Mayor defends trip taken after oil spill

Mayor Gavin Newsom publicly defended his decision to go to Hawaii last weekend upon learning last Thursday night that the Cosco Busan cargo ship had spilled 58,000 gallons of oil into the Bay after its crash into the Bay Bridge.

Early this week, Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin told a reporter that he was “shocked” that Newsom had decided to keep his vacation plans, leaving Supervisor Bevan Dufty as acting mayor.

“I was gone Friday and Saturday,” Newsom said, “and one of the most remarkable things that’s happened in the last century is the ability to communicate with people in real time and engage in a dialogue and discussion and coordination and collaboration, without necessarily being physically in the same room.”

On Friday, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger declared a state of emergency in the San Francisco Bay Area; Newsom proclaimed the existence of a local emergency on Tuesday.

“I felt very comfortable with where The City was,” Newsom said, adding that he delayed his flight to make sure the situation was stabilized. “I felt very comfortable in my absence that The City was responding appropriately.”

beslinger@examiner.com  

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