Saturday, September 22, 2007

Ed Who?

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom met briefly with embattled supervisor Ed Jew yesterday.

Jew is accused of attempting to extort $80,000 from a group of fast-food business owners. He pleaded not guilty in court on Friday.

The rookie supervisor, who was charged Thursday with one federal count of mail fraud, appeared briefly in U.S. District Court, and then was released on $1 million bond. The charge came after an FBI sting where prosecutors say the operators of a group of tapioca drink shops gave Jew $40,000 in cash and said they would paid him another $40,000 later.

"Enough is enough," Newsom told reporters this morning after the mayor spoke at the opening of the Moon Festival Street Fair in Chinatown, a short walk from Jew's flower shop.

"He needs to do the right thing and step aside."

Jew, 47, has acknowledged taking the money but said he did so at the businessmen's insistence and on behalf of a consultant he recommended they hire to help with their permit problem.

Jew's attorney Steven Gruel said the federal government's case was weak, calling the mail fraud charge a “throwaway charge because you can't get something else” and questioning what kind of influence Jew could have had over the issuing of city permits. He doesn't control the planning commission and he certainly doesn't control what types of permits are necessary for retailers.

Earlier in the day, Jew's attorneys had said they would not allow their client to meet with Newsom if they were not present. Nonetheless, Jew and Newsom sat down alone yesterday, for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


Mayor Gavin Newsom and Fox Broadcasting Company agreed to terms today greenlighting 24 episodes of Gav 4 Guv.

Newsom said he's considered television since his marriage to Court TV Queen Kimberly Guilfoyle and throughout courtships with Reality TV Stars Erin Brodie and Paris Hilton as well as CSI's Sofia Milos. This one simply fit.

Newsom insists that his television aspirations are independent of any open government reality television projects concepts proposed by rival mayoral candidate and video blogger, Josh Wolf, who if elected promises 24/7 Reality Government.

My life has always been an open book. Reality TV affords us a new medium with a new chapter. In a nutshell, it’s kind of like The Apprentice meets The Crocodile Hunter meets Real World meets The Bachelor without the all the Harry Potter.

  • The Apprentice - only imagine forced resignations citywide in which Department Heads are required to partake in a number of team on team contests designed to raise campaign dollars for the Gav 4 Guv campaign and members of the winning team earn the right to interview for their old job - you're hired!

  • The Crocodile Hunter - only imagine a gatored community in which contestants are tasked with bagging and tagging dangerous and always unpredictable crack addicts indigenous to the Tenderloin and Civic Center neighborhoods as part of a Catch and Release program tracking homeless with homing devices.

      • The Bachelor - only imagine, half the ladies are single and the rest married and thier husbands are not only permitted on the set, it's encouraged. In fact, one or two may be part of the crew. Brittanie Mountz versus Ruby Rippey-Tourk? Stay tuned!

      Not everyone shares Newsom's enthusiasm. Newsom neighsayer, Chris Daly, predicts "A Big Fat Obnoxious Disappointment."

      Gavin Newsom Videography:

      Tuesday, September 18, 2007

      Mayor Bans Shopping Carts

      San Francisco may be on the verge of becoming the first city in the country to ban shopping carts because they assist the homeless and hinders quality-of-life outreach programs.

      Some experts say the carts are one of the biggest obstacles to outreach programs in the city.

      By making sidewalks less profitable and less hospitable, Mayor Gavin Newsom wants to hopes to usher more homeless off the streets and into shelters like Glide Memorial Church banishing shopping carts, baby carriages and cardboard boxes from the city once and for all.

      What it takes in retrieving, and the cost to replace these carts, begs the larger question: what are we going to do about the homeless and the economic and health adverse effects on our community?
      Newsom's proposal calls on grocers to use an assigned number of carts indoors only and with full-service valet from check stand to curbside. Merchants would be subject to unannounced city audits and fined for each cart under their quota or recovered off property.

      But the proposal is vigorously opposed by the grocery industry. Peter Larkin, president of the California Grocers Association, says his member stores already have an active security program.

      "In our opinion, it will frustrate our efforts to continue to reduce, re-use and recycle carry-out bags," Larkin said. "Second, it will raise the cost of doing business for us, which will translate into increased costs for the consumers.

      What is not in dispute is the potential domino effect if San Francisco bans grocery carts. Larkin says he expects a potential ban here would significantly hurt the recycling industry. Shopping carts have already been outlawed in South Africa, London and Ireland.

      Monday, September 17, 2007

      Top Five Growing Blogs

      Pop the Champaign!

      Inspired by the 59th Emmy Awards, we're pleased to announce Wordpress voted Gavin Newsom to the Top Five Growing Blogs.

