Vignette > Mill Valley’s Senator

In 1976, a political outsider who lived at 225 Eldridge was elected to the US senate. He won an unexpected victory in the Republican primary. He defeated the incumbent Democratic senator John Tunney. Many California voters knew that in 1968 Professor Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa had restored order to the San Francisco State University campus.  There had been a bitter student strike aimed at establishing an ethnic studies program. The strike was led by the Third World Liberation Front, Students for a Democratic Society, the Black Panthers and the counter cultural community. Hayakawa became popular with conservative voters after he pulled the wires out from the loud speakers on a protesters’ van at an outdoor rally. Hayakawa was otherwise known for his book, Language in Action published in 1941. It popularized semantics, and was in many respects a response to the dangers of Hitler’s propaganda. An expanded book, Language and Thought and Action published in 1949 is now in its fifth edition. He lectured at the University of Wisconsin, 1936-1939, and taught semantics at Illinois Institute of Technology, 1939-1948, University of Chicago, 1950-1955, and San Francisco State University, 1955 -1968. He was president of San Francisco State until he retired in 1973.