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Newsom stabs Peskin in the back,
flip-flops support for MUNI reform proposal

Mayor Gavin Newsom
Photo(s) by Luke Thomas

By Luke Thomas

July 26, 2007, 9:02 a.m

Mayor Gavin Newsom yesterday recalled his support for a November ballot measure aimed at reforming Muni. The ballot charter amendment, passed by Supervisors Tuesday, would supercede a controversial ballot initiative that seeks to build downtown parking structures.

In a statement released yesterday at 6:22 p.m., Newsom claims legislation author, Board President Aaron Peskin, introduced a different version of the Muni reform legislation than what was agreed to by Newsom and union leaders Monday.

Newsom's statement reads as follows:

“I worked in good faith with Supervisor Aaron Peskin, Nat Ford, and the unions to draft a charter amendment that included important reforms to improve Muni. On Monday, I announced my support for this charter amendment.

Yesterday, Supervisor Peskin introduced a different version than the one I had supported. He added a provision about parking that I disagree with -- one that has nothing to do with the Muni reform we sought.

The parking provision was added to the charter amendment to coincide with a parking measure that is on the ballot at the same time. It confuses two separate issues.

Supervisor Peskin deserves credit for showing leadership and bringing together disparate parties to craft this charter amendment. But Muni reform is too important to be drawn into a separate political battle. I will actively support the charter amendment only if the parking provision is removed.”

But, according to Peskin, Newsom has acted in bad faith and stabbed him in the back.

Reached by phone, Peskin released the following statement to Fog City Journal this morning:

"The Mayor was informed through his staff for over two weeks that this provision would be added. They asked to see the provision two weeks ago. Stuart Sunshine had it. I included it in the draft that was presented to the mayor. All of the people who were at the bargaining table were all told that the provision would be included.

"The mayor said to me on Monday afternoon around 1:30 (p.m.) or so, in a meeting that was attended by Phil Ginsburg that he, for the purposes of the press conference, didn't want that to be included, but it was understood that the Board would add it back the next day.

"It turns out the mayor was not negotiating in good faith, that his word is no good, and that he stabbed me in the back."

Board President Aaron Peskin

The provision in contention reads as follows:

"The City may not require or permit off-street parking spaces for any privately-owned structure or use in excess of the number that City law would have allowed for the structure or use on July 1, 2007 unless the additional spaces are approved by a four-fifths vote of the Board of Supervisors. The Board of Supervisors may reduce the maximum parking required or permitted by this section."




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