      We want to thank the ManUpstairs in City Hall. Without Gavin none of this would be possible.
      It's not often we get to stand here next to dazzling celebrity blogger, Beth Spotswood. Doesn't she look absolutely radiant in Gucci?!

      Big props to the nominees: Chris Daly Blows, SF Party Party, Laughing Squid and SF Crime as well as supporting cast members Peter Ragone, Brittanie Mountz, Ruby Rippey-Tourk, Jennifer Siebel and Chris Daly and all the other Chickens.

      Of course, we want to thank GavinWatch for always believing in us. What a class act! What else can we say...

      [Queue the music]

      ... Except, we apologize for leaving anyone out. Ooops! Our friends at SFist and Cecilia M. Vega at the Chronicle. We're just so nervous. Good night and God bless!

      This one's for you Mom & Dad!

      Breaking News: Congratz to Conan O’Brien for bring home another award!!!

      Mayor's Chinese Dragons

      Is San Francisco becoming a Gatored Community?

      In a continuing effort to combat urban blight and homeless encampments, Mayor Gavin Newsom approved legislation to purchase 2500 Floridian Alligators to be released by the Public Utilities Commission and 1000 Komodo Dragons (the world’s heaviest lizards at 10 feet, 200 Lbs.) for the Recreation & Park Commission.

      The mayor credits trips to Manila, Osaka, Davos and even NYC for stimulating a ‘Mayoral Renaissance’ in which we hope to bring home the ‘Best-of-the-Best’ to make our City even better.

      The Komodo’s prodigious appetite will take a bite out of crime!
      Newsom says a 90 lb dragon can eat a 100 lb crack addict or tagger in less than 20 minutes. With that kind of production, the dragons should eat through our 1500 homeless in record time!

      As with the Mexican Fan Palms introduced to the Mission’s aesthetic nearly a year ago, Newsom says he chose the Komodo Dragons with Japantown’s rich cultural heritage in mind as dragons evoke a ‘Survival of the Fittest’ solution to controlling our growing homeless population - long inhabiting parks, sidewalks, living under overpasses and amongst the our famed buildings within the Civic Center and Tenderloin neighborhoods.

      Newsom added, these Carnivores are exactly the kind of Dark Ages ‘Out-of-the-Box’ thinking, tailor-made for a Green, Progressive City like San Francisco and the sister-cities across the bay who have already turned to sheep as a low cost alternative to lawn mowers.

      Like maggots treating gangrene, these nocturnal bottom-feeders were bred to feed on the very downtrodden, social decay that has long eaten away our City's taxes, tourism for years leaving us to grapple with AIDS, TB and Malaria outbreaks.

      Manhattan, albeit by accident, was the first to turn to reptiles for homeless control. It was once a fad among New Yorkers vacationing in Florida to bring back baby alligators for their children to raise as pets. The infant gators would outlive their cuteness, sad to say, at which point their desperate owners would flush them down the toilet.

      Some of the gators survived the dank sewer system and bred, producing scattered colonies of full-grown alligators. Mayor Rudy Giuliani attributed pockets of declining crime rates throughout the city to the alligators. He lauched Gator Aid purchasing 2500 alligators and strategically releasing them within the sewer lines and parks.

      Their descendants live down there to this day. According to some reports the animals are blind and afflicted with albinism and have grown to enormous size.

      Saturday, September 15, 2007

      Newsom 08 Phone Bank

      Gavin's looking for a few annoying volunteers.

      Six days a week, starting this weekend and running until November, the The Gavin Newsom 08 Phone Bank will be reaching out and touching San Franciscans.

      If you'd like to donate your time to the cause, don’t hesitate. Dial right down the middle to Gavin's campaign headquarters at (415) 351-0359 to sign up. Callers are standing by!

      But wait, if you do sign up to staff the phone bank, you also get be an unpaid volunteer… so, act now!

      Hello my name is ________ calling from Gavin Newsom campaign headquarters.

      As you know, Gavin is running unopposed with 78% approval ratings. So, we're really, really counting on your donation.

      He’s been Chris Daly tested and Senator Feinstein approved. I’m not a doctor, but I play one on TV and Nine out of Ten of us actors agree - Gavin won’t stick to Jennifer Siebel's dental work.

      He’s revolutionary!
      But, don’t take my word for it. Check out SFist: The Calling Hour By mattymatt.

      Push it... Pull it... Tow it... If it don’t eat, we’ll buy it! Everything must go... Crazy Gavin’s slashing prices.

