Willie Brown

Willie Brown

Willie Lewis Brown, Jr. is an American politician of the Democratic Party. He served over 30 years in the California State Assembly, spending 15 years as its Speaker, and afterward served as the 41st mayor of San Francisco, the first African American to do so. Under the current California term limits law, no Speaker of the California State Assembly will ever have a longer tenure than Brown's.
Share
Biography
Willie Brown's personal information overview.
home town
Texas
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for Willie Brown
News
News about Willie Brown from around the web
Cleveland Councilman Reed Says He's Still Weighing Mayoral Bid
NPR - about 1 year
Yesterday’s announcement that popular Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson will seek a fourth term hasn’t stopped Councilman Zack Reed from weighing a bid for the office. Reed says he will continue raising money and finding out if voters will support him. “We think we put ourselves in a position to at least be a viable candidate. But are we a viable winning candidate? ... Willie Brown always taught me not to run a race you can’t win. He’s my mentor out in San Francisco and he said don’t run a race you can’t win. So we want to look at and evaluate the race from start to finish.” Reed says he would challenge Jackson’s focus on improving downtown and accuses him of not spending enough on other neighborhoods and on services. With Jackson , there are eight announced candidates, including Councilman Jeff Johnson , a harsh critic of the mayor. The candidates must file their petitions by June 29 th to qualify for September’s non-partisan primary. The top two primary finishers compete in November’s
Article Link:
 NPR article
America's Oldest Park Ranger Enjoys Special Treat For 95th Birthday
Huffington Post - over 1 year
Happy birthday, Betty Reid Soskin! The nation’s oldest active park ranger celebrated her 95th birthday Thursday with a special day that was quite a whirlwind. Soskin, who works at the Rosie The Riveter WWII Home Front National Historical Park in California, is currently on a 10-day trip to the nation’s capital. She’s been invited to attend the opening ceremony of the National Museum of African American History and Culture on Saturday. Soskin, who lived through the Civil Rights era, already enjoyed a preview tour of the museum, which she says brought back memories of her childhood.  Soskin said she’ll be a little starstruck at Saturday’s opening event.  “This ‘lil ole lady ranger will be rubbing shoulders with the likes of Laura Bush, Oprah Winfrey, Quincy Jones, Willie Brown, General Colin Powell, etc., and we may all be wondering just how on earth she ever got on the A-List!!” Soskin wrote on her blog.  The spunky nonagenarian, who only became a park ranger ...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Big names to help rechristen Bay Bridge span for Willie Brown
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
A who's who of more than 500 people from politics, sports, entertainment and high society is expected to join former San Francisco Mayor and ex-Assembly Speaker Willie Brown on Treasure Island for Tuesday's official rechristening of the western portion of the Bay Bridge in his honor. Caltrans crews were hoping to catch a break from the rain over the weekend to install the two new placards - each 6 feet wide by 2 feet high - welcoming drivers on the upper and lower decks to the Willie L. Brown Jr. The $6,500 cost of making and installing the signs is being paid by the California NAACP - whose president, Alice Huffman, made the legislative resolution renaming the bridge after Brown the group's top priority. Rich Robinson, a San Jose political consultant who helped the NAACP raise the money to cover the new signage and festivities, said Brown "may be controversial, but he is a hall of famer in the world of politics." [...] while the governor apparently won't make the sign unveiling, ...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Considering Henry Waxman: Despite Drawbacks, the Congressman and the Scene He Helped Create Had Massive Accomplishments
Huffington Post - about 4 years
In part of my mind, it seems like it was yesterday. The Watergate scandal had driven Richard Nixon from the White House and ushered in a young band of fresh-faced politicians who were going to do it all differently, with more respect for the environment, less reverence for violence, more concern about an increasingly diverse America, an aversion to the imperial presidency. With Jerry Brown, who first became governor in that Watergate year of 1974, still sounding if not looking much as he did then as he prepares to go for a fourth term as governor of California with a 60 percent job approval rating in the latest poll, it's not hard for my time warp to continue. Then something dramatic happens to remind that not only is that halcyon era very much in the rearview mirror, the eternal Brown notwithstanding, but also that most of its leading lights have long since departed. Henry Waxman's decision to retire from Congress after 40 years service there (following six years in the California...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Bay Bridge: Too big to fail
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
