Last November, 56 percent of San Francisco voters approved a resolution that said they supported the idea of having The City’s mayor appear monthly at a Board of Supervisors meeting. Openly critical of the idea championed by his political nemesis, Supervisor Chris Daly, Mayor Gavin Newsom has said such meetings will result in nothing more than “political theater.”
Because the 2006 nonbinding resolution was advisory, the mayor has not attended any of this year’s Board of Supervisors meetings.
Now Newsom and his allies are fundraising to fight a second measure — Proposition E — that will be placed on this November’s ballot — which will change city law and require the mayor’s attendance.
The No on Proposition E campaign, which has dubbed itself the “Let’s Really Work Together Coalition,” had raised $14,330 as of Sept. 22, according to campaign finance statements. This month, the group has a fundraiser scheduled at the home of San Francisco philanthropist Dede Wilsey.
Newsom said the language of the measure makes it attractive to voters.
“Shall the Mayor be required to appear in person at one regularly scheduled meeting of the Board of Supervisors each month to engage in formal policy discussions with members of the Board?” the first sentence on Proposition E in the ballot pamphlet reads.
“It reads very benignly,” Newsom said. “But I’m going to try and remind people who the author is and the intention of the author, and his purpose is not to sit there and have really substantive policy … it’s theater, only theater.”
While the ballot pamphlet contains five paid arguments against Proposition E, no paid arguments are included for the measure. Daly said it wasn’t needed.
“It’s an idea that makes sense if you’re not trying to kowtow to the mayor,” Daly said. “Last year, the campaign consisted of me and maybe a few others attending endorsement meetings.”
Contributors to the No on E campaign include Newsom’s father, a retired judge, who gave $1,000; the San Francisco Fire Fighters Political Action Committee, which gave $5,000; and the Muni drivers union, Local 250-A, which gave $2,000. The treasurer for the campaign is Jordanna Thigpen, the deputy director for San Francisco’s Taxicab Commission; the assistant treasurer is a lawyer for the same firm that oversees Newsom’s re-election campaign funds.
Newsom has held several town-hall meetings this year in different parts of The City, which his office has said are his response to voters’ desire to see formal policy discussions with the Board of Supervisors. At the first several meetings, protesters showed up dressed as chickens, to imply that the mayor was scared to face The City’s legislative body.
Voice your opinion and vote in our poll at examiNation SF: How do you feel about the mayor being required to attend a monthly board of supervisors meeting?