      Thursday, September 13, 2007

      Heads Will Roll

      Heads are rolling at City Hall. Mayor Newsom asked for resignation letters from his senior staff, city department heads, and those that he had ‘anointed’ to serve on a city commission or board.

      According to the Chronicle, Newsom will deal with "a few officials he has battled with since taking office in 2004" and with the resignations "on a case-by-case basis."

      SFPartyParty speculates, “Gavin ain’t firing no minorities, even if they are important scapegoats,” so Police Chief Heather Fong will keep her job even though homicides are at a ten year high.

      With no serious opponent this November, BeyondChron suggests Newsom is having trouble raising money – and the threat of losing your job may be an incentive for city commissioners and department heads to contribute. Fear is what will keep these subjects loyal, and sending $500 to the Newsom re-election campaign would make the boss very happy. It’s a deeply cynical move, but it explains why the Mayor would suddenly ask everyone to “tender their resignation" two months before the election.

      Inspired by SFist Godfather parody, we thought to offer a few movie quotes too good to refuse:

      The Godfather:
      Don Corleone, I am honored and grateful that you have invited me to your
      daughter... 's wedding... on the day of your daughter's wedding. And I hope
      their first child be a masculine child. I pledge my ever-ending loyalty.

      Taxi Driver:

      Listen, you fuckers, you screwheads. Here is a man who would not take it
      anymore. A man who stood up against the scum, the cunts, the dogs, the filth,
      the shit. Here is a man who stood up.

      Straw Dogs:

      Ok, you've had your fun. I'll give you one more chance, and if you don't clear
      out now, there'll be real trouble. I mean it.

      Tuesday, September 11, 2007

      Newly Reelected and Ready to Service

      Matier & Ross:

      Scores of postcards showing a tieless San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom eyeing a woman's low-cut dress under the headline, "Fresh out of rehab ... newly single and ready to service," have been mailed out over the past couple weeks.

      Nothing on the cards identifies who is sending them. Judging from those who have reported being on the receiving end, they are aimed at an audience of Democratic women.

      The cards list the Web addresses of two anti-Newsom sites devoted to spoofing the mayor's personal and political troubles, Gavin and

      We couldn't reach the folks behind the sites to find out if they had any involvement, but the mayor's folks don't think so, speculating it was "a Newsom hater" with money.

      For those of you were are just learning about GavinWatch from Sunday’s Matier and Ross story, welcome! We’d like to thank M&R for the bump in traffic, but for the record we were not involved in the Fresh Out of Rehab postcards.

      For those of you disinclined to take our word for it, consider these arguments:
      • Money: We simply don’t have a lot of it.
      • Messaging: That postcard just isn’t our style.
      • Quality of Design: Finally, we wouldn’t spend our hard-earned money on such a poorly designed postcard [See GavinWatch Postcards].

      If we were to go to the trouble and expense of mailing a postcard we would focus on issues like Gavin’s questionable record on crime prevention or his refusal to answer questions or his lying to the public.

      Dean of who also denied any involvement with this statement:
      The postcard did not come from either. We lack the funds, imagination and skills to pull off such a caper.

      In addition, we also lack the motive. Believe it or not, Gavin endorses Newsom.

      Frankly, there’s no one else to turn and we’re hopeful that Gavin’s 'poor decisions' don't hurt his chances to land a bigger office far outside the City limits with a constituency far more conservative.
      We hope Gavin’s political ambitions will motivate him to take action today on past promises - thusfar undelivered.
      Gavin's rockstar 78% approval ratings are rivaled only by homelessness and homicides. Anytown, Anywhere, and the Good Mayor would be Nowhere. It's now or never. Gavin's next campaign begins with the Streets of San Francisco!


      Both GavinWatch and Gavin Sucks have both disavowed responsibility. GavinWatch says they have better design values, and Gavin Sucks told GavinWatch that it wasn't them either.

      We're not sure if we're relieved or slightly hurt that SFist wasn't listed as a possible perpetrator of this postal prank -- but hey! It wasn't us either.

      Related Articles:

      Saturday, September 8, 2007

      Too Chicken Race

      It's a Too Chicken Race. May the Burning Man win! With nothing but static to the Left of the radio dial, I was hoping Tony Hall would stick around awhile to champion our "Soul" Goal: Clean, Safe Streets.

      Yet, Dan Noyes of ABC 7 I Team interviewed former San Francisco Supervisor Tony Hall to learn he is pulling out of the race: “The support just isn’t there.” Hall says many of the big donors who would be his supporters are afraid of coming out against Newsom, with such a huge lead in the polls.
      “Maybe what’s better for the city is another dose of this cat and their spin machine.”
      Hall was widely considered to be the most serious opposition to Mayor Gavin Newsom’s re-election. He announced his candidacy just three months ago.

