts and minds of all Californians," Brown spokesman Evan Westrup said in an email this afternoon. "And he feels the same way about the Golden Gate Bridge. "
The Democratic governor typically refrains from commenting on pending action in the Legislature. But unlike with a bill that he could veto, Brown may have no final say on the effort to rename the bridge. The proposal to rename the western span of the bridge for Willie Brown, the former mayor of San Francisco, is contained in a concurrent resolution that does not require the governor's approval.
The measure, Assembly Concurrent Resolution 65, sailed through the Assembly without opposition, and it is expected to reach the Senate floor before session ends this week.
The resolution touts Willie Brown's contributions to transportation, affordable housing and higher education in San Francisco, among other accomplishments. It says he "is widely regarded as one of the most influential politicians of the late 20th century, and has been at the center of California politics, government and civic life for an astonishing four decades."
Three former presidents of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors last month sent a letter to Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg opposing the measure, saying it does not "reflect a community consensus" that naming the bridge for Willie Brown is appropriate.
The airing of the governor's opinion on the matter follows the Labor Day opening of the bridge's new eastern span, a $6.4 billion project that came in years late and billions of dollars over budget.
PHOTO: Former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown in 2010. The Sacramento Bee/Hector Amezcua