Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom has mostly stayed out of local politics since he vacated his term as mayor early to become the state’s lieutenant governor. But on Friday, he got involved. Newsom went after a political television ad put out by state Sen. Leland Yee’s campaign, which makes use of Newsom’s image and words.
“It has come to my attention that State Senator Leland Yee has approved and aired a negative political advertisement that features video footage of me,” Newsom said in the statement. “I urge him to take down the ad immediately. I did not authorize the use of my image. Nor do I condone the ad, its highly negative tone or the cynical attempt to mislead voters into thinking that I approved the message in any way.”
Jim Stearns, Yee’s political consultant, said the campaign has no intention of taking the ad down and that the Newsom footage is a matter of public record and part of city government’s SFGovTV’s 32-minute documentary on the interim mayor selection process. You can see the video below.
Footage at the 9 minute mark of Newsom winds up in the Yee commercial.
Stearns said Newsom “clearly” laid out the criteria for who he thought the interim mayor should be, and that in the political ad “there’s definitely no implication that he is taking sides in this” mayor’s race. So why does the Lee campaign condemn the ad as "negative"? For Stearns the answer is this: "If [Ed Lee] feels guilty about it, then he would think it negative."
Stearns objects to characterizing the ad as negative, but one that raises a relevant mayoral issue that needs to be aired in the public forum: “Who changed Ed Lee’s mind?”
How many days until Nov. 8? San Francisco’s politics are reaching a feverish pitch.