Petition to name the
Emperor Norton Bay Bridge
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Creative Commons
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The photo of Emperor Norton I is in the public
Joshua A. Norton aka Emperor Norton I, a beloved and colorful character in
gold rush San Francisco, proposed that a bridge be built between San
Francisco and the Bay area.  The San Francisco -- Oakland Bay Bridge was
finally constructed decades later.  In 2013, writer John Lumea started a
to rename the bridge “The Emperor Norton Bay Bridge.”

There have been two recent campaigns to name all, or parts, of the Bay Bridge
for Emperor Norton, who in 1872 called for the construction of a suspension
bridge between San Francisco and Oakland, via Yerba Buena Island (formerly
Goat Island).

In November 2004, after a campaign by San Francisco Chronicle cartoonist Phil
Frank, then-San Francisco District 3 Supervisor Aaron Peskin introduced a
resolution to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors calling for the entire
bridge to be named for Emperor Norton.

On 14 December 2004, the Board approved a modified version of this
resolution, calling for only "new additions" — i.e., the new eastern span — to be
named "The Emperor Norton Bridge". Neither the City of Oakland nor Alameda
County passed any similar resolution, so the effort went no further.

In June 2013, nine members of the California State Assembly, joined by two
members of the California State Senate, introduced Assembly Concurrent
Resolution No. 65 (ACR 65) to name the western span of the bridge for former
California Assembly Speaker and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown.

In response, there have been two online petitions seeking to revive the earlier
Emperor Norton effort.

A petition launched in July 2013 and drafted by John Ginn called for the western
span of the bridge to be named for Emperor Norton. The petition attracted 500-
plus signatures before closing in September 2013.

A second, ongoing petition, drafted by John Lumea, was launched in August
2013, and — echoing Aaron Peskin's original 2004 resolution — calls for the
entire bridge to be named "The Emperor Norton Bay Bridge". This petition has
received coverage from the San Francisco Bay Guardian SFist, Laughing Squid,
and The Raw Story, as well as from Mozilla and Netscape co-founder Jamie

Plaques honoring the contributions of both Rolph and Norton exist. The Rolph
plaque, originally placed at the west end of the bridge in San Francisco, was
moved to the corner of Fifth and Bryant Streets in 1986 and removed entirely by
Caltrans in 2006.

As of this posting at 13.57 UTC
4 Oct. 2016 it has exactly 5,375
signatures.  Add yours!