      Now that Hall turned Over Easy, Chicken John Rinaldi remains the lone challenger to the incumbent Mayor McChicken. Let's see, if the Showman can give Gavin a run for the money. On the sunny side, two chickens running beats two runny eggs any day!

      Complete Article: Tony Hall Quits Mayor's Race.

      Monday, September 3, 2007

      Ten Ways To Lose A Mayor

      FOUR YEARS ago, as the mayor's race moved into the spotlight on Labor Day weekend, the Chronicle’s editorial board presented its "10 ways to improve San Francisco."

      Their goal was to provide a framework for an endorsement process: to compel candidates to talk about the issues most important to the city and to evaluate the contenders on overarching visions as well as their specific strategies to address the city's problems. The focus and ambition of Gavin Newsom's agenda - and its alignment with what they saw as the pressing issues of the time – which persuaded the Chronicle that he was the best option in a crowded field in 2003.

      The Chronicle is revisiting that agenda - to assess what Mayor Newsom has accomplished.

      Since no real candidates stepped up to oppose incumbent mayor, Gavin Newsom, the San Francisco Chronicle will challenge the man who’s already won.

      John Diaz writes:

      At least two issues have clearly risen on the agenda for San Francisco's leadership: the dramatic reshaping of the downtown skyline, with its ramifications for public safety, traffic and the city aesthetic; and the wave of violent crime, especially homicides, that has afflicted low-income neighborhoods and posed a serious threat to family life and diversity in San Francisco. Four years ago, there was a perception that the much-maligned Muni system was on the mend; today, rider frustration seems to be returning. Some candidates for mayor might also want to include the creation of a citywide wireless Internet network or the retention of the San Francisco 49ers football team on their lists of priorities.

      Create an ethical climate:

      What we said: Of all the things that will be remembered as hallmarks of Willie Brown's tenure as mayor, few stand out like the odorous scent of corruption and cronyism that emanated from City Hall during the past eight years.

      The revolving door of political consultants-turned-lobbyists clamoring for a slice of the civic treasury will be as much as the mayor's legacy as his role in helping to make Pac Bell Park a reality. The patronage politics that Brown mastered during his many years as Assembly speaker in Sacramento came to roost in San Francisco - to such an obvious extent that political opponents have spent the past four years trying to whittle away at his power through ethical reforms and sweeping charter amendments.

      Status report: Newsom appears to have ended the Brown-era level of overt cronyism, though some of his early appointments smacked of political expediency and undermined his pledge to enlist the "best and the brightest." His brief affair with his appointments secretary, who was also the wife of his campaign manager, raised questions about his judgment and commitment to maintain basic professional standards.

      Care, not politics:

      What we said: Notice fewer panhandlers? Has the number of vagrants sleeping in doorways dropped? Despite a $100 million-plus budget and numerous ballot measures, homelessness hasn't faded.

      It's a civic outrage, pure and simple. The money, political bloviation and a confusing network of social services has spawned a list of cures that aren't working.

      Try this for a change: take the problem away from politicians and the solution-of-the-month club. Not all City Hall-inspired ideas are bad, and the Care Not Cash initiative, endorsed overwhelmingly by voters, remains worth trying.

      But the measure applies to only a slice of the homeless world, single adults who make up perhaps a fifth of the problem. How to serve the remaining population needs a fresh look.

      Status report: Newsom enlisted Angela Alioto, the former supervisor and a rival in the 2003 mayoral election, to lead the development of a 10-year plan to reduce homelessness. It focuses on the most entrenched homeless people, who tend to have the most serious underlying issues and absorb a disproportionate amount of the available resources.

      Reform the police department:

      What we said: An honest, well-respected police department is fundamental to the quality of life in any city. There is no question that the overwhelming majority of San Francisco officers are dedicated professionals who serve with integrity and bravery. But a police force is also measured by how it confronts the few officers who abuse their powers.

      Regrettably, public confidence in the SFPD has been strained by its response to a series of high-profile incidents, including the notorious "Fajitagate" brawl involving three off-duty officer(including the son of now-Chief Alex Fagan) last November.

      Although the city has paid more than $1 million for six wrongful death claims since 1998, none of the involved officers has been disciplined.

      Status report: Tracking and overseeing police conduct remains largely elusive, a major failing of Newsom, who has been decidedly cautious about challenging a police culture that is overly tolerant of officer excesses. For example, the city recently enhanced its computerized system of identifying problem officers - but expressly prohibited that central database from being used for disciplinary purposes.

