SF Chronicle: California senators seek to rename S.F. post office near Embarcadero after Dianne Feinstein

By Shira Stein

A U.S. post office near the Embarcadero could be named after the late Sen. Dianne Feinstein, whose advocacy helped shape the texture of San Francisco’s waterfront.

San Francisco’s California Sens. Alex Padilla and Laphonza Butler introduced a bill Monday to rename the post office at 180 Steuart St. the “Dianne Feinstein Post Office.” Congress often names post offices in honor of important individuals, usually after they die, and efforts to do so are typically without controversy.

“Senator Feinstein was a towering figure not just in modern California politics, but in the history of our state and our nation,” Padilla said in a statement. “Just as she had a keen ability to bridge divides and connect with people from all walks of life, our local post offices symbolize the importance of keeping Americans connected. It is only fitting that we celebrate her memory by dedicating an institution essential to a functioning and fair democracy in her name.”

The Steuart Street post office is just around the corner from the Embarcadero, overlooking the Bay Bridge and just blocks from the Ferry Building. It’s in the Rincon Center, which served as the city’s largest postal distribution center for several decades and whose development Feinstein oversaw as mayor.

Feinstein had an active interest in the physical texture of San Francisco during her life. As a city supervisor, she was a key opponent to a proposal by U.S. Steel to build a 40-story tower next to the Ferry Building.

While at City Hall, Feinstein sought to tear down the double-deck Embarcadero Freeway that then severed downtown from the bay — “if I have to become totally gray-haired in the process,” she told reporters in 1973. She was unsuccessful as mayor, but when the Loma Prieta earthquake damaged the highway, she was present to watch demolition begin — exultantly telling onlookers, “It just needed that push from Mother Nature.”

“I stand on the shoulder of giants like Senator Feinstein who as the first woman Senator for California, served her country with grace and fortitude,” Butler said in a statement. “Renaming the 180 Steuart Street post office in her honor is just one of the many ways we can celebrate her remarkable legacy of service.”

Since her death in September, California officials have sought to honor Feinstein by proposing to rename a redwood forest trail, San Francisco International Airport’s International Terminal and landmark legislation to authorize funding for Lake Tahoe’s conservation in her honor.

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