If the Bay Bridge were a football team, the coach would have been fired, the quarterback would have been dropped from the team, and the remaining athletes would have felt a pinch in their endorsement income. [...] because the new eastern span was a government project that ran four times over budget and took more than twice as long to complete than was expected - and required a retrofit even before it was open to the public - no individual will lose his job, no contractor will lose state business, and no politician need worry about this boondoggle sabotaging his re-election. [...] the Legislature expressed its sorry sense of remorse by naming the western span after Willie Brown, former San Francisco mayor, current Chronicle columnist and chief cause of delay for what ballooned into a $6.4 billion project. Last month, state Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Mark DeSaulnier presided over a hearing to examine a report commissioned on the project, "Lessons Learned From the Develo...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Jerry Brown for President: The Way We Were
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Governor Jerry Brown said while touring inland California a few days that he's not planning to run for president in 2016. "No, that's not in the cards," he said in a rather off-hand response to a question about weeks of reports touting him as a presidential prospect. "Unfortunately. Actually, California is a lot more governable." Which is why he's running now for re-election, of course, as I've been saying since was elected to his renewed governorship in November 2010. Brown is already the longest serving governor in California history, with the current term following after his controversial yet largely successful first two terms from 1975 to 1983. He already has to be ranked as one of California's great politicians, not to mention one of the most intriguing American political figures of the modern era. Now he's in position to stake a serious claim to being California's greatest governor, rivaling the past governorships of moderate Republican Earl Warren and his own father, the le...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Political in-crowd celebrates Joe Cotchett
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
A crowd more than 300 strong, pals and clients of Joe Cotchett, gathered at the Fairmont Friday night to celebrate the mega lawyer's 75th birthday and 50 years of law practice. In the Terrace Room at the height of a predinner reception, there was a roiling sea of lawyers and judges, along with allies and adversaries who had fought alongside and against Cotchett in court, along with well-wishers Cotchett has supported politically and well-wishers-plus who hope to enlist his support in future political battles. Anna Eshoo and Jackie Speier; Mayor Ed Lee; mayoral pal Rose Pak; former Mayors Willie Brown and Frank Jordan; Supervisors Jane Kim, London Breed, David Chiu and Scott Weiner; Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom; state Treasurer Bill Lockyer; state Sen. Mark Leno (who brought an easel-ready proclamation praising the honoree's "commitment to social justice through his stellar legal career"); and former California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ron and Barbara George. ...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Housing crunch poses challenge for Mayor Ed Lee
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
With the economy showing no signs of slowing, and with more and more people moving to San Francisco, Mayor Ed Lee is finding himself walking a housing tightrope that is getting higher and higher every day. Jaye worked on the campaigns of both former Mayors Gavin Newsom and Willie Brown, and is no stranger to the town's shifting political winds and voter worries over being "priced out of the city." There are an estimated 40,000 units of new housing in the city's planning pipeline, about 10,000 of which have been set aside for families making less than $70,000 a year. Lee had hoped that the 12,000 homes being built at the old Hunters Point Shipyard would have been ready for the market by now, but construction is going slower than expected. Lee's call to reform Ellis Act eviction laws - something that would have been a radical idea just a couple of years back. Sources tell us that the Golden State Warriors are looking at reworking their plans for the luxury hotel and condo high-rise...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
The man who talked back to Barack Obama
San Francisco Chronicle - about 4 years
Chronicle columnist and former mayor Willie Brown introduced his Sunday column with a short item. The White House is steaming over San Francisco's lack of vetting of the people who joined President Obama on stage in Chinatown for his immigration speech - especially after one of them started yelling at the president about halting deportations. The civil rights movement is the benchmark for all other movements. In that, people risked their reputations for civility by marching, by singing, by sitting in or teaching in or refusing to disperse. When the government sought to limit or deny funding for AIDS research, ordinary citizens were driven to civil disobedience. If the White House is steaming, the White House is not paying attention to the movements that brought the current administration into power. Even in the face of their election debacle, they have prevented the president's immigration reform bill from reaching the floor. The young man who spoke out at the immigration speec...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Initiative reform needed in California
LATimes - over 4 years
Former speaker Willie Brown would drop the state's direct democracy initiative process altogether. Willie Brown, the legendary Assembly speaker and former San Francisco mayor, says he has never voted for a ballot initiative.
