Gavin Newsom, Please Go Away

Having been rebuffed in his quest for the Governorship of California, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is now setting his sights on the number two job in the state and will announce that he is a candidate for Lt. Governor. Frankly, it's time that Gavin Newsom goes away, runs his wine business, raises his daughter and seeks massive amounts of therapy. The antipathy is personal and if he doesn't get that well then he's more clueless than we thought. His tenure as mayor of this fair city has been nothing short of a disaster. Instead of running this city and doing the job he was elected to do, he has spent the last two years plus seeking higher office. Singlehandedly, he has turned half of San Franciscans into Chris Daly fans, a feat I would have thought impossible. The most compelling reason to have Gavin Newsom elected Lt. Governor is to have him leave Room 200 at City Hall a year early but then why would we want to inflict our pain and his incompetence on the rest of the state even if the office is of little consequence?

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Mayor Gavin Newsom finally put an end to the questions of will he or won't he, and announced this morning that he is running for lieutenant governor.

Newsom dodged reporters' questions for weeks about whether he would trade in City Hall for Sacramento. However, he promised to reveal his decision today, which is the deadline for candidates running for statewide office to file their paperwork.

He did just that in an interview on CBS5 with our colleague Phil Matier.

"I'm in full steam ahead," he said.

The Democratic primary is June 8 and Newsom's challengers are Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn and state Sen. Dean Florez of Kern County.

Hahn has hired Newsom's former campaign strategist, Garry South, (aka The King of Mean) and before Newsom even announced his candidacy South fired off a letter saying that when the two worked together, Newsom showed nothing but "disinterest in and disdain for" the job.

If Newsom wins the primary, which he's expected to do, he will square off with Abel Maldonado, the recently appointed lieutenant governor, Nov. 2. Speculation is already rampant about who will end up in Room 200 to serve out Newsom's term that ends in January 2012.

Newsom, however thinks that "it should be up to the people to decide" who will replace him. A group is meeting today to determine how to place the issue before voters in November.

The other main candidate in the race is Los Angeles City Councilwoman Janice Hahn, who has been attacking Gavin Newsom as indecisive. I think she is onto something. Incompetent, inept, egotistical, prone to delusions of grandeur, out-of-touch, obnoxious, arrogant and narcissistic also come to mind. For San Franciscans January 2012 can't come soon enough.

And if you want to see the Mayor as an inglorious bastard, then this November 2009 interview with CBS 5 political reporter Hank Plante pretty much does it.

A Surreal and Empty San Francisco

It is beyond bizarre today in San Francisco. The city's bustling downtown is far from bustling. It's all quite nice except one stops to think the impact that this is going to have on the local economy. We're being told it could take days before the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge reopens. More at the San Francisco Chronicle:

With Caltrans offering no estimate on when the Bay Bridge will reopen, motorists clogged alternative routes into San Francisco this morning - often hours earlier than usual - and flocked to beefed-up BART service.

Crews worked through the night on a portion of the bridge's eastern span that was repaired over the Labor Day weekend but fell apart at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. Two high-strength steel tie rods and a crossbeam from a steel saddle near the newly installed S-turn snapped and fell to the upper deck below, damaging three vehicles but causing injuries only to one driver.

The replacement rods and crossbeam are on site, but the 20 workers on the span were hampered overnight by "extremely gusty" winds while trying to weld, Caltrans spokesman Bart Ney said.

There is no timetable for reopening the span, which is used by 280,000 motorists daily. But officials hinted that a prompt fix was unlikely.

"Hopefully, we're not talking about anything longer than days," Ney told reporters.

That leaves the San Mateo-Hayward and Richmond-San Rafael bridges as the main east-west roadway alternatives, and this morning, both were jammed. Especially slow was the southbound approach on Interstate 880 to the westbound San Mateo Bridge; aerial shots showed cars snaking northward for miles, and traffic was backed up onto Hayward streets.

At 8 a.m., the westbound drive across the span, which typically takes about 15 minutes, was a 50-minute slog. Overall, traffic on the bridge was about 40 percent heavier than usual, a bridge supervisor said.

The Richmond span was still busy shortly after 9 a.m., with traffic backed up to Interstate 80 in Richmond. "It's hasn't been busy - it still is," a bridge supervisor said.

On the Golden Gate Bridge, officials saw a significant increase in traffic this morning, especially during the 2 a.m. hour, when the number of cars was more than triple the total that usually cross at that hour, said Mary Currie, bridge district spokeswoman.

As the morning wore on, the increase dropped dramatically. By the 7 a.m. hour, the number of cars crossing the Golden Gate was only 15 percent above normal, Currie said.

The district added a 7:30 a.m. ferry that took 72 passengers to San Francisco. Regular ferry runs saw an increase in passengers, she said.

BART spokesman Linton Johnson said the agency brought in extra train operators in anticipation of the thousands of additional riders flocking to the system. Trains from the East Bay into San Francisco were standing-room only as early as 5:30 a.m.

"We're going to use every available piece of equipment," Johnson said, "meaning all the cars we can possibly muster into service."

The 46,000 parking spaces in BART's station parking lots filled up quickly, and the system advised people to take the bus or carpool to stations.

"It's beyond full," said Felicia Wallace, a station agent at the MacArthur Station in Oakland, where parking lots and platforms were packed.

Even so, the city is beyond empty. An open thread.

There's more...

No Way to Govern a State

It's clear that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and the openly-gay  Assemblyman Tom Ammiano of San Francisco don't like each other. But honestly is this anyway to run a state?

A couple of weeks ago Willie Brown, the legendary former Speaker of the California Assembly and the less than stellar former Mayor of San Francisco, brought Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger into the San Francisco Democratic Party annual gala. Not a wise move really. But it got worse when Aaron Peskin, another former President of the Board of Supervisors of San Francisco (our city council in effect) and who in any other city would be a Republican, encouraged the Republican Schwarzenegger to say a few words to a partisan gathering of Democrats.

To this, Ammiano, the former President of the Board of Supervisors whose 1999 insurgent candidacy for Mayor in 1999 nearly unseated Brown, took exception. As Schwarzenegger began to speak, Ammiano shouted out a la Joe Wilson "You lie." And as Schwarzenegger was hissed and hooted off the stage, Ammiano gave him a parting "kiss my gay ass" good-bye shout out.

Well today, the Governor responded. He vetoed AB 1176, an Ammiano bill that provided funds to improve the San Francisco waterfront. Hardly controversial. But check out the Governor's veto message.

Welcome to California politics. More from the San Francisco Bay Guardian.

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San Francisco shows that a Public Option can work...

In yesterday's NY Times, an article entitled  A Public Option That Works showed up on the Op-Ed page. It is worth reading because the

...San Francisco experiment has demonstrated that requiring a shared-responsibility model -- in which employers pay to help achieve universal coverage -- has not led to the kind of job losses many fear. The public option has also passed the market test, while not crowding out private options. The positive changes in San Francisco provide a glimpse of what the future might look like if Washington passes substantial health reform this year.

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Why Blogging Local Government Matters

It's Wednesday morning, and I have packed my bags for a long flight to Pittsburgh to attend Netroots Nation.  It will be my third year going as a blogger from Beyond Chron - but my first as a speaker.  Evan Coren, who parlayed his blog activism to win a seat on the City Council in Columbia, Maryland has recruited me for a panel discussion on Friday afternoon called Local Blogs: Covering City and County Government and Empowering Activism.  We will be joined by panelists from Philadelphia, Chicago and New Orleans - for a superb line-up of bloggers who play a key role in their local governments.  The following is my story about covering San Francisco politics ...

There's more...

Diaries

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