SPECIAL SERIES : Municipal Runoff 2003
Newsom Pulls Through
Newsom follows Willie Brown into the mayor's office.
December 9, 2003 11:38 PM
At about 9:15 Tuesday the Fillmore erupted into drunken cheers and yells, the atmosphere was electric, the DJ's strident beats thumped through the air, the crowd of hundreds were amped, and the security was tight--Gavin Newsom had just officially won the election for the mayor of San Francisco.
Building on a 40 percent voter base from last month's election, Marina supervisor Gavin Newsom earned 53 percent of the vote, paving the final step in his long-plotted course to San Francisco's mayor's office.
It was Newsom who held most of the trump cards from the start of this mayoral election possessing the all-important blessing of the current mayor and almost legendary political demagogue Willie Brown.
"I think the current mayor's support was one of the most important things in the race, and I know that it really helped the campaign in a lot of different ways; partly just the personality of the mayor himself played a part," said Newsom supporter Harry Smicer, an attendee at Newsom's party.
Brown himself showed up at Newsom's party at around 9:30, sweeping in with his entourage and signature black fedora to cheers and acclaim, like it was he instead of his protege Newsom who had just been freshly elected.
And in a sense it was Brown's victory as much as any other's as it was the political machine that he built that was responsible for many of Newsom's votes.
Along with Brown’s patronage came the formidable vote-collecting machine that propelled Brown to two consecutive terms as mayor. The Democratic Party also came to Newsom’s aid, pulling out its big guns with Bill Clinton putting in a brief appearance at the Newsom campaign headquarters on Monday, and Al Gore making a speech in support of Newsom last week.
After the primary in November, Angela Alioto also threw her support behind the Newsom campaign in exchange for the promise of a position in City Hall. What that position will be remains vague, though Alioto described it as ‘vice mayor’.
Alioto was also an attendee at the Newsoms victory party, keeping out of the spotlight observing the raucus crowds below her from one of the balconees with a jaundiced eye.
Though both candidates were considered liberal, Newsom is seen as much more of an establishment figure having the support of San Francisco’s business community and the endorsement of the San Francisco Chronicle and many local unions.
However, against the odds Matt Gonzalez rallied the progressive community, winning the support of many parts of San Francisco not known for coming out to vote, including students and ex-dotcommers. This added up to one of the most talked-about mayoral elections in San Francisco history.
On Tuesday afternoon SF State senior Mark Pennant said, "I think that, well hopefully if they're smart most students should vote for Gonzalez, because I think that he cares about the 'little man' alot more than Newsom--he would just be the 'fat cats' mayor."
A lone Matt Gonzalez supporter who refused to give her name posted herself across the street from the Fillmore where Gavin Newsom held his victory party, heckling any new arrivals to the event. "I really think this is a black, black, day for the city and a lot of people in the city who deserved a voice in the government. Gavin Newsom is slime who just wants to please the corporations and businesses," she said.
The fact that Newsom let Gonzalez garner so many votes is in itself a failure of both Newsom and the Democratic Party.
SF State University political science Professor Corey Cook said Tuesday, “Newsom wasn’t as succesfull as Willie Brown was in the ’99 election. Brown has unparalleled skills in uniting a diverse coalition including the African-American community in Bay View and the downtown business community; Newsom doesn’t connect with people as well.”
With all these different factors weighing the scales, the election tonight may have been decided by something much simpler–-rain. With most of the write-in and absentee ballots coming from Newsom supporters, Gonzalez faced the trying task of motivating his voters to venture out on a stormy night to cast their ballots.
"Gonzalez in the end was forced to rely on things outside his control, like the weather and mostly just whether or not people got up to go vote," Cook said.
According to the Newsom campaign, the future of San Francisco will include investment in infrastructure, providing new and better services, deregulation for businesses, tax cuts, technology-enhanced government centralization (involving the new CitiStat and CompStat computer programs), a new stadium for the 49ers, a local earned-income tax credit, new business tax credits, wage and training subsidies, and so forth. For a full and in depth look at Newsom’s plans visit his Web site.
One of Newsom’s main tenets is that deregulation is the key to economic prosperity, in his economy brief he wrote, “The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce reported in 2001 that in excess of $2 billion could be poured into the San Francisco economy and 15,000 jobs created simply by speeding construction of transit, infrastructure, and housing projects already in the pipeline.”
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University