Article Link:
 LATimes article
The downfall of Western civilization
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
Litquake's annual Barbary Coast award was given this year to Ron Turner, founder and owner of Last Gasp Press, which publishes underground comics, art books and, over the years, some material you probably wouldn't want your children to see. The roastee sat onstage alongside his wife, Carol Stevenson, and son, Colin Turner, who works with his dad in the biz, while tales were told, about the time Turner took staffers to Willie Brown's party for Marilyn Chambers at the O'Farrell Theatre; about the time at a BookExpo America convention in New York when the Last Gasp staff was selling a book about flesh eating and necrophilia across the aisle from folks selling "Chicken Soup for the Soul" and books about Betty Crocker; about Turner sharing a joint with Lee Harvey Oswald at a Communist Party meeting in Chicago. Perhaps most evoking fond memories from the hometown crowd, though, was Jon Longhi's description of Turner's being in charge of the entertainment for political consultant Jack Davi...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
From Africa, at the core of us all
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
The crowd gathered at the Palace was shining (with jewels), glittering (with sequins), curvy (with cleavage) and best of all gleaming (with optimism). The atmosphere was both brimming with a feeling of achievement for surviving and radiating gratitude for the people who made it happen, from Belva Davis, who was the engine that chug-chug-chugged and pulled the museum into existence, to Willie Brown, who forged a deal that included space for MoAD in a redevelopment project centered on the Yerba Buena Gardens area. Preparing for the role, he visited Howard, looked at photographs and history, particularly the young lawyers' determination to overturn Plessy v. Ferguson, the 1896 decision that had established the legality of "separate but equal." Moet Hennessy USA, which has long supported Tuskegee Institute, was honored with a Corporate Leadership award; San Francisco Foundation chief Sandra Hernandez received a Legacy of Philanthropy award; and Woodard was honored particularly for crea...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Driving through the city, pursuing the fog
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
Two previous film collaborations of Green and sounder designer Dave Cerf were shown, one about the astonishing link between Bay Area icon of the '70s Rainbow Man and 9/11 (!), and another about memorabilia shot into space aboard Voyager II. The paintings, taken down over the weekend, looked wet, soft, watery; a fitting contrast to the stone-like lobby wall panels. Journalist Kate Coleman, an old friend of restaurant co-owner Ken Friedman (and, incidentally, a fellow swimmer with McGurrin), reports that Etheredge looked pleased to have pals Tom Luddy and John Keker there for the rebirth, and that Willie Brown and Ed Lee were sitting with Joe Montana. Rosenthal was honored by admirers from the San Francisco Chapter of the U.S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association last week with the placement of a bronze plaque at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia. -- In recognition for programs engaging young people, Jonathan Moscone, artistic director of the California S...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
The Week to Week News Quiz for 9/20/13
Huffington Post - over 4 years
Take a break from reading doomed congressional budget bills and take our Week to Week news quiz. Here are some random but real hints: 41st time's the charm; no-blame game; maybe he'll become Harvard's president again, instead; and that'd become da museum. Answers are at the bottom of the quiz. 1. The House of Representatives passed a bill that would prevent a government shutdown in return for what? a. The defunding of Obamacare b. The impeachment of President Barack Obama c. The passage of a flat tax d. The appointment of an independent prosecutor to examine Banghazi 2. Who told NBC News that "We have never sought or pursued a nuclear bomb and we are not going to do so"? a. North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un b. Texas Senator Ted Cruz c. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani d. Syrian President Bashir al-Assad 3. Where were 19 people shot in one day (Thursday)? a. Outside the Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan b. Damascus, Syria c. Chicago d. The town of Kerdasa, near Cairo, Egypt...
Article Link:
 Huffington Post article
Herhold: It'll be the Bay Bridge no matter its official name
Good Morning Silicon Valley - over 4 years
Go ahead and name the western span of the Bay Bridge after Willie Brown. It won't make any difference.
Article Link:
 Good Morning Silicon Valley article
Dealing with Reagan National
The Sacramento Bee - over 4 years
Re "Willie Brown Who?" (Letters, Sept. 16): Letter writer James R. LaCroix opposes naming the San Francisco- Oakland Bay Bridge for Willie Brown because he dislikes Brown's politics.
