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Grassroots Campaign to Rename the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge in Honor of Ronald Reagan Launches Today

Monday, January 31, 2011
posted by Vince Vasquez

With the 100th anniversary of Ronald Reagan’s birthday (February 6) only days away, one San Diego resident is officially launching a new proposal to rename the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge in honor of the 40th President of the United States.

Vince Vasquez, a San Diego County resident and think tank public policy analyst, has gathered more than 200 petition signatures in support of a Ronald Reagan Memorial Bridge in San Diego County. Vasquez intends to gather more than 1,000 signatures over the next few weeks on the Reagan-Coronado Memorial Bridge website,, and present them to elected officials shortly after the beginning of the Reagan Centennial Celebration.

“Throughout his life, Ronald Reagan had a special bond with San Diego, and he connected with thousands of local residents over three decades of public service,” said Vince Vasquez. “Dedicating a memorial bridge now is a fitting tribute to Reagan’s legacy, and an important education tool for future generations.”

Research completed this year found that Ronald Reagan’s ties to the San Diego region extended beyond his presidency:

  • The 1957 film “Hellcats of the Navy,” which featured Ronald Reagan and his future wife Nancy Davis, was filmed in San Diego. It was the only film that starred both Ron and Nancy.
  • On August 1969, then-Governor Reagan gave the dedication speech for the San Diego-Coronado Bridge.
  • Reagan was a frequent visitor to the Hotel Del Coronado during his terms as governor and president, and held events at the iconic hotel, including a meeting with the President of Mexico in 1986.
  • Reagan won the majority of votes in San Diego County in the 1966 and 1970 gubernatorial elections, as well as the 1980 and 1984 presidential elections.
  • Ronald Reagan ended both of his presidential campaigns in San Diego

California State Assemblyman Martin Garrick (R-Carlsbad) and State Senator Mark Wyland (R-San Diego) have expressed their support for the concept of the Ronald Reagan-Coronado Bridge.

“I’ve been encouraged by the groundswell of public support in San Diego for a Reagan Memorial Bridge,” said Vasquez. “President Reagan meant so much to San Diego, and he officially opened the Coronado Bridge to the public more than 40 years ago. Now is the time for a Reagan Memorial Bridge in our community. I’m confident that local elected officials will be supportive of a future bridge dedication.”


16 Responses to “Grassroots Campaign to Rename the San Diego-Coronado Bay Bridge in Honor of Ronald Reagan Launches Today”

  1. Srini Reddy says:

    Why would you want to rename the bridge to honor a bigoted ex-President ? Coronado Bridge is synonymous with the city of San Diego. If anything it should be renamed Kumeyaay Bridge to honor the Native Americans, whose lives we violated.

  2. Thor's Assistant Thor's Assistant says:

    Although as a rule we don’t tolerate name-calling on Rostra, we’ll let the previous comment stand. It speaks for itself. We’re also guessing that the description of the late President used by the commenter is in no way reflective of the opinion of any Kumeyaay tribal leaders, even those who may be of the opinion that the bridge shouldn’t be named for Reagan.

  3. Thor's Assistant Thor's Assistant says:

    The Union Tribune is covering this, with credit to Rostra for Vince’s entry above…

  4. Dan says:

    How about no. Mr. Reagan has enough objects and landmarks named after him, not the least of which are the CVN parked at the end of that same bridge, a major airport, and a library. It has been the Coronado Bridge for 42 years and that’s what it should remain. Just as Northern California rejected renaming Mt Diablo to Mt. Reagan last year so too should San Diego reject renaming our bridge after him. If you so desire to name something after Mr. Reagan, please find something else to rename, preferably something new that is not a long time landmark for a major US city.

  5. D7 Voter says:

    I’d be curious to hear Jim Schmidt’s thoughts on this proposal. Those of you who know Jim know he was Governor Reagan’s transportation advisor, and was instrumental in getting the bridge built – utilizing tolls to pay off the bonds. Jim stayed involved, fighting the good fight to finally have the toll eliminated once the bonds were paid off.

    Jim worked for Reagan and knew him well and he also knwws the history of this bridge probably better than anyone else. If Vasquez is serious about this effort, I certainly would encourage him to seek Jim’s input.

    Jim is a great guy, and when I was younger and just getting going in my career I really appreciated listening to, and learning from, him.

  6. Barry Jantz Barry Jantz says:

    D7: Great idea. I know Jim well. Vince, please let me know if I can connect the two of you.

  7. Thor's Assistant Thor's Assistant says:

    FlashReport hi-lites Vince’s effort on the mainpage (middle column, half-way down)…

  8. Oh boy! Another pressing issue to keep our politicians and press busy with trivia rather than fixing our systemic state and local problems.

    But, given the solutions these geniuses are coming up for such fiscal problems, we are likely better off with them wrestling with this momentous issue. I don’t think they can screw it up too badly, and a distracted politician is better than most of the “dedicated” politicos we put in office.

    And, BTW, does ANYONE think that the general population will call the bridge anything other than the “Coronado Bay Bridge”?

    I LOVE this stuff!

  9. TakeACloserLook says:

    Reagan changed this State, changed the country, then changed the World. Mr. Rider has occasionally changed his oil. In 1928 there were other folks who complained when San Diego Airport was renamed Lindbergh Field.

  10. Hi D7 Voter & Barry, please do put me in touch with Jim Schmidt. I’d be happy to chat with him about the Bridge Project!

  11. TakeaCloserLook — You lie! I’ve NEVER changed my oil!

    Not personally, anyway. Above my pay grade.

    But we AGREE on this issue. Rename the bridge. Rename lots of things. Over and over.

    Let’s keep the politicians entangled in such efforts. I love it!

    My only disappointment is that I didn’t suggest it first.

  12. Maria says:

    Please include two names to the list to rename the Coronado Bridge to Ronald Reagan

    William Morris

    Maria Morris

  13. John Mason says:

    The truth is the bridge was built by banker and philanthropist, JOHN S. ALESSIO (former owner of the Hotel Del Coronado) and GOV. EDMUND G. “PAT” BROWN, Jerry Brown’s father (the incoming governor, and a Democrat).

    I love Ronald Reagan and I am a Republican, BUT naming the Coronado bridge after him is inappropriate because credit is due elsewhere according to the facts. It would be like arbitrarily renaming the island, Reagan Island —

    Mr. Vazquez, as an economist, please pursue campaigns that will improve the economy, not frivolous self-serving projects. Thank you.

    Please do not report on these self-serving publicity stunts anymore. And if you do report on it, then consider the real men behind the bridge: entrepreneur & philanthropist John D. Spreckels (Hotel Del Coronado owner-emeritus), banker & philanthropist John S. Alessio (a rotarian president and Hotel Del Coronado owner-emeritus), and Governor Edmund Pat Brown. Thank you.

  14. D7 Voter says:

    Just saw this in the UT. Looks like Barry was able to connect Jim and Vince.

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