I am willing to reluctantly accept the re-naming of privately owned sports and concert venues in honor of their corporate benefactors, but publicly owned landmarks are quite another thing. This is commercialism and corporatism at its worst.
Bridge spokeswoman Mary Currie is very careful to point out that there will be no new name signs attached directly to the bridge (or toll booths) itself:
"This is not a naming rights deal. It's more of a behind-the-scenes, low-key, corporate partnership, much like the Proud Partners Program in the national parks."If you're not familiar with the "Proud Partners Program", they're the ones responsible for signs saying "This trail brought to you by Ford" in our historic national parks. My personal opinion? Hiking trails with ads for Ford are offensive in nature preserves supposedly paid for by my tax dollars.
Back when the U.S. manned space program was started, it was based in Cape Canaveral, Florida. After the death of President Kennedy, it was re-named Cape Kennedy to honor his support of the space program. Local residents rebelled. They successfully argued that the Cape Canaveral name had historical significance. The areas is now the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral. A reasonable compromise.
This was the precedent I remembered years ago when Candlestick Park was re-named for a corporate sponsor. Candlestick was named because the piece of land it was built on had been referred to as the Candlestick for well over a century. But corporate interests won out over historical memory.
The Golden Gate Bridge is also named after a geographic feature, and not the color of the paint as is usually assumed. Settlers had always referred to that section of land and bay, from the top of the SF Peninsula across to the Marin Headlands, where the Pacific flows into the great inland sea of the SF Bay, as the "Golden Gate."
So, here's my plan to fight back. I want to sponsor the bridge. I figure most people will hardly even notice the change in name from "Golden Gate" to "Goldstein Gate." I'll need to go in with a bid of at least $5 million. Now, obviously, I don't have $5 million available.
If you'd like to help out, you can use PayPal to send me your donations. Just send whatever you can and mark the donation "Buy a Bridge for Freedom!" Thanks for your help.