Article Link:
 The Sacramento Bee article
Span named for Willie Brown, but no signs may go up
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
The Legislature's overwhelming approval of a resolution renaming the western span of the Bay Bridge in honor of former San Francisco Mayor and Assembly Speaker Willie Brown is no guarantee the signs will actually go up. Would the governor take such a public slap at one of the state's senior Democrats - not to mention the NAACP, main backer of the renaming - over a largely symbolic measure? The governor's office isn't saying "yes," but it isn't saying "no," either - a spokesman declined to say anything about a state Senate vote Thursday giving the measure final approval. Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, who just announced he is running for the Assembly, was decidedly more noncommittal, saying he hadn't received many calls or e-mails on the subject and was "looking forward" to hearing from his constituents. The renaming resolution, which covers the bridge from Yerba Buena Island to San Francisco, was co-authored by San Francisco Democratic Assemblyman Phil Ting and was a t...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Jerry Brown opposes renaming span for Willie Brown
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
On the eve of a state Senate vote that would give final legislative approval to the idea, Gov. Jerry Brown has come out against renaming the western span of the Bay Bridge in honor of former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Lawmakers and other sources have been saying privately for days that the governor was unhappy about naming the western span after the former mayor and Assembly speaker and current Chronicle columnist. The governor reportedly noted that the Legislature's rules forbid naming roadways after living people, although lawmakers have ignored that ban repeatedly. Despite his objections, lawmakers say there appears to be every indication the Senate will approve the nonbinding resolution, which has already passed the Assembly on a 68-0 vote. Normally talkative Bay Area politicians are privately expressing consternation over the idea of renaming the bridge in honor of Willie Brown, given the outcry the suggestion has prompted on his home turf. With the tense relations be...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Public often ignores officially designated names
San Francisco Chronicle - over 4 years
While campaigns to name it officially for Emperor Norton or Mayor Sunny James Rolph failed, the effort to name it after former mayor and Assembly speaker and current Chronicle columnist Willie Brown has already passed the Assembly 68-0, and could be voted on by the Senate as soon as Wednesday. [...] while lawmakers like to name things, it's up to the public whether the name becomes commonly used. John Goodwin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, said he thinks many drivers don't pay attention to official names, which are usually marked with green-and-white signs that are paid for by donors. Caldecott, a name now associated with frequent gridlock, at least until a fourth bore opens in a couple of months, was Thomas Caldecott, an Alameda County supervisor and president of the joint highway district that built the first two bores of the modern tunnel beneath the Oakland hills. Not named for BusterThe Posey Tube, which carries Oakland-bound traffic beneath the ...
Article Link:
 San Francisco Chronicle article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Willie Brown
    LATE ADULTHOOD
  • 2015
    Age 80
    In early 2015, Brown was named to the board of directors of the San Francisco-based biopharmaceutical company Global Blood Therapeutics.
    More Details
  • 2013
    Age 78
    In September 2013, the western span of the Bay Bridge was officially named for Willie Brown.
  • 2009
    Age 74
    In 2009, Brown was defending general construction contractor Monica Ung, 49 of Alamo, California.
    More Details
  • 2008
    Age 73
    On July 20, 2008, Brown began writing a column for the San Francisco Chronicle, a move that has drawn the ire of some Chronicle staffmembers and ethicists for the failure to disclose the multiple conflicts of interest Brown has.
    On February 5, 2008, Simon & Schuster released Brown's hardcover autobiography, Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times, with collaborator P. J. Corkery.
    More Details
    Brown remained neutral throughout the 2008 presidential campaign.
    More Details
  • 2006
    Age 71
    After leaving the mayor's office, Brown considered running for the State Senate but ultimately declined. From January 2006 through September 2006, Brown hosted a morning radio show with comedian Will Durst on a local San Francisco Air America Radio affiliate.
    More Details
  • 2003
    Age 68
    He also played himself in two Disney films, George of the Jungle and The Princess Diaries, and the 2003 Universal release Hulk as the mayor of San Francisco.
  • 2001
    Age 66
    Although scheduled on a flight to New York City the day of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Brown received an alert from his SFO security detail and cancelled.
  • 2000
    Age 65
    Brown later appeared in 2000's Just One Night as a judge.
  • 1999
    Age 64
    The 1999 mayoral race was the subject of the documentary See How They Run.
    Brown's opponents in his 1999 mayoral reelection campaign were former Mayor Frank Jordan and Clint Reilly.
    More Details
  • 1998
    Age 63
    The FBI further investigated Brown from 1998 to 2003 over his appointees at the Airport Commission for potential conflicts of interests.
    More Details
    In 1998 Brown arranged for Carpeneti to obtain a rent-free office in the city-owned Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Between then and 2003, a period that spans the birth of their daughter, Carpeneti was paid an estimated $2.33 million by nonprofit groups and political committees controlled by then Mayor Brown and his friends.
    More Details
    In 1998, Brown was Mayor during the summer of the Muni meltdown as Muni implemented the new ATC system and Brown promised riders there would be better times ahead.
    More Details
    In 1998, Brown wrote a letter to President Clinton urging him to halt a federal lawsuit aimed at closing medical marijuana clubs.
