San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom may be known nationally as the patron saint of gay marriage, but back home, Newsom has built his career on things like buying fleets of hybrid vehicles and installing windmills near the Golden Gate Bridge.
Small problem — as Curbed SF points out, Newsom has never built a windmill or anything else energy-related anywhere near the Golden Gate Bridge. Not that such considerations would quell admiration from right-coast hacks looking to promote handsome, young politicians for the benefit of the party machine.If you live in New York, you might think San Francisco's Gavin "Gavvy-gav" Newsom is some sort of John Lindsay-handsome but Michael Bloomberg-effective miraculous wonder. He married the gays! And instituted universal healthcare! And tans his hot bod with solar panels! It's okay, we understand — you guys have never had as firm a grasp on left-coast reality as you thought you did. In truth, Newsom's administration has failed on such basic points as violent crime, public transportation, and affordable housing. While local New Yorker correspondent Tad Friend chewed on Newsom's presentation hook, line and sinker, even he can't be entirely blamed. The regional press corps has been filled with unapologetic boosters since the gold rush days. With Nancy Pelosi, our local political machine's grand inquisitor, running the House of Representatives, it's only natural that we press a lanky golden-boy type upon you poor suckers statewide. For my sake and yours, however, don't believe the hype. Gavvy-gav was, and is, a ditzy jock who just happened to be related to somone endeared to the Getty oil fortune. As a perennial ringer for upwardly mobile softball teams otherwise stacked with the obliged noblesse, he rose quickly from above the muddied ranks of local activists and condo association street fighters. Picking topics which cost him little political capital locally while presenting them as daring moves nationally, Newsom has cemented the perception of his position firmly between the socially center-left and economically center-right. Which, honestly, is about the perfect balance for the pot-smoking, free-market and gay-loving populace which forms his constituency. Still, it's no frame to hang an Obama-level cult of personality on. Newsom's feather-light shoulders and uncannily cheery countenance really can't take the weight of serious responsibility. Take pity, east coasters, and please don't bother to burden him with it. (Photo by Franco Folini)