Mayor Gavin Newsom
One-on-One with San Francisco Mayor
According to Gavin Newsom, being the mayor of the city and county of San Francisco is the ideal training to become the next Governor of California
By Yussuf J. Simmonds, Sentinel
Assâ€™t. Managing Editor
Normally when a potential candidate for statewide office visits the African American community in South Los Angeles, he or she invariably stops by a church, one of the steadfast institutions in the community.Â However, on July 22 Wednesday Mayor Gavin Newsom visited South Los Angeles and his first major stop was a town-hall meeting in the gymnasium of the St Andrews Recreation Center.Â Maybe he is a different kind of candidate.
The Sentinel had an exclusive one-on-one with Newsome to find out why he is running to be the governor of the state that is teetering on the edge of economic collapse and what are his plans assisting the African American community that is bearing the brunt of the present economic disaster.
LOS ANGELES SENTINEL (LAS): Now that the Mayor has dropped out of the race, do you think you have a better shot at becoming the next governor of California?
MAYOR GAVIN NEWSOM (MGN): When I got into this race, I said that I wasnâ€™t running against any candidate, Iâ€™m running to be the governor of California.Â Iâ€™m running with real ideas, a pragmatic agenda and a record of specific accomplishments on some of the biggest and most vexing issues of our time, and thatâ€™s issues relating to healthcare, education, the environment, and the economy and poverty eradication.Â Those are my areas of passion and focus.
So Iâ€™ll leave it to the punditry to decide whether itâ€™s good or bad that the Mayor of L.A. is out of the race.
LAS: What are the accomplishments in San Francisco that you can put your fingers on and say I did thus-and-so?
MGN: Iâ€™ll be talking about this tonight; I think that people want to move beyond rhetoric, they want to hold us accountable. The fact is I am the mayor of a county, not just a city, the only mayor of a county in California.Â So the issues of the county mirror the issues of the state.Â So itâ€™s right for people to say, â€˜Wait a second, youâ€™ve been mayor for five and a half years, what specifically have you done on all of these topics, so that I can get a sense from you what youâ€™ll do as governor?â€™
Itâ€™s one thing to talk about universal healthcare.Â But weâ€™re the only city in the United States and President Obama himself has identified San Francisco as a model plan and Iâ€™m now the head of the U.S. Conference of Mayorsâ€™ efforts to support his healthcare reform.Â As a consequence, Iâ€™ve been working closely with the administration to advance the principle behind our universal healthcare plan which is real.Â Itâ€™s happening in San Francisco.
LAS: What do you see as the difference or similarity between your job as Mayor of San Francisco and the job of the governor of California?
MGN: I think itâ€™s scale and scope but the principles are the same.Â The fact is the issues are the same locally as they are statewide, just magnified on a larger scale at the state.Â We all have our own structural problems; we have our own issues in terms of entitlements; we have our own special interests that exist at the local level as they exist at the state level.Â The (governorâ€™s) job is an enormously challenging job because the economic challenges obviously make the governance of the state more difficult.Â But we have to be focused on reform; we have to reduce the two-thirds threshold on the budget; we have to look at a two-year budget, not a one-year budget so that we can focus one year on the budget and the next year on performance in measuring our success.
LAS: So you look at yourself now as a â€˜littleâ€™ governor and that job is a â€™bigâ€™ mayor?
MGN: Yeah!Â As a matter of fact, I like that.Â I think that very interested and well-stated.Â I think that anyone whoâ€™s been a mayor understands executive positions are remarkably similar.Â Thereâ€™s cause and effect, good decisions and bad, you canâ€™t abdicate responsibility.Â When youâ€™re in an executive position, the buck stops with you.
LAS: Do you ever reach out to former mayor Willie Brown?
MGN: Are you kidding?Â Heâ€™s the reason Iâ€™m here today; heâ€™s the reason I got into politics.Â Thereâ€™s a saying that San Francisco has two mayors.Â Recently I was hurrying to an event and a lady who was coming out told me to hurry up, the mayor is speaking, and Iâ€™m the mayor.Â It was Willie Brown.Â
LAS: Thank you, Mr. Mayor, on behalf of our publisher, Danny Bakewell, Sr., and I would be remiss if I do not mention that he sends his regards and wish you well.
One of the more competitive aspects of the race is wooing the Hollywood crowd and by announcing early, Newsom is said to be trying to get the jump on his rivals, in both parties.Â The campaign could end up being a contest between the â€˜oldâ€™ Hollywood and the â€˜new/youngâ€™ Hollywood.Â Or it may just mirror a re-play of the recent presidential race.