    More Details
  • 1997
    Age 62
    In 1997, Brown approved San Francisco Police Department Chief Fred Lau's plan to conduct a crackdown on the rides, calling them "a terrible demonstration of intolerance". and "an incredible display of arrogance."
    More Details
    Brown helped mediate a settlement to the 1997 BART strike.
    More Details
    In November 1997, he requested nighttime helicopter searches in Golden Gate Park.
    More Details
    He helped to oversee the settling of a two-day garbage strike in April 1997.
    More Details
  • 1996
    Age 61
    In 1996, more than two thirds of San Franciscans approved of Brown's job performance.
    More Details
    According to the New York Times, Brown was one of the nation’s few liberal big city mayors when he was elected in 1996.
    Brown served as San Francisco mayor from January 8, 1996 until January 8, 2004.
    More Details
  • 1995
    Age 60
    In 1995, Brown ran for Mayor of San Francisco.
    More Details
    Brown regained control in 1995 by making a deal with Republican defectors Doris Allen and Brian Setencich, both of whom were elected Speaker by the Democratic minority.
    He continued to be reelected to the Assembly until 1995.
  • FIFTIES
  • 1992
    Age 57
    Brown held the 1992 state budget for 63 days until Governor Pete Wilson added another US$1.1 billion for public schools.
    More Details
    Brown gained a reputation for knowing what was occurring in the state legislature at all times. In 1992, he gave US$1.18 million to the Democratic Party to help with voter registration and several campaigns, some of which was from contributions from tobacco companies and insurance companies.
    More Details
  • 1990
    Age 55
    Partially to remove Brown from his leadership position, a state constitutional amendment initiative was proposed and passed by the electorate in 1990, imposing term limits on state legislators.
    More Details
    In 1990, Brown helped negotiate an end to a 64-day budget standoff.
    More Details
  • FORTIES
  • 1984
    Age 49
    He also made a cameo appearance in the 1984 Jefferson Starship music video Layin' It on the Line (depicting a futuristic 1988 presidential campaign).
    More Details
  • 1981
    Age 46
    Brown was California's first African American Speaker of the Assembly, and served in the office from 1981 to 1995.
  • 1980
    Age 45
    He won the Speakership in 1980 with 28 Republican and 23 Democratic votes.
  • 1977
    Age 42
    Similarly, he voted against AB 607, which banned same-sex marriage in 1977, further building his reputation as a supporter of the civil rights of gays and lesbians.
    More Details
  • 1975
    Age 40
    From 1975 to 1978, Brown supported the Peoples Temple, led by Jim Jones, while it was being investigated for alleged criminal wrongdoing.
    More Details
    In 1975, Willie Brown authored and lobbied the successful passing of the Consenting Adult Sex Bill that legalized homosexuality in California, thus earning the strong and lasting support of San Francisco's gay community.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1972
    Age 37
    He lost his bid for the speakership in 1972.
    In 1972, he delivered a speech at the Democratic National Convention.
  • 1969
    Age 34
    He became the Democrats' Assembly whip in 1969.
    More Details
  • TWENTIES
  • 1964
    Age 29
    Brown was one of four African Americans in the Assembly in 1964.
  • 1962
    Age 27
    He lost the election to the California State Assembly in 1962 by 600 votes before winning a second election in 1964.
  • 1958
    Age 23
    In September 1958, Brown married Blanche Vitero, with whom he had three children, Susan, Robin, and Michael. He has four grandchildren, Besia, Matea, Mateo, and Lordes, and a step-granddaughter, Tyler. The couple separated in approximately 1976 but remain married.
    More Details
    Brown earned a J.D. in 1958 and was class president at Hastings.
  • 1955
    Age 20
    Brown earned a bachelor's degree in political science from San Francisco State College in 1955.
    More Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1951
    Age 16
    He graduated from MacFarland High School, an all-black school he later described as substandard, and left for San Francisco in August 1951 at the age of 17 to live with his uncle.
    More Details
    Brown was born in Mineola, Texas and attended a segregated high school. He moved to San Francisco in 1951, attending San Francisco State University and graduating in 1955 with a degree in liberal studies.
    More Details
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1934
    Born
    Born on March 20, 1934.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining or making a decision about a person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing (tenant screening), or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. Spokeo gathers information from public sources, which may not be complete, comprehensive, accurate, or up-to-date, so do not use this service as a substitute for your own due diligence, especially if you have concerns about a person's criminal history. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered.