Overheard in Fog City
April 6, 2007, 2:14 a.m
Kerry and Heinz lunch with Newsom and Siebel
Sen. John Kerry and wife Teresa Heinz paid a visit to San Francisco
City Hall Thursday, to lunch with Mayor Gavin Newsom and girlfriend,
actress Jennifer Siebel.
Kerry and Heinze are on tour promoting their book: This
Moment on Earth.
All three high-profilers arrived simultaneously at high-noon.
Kerry and Heinze arrived by Toyota Prius hybrid.
Not needing to clear security, all three distinguished guests
rode the elevator to Room 200, to be greeted by his lordship behind
Jennifer Siebel, Teresa Heinz-Kerry, Sen. John Kerry and Mayor's
Office of Communications Director Nathan Ballard alight outside
the inner sanctum of the mayor's office.
Asked why the junior U.S. Senator from Massachusetts was visiting
City Hall, Kerry told Fog City: "A chance to catch up with
the mayor, meet a little bit. We're old friends... talk about
some of the things we can do to deal with environmental challenges."
Newsom just "horsing around"
The big laugh going around City Hall Thursday was the article
posted on the DrudgeReport website referring to footage published
Channel 7's I-Team, clearly showing Mayor Gavin Newsom doing
something questionably suggestive with a KTVU Channel 2 microphone.
One tries to be fair in such circumstances, so Fog City asked
Mayor's Office of Communications clean slater, Nathan Ballard,
what he thought about the article,
and what he thought the mayor intended by the gesture.
"I think it's ridiculous. Clearly the mayor was just horsing
around," Ballard responded in earnest, without chuckling.
A legitimate question
Channel 7 I-Team
gumshoe Dan Noyes was refused an answer by Mayor Gavin Newsom
after Noyes asked Newsom a legitimate question concerning a Laguna
Honda story Noyes has been reporting. The deliberate
snub followed a press conference Wednesday during a time when
reporters are permitted to pose general off-topic questions to
our elected mayor.
Now there's been some rocky history between Noyes and Newsom.
Noyes is a hard-hitting investigative journalist who has been
a thorn in the Newsom administration's side, holding this administration
to account with effect, and exposing matters of interest to the
In Noyes' defense, elected officials are obligated to provide
an honest and truthful answer to any question posed by journalists.
The fourth estate, after all, is an essential component of our
democracy that functions to protect the public from abuse of powers,
and to inform the public about important issues.
By not responding to Noyes' question, Newsom comes across as
weak and incapable of handling tough questions. Are we to conclude
that Newsom has something to hide, or that he lacks the skill
to deal with reporters he perceives to be hostile?
Commenting on the issue, Nathan Ballard told Fog City: "The
mayor is happy to talk to any reporter and any reporter from channel
7, but he has made clear on a number of occasions his views about
But, to use his own words, Newsom himself said on the same I-Team
"someone needs to be held to account."
One wonders if Newsom really means what he preaches.
Assuming for a moment he means what he says, Newsom should not
only be willing to answer legitimate questions from reporters,
but also be more than willing to conform to the spirit
of Proposition I, requiring the mayor of San Francisco to
attend monthly Board of Supervisors meetings, to
be held to account for his policies, as voters have asked,
in open chambers.
Feinstein under corruption spotlight following resignation
Serious questions have been raised following the stepping down
of Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-Cal) as chairwoman of the Senate
Subcommittee on Military Construction Appropriations.
According to news
reports, Feinstein resigned her post last week while
questions were being asked about billions of dollars in federal
defense contracts going to her husband's companies.
Hubby Richard C. Blum is a majority owner in Perini Corp. and
URS Corp., two companies that have been awarded favorable contracts
while Feinstein was chair of the subcommittee.
Senator Dianne Feinstein and Richard C. Blum
Public financial disclosure reports also suggest
Feinstein increased her total networth from large investments
in Perini Corp. and URS Corp.