City Hall Watch: Peskin accused of ‘vendetta’

Allegations of a personal “vendetta” against one of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s top staffers followed in the wake of a new resolution by Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin to prevent themayor from using Muni money to pay a number of his staff members.

Last week, the Mayor’s Office confirmed that that nearly $750,000 in Municipal Transportation Authority money would be used to pay for all or part of the salaries for seven positions under Mayor Gavin Newsom, a practice the City Controller’s Office said was not unique to Newsom’s administration.

A single position — deputy press secretary salaried at $110,074 — was removed from that list and will now be funded through the Mayor’s Office, Newsom spokesman Nathan Ballard told The Examiner.

On Tuesday, Peskin introduced a resolution calling for Newsom to return funds and jobs to the MTA, which oversees Muni and the Department of Parking and Traffic.

Ballard charged that Peskin’s resolution and previous efforts to bring the accounting practice to light is the result of a “vendetta” against Wade Crowfoot, the mayor’s new director of Climate Protection Services — and Peskin’s former legislative aide.

Crowfoot alleged that, on two separate occasions, Peskin “threatened” his job. Crowfoot would not reveal why Peskin allegedly threatened him because the city attorney has been asked to look into the matter, he said.

“[The second occasion] was intense enough that I felt the need to refer it to the city attorney,” he said.

The City Attorney’s Office would neither confirm nor deny the existence of an investigation into the matter.

In response, Peskin called Crowfoot a “friend” and said his resolution was “not about political gamesmanship.”

“This is the Board of Supervisors doing its job to make sure the taxpayers’ dollars are properly stewarded,” he said, noting that he has written Crowfoot a letter of recommendation.

“The message is really simple: Every available dollar should be going toward improving Muni,” Peskin said.

IN OTHER ACTION

FUND PROPOSED FOR CITY SCHOOLS: Supervisor Tom Ammiano called for a hearing on the Rainy Day fund set aside to help the San Francisco Unified School District during fiscally tight times. Because of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s dire budget forecast, the school district is estimating up to $40 million in losses to its budget next year.

dsmith@examiner.com

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