      Help our public schools:

      What we said: The outrageous shenanigans that transpired under the rule of former Superintendent Bill Rojas and his meek school board has disappeared under new schools chief Arlene Ackerman. But the cleanup continues - as it will need to for years to come.

      Ackerman is rightly seeking to polish the district's reputation and regain the confidence of middle-class parents who have fled the city in search of more affordable housing and better schools. To that end, she had gotten some results - academic performance test scores have seen modest gains in the past few years - one of the few large urban school districts that can make that claim.

      Status report: Ackerman's departure led to the hiring of Carlos Garcia, who is off to a promising start. He has the near-unanimous support of the school board and background as a big-city superintendent. Serious problems remain: What can the city do to halt a slide in enrollment and bring Latino and African American students up to performance levels of Asian and white students? The mayor has no control of the schools, but has an important role as an advocate and overseer.

      Build more housing:

      What we said: Stucco homes facing the Pacific, Victorians dotting steep hillsides and apartments rising above neighborhood stores: these are the benign, comfortable images of San Francisco's housing.

      But this postcard world won't work anymore. The city has already begun to move away from this frozen, idealized world, and it's time to accelerate the change. High costs, a changing population and a pent-up demand for housing choices demand it.

      The city needs a mix of solutions, not a single approach. The good news is there are plenty of options in a city with a housing-hungry populace.

      Status report: The city is in the midst of a housing boom, but it's mostly downtown apartment towers with penthouse prices. Ballot measures to raise housing bond money have failed, leaving City Hall to squeeze each major project for an extra amount of below-market units. It's a haphazard method.

      Big projects lie ahead: Treasure Island, the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard, the southern waterfront adjacent the Mission Bay. Making surethere is a balance of housing choices will be a test of mayoral savvy.

      Pay more attention to detail:

      What we said: In a city of tight-knit neighborhoods, the smallest changes get noticed. A closed store, a trashed-fill lot or changes in branch library hours can generate more heat than civic debate over the homeless or the city budget. (The editorial went on to specifically cite litter, potholes, parking, chain stores, tree planting and volunteerism as areas that needed attention from City Hall.)

      Status report: Broken glass from car break-ins shines in street gutters. Litter, graffiti and neglected street plantings are easy to spot. Parking tickets have jumped to $50 for a meter violation. A wider system of bike lanes remains stymied in court. That's the ever-recurring bad news.

      But improvements can be found. A 311 one-stop phone service handles and dispatches quality-of-life complaints. Also, for downtown a major street paving program is under way.

      Overall, more needs to be done to shine the city's image and make it more habitable and pleasant for residents and visitors.

      Stop demonizing business:

      What we said: San Francisco holds many dubious distinctions, but the one with the most serious long-term effect is its attitude toward business, which can objectively be described as hostile.

      In annual studies, San Francisco has consistently proved to be the most expensive city in California in which to operate a business. It is the only place that has a prohibitive 1.5 percent payroll tax. Many of the town's legislative leaders seem to revel in coming up with off-the-wall ways to add to the fiscal load carried by big and small businesses - which pay 62 percent of all taxes collected by the city.

      The payroll tax has proved to be a great disincentive for attracting new businesses, especially in a down economy. The city has lost more than 60,000 jobs in the past two years, which goes even beyond the hit inflicted by the dot-com bust.

      Status report: Newsom tried and failed to raise gross receipts taxes with a ballot measure in 2004, leaving the issue dead for now. But there is a living-wage ordinance that has boosted costs, plus a voter-backed measure giving sick leave for nearly all businesses. Still, employment has risen and office vacancy rates have dropped steadily, suggesting businesses are flocking here.

      Enforce our traffic laws:

      What we said: Driving in San Francisco is punishment. Insurance rates, parking costs, crowded streets and a prevailing anti-car mood make anyone think twice about getting behind the wheel.But the city's official response to the problems of moving around the city is half-baked. Traffic laws are fitfully enforced. Transit-only lanes, supposedly reserved for buses and cabs, are freely used by everyone. Double-parked trucks, goofy "traffic calming" ideas that baffle unprepared motorists and an army of ticket-writing meter-minders add to the misery.

      It's time to decide what works best to stem traffic. Once the rules and City Hall are lined up, drivers need to know the score. Confusion will rule until then.

      Status report: Red light cameras have cut the problem of light-jumping drivers. The Central Freeway was finally rebuilt 16 years after it was quake damaged. But the city remains car-crowded, dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists, and an extremely difficult place to park.

      San Francisco needs to strike a balance between its "transit first" policy and the reality that some people need to drive.

      Complete Article: Ten ways To Choose A Mayor by John Diaz.