By Tuesday, a petition to change the name of Marin County’s Waldo Tunnel to honor the late comedian had gained more than 7,000 signatures and the attention of Assemblyman Marc Levine, whose district includes the familiar passage with the rainbow-striped entrance.
“His passing has affected so many people,” Levine told The San Francisco Examiner on Tuesday, “and I view this petition as a natural outpouring of feelings we all share.”
The tunnel, which covers U.S. Highway 101 from the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito, is unofficially named after William Waldo, a 19th-century California gubernatorial candidate.
Levine says the earliest he can introduce legislation proposing a name change is December, and he’d like to consult the Williams family.
“If we wish to honor his memory,” he said, “it’s important to allow those he was closest to to weigh in.”
He did note the tunnel’s natural connection to Williams, who made rainbow suspenders popular with the ’70s sitcom ““Mork and Mindy.”
“There’s a connection to the tunnel with the rainbows over them,” he said. “When I was a boy, I also had a pair.”
The Change.org petition proposes the name change “for the joy [Williams] brought to the world and to bring awareness to the silent illness that eventually took his life.”
Williams’ suicide came after decades of depression and addiction. Earlier this year, Levine introduced Assembly Bill 2198, which would require suicide-prevention training for mental health professionals. The bill cleared the Assembly on Tuesday and is going to the desk of Gov. Jerry Brown.
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