Lech Walesa Street Renamed Dr. Tom Waddell Place

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors voted unanimously today to change the name of Lech Walesa Street to Dr. Tom Waddell Place.

Supervisor Jane Kim proposed the name change earlier this year after Lech Walesa, a Polish politician who won the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize after co-founding the Solidarity independent trade movement, said publicly that gay people should not hold prominent political positions.

Tom Waddell was a local gay activist who created the Gay Olympics, later renamed the Gay Games, and worked at a health center on the street that now bears his name. Waddell died of AIDS in 1987 at the age of 49.

The change “in no way takes away from Lech Walesa’s achievements,” Kim said when she introduced the proposal. “However, his recent comments are not representative of the city I’m a part of and its values of inclusiveness.”

The Tom Waddell Health Center includes a transgender clinic and “serves our most vulnerable and low-income residents,” Kim said.

The street is a small alleyway located between Grove and Hayes streets and Van Ness Avenue and Polk Street. The streets signs will continue to read “Lech Walesa Street” in smaller letters under the new name for a five-year transitional period.

Drew Himmelstein, Bay City News

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  • bear on the peaks

    San Francisco is full of streets named for people who were not saints. Is Jane Kim going to change the name of Anza Street or Palou Avenue? Jane Kim is an opportunist who should devote her time to keeping San Francisco clean and safe. She represents the Tenderloin, doesn’t she. Maybe she should start there!

  • njudah

    This is just cheap BS the Supervisors engage in so when it comes time to pump crappy junk mail at election time, voters will say “gosh, what a great gal that Jane Kim is she has my vote!” without actually knowing anything about City politics or Kim’s record on things that matter. Works EVERY time!