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Reader Quiz: Which Willie Brown Quotes Are Stranger Than Fiction? 

Wednesday, Feb 13 2008

Former Assembly speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown just released his memoir, Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times. Try to guess which of the following excerpts are from the colorful Brown's new book.

1. "A contribution buys the contributor nothing. There can never be a quid pro quo. There can never be a situation in which people think they had created a quid pro quo."

2. On his unusual marriage: "My wife, Blanche, and I have been married for 50 years. We haven't lived together in 25, but we're still close."

3. On flaunting his open marriage in public: "I've known and appeared with many women during my 50 years of married life and I have never been ostracized or barred from full participation in the social environment because I was with a variety of women."

4. On his wife hearing a rumor before his inauguration that he was going to marry a girlfriend: "Declared Blanche, 'Listen, she may have him at the moment, but come inauguration day and he's up there on the platform being sworn in, I'll be the bitch holding the Bible.' Blanche has always kept our family together."

5. On his campaign promises in 1995: "I made my share of bloopers. ... The worst, in the days before I became mayor, was to fix Muni 'within one hundred days.' It was the typical sort of dumb thing that a politician says when he doesn't know any better or isn't thinking."

6. "Willie Brown has always been attracted to women, although I did 'experiment' once. I was at Jack Davis' infamous birthday bash drinking whiskey from one of the few bottles not being used by the performers to sodomize each other. ... I must have had too much to consume, because the next thing I know, I'm up on the stage making passionate love to a Marshall amplifier."

7. "You really shouldn't try to get through a public day wearing just one thing. ... Sometimes, I change clothes four times a day."

8. On DiFi's wardrobe: "Then there's Dianne Feinstein, who also has the resources for high fashion, but that's not her route. ... While she never looks sloppy, she sometimes looks hit or miss, as if she were caught between seasons."

9. "My own view is that a mayor should serve one term, and that term should be ten years."

10. "I have never countenanced corruption in the statehouse or City Hall, and have done much to stop it — but I haven't resorted to whistle-blowing."

11. "Many more people today remember that I was in one of [Francis Ford] Coppola's Godfather movies than remember the [FBI] investigations."

12. On a meeting he had with S.F. gang leaders: "I sat down with these people and told them, 'You want to do your killings? Do it in Oakland. Do it in Richmond. Do it elsewhere. But don't do killing in San Francisco. It reflects badly on a black mayor.'"

13. "I moved freely in black and white worlds. Indeed, it was not surprising to find myself being chauffeured by white folks, even white Republicans."

14. "I was always careful to maintain positive media relations. Herb Caen was a personal friend. I regularly spoke to columnist Phil Matier and the other guy who isn't Phil Matier. Phil Bronstein and I tag-teamed Sharon Stone together."

1) Yes.
2) Yes.
3) Mm-hmm.
4.) Yes.
5) Yes, and it was a dumb thing to say.
6) No.
7) Yes.
8) Yes, and he's right.
9) Yes. Seriously.
10) Yes. Seriously.
11) Yes. But what's worse: being remembered as a crooked politician or for doing a cameo in the worst Godfather movie?
12) Yes.
13) Yes.
14) A little birdie says no.

About The Author

Will Harper


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