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He appeared in nearly 70 films and starred in several television productions during a career that spanned more than four decades. Although Hudson was discreet about his privacy throughout his life, the fact that he was homosexual was known in the film industry. His sexual orientation became public knowledge following his death from AIDS -related complications in , making him the first major celebrity to die from an AIDS-related illness. Hudson was born Roy Harold Scherer, Jr. Hudson then moved to Los Angeles to live with his biological father, who had remarried,  and to pursue an acting career.
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Willie Lewis Brown Jr. Brown served over 30 years in the California State Assembly , spending 15 years as its speaker and later 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 be permitted to have a longer tenure than Brown's. He spent several years in private practice before getting elected to the California Assembly in in his second attempt.
Brown became the Democrats' whip in then speaker in He was known for his ability to manage colleagues and maintain party discipline. During the last of his three allowed post-initiative terms, Brown maintained control of the Assembly despite a slim GOP majority by gaining the vote of several Republicans. Near the end of his final term, Brown left the legislature and became mayor of San Francisco.
Brown served as San Francisco mayor from January 8, until January 8, His tenure was marked by a significant increase in real estate development, public works, city beautification and other large-scale city projects. He presided over the " dot-com " era at a time when San Francisco's economy was rapidly expanding. Brown presided over the city's most diverse administration with more Asian-Americans, women, Latinos, gays and African-Americans than his predecessors.
Many members of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors opposed some of Brown's agenda and some of his initiatives, in particular office and housing development. After being 'termed out' of the mayor's office, Brown officially retired from politics, although he had often been associated with former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger , who served for seven years after the end of Brown's mayoral tenure,   and continues to participate in fundraising for and advising other politicians.
Brown was born on March 20,  in Mineola , a small segregated town in east Texas marked by racial tensions,  to Minnie Collins Boyd and Lewis Brown. Brown was the fourth of five children. His first job was a shoeshine boy in a whites-only barber shop. McFarland High School , which he later described as substandard and left for San Francisco in August at the age of 17 to live with his uncle.
Brown originally wanted to attend Stanford University. His interviewer from Stanford was a faculty member at San Francisco State College and was surprised by Brown's ambition. Although Brown did not meet the qualifications for Stanford or San Francisco State, the professor facilitated Brown's admission to the latter school on probation. Brown worked as a doorman, janitor and shoe salesman to pay for college. Brown is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. Brown earned a bachelor's degree in political science from San Francisco State in Brown attended University of California, Hastings College of the Law where he also worked as a janitor to pay for law school.
He also has four grandchildren: Besia, Matea, Mateo and Lordes, and a step-granddaughter, Tyler. During the late s and early s, Brown was one of a few African-Americans practicing law in San Francisco when he opened his own business. He quickly became involved in the Civil Rights Movement , leading a well-orchestrated sit-in to protest housing discrimination after a local real estate office refused to work with him because of his race.
His role in the protests gave him the notoriety to run for the State Assembly. Brown was one of four African Americans in the Assembly in The other three African American members were Mervyn M. Dymally, F. Douglas Ferrell, Byron Rumford. In the s, Brown served as the Chair of the Legislative Representation Committee, a powerful Assembly position that helped Brown climb the Assembly ranks. He lost his bid for the speakership in In , 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.
Similarly, he voted against AB , which banned same-sex marriage in , further building his reputation as a supporter of the civil rights of gays and lesbians. During the s, Brown continued to expand his legal practice, including the representation of several major real estate developers. He won the Speakership in with 28 Republican and 23 Democratic votes.
Brown was California's first African American Speaker of the Assembly, and served in the office from to In , Brown helped negotiate an end to a day budget standoff. In , Brown gained the vote of a few Republicans to maintain the Speakership when the Democrats lost control of the Assembly to the Republicans led by Jim Brulte. Brown regained control in by making a deal with Republican defectors Doris Allen and Brian Setencich , both of whom were elected Speaker by the Democratic minority.
There was speculation the two would marry, but Brown broke up with her shortly after being elected Mayor of San Francisco. Brown's long service in the Assembly and political connections, his strong negotiation skills, and the Assembly's tenure system for leadership appointments, combined to give Brown nearly complete control over the California Legislature by the time he became Assembly Speaker. Brown was extremely popular in his home of San Francisco, though less so in the rest of the state.
Partially to remove Brown from his leadership position, a state constitutional amendment initiative was proposed and passed by the electorate in , imposing term limits on state legislators. Brown gained a reputation for knowing what was occurring in the state legislature at all times. As Speaker, he worked to defeat the Three Strikes Law. Critics have claimed Brown did not do enough to raise the legislature's ethical standards or to protect the environment.
