Overheard in Fog City
January 15, 2007
Mayor's version of Question Time a sham - The chickens have
come home to roost
Mayor Gavin Newsom held his first District Town Hall meeting
of 2007, Saturday, in the sleepy Richmond District. This was the
first opportunity for the Mayor to demonstrate his appreciation
for open and transparent government, his respect for the will
of San Francisco voters, and his willingness to be held to account
for his policies.
Instead, the Newsom administration chose to completely ignore
the will of voters by engineering a carefully scripted question
and answer session that required attendees to write down their
questions on question cards, availing the opportunity for Newsom
to select only those questions he wanted to answer.
Newsom said, while attempting to escape through the back door
of the Richmond Recreation Center, he was only interested in answering
questions related to the topic of homelessness. This explained
why he was observed shuffling questions to the bottom of a two-inch
thick deck of question cards while chicken-suited protestors flapped
their wings in disapproval.
Meanwhile, Mayor's Office of Communications Director, Peter Ragone,
spent the entire two-hour meeting defending the the Newsom administration
Question Time format, blaming supervisors for not attending the
orchestrated circus, calling dissenters "haters", insulting
reporters, and taking photos of protesting chickens for his new
upcoming blog, to be aired on www.sfgov.org.
Credibility at state - Sink or swim
The chickens have come home to roost on this issue and will be
crowing at all eleven-district town hall meetings in this mayoral
election year, bringing attention to this Newsom's fear of being
held to account, and his tacit obfuscating of the tenets of true
Rather than look at Measure I as the glass half empty, Newsom
has been gifted an opportunity to shore up his sky-high approval
ratings. By actually showing up at board meetings, Newsom could
use the rostrum to defend his record, challenge supervisors on
theirs, and wax poetic on any number of inspirations for political
Instead, Newsom has put himself into a corner by snubbing voters.
With everything to lose and nothing to gain, Newsom's only option
is to defend his policies in open chambers, as San Francisco voters
have asked, or be prepared to face his political Waterloo.