The mayor quite simply hits the ground running.
Arriving at the Marina Green parking lot in the cool light of The City’s early-morning fog, Mayor Gavin Newsom opens the door of his mayoral town car and, with one step, begins his run along Crissy Field. Alone with his San Francisco Giants hat pulled low, he has his iPhone pumping Toby Keith and Chris Brown into his ears.
“I’m a Toby Keith guy. I’m serious. I love Toby Keith. I’ll admit it,” Newsom said. “I’ve got more Toby Keith on [my iPhone]; it’s ridiculous … You want good jogging music? Boy, Toby Keith is good.”
But the energy the mayor exuded as he sang along to Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American)” is indicative of the energy required for a day in the life of San Francisco mayor.
The pace of Newsom’s run — 3½ to four miles in 30 minutes — sets the tone for the rest of the 40-year-old’s day, which is spent running from meeting to meeting and event to event. He is not always precise, but he is quick. And the duties consume him.
“My life is the job. The job is my life,” he said. “There’s no separation.”
The Examiner tailed the mayor June 27, a day ripe with news — the National Rifle Association sued The City over its gun ordinances — and typical mayoral events, including a dedication ceremony here and a high-profile private function there.
Newsom described his days as “Groundhog Day”-like in their repetitive nature. But among that repetition are new challenges presented to him, such as the NRA lawsuit.
“You know, that has its own intrigue and its own particular response that we have not experienced as mayor or even as supervisor,” Newsom told The Examiner.
But his habitual nature spreads to other areas of his life. Known for his slicked-back hair and dashing suits, the mayor revealed that, yes, he does have quite a few suits and ties, but he might have seven or eight of the same exact suit and several identical ties.
“They all are exactly the same,” Newsom said of his suits. “They get destroyed. I mean, they’re already shiny and horrible. … The buttons are already falling off this one.”
And as for lunch, he is a creature of habit, sending staff to the deli located in the courthouse next to City Hall every day to get him a turkey wrap, which he often eats in the town car. After hours, he will often call in for takeout at one of the three restaurants in which he owns a stake — Jack Falstaff, Balboa Cafe and PlumpJack, he said.
He has “usuals” at all of them.
The mayor's day
We all know Gavin Newsom as San Francisco’s chief executive and a man with his eyes on larger prizes. But follow him around for a day and you’ll learn other things about him — his exercise routine, what music he’s listening to, how he takes his coffee and how many suits he actually owns.
7:22 a.m. The lone man at the top of The City’s government, Gavin Newsom cruises solo through a 3½-mile jog along Crissy Field. The mayor’s weekly exercise routine includes work with his personal trainer and Pilates with fiancée Jennifer Siebel. The mayor maintains this quick pace throughout his day.
7:45 a.m. Newsom waits in line at the Starbucks on Union Street for his morning coffee. “Aren’t I acting like I live in the Marina?” he says. “I have my iPhone and I’m at Starbucks in the morning.” Local Tim Heffernan, standing in line with the mayor, kindly corrects Newsom, saying the area is Cow Hollow. Newsom, a fifth-generation Marina resident, raises an eyebrow at the assertion. Heffernan also compliments him on his job as mayor.
8:35 a.m. After taking a seven-minute shower, applying hair geland dressing in a sharp suit, Newsom arrives in front of City Hall ready for business.
8:35-10 a.m. Room 200, the mayor’s office, is quiet except for the flipping of pages as Newsom takes his seat and plows through a stack of paper. On this morning, the National Rifle Association has sued The City because of gun ordinances that limit possession. After talking with then-Chief of Staff Phil Ginsburg and giving him direction, he warns, “Don’t take me lightly on this [the issue of the gun ordinances]” before heading out for a 10 a.m. private meeting.
11:06 a.m. Police Chief Heather Fong greets the mayor before a news conference announcing more initiatives to curb violence. His communications staffers are “pinged” on their cell phones by his security team so they know his whereabouts. Just before taking the podium for 15 minutes, he whispers with Ginsburg and walks away, visibly upset about some aspect of the impending news conference.
