Barnstorming SF pols may have to pay for security

City officials campaigning outside San Francisco for higher office would be forced to pay for their security detail under proposed legislation.

The controversy about costs to protect politicians began as a question about how much is spent on providing security for Mayor Gavin Newsom. The issue started when it was reported that a police officer drove a city-owned hybrid sport utility vehicle to Montana for the mayor’s wedding in July 2008.

The inquiries increased as Newsom spent a lot of time outside The City campaigning to become California’s next governor. He abandoned that bid last month.

The Police Department, which provides the security detail, has routinely refused to disclose costs to protect Newsom, saying it would jeopardize security. Other mayors in other cities, however, do not keep the costs hidden.

But proposed legislation would expose a portion of the costs.

The bill, introduced by Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi, would require an elected city official who travels outside San Francisco and engages in campaign activity for federal, state or local office to submit a travel schedule and declare the amount of time spent on activities and meetings, and whether the trip was campaign-related. The elected official would have to reimburse The City for costs associated with the security detail provided during the campaign-related activities.

The Board of Supervisors Rules Committee is scheduled to hold a hearing on the legislation today. It would require a vote by the full board to become law.

Mirkarimi said the use of the security details in such a situation is “a practice that has gone unchecked, and it needs to be reined in.”

“Resources should not be used or commingled when one is campaigning for higher office,” he said.

The Mayor’s Office, however, said the security is a matter for the Police Department.

“The appropriate level of security for the mayor, other public officials and visiting dignitaries should be decided by the San Francisco Police Department,” Newsom spokesman Brian Purchia said.

Bay Area NewsGovernment & PoliticsLocalMayor Gavin NewsomPoliticsSan Francisco

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART Ambassadors are being called on to assist riders in social situations that don’t require police force. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Unarmed BART ambassadors program formalized with a focus on community service

Public safety and police reform are key elements in campaigns of Board members Dufty and Simon

On Oct. 13, people lined up to vote early for the presidential election in Southlake, Texas. <ins>(Shutterstock)</ins>
<ins></ins>
Five things to watch for in the run-up to Nov. 3

Down-ballot races, as much as the presidency, will determine the future course of this nation

WeChat (Shutterstock)
U.S. District Court denies Trump request to shutdown WeChat app

A federal judge in San Francisco denied a request by the U.S.… Continue reading

School board members Gabriela Lopez (left) and Alison Collins (right) say they have been the subject of frequent hateful, racist and sexist attacks during their time on the school board. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F Examiner)
Angered by Lowell decision, SFUSD grad targets school board members with violent imagery

Facebook page depicts two women of color on board with swastikas and x-marks on their faces

Supervisor Sandra Lee Fewer, a former school board member, said it was ‘ridiculous’ that the school district did not yet have a plan to reopen. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Supervisors demand SFUSD set a timeline for reopening

Pressure grows on district to resume in-person learning as The City’s COVID-19 case count goes down

Most Read