Mayor Newsom allays concerns
raised by letter drafted in Macris' name
Newsom fields questions from reporters outside Leonard Flynn Elementary
By Luke Thomas and Pat
February 18, 2006
Following fallout caused by a letter
drafted by mayoral staff on behalf of Planning Director Dean
Macris while Macris was out of town, Mayor Newsom responded to
reporters questions yesterday to allay fears of foul play.
The letter, drafted hastily and presented at the Board of Supervisors
meeting on February 7 by Larry Badiner, contained last minute
amendments to the C-3 downtown parking legislation, ostensibly
lessening restrictions on downtown parking development.
"I'm just trying to understand all of that as much as anybody
else. Obviously there was some miscommunication, lessons learned,"
"I think the whole issue is clarification on C-3 and everyone's
position and opinions and everyone seemed to be just a little
bit on their own page so the idea was to get everyone on the same
page and obviously there was some confusion - but nothing more
"Doing a statement on a cell phone in Boston and having
Marshall or somebody typing it and having an understanding, and
then having a deadline at the Board does not make for a good process.
"And obviously lessons learned, so we'll try to make sure
that process doesn't occur again."
Addressing concerns downtown stakeholders were behind the last
minute changes, Newsom explained several stakeholders were present
in a meeting arranged by Wade Crowfoot.
"You know that's also been wildly misrepresented. There
were about 50 people in that room. And you know what is amazing
to me? This is why I love politics in San Francisco. My friends
like Ted Gullicksen (Tenants Union executive director) and others
can write legislation in supervisors' offices but boy that's okay
and then other people aren't in the room. But boy when a community
that's affected by legislation - directly affected - comes and
says, 'We're concerned about this, Mr. Mayor,' all of a sudden
it's oh boy backhanded."
Skepticism swirled when it was revealed Don Fisher, a downtown
stakeholder, attended the most recent stakeholder meeting.
Addressing the concern Fisher muscled his interests leading to
the letter's creation, Newsom said, "It's a public meeting
and there must have been 50-60 people in the room, and they weren't
all downtown, quite the contrary. Don (Fisher) barely said two
words. What's wrong with people actually expressing an opinion
based upon legislation that will affect them?"
In closing, Newsom concluded, "It was obviously a messy
process but it has not affected the legislation in any way and
it has not affected the cooperation between the Board and myself,
and I am in a position not to veto the legislation by making some
amendments to it, and that's all that matters."
A second reading of the legislation will allow for any new amendments
to be considered at the next Board of Supervisors meeting.