Former San Francisco mayor stops by to talk politics

Laughter and lightheartedness filled the air in the McKinney theatre last Thursday, as students got a chance to hear one of the most well known Californians speak about life and his experiences.

The Honorable Willie Brown, former mayor of San Francisco, came to speak in the McKinney Theatre Feb. 21 at noon to a full house. Brown came and spoke to students and community members. He also talked about his newly published book, ‘Basic Brown: My Life and Our Times.’

The event began with Lee Haggerty presenting Brown to a crowd of waiting audience members, eager to hear from such a well-known member of the political field.

After about a half an hour of Brown speaking, a question and answer portion began, giving audience members a chance to ask the politician any question they wanted. Finally, Brown had copies of his book available for purchasing and signing.

Browns book chronicles his amazing political career that spans four decades, his early years attending San Francisco State, among other schools, and how he got to where he is today.

Hillary Clinton’s agent who had helped with the former first ladies memoirs put the book together in part. Brown also helped to produce the book and said he had a very good time writing it.

Planning for this event by Saddleback staff has taken months of hard work and dedication. After contacting the law firm Brown works at, the school was referred to the Willie Brown Institute where they were able to work out arrangements for him to speak.

The planning began in late Oct., early Nov., when flyers began being made and everything was put into motion.

“It was a good turnout. Only sporadic seats were empty,” said Norma Yanni, the Chair of the African-American History Month Celebrations Committee.

There was barely an empty seat in the house.

“I was happy it was full, especially since it was a ticketed event,” Yanni said.

The students seemed excited and deeply intrigued by Brown’s speech.

“He was better than Terrell Fletcher,” said Chelsea Hansen, 20, psychology major. “He was so motivational and he was very friendly too.”

Brown wowed the crowd with stories of his terms in office and witty comments and jokes about his life and experiences.His energy was high and he spoke to the crowd as if they were old friends.

“It was kind of entertaining,” said Jennifer McDermott, 24, architectural design major. “The way he described politics was more entertaining. He explained how people could use information to their advantage.”

Audience members asked a range of questions from Brown’s take on the upcoming election, the state budget, and his advice for students.

“Education has been the cornerstone of my existence,” said Brown, when asked by one of the audience about advice he would give to today’s students on their education. “Education is probably the one thing that cannot be taken away.”The speech ended with a roar of applause.

Many of those in attendance stayed to purchase a copy of the book and have the former mayor autograph their copy, giving them the chance to see up close, and later read about the man that had given them his time.

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