Gavin Newsom

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Mayor Newsom

Gavin Christopher Newsom (born October 10, 1967) is the 42nd Mayor of San Francisco, California. He was elected mayor on December 9, 2003, succeeding Willie Brown. Newsom was inaugurated as the mayor of San Francisco on January 8, 2004.

Newsom was born in San Francisco, but raised primarily in Marin County. He graduated from Santa Clara University in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science. In December 2001 he married Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom, a former attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney's office and former model who is currently a legal analyst and commentator who appears on television networks including Court TV, CNN, and MSNBC. She is based in New York City, having moved there shortly after he was sworn into office. Mrs. Newsom caused an amusing controversy in October 2004 when remarks and gestures (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/10/24/BAGPV9EJML35.DTL&type=printable) she made at a gay rights dinner suggested that her husband is very well-endowed and would never cheat on her because of her skill at oral sex (she made no denials of her husband's endowment, but claims she never meant to imply oral sex). However, on January 7, 2005 the couple jointly filed for divorce, citing difficulties due to their careers on opposite coasts.

Gavin Newsom's first taste of public office was in 1996 when he was appointed President of San Francisco's Parking and Traffic Commission. Later in 1996, he was appointed to fill a vacant seat on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Voters re-elected him to the Board of Supervisors in 1998, 2000 and 2002. He gained public attention for his role in advocating reform of the city's beleaguered Municipal Railway (Muni). He sponsored a ballot measure from the transit riders group Rescue Muni; a version of the measure was approved by voters in November 1999.

Aside from public service, Newsom has built several successful businesses in northern California. He is a partner/owner of the PlumpJack Wine Shop (his first business, opened in 1992), the PlumpJack Cafe, the Balboa Cafe, the Matrix/Fillmore, the Squaw Valley Inn, and the PlumpJack Management Group.

Newsom, a Democrat, ran for mayor in 2003, finishing first in the November general election with 42% of the vote, but because he did not receive a majority, he was forced into a December runoff against President of the Board of Supervisors and Green Party member Matt Gonzalez, which Newsom won with 53% of the vote. During the runoff campaign, Newsom — accused of being excessively pro-big business by his Green opponents — was endorsed by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore and former U.S. President Bill Clinton (Michael Moore, however, endorsed Gonzalez, characterizing Newsom as "a Republican masquerading as a Democrat" in a speech Moore gave during a visit to San Francisco). Newsom campaigned on a pledge to crack down on the city's notorious homeless problem, adopting much of the same agenda pursued by Rudolph Giuliani in New York City a decade earlier; the centerpiece of Newsom's reform proposals was known as "Care Not Cash," which substituted direct aid in the form of rent vouchers, etc., for cash payments heretofore made to indigents under the state's General Assistance program. Implementation of Care Not Cash began on July 1, 2004.

Meanwhile, Newsom gained international attention in February 2004 when he ordered county workers to change marriage certificate application documents to allow for same-sex marriage, which are not recognized by the state under voter-approved Proposition 22. Because of this order, on February 12, 2004, 50 gay and lesbian couples became some of the first in the United States to receive official government-sanctioned marriage licenses recognizing their relationships, and about 4,000 same-sex couples were married in San Francisco until the weddings were stopped by the California Supreme Court on March 11. (See Same-sex marriage in the United States for more information.) Some prominent Democrats such as Senator (and former San Francisco mayor) Dianne Feinstein and Representative Barney Frank speculated (http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2004/10/24/BAGPV9EJML35.DTL&type=printable) that Newsom's actions helped doom the party's Presidential candidate, John Kerry, but Newsom rebuffs any such finger-pointing, saying that national security issues and Kerry's campaign themes were the real reasons for defeat, not gay marriage. In fact, Newsom used a rally marking the one-year anniversary of the "Winter of Love" to rip Feinstein for her comment that the marriages were "too much, too fast, too soon," saying, "It is no longer acceptable for politicians to come to you every electoral cycle and ask you for money and then turn around and say, 'It's too much, too soon.'" Newsom also blasted New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg for giving his verbal support to gay marriage at the same time he was appealing a February 2005 ruling that struck down New York state's gay marriage ban as unconstitutional, and led the crowd in a chant of "Shame on you, George Bush."

On June 1, 2005, a tape was released of San Fransisco 49ers' PR director Kevin Reynolds impersonating (http://msnbc.msn.com/id/8059077/) Newsom and making not-so-subtle jabs at the mayor's same-sex marriage stance and personal character. As the video was supposed to help the 49ers learn diversity training, Newsom had given advance permission for some scenes to be filmed in his office. Newsom denounced the tape for its anti-Asian, anti-gay images and will insist on seeing the content of a project before allowing any project to film inside City Hall.


External links


Preceded by:
Willie Brown
Mayor of San Francisco
2004–
Succeeded by:
Incumbent

Template:End boxfr:Gavin Newsom

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