My power and prestige precede me, which allows access to inside information not intended for you plebes. Just the other day the mayor, Gavin Newsom, sent me a quick e-mail about what he’s been up to. I guess the cat’s been let out of the bag so it’s safe to say that he’s considering a run for governor when Arnold Schwarzenegger gets termed out. There’s an exploratory commission at work, feeling out the mood on the street, seeing what chances our native son has at ascending into the hallowed halls of Sacramento. Newsom himself has been on the move, spending less time at City Hall in lieu of places like Washington DC where he witnessed Barak Obama’s swearing-in (part one) and sat through a two-day Mayors conference. Now he’s in Switzerland and, after a quick four-day stay in Paris with his wife, Newsom has joined the global economic elite at the Davos forum.
Who’s footing the bill for this assessment of gubernatorial aspirations? That’s a good question and according to Chronicle muckrakers Matier & Ross the trip to DC, because of the Mayor’s summit, was a city expense that included whatever accommodations deigned appropriate for Newsom and two staff members, but the tally has yet to be made public. Private funds have sent Newsom and wife abroad, but what work isn’t being done while our mayor rubs elbows with the high profile talking heads of high finance? There’s no accounting for that sort of thing, but it is known that he has a member of SFPD keeping an eye on things overseas. In addition to world-class events Newsom has also be galavanting around the state to shake hands with commoners and possible squeeze dimes from their wallets. This is presumably handled by whatever campaign fund Newsom has already amassed but, as a sitting mayor, he is escorted to many places by our own cash-strapped police department.
But it takes money to make money, as evidenced by my very personal e-mail received from good old Gav. Using his life-altering experience of watching Obama being sworn in as a segue Newsom begins to rattle off his hopes and dreams of what can be done sitting in Sacramento; each bullet point is accompanied by a link asking if you’ll join us. Regardless of whether you’re into universal health care, climate change, schools or the economy the links all direct you to a sign up sheet so you can begin to receive personal pleas for contributions to purchase the sensation of participating in democratic change. That’s what this is all about, he summarized, we have made San Francisco a laboratory for change and he wants to take this experience state-wide.
Change? Scratch my head till I’m bleeding I can’t really recall all of the changes which have come into being as a result of our hard-working mayor and his benevolent intentions. As the sorely missed Phil Frank once bemoaned Newsom was too boring to really get into for a cartoonist, especially dragging the coattails of walking caricature Willie Brown. But periodically Newsom hits the headlines, gets talked about for a couple of days, and then disappears into the morass of news. Recently you may recall he’d been caught having an affair with his long-time friend and former campaign coordinator’s wife, confessed to having a drinking problem when it comes to wine, and had gotten married to some doe-eyed yearling after his original wife ditched his pomade for New York.
When Newsom was barreling towards City Hall his banner cause was homelessness, and the cure was Care Not Cash. The program, which was ultimately successful when put before voters, was quite controversial for its manner of re-arranging social services for the homeless. After protests and court battles the program went into full effect but, like Newsom himself, the progress of Care Not Cash has not been a consistent item in local headlines. What the hell happened to Newsom’s first salvo in the political war? I aims to find out.
Top image is from Gavin Newsom’s hold my hand online sign-up sheet; middle image is stolen from Orange Juice; bottom is the best reproduction of the e-mail as my limited capabilities allow.