Bridge sponsorship proposal goes before board today

A move to allow partial corporate sponsorship of the Golden Gate Bridge will go before the bridge’s board of directors as an informational presentation today instead of a vote.

The plan, essentially, is to allow the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District to accept about $4 million in corporate money in exchange for allowing the placement of logos in specified areas of the bridge’s visitor’s center and other locations not on the bridge itself.

The district and its consultant, Novato-based Sponsorship Strategies LLP, say naming rights will not be given up, nor will advertising be allowed on the bridge. Some groups and politicians worry that the sponsorship plan could start the bridge district down a slippery slope.

“While we understand that the district is not planning to sell naming rights to the bridge or place advertising on the span, we remain extremely concerned that any attempt to commercialize the bridge will tarnish its beauty and value,” Marcie Keever, program director for San Francisco Beautiful, said at an Aug. 25 meeting.

The board initially heard the proposal as a presentation to the Governmental Affairs and Public Information Committee, which voted to send the plan to the board as a whole, originally scheduled for today. However, that hearing was rescheduled to Oct. 26 and an informational presentation was scheduled in its place.

After the August meeting, Supervisor Jake McGoldrick, who represents the Richmond district and sits on the bridge’s board of directors, introduced legislation at City Hall in an attempt to block the sponsorship bid. That legislation has not yet been voted on by the Board of Supervisors.

The bridge district is seeking public comment on the sponsorship plan. The presentation is available on the district’s Web site, at www.goldengatebridge.org. Comments can be sent to bridgecomments@goldengate.org.

amartin@examiner.com

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