When Kamala Harris takes the oath of office tomorrow, she will not do so on a copy of the Bible. Instead, her right hand will rest on a copy of the Bill of Rights. Much more appropriate. Instead of copies of the Ten Commandments in courthouse halls, we should indeed have copies of the Bill of Rights on the walls … And what's new at Camp Newsom? Well, the word is that Louise Renne is the Field Marshal, the one to see. Meanwhile, over at Camp Gonzalez the sharpshooters are taking up positions. Firing commences today, I'd guess. There won't be any honeymoon. ... The Shadow Knows: Which local power-brokers and public officials have been really wired lately. ...
Matt Gonzalez himself protests the placing of the bust of Willie Brown by Willie Brown in City Hall. Press Sec P. J. Johnston suggests Matt get a life instead. P.J. wasn’t so politic in his language. … Anyway, it seems to me that even Willie’s enemies can draw inspiration from the bust, which is in the portico opposite the Mayor’s Office. Sculptor Richard MacDonald, who donated the $100,000 bronze bust to the city, neatly captured an elegant expression of the mayor’s phizzog. It’s a kind of wise smile. The smile you see on WLB when he’s solved a problem, fixed a puzzle, outsmarted an enemy. And those enemies ought to be able to look on that gaze from time to time and realize what they’re up against. For himself is going to be still very much around.
I often wondered how such a staunch Republican as George Shultz managed to get along with Willie so well over the years. At (yet another) farewell event last night, Mr. Secretary recalled that in dealing with scores of mayors of many cities over the years, including Daley of Chicago, the hallmark of the great ones was that indeed their word was bond. All the more remarkable, since politics is 99 percent b.s. …
What is Willie’s monument? Is it the bust that may soon be busted? Martin F. Nolan, the distinguished reporter of political affairs, student of mayors, former editorial page of the Boston Globe, and frequent contributor to the Chronicle, has an opinion that on the last day of Willie Brown’s mayoralty deserves hearing. Let it be the last word on the last day of the Brown mayoralty.
Here are the remarks Marty Nolan made about the Brown mayoralty at a recent, and jazzy, lunch at Moose’s, held by Ed Moose in honor of Willie Brown. Editor Nolan, the space is yours:
“The governor was Earl Warren, the president was Dwight Eisenhower. This was in the early ‘50s. On the campus of San Francisco State, the Reserve Officers Training Corps (ROTC) included a recent arrival from Texas, Willie Brown. Next to him, in alphabetical order (‘to my left, as always,’ as he still says), a pretty good basketball player from Lincoln High, John Lowell Burton. Can’t you see them in their spiffy ROTC duds?
“John introduced the Texan to his brother, Phillip, and the Burton-Brown legend became – if you like the results – a movement. If you don’t it’s a machine. The effect was profound in Sacramento, Washington and, of course, in the City and County of San Francisco.
“Today is not about Willie Brown’s 31 years in the Legislature nor his 15 years as speaker, where he set records for longevity, durability, ingenuity and what else, irascibility? One reason why we’re here is Proposition 41, passed in 1990: the Proposition that gave us ‘term limits.’
“Willie Brown’s friend and admirer, Mayor Tom Menino of Boston, says, ‘Voters can impose term limits every two or four years. Proposition 41 – that’s busybody legislation.’ What a great, old-fashioned phrase to describe the meddlesome attitude of 57 other California counties saying, via Proposition 41, to San Francisco, ‘We don’t like the way you vote, so we’re going to change it.’ Term limits affect voters, but not politicians, thanks to the wonderfully countermanding Law of Unintended Consequences.
“And, Mayor Brown, in the 1920s, Gerald and Sara Murphy articulated the motto of Unintended Consequences, ‘Living Well Is the Best Revenge!’ …
“How has San Francisco changed since you, Mayor Brown, became mayor in 1995? Recently a friend of mine from the East Coast visited here. He is a foundation executive, was a vice-president of Harvard, has studied cities and has written about them, but he had not spent much time here since the 1980s. ‘Let me show you something new,’ I told him. We met at MoMo’s, crowded for lunch on a slow Tuesday. We gazed at the condos nearby, then on to Pac Bell Park and the shrines there to Willie Mays and Barry Bonds. Across Third Street we the new Orlando Cepeda Homes, Richard Sorro Commons and the other affordable housing units in the new city rising in Mission Bay.
“Here as well are research facilities that did not flee to San Mateo County or the East Bay or Utah or Arizona. I told him also of changes in less glamorous places like Valencia Gardens, the Rosa Parks Apartments and other housing projects.
‘This, all this, has gone up since Willie Brown was mayor?’ he asked. ‘And this Light Rail along Third Street, too?’ Yes, straight to Chinatown and then … who knows. He muttered, ‘Si monumentum requiris, circumspice.’ If you seek his monument, look about you. …
‘You remember your Latin well,’ I said. Those Latin words adorn the tomb of Sir Christopher Wren in London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral. Wren, of course, designed that church and many of the other buildings that went up as London rebuilt in the 17th century. … This is 21st Century San Francisco. If you seek the monument of Willie Lewis Brown Jr., Mayor of San Francisco, look about you. …”