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

Musician shot by off-duty FBI agent on Haight Street speaks out

Man thought official was a ‘fake cop’

Emails reveal another FBI suspect may have given Mayor Breed a gift

onguard Mere days after Mayor London Breed revealed she took a potentially… Continue reading

Video shows angry 49ers fan throwing items at cashier on Super Bowl Sunday

San Francisco police are asking the public for help identifying an aggressive… Continue reading

New plan provides a road map to better transit for Bayview residents

SFMTA to review suite of 101 projects designed to improve community safety and access

Mandelman bringing bathhouses back to The City

New ordinance would amend health code restrictions imposed in 1980s

Most Read