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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gavin Newsom Could Delay Swearing-In. But Why?

Posted By on Tue, Dec 14, 2010 at 7:59 AM

Should he stay or should he go?
  • Should he stay or should he go?

The Chron this morning summarized a legal memo that backs up Mayor Gavin Newsom's oft-repeated threat of delaying his exit as San Francisco mayor if he's not satisfied with the Board of Supervisors' choice for his successor.

The "Will he or won't he?" makes for great political theater, but it doesn't override two points: The incoming board really isn't "more moderate" than the current one, no matter how many times that canard is committed to print. Personal allegiances notwithstanding, this just isn't a situation in which the outgoing supes would have nominated Leon Trotsky and the incoming board had its heart set on Ronald Reagan.

Second, for Newsom to delay his swearing-in as lieutenant governor relies on a strained parsing of the letter of the law. Even if permissible, it fails the "douchebag" test.

Let's look a little more closely at our first point. Come Jan. 8, the following personnel transactions will take place: Scott Wiener will replace Bevan Dufty; Jane Kim will replace Chris Daly; Malia Cohen will replace Sophie Maxwell; and Mark Farrell will replace Michela Alioto-Pier.

Since the term "progressive" has never really been adequately defined, it's hard to qualify what is more or less progressive. But it's safe to say this much: This is not a massive shift of political ideology. No one we've talked to has a clue who the next mayor will be -- we have heard that Sheriff Mike Hennessey is the "shortest longshot" -- but it's difficult to conceive of any individual who would be acceptable to the current supes that the next board couldn't stand.

Finally, as SF Weekly wrote before regarding Newsom's legal backing for sticking around:

In order for Newsom to claim he has the right and ability to alter the

course of mayoral selection by not resigning, he'd have to claim a

distinction between his term as mayor being automatically "vacated" when

his state office begins on Jan. 3 and the "resignation" from office

demanded by San Francisco's city charter prior to a successor mayor

being named. San Francisco rules forbid Newsom from holding two jobs

simultaneously, so he's finished as mayor as soon as his lieutenant

governor term commences. Does Newsom really want to parse the

distinction between his position being "vacated" and "resigning" -- and

claim he's doing it for the greater good? At the very best, this is a

duplicitous thing to do. At worst, it's actionable.

If Newsom wanted to stick around as San Francisco's mayor, there was one easy way to do so: Don't run, repeatedly, for statewide office.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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