12:15 p.m. After a question-and-answer session behind the podium, during which someone’s BlackBerry rings while being used as a recording device — “This is Gabe calling,” the mayor notes to the room — Newsom takes additional questions on a range of topics, a typical maneuver to make the mayor available to the press. Asked about the LGBT Pride parade, Newsom smiles and says, “If you’re happy, let your face know.”
12:40 p.m. At a taping of his newly launched radio show, Newsom discusses high-fructose corn syrup and other nutritional topics with food author Michael Pollan. He is astonished that black beans are packaged with the product. “Are you serious?” he asks. “They put it in black beans?”
1:27 p.m. “Oh, I got to run,” Newsom tells Pollan while chatting after the show. The mayor is handed his typical lunch — a turkey wrap — and he begins wolfing it down in the elevator. “I literally eat one of these every day,” he says before finishing it in the car.
1:45 p.m. Newsom arrives to give brief remarks at the dedication of the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center in the Tenderloin and listens to a few success stories of homeless people finding homes. Standing to the side of the event, he is asked if he wants to sit down, but he declines and stands for the half-hour event. As he walks out, he shakes hands, signs an autograph and takes photos with city employeesand regular Joes.
4:10 p.m. The mayor grabs a cup of coffee at City Hall Cafe to meet with community activist Paul Holden. After the meeting, he is caught under the City Hall dome by a television crew wanting to grab some quick comments. He is also met by same-sex couples thanking him for his role in the movement. Since returning from the Salvation Army event at 2:40, the mayor has met with his communication director, Nathan Ballard, about the NRA lawsuit and has held other private meetings regarding city business.
5:25 p.m. In his office, Newsom officiates the wedding of Leslie Riley and Pam Pruitt, a couple who bumped into him outside of his office and asked him to officiate. At 6 p.m., he performs another same-sex wedding in his office.
7:15 p.m. At a private function in the penthouse of former Secretary of State George Shultz and his wife, Charlotte, U.S. Sen. and former Mayor Dianne Feinstein chats up Newsom and his fiancée, Jennifer Siebel, as they make the rounds at an elite event for The City’s upper crust.
8:24 p.m. Newsom and Siebel hop into the mayoral town car, headed for dance lessons in preparation for their July wedding. The lessons are held at Cheryl Burke Dance, named for the “Dancing with the Stars” champion. When asked if he would ever go on the television show, Newsom says, “You’re guaranteed never to see that.”
Born: Oct. 10, 1967
Weight: 195 pounds
Height: 6 feet 1 inch
Education: Graduated from Santa Clara University in 1989
College sports: Baseball
Resides: Russian Hill
Elected mayor: 2003
Re-elected mayor: 2007
Days per week spent at work: 6½
Mayoral salary: $244,807
Businesses: Founder of PlumpJack Group, which operates 15 businesses, including restaurants and wineries in Northern California
Relationship status: Divorced; marrying actress Jennifer Siebel July 26 in Montana
Vehicles: Only mayoral town car
Exercise: Running, Pilates
Place to eat that he does not own: North Beach Restaurant
Vacation spot: Montana
Favorite sport: Baseball
Favorite team: San Francisco Giants
Favorite player: Rich Aurilia
Usual lunch: Turkey wrap
What you want to know about Mayor Gavin Newsom
– He is a fan of country singer Toby Keith, especially his post-Sept. 11 song “Courtesy of the Red, White and Blue (The Angry American).”
– He takes a seven-minute shower.
– He doesn’t wear tuxedos to black-tie events “because people think I’m a waiter or something.”
– He drinks two large cups of coffee every day — one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Both are black, half-decaf.
– He owns a “ridiculous” amount of suits and ties, but seven or eight of them are identical.
– He goes to sleep at 11:30 p.m. at the earliest and typically wakes up before 7 a.m.
– He tries to go to the movies every Sunday. The last movie he saw was “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.”
– He has never seen HBO’s “The Wire.”