Chronicle reporter Rachel Gordon waxes nostalgic in an interview/article on the SF Sentinel, as she leaves the City Hall beat to cover state politics for the Chron. Gordon talks about the defining acts of previous SF administrations before she evaluates the Gavin Newsom era:
Definitely [with] Gavin Newsom it was the same-sex marriage issue. All of us were expecting him to be a pretty boring policy wonk, but he surprised everyone shortly after he came into office with this. It defined his mayorality in many ways with that one edict. It will help him or haunt him, I guess, for the rest of his political career.
What about the homeless issue, which Newsom is having some genuine success in handling? That's what got him elected in the first place, and that is what he will likely be judged on. Gordon was even there---I saw her---when Angela Alioto publicly presented the mayor with the city's Ten Year Plan on homelessness two years ago. Why does gay marriage impress Gordon more than the homeless issue? Maybe because, as the story makes clear, she is a lesbian. To a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail. But check it out: No one seems interested in Newsom's very real early success in addressing homelessness in SF, even though that was the number one issue on voters' minds a few short years ago. The gay marriage issue will hurt Newsom politically the further away from San Francisco he gets. You can even argue that it cost Democrats the election in 2004. Homelessness, on the other hand, was seen as such a difficult issue no other SF politician---including Matt Gonzalez---wanted to touch it before Newsom.
Labels: Gavin Newsom, Homelessness, Media