Brown helped attain state funds for San Francisco, including funding for public health and mental health funds. Brown had a reputation in the Assembly for his ability to manage people. Brown attained the vote of Doris Allen by treating her with the respect she thought she deserved. Republican State Senator Ken Maddy of Fresno noted Brown's ability to "size up the situation and create, sometimes on the spot, a winning strategy.
He knew exactly how to hold the hand of his Assembly members. He dominated California politics like no other politician in the history of the state". From to , Brown supported the Peoples Temple , led by Jim Jones , while it was being investigated for alleged criminal wrongdoing. Brown attended the Temple perhaps a dozen times and served as master of ceremonies at a testimonial dinner for Jones where he stated in his introduction "[l]et me present to you a combination of Martin King, Angela Davis, Albert Einstein Chairman Mao.
In , Brown ran for Mayor of San Francisco. In his announcement speech, Brown said San Francisco needed a "resurrection" and that he would bring the "risk-taking leadership" the city needed. Brown gained the support of Supervisor Roberta Achtenberg who had placed third in the first round of voting. Brown campaigned on working to address poverty and problems with Muni. He called Jordan the "inept bumbler" and criticized his leadership. Jordan criticized Brown for his relations with special interests during his time in the State Assembly.
Brown's inaugural celebration included an open invitation party with 10, attendees and local restaurants providing 10, meals to the homeless. He delivered his inaugural address without notes and led the orchestra in " Stars and Stripes Forever ". He arrived at the event in a horse-drawn carriage. In , more than two thirds of San Franciscans approved of Brown's job performance. He helped to oversee the settling of a two-day garbage strike in April Brown tried to develop a plan for universal health care , but there wasn't enough in the budget to do so.
Brown's opponents in his mayoral reelection campaign were former Mayor Frank Jordan and Clint Reilly. Brown won reelection by a 20 percent margin. He was supported by most major developers and business interests. Brown repeatedly claimed that Ammiano would raise taxes. President Clinton recorded a telephone message on Brown's behalf. Although scheduled on a flight to New York City the day of the September 11, attacks , Brown received an alert from his SFO security detail and cancelled.
After learning of the attacks, he ordered the city to close schools and courts, concerned over the potential for terrorist attacks in the city, and recommended to representatives of the Bank of America Tower and Transamerica Pyramid that they should also close. In February , Brown's appointed Police Chief, Earl Sanders , and several top officials at the San Francisco Police Department were arrested for conspiring to obstruct the police investigation into an incident involving off-duty officers that was popularly called " Fajitagate ".
Brown ended San Francisco's policy of punishing people for feeding the homeless. San Francisco continued to enforce its policy regarding the conduct of the homeless in public places. San Francisco, then the United States' 13th largest city, had the nation's third largest homeless population at a peak of 16, In , Brown approved the Equal Benefits Ordinance that required city contractors to provide domestic partner benefits to their employees. One of Brown's central campaign promises was his "Day Plan for Muni ," in which he boasted he would fix the city's municipal bus system in that many days.
Brown claimed the program helped reduce crime. In , 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. A voter approved initiative in the following year would help improve Muni services. Brown increased Muni's budget by tens of millions of dollars over his tenure.
Brown helped mediate a settlement to the BART strike. During his first term as mayor, Brown quietly favored the demolition and abolition of the Transbay Terminal  to accommodate the redevelopment of the site for market-rate housing. Following the termination of streetcar service in , the terminal has seen continuous service as a major bus facility for East Bay commuters; AC Transit buses transport riders from the terminal directly into neighborhoods throughout the inner East Bay.
The terminal also serves passengers traveling to San Mateo County and the North Bay aboard SamTrans and Golden Gate Transit buses respectively, and to tourists arriving by bus motorcoach. Today, the terminal is being planned for redevelopment as a region wide mass transit hub maintaining the current bus services, but with a new tunnel that would extend the Caltrain commuter rail line from its current terminus at Fourth and Townsend Streets to the site.
Once completed, Caltrain riders would no longer need to transfer to Muni in order to reach the downtown financial district. Additionally, the heavy rail portion of the terminal would be designed to accommodate the planned High Speed Rail lines to Los Angeles. In , The Berkeley, California -based Bicycle Civil Liberties Union, produced a two-hour documentary film in the muckraker journalism tradition, July Since , cyclists riding in San Francisco's monthly Critical Mass bicycle rides had used the "corking" technique at street intersections to block rush-hour cross-traffic.
On the 10th anniversary of Critical Mass on September 27, , the city officially closed down four blocks to automobile traffic for the annual Car-Free Day Street Fair.
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Willie Lewis Brown Jr. Brown served over 30 years in the California State Assembly , spending 15 years as its speaker and later 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 be permitted to have a longer tenure than Brown's. He spent several years in private practice before getting elected to the California Assembly in in his second attempt. Brown became the Democrats' whip in then speaker in He was known for his ability to manage colleagues and maintain party discipline.
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