Today, in celebration of his 90th birthday, Tony Bennett was on hand in San Francisco to receive a well-deserved tribute: the unveiling of a larger-than-life statue of him in front of the Fairmont Hotel, where he made his San Francisco debut in 1954 — and where he introduced his immortal signature song, "I Left My Heart in San Francisco," in 1961.
Bennett was given the tribute because — although he wasn't born in San Francisco, and although he never lived here — he was a true San Franciscan.
Emperor Norton is another gentleman who — like Tony Bennett — became a true San Franciscan by loving the city and being loved in return.
It is long past time for Emperor Norton to be honored with a tribute that rises to the level. A tribute that recognizes the Emperor for setting out the original vision for the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and for being one of the earliest champions of the values of openness, tolerance, fair play and the common good that came to be identified with San Francisco, Oakland and the Bay Area — and that celebrates him for doing all of this with the whimsical and irrepressible style that is the hallmark of his adopted city.