A political postcard depicting Mayor Gavin Newsom with what appears to be a rectum for a mouth -- and also featuring the above, undoctored, photo -- has been sent to homes around the state. The mailers implore recipients to contact political consultants Garry South and Clint Reilly, and list Oakland political consultant Larry Tramutola's office as the return address. Reilly and South told the Los Angeles Daily News they're mystified and Tramutola told SF Weekly he has no idea what's going on.
The Gavin Watch Web site has not been updated since 2007; SF Weekly's e-mail to its anonymous keeper has not yet been returned. the Gavin Sucks site is not currently live -- though it was apparently previously maintained by blogger Dean Barbella, who authors similarly named Gavin-bashing Web sites. These, too, haven't been updated in eons. SF Weekly was unable to reach Barbella.
In 2007, incidentally, Newsom's mayoral campaign pointed the finger at neither gavinwatch.com nor gavinsucks.com for the lurid mailers, but simply at "A Newsom hater."
It is unclear whether the Newsom-hater of 2010 has run afoul of California campaign law. Roman Porter, the executive director of the Fair Political Practices Commission, told the Daily News that anyone spending upwards of $1,000 on political mailers or sending out 200 or more of them must register with his organization. And no one has in this case.
Tramutola said that he's heard of mailers arriving at homes all over the state -- and the sheer number of undeliverable postcards piling up in his office indicates "a lot" more than 200 were sent out.
But as to why he's involved and what's going on here -- it's a mystery.
"Honest to God," says Tramutola, "I don't know."