City clerk gives seal of disapproval

Just a mouse click away from The City’s official Web site, T-shirts, coffee cups, canvas bags and other products advertising Mayor Gavin Newsom’s programs are being sold on a site that illegally displays the city seal, the city clerk told the mayor late Tuesday.

On The City’s official Web site — www.sfgov.org — a link can take a user to another Web site registered to the address of City Hall celebrating Newsom’s Sunday street closure events. There, a link takes users to Zazzle.com — a Web site allowing anyone to sell customized goods. Products are sold there that advertise Newsom’s Embarcadero street closure along with the Shape Up San Francisco initiative. The site and some products bear the city seal.

Use of the city seal for commercial purposes requires approval from the Board of Supervisors, which was not given.

The city clerk on Tuesday sent a memo to Newsom alerting him of the unauthorized use of the city seal. “Your prompt attention to this matter would be appreciated,” the memo said.

After The Examiner made inquires about the use of the city seal, the link to Zazzle was removed Tuesday evening.

“It is a secular, sacred symbol that has great value and you can’t go handing it out to outfits just because maybe they throw a few bucks into some pot where the mayor wants money to do something,” Supervisor Jake McGoldrick said.

Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard said, “The mayor does not support or condone unauthorized use of the city seal.” Ballard could not say who linked the Web sites or who set up the site on Zazzle to sell the products. “We are going to find out who did this and ask them to apply for the proper permission from the city clerk,” he said.

Zazzle earns money when a product is sold. It receives the bulk of the product cost, while the seller receives a percentage of the royalties. For example, a basic white T-shirt costs $15.95 with $14.36 going to Zazzle upon sale and $1.59 to the seller.

Also on the Zazzle Web site is a page that sells “Newsom 2010” T-shirts and other products related to his potential run for governor. The page is titled “Gavin for governor: a better California.” It displays a picture of a smiling Newsom next to a blue image of the state.

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsCity HallGavin NewsomGovernment & PoliticsLocalPolitics

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

City officials closed San Francisco County Jail No. 4 on the top floor of the Hall of Justice at 850 Bryant St. in September, reducing the number of beds in the jail system by about 400. 
Kevin N. Hume/
S.F. Examiner
SF jail closure prompts doctor to call for release of more inmates

Reduced space increases risk of COVID-19 spreading among those in custody

Cyclists have flocked to Market Street since private vehicles were largely banned from a long stretch of it in January. (Amanda Peterson/Special to the S.F. Examiner)
Plans for sidewalk-level bikeway on Market Street dropped due to costs, increased cyclist volume

Advocates say revisions to Better Market Street fail to meet safety goals of project

Prop. 21 would allow San Francisco city officials to expand rent control to cover thousands more units. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Tenant advocates take another try at expanding rent control with Prop. 21

Measure would allow city to impose new protections on properties 15 years or older

Tenderloin residents are finding benefits to having roads closed in the neighborhood. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)</ins>
Should there be fewer cars in the Tenderloin’s future?

The pandemic has opened San Franciscans’ eyes to new uses of urban streets

Singer-songwriter Cam is finding musicmaking to be healing during 2020’s world health crisis. 
Courtesy 
Dennis Leupold
Cam challenges country music tropes

Bay Area-bred songwriter releases ‘The Otherside’

Most Read