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Willie Brown is a politician who became the first African-American speaker of the California State Assembly in 1980. He later served as mayor of San Francisco.
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During his two terms, Brown helped usher in a renaissance in his adopted city. City Hall was restored, new development projects gave old neighborhoods major facelifts, and tech money fueled a huge spike in real estate prices. In addition, Brown made a point of packing City Hall with an increasingly diverse staff.
But Brown, a relentless fundraiser, had his critics. Allegations of corruption followed him,
as his political opponents alleged that the awarding of jobs and contracts was driven by cronyism.
After leaving City Hall in 2004, Brown briefly co-hosted a radio talk show and established an institute on public service and politics.
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