It's in the timing to lobby Newsom
Want something from this man? Scan the skies for midday sun.
By Pat Murphy
Copyright fogcityjournal.com 2006
January 11, 2006
Timing is everything for those who want a special something from
the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco.
Wait, if you really want it, until the midday sun.
This mayor, Gavin Christopher Newsom, in his early prime at thirty-eight
years of compressed living, doesn't do mornings to glad satisfaction.
Merely a man, even a hyper man, Newsom reluctantly concludes
he is often wiped out in the mornings.
Routinely attending various 7:00 a.m. breakfast meetings, continuing
with long workdays, and then too wired to fall asleep quickly,
Newsom has learned that matters of weight are best juggled after
"We do afternoon (staff) meetings now," communications
director Peter Ragone half-chortles.
The revelation came during a Sentinel interview, one of several
30-minute back-to-back media interviews granted yesterday as Newsom
moves into the second half of his first term as mayor.
"Yeah, that's the problem," Newsom waxed.
"I used to be a morning person. In fact when we started
- the first three months - I think I was a morning person.
"All these guys, they don't want to talk to me before eight
"It's funny. All these years I've been a morning guy, and
all of a sudden this last year and a half I can't do it any more.
"It takes me hours to wake up.
"The problem is you get wound up and at night you can't
get to sleep. Last night at one-twenty or something I remember
turning off the TV and looking at the clock, and remembering 'Migawd,
I've got to be up, I've got to do this breakfast this morning
at seven-thirty.' "
Still, Newsom observers do not expect the mayor to pare his calendar.
He judges intensity as a benchmark for success. He cannot be
okay with himself if he is not passionate, Newsom reflected.
"That's why if you ask me whether I'm going to run for office
again, let me tell you an absolutely honest answer.
"If today the election were coming up in the next six months,
"But if I don't have the kind of intensity, if I don't feel
like we can move the city forward, or people don't like the direction
we're going, it's not worth it.
"It's just not worth it in any aspect.
"I mean to be called mayor - big deal. Guys like me come
"I mean I watch some former mayors come and people walking
right by them.
Former Mayor Frank Jordan revisits City Hall yesterday accompanied
by Relocation Appeals Board Commissioner Harry Kim.
"To me, big deal. You realize the futility of it.
"Ex-politicians - it's really a hard thing for a lot of
people. They don't have another life. So I really have to be cautious
of that and not give up the belief that there's something beyond
"If I don't feel the enthusiasm, if I don't feel like we're
moving the city in the right direction I'm not going to fake it.
"You've got to have something more intense - something that
transcends those motions. You've got to feel an intensity. You've
got to feel an excitement. You've got to feel this has meaning.
"It's an aggregation of my life. But also an aggregation
of others' lives.
"When you look at my heroes: the Ghandis, the Dr. Kings,
the Vaclav Havels, the Mandelas, you know they all, besides having
one thing in common - jail time - they all had moral authority.
"And all of them were at the peak of their influence not
when they were in elective office but before.
"So I don't think you also have to be in elective office
to change the world, to make a difference.
"And I see that when I listen to Larry Page do the thing
on Google - just extraordinary work they are doing to give away
hundreds of thousands of computers in Africa to give access to
computers to the world
to the continent of Africa.
Larry Page, Google Co-Founder & President, Products
"That's what WiFi is about. It's about giving people the
tools of collaboration, the tools of technology, the tools of
"I really hope this year we can move aside our ideological
differences because inevitably there's going to be a debate about
is it municipally owned or is it privately owned.
"Get it done. Let's just get this thing done. Because the
"We spent nine months to do it right with an RFI and now
we have an RFP - open, transparent, but boy let's get it done.
"That's why it's a very intense thing for me. Why WiFi?
That's what it's about - it's about something much bigger than
The incessant call for change throughout history mirrors the
best of human development, Newsom proposed.
"I think that everyone wants to feel that we can all evolve
and that evolution is by definition 'change.'
(We want to feel) "that there's something more, that there
is something greater and I think if you feel that way you open
yourself up to limitless possibilities.
"The minute you don't I think you are shutting down and
you are not growing.
"My obsessed hero, Bobby Kennedy,
he talked about what
the world needs are the qualities of youth - not a state of time
but a state of mind, a quality of the imagination.
"It doesn't matter if you are 75-years-old just as long
as you have that quality of imagination.
"You talk about Ray Kroc buying the McDonald brothers' stands
in his mid50s. He hardly said he's too old, it's the next generation's.
Kentucky Fried Chicken was started by Colonel Sanders. He was
in his mid-60s. I mean, they rejected all of his recipes over
and over again and he finally hit it and he made the deal but
he didn't sell his soul by selling his recipe.
"So it's not a time of life. It's a willing to take risks.
A willingness to fail because failure is by definition an opportunity
to think anew.
The pursuit of happiness is the happiness, suggested Newsom.
"I always say success is not a place or a definition.
"It's a direction. It's a journey.
"It's not achieved to be happy - it's happily achieved."