Mayor’s plans for next term shrouded in secrecy

Mayor Gavin Newsom, who offered no new election-year promises while running for his second term, conceded that he doesn’t have a “specific strategy and plans” for the next four years.

“I don’t have that,” Newsom told The Examiner on Thursday. “I’ve thought about it, but candidly, I’ve tried not to get ahead of Election Day.”

This weekend, Newsom is away from The City and said part of his time would be spent reading new books — which he would not name — that he bought to help him find ideas and inspiration for next term. The mayor also said he’s been checking out other cities’ Web sites and talking to mayors across the country, looking for new ideas.

For now, Newsom said he’d be working to ramp up programs already initiated in such areas as homelessness, education and the environment.

“We’re also going to fast-track what we’re doing on repaving our streets and sidewalks, taking our greening initiatives to the whole next level so we really start seeing dramatic results,” Newsom said. “Cleaning our streets, physically dealing with graffiti and garbage out on the streets more aggressively. Continuing our community policing strategies and taking our beat officers and taking it to a whole new level.”

The mayor also said he has plans for a new “service initiative,” but said as of right now, he has no other new initiatives in the works.

“The reason I can’t give you anything is not that I’m holding back,” Newsom said. “I’m focused on personnel, I’m focused on changingthe team.”

In September, Newsom sent shock waves through City Hall when he asked hundreds of city commissioners, senior staff and department heads to voluntarily submit letters of resignation, dated for the end of his term.

At the time, the mayor said it would make it easier for him to make significant changes in his administration during his second term. One department head — Housing Authority Executive Director Gregg Fortner — resigned shortly thereafter.

Newsom wouldn’t say which departments would be hit with changes or name specific city officials he’d like to replace, but said he would focus the remainder of the 2007 on personnel issues.

“One of the most profound things I’ve learned as mayor is that you may have a great idea, but its separate to have an idea and then to implement it,” Newsom said. “What I care about most is finding the right people to implement a lot of ideas.”

Newsom said he also plans to move some City Hall offices so certain department heads would be “physically forced to work with each other.”

beslinger@examiner.com

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