Willie Brown gets the award, but SF Mayor London Breed gets the attention – San Francisco Chronicle
The NAACP’s ceremony in San Antonio honoring former Mayor Willie L. Brown for his lifetime achievement also turned into a national coming out party for new San Francisco Mayor London Breed.
“Everywhere she went, people were asking to take pictures with her,” said Chinatown activist David Ho, who was among the dozens of San Franciscans — many with ties to City Hall — who joined Breed in making the Texas trek to honor Brown, the city’s first black mayor and former speaker of the California Assembly.
“The only person who overshadowed her was Bill Clinton, and that was just for 10 minutes” while he introduced Brown on stage, Ho said.
Brown also made sure that Breed, whom he worked hard to help get elected mayor, got plenty of face time as well — taking her backstage at the San Antonio Convention Center to meet Clinton personally, and seating her alongside the former president at the banquet’s head table.
An estimated 2,000 people were on hand for the dinner, including about 80 from San Francisco — many of whom reflected the former mayor and current Chronicle columnist’s strong ties to City Hall.
Those who flew in to watch Brown receive the NAACP’s prestigious Spingarn Medal included City Administrator Naomi Kelly and her husband, San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly.
Businessman and developer Lawrence Lui and his wife, Asian Art Commission member Gorretti Lo Lui; were also there, as were media consultant P.J. Johnston and his lobbyist wife Karen; Airport Commissioner and former Brown Chief of Staff Eleanor Johns and and her husband, Historic Preservation Commission member Richard Johns; Airport Commissioner Linda Crayton, Port Commissioners Kimberly Brandon, Gail Gilman and Victor Makras; Fine Arts Museum Vice President (and former TV newswoman) Belva Davis; longtime mayoral chief of staff Steve Kawa and his partner, Dan Henkle; Rev. (and former San Francisco Supervisor) Amos Brown; mayoral special events director Martha Cohen; deputy protocol chief Matthew Goudeau; lobbyist-businessman Darius Anderson, lobbyist Chris Gruwell and Brown lawyer and business associate Steven Kay.
One face to keep an eye on in the crowd was San Francisco Police Commander David Lazar, a rumored contender to replace Chief William Scott someday. Lazar, who was with the Chinatown contingent in San Antonio, has become a regular at local political gatherings of late, including showing up for a banquet at the New Asia resturant honoring Breed the night after her election.
Incidentally, for all the attention showered on Breed, Brown and Clinton, we’re told conventioneers staying at the the San Antonio Grand Hyatt saved most of their star gazing for the swarm of teenage girls who descended on the hotel to compete in the Miss Teen America pageant.
San Francisco Chronicle columnists Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross appear Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays. Matier can be seen on the KPIX TV morning and evening news. He can also be heard on KCBS radio Monday through Friday at 7:50 a.m. and 5:50 p.m. Got a tip? Call 415-777-8815, or email matierandross@ sfchronicle.com. Twitter: @matierandross