OPINION Much has been said about Mayor Gavin Newsom's stunning defeat at the ballot Nov. 7. Newsom's slate of endorsements went down in flames — from supervisorial candidates Rob Black and Doug Chan to the contenders he hoped would take control of the school board to a host of progressive ballot propositions, including worker sick leave and relocation assistance for evicted tenants. Every incumbent supervisor was also reelected, indicating an overall approval level of the Board of Supervisor's performance. And the voters took a further unprecedented step with the passage of Proposition I, which asked the mayor to appear before the board in person once a month to discuss city policy. The voters sent a clear message that they want the mayor to work with the supervisors rather than against them.
Will Newsom respect the mandate and comply with Prop. I? It's anyone's guess right now. The measure is not legally binding, and he vehemently opposed it. Here are five reasons why Newsom should comply with Prop. I:
1. The voters asked him to. Newsom claims to care about the will of the voters. He cited the "will of the voters" as his basis for vetoing a six-month trial of car-free space in Golden Gate Park — even though a trial has never been voted on. Will he respect the voters this time?
2. The status quo is not working. The homicide rate, traffic deaths, and Muni service have gotten worse every year under the Newsom administration. Commissioners aren't being appointed on time, police reform is off track, promised low-income housing is delayed, all bicycle improvements are on hold, and our roads are falling apart. Popular public events such as the North Beach Jazz Fest are under attack by a city government that can't keep Halloween revelers safe. Meanwhile, the mayor focuses on political damage control related to his apparent loss of the 49ers in 2012 and the Olympics in 2016.
3. Newsom consistently opposes ideas coming from the Board of Supervisors but doesn't seem to have any of his own. The homicide rate is at an all-time high and keeps getting worse. But Newsom has opposed every significant measure proposed by the supervisors, including funding for homicide prevention and assistance for victims’ families via Proposition A, as well as police foot patrols. Fare hikes and service cuts haven't solved Muni's problems, but Newsom sided with the local Republican Party in opposing Proposition E, which would have provided much-needed funding for Muni through an incremental increase in the car parking tax.
4. Newsom has been missing in action too long. The mayor spent almost the full first three years of his four-year term fundraising around the country to pay off his 2003 campaign debts. This busy fundraising schedule, combined with the demands of his relentless PR machine, has sent the mayor chasing photo ops in China; Italy; Washington, DC; Los Angeles; Chicago; New York; and a host of other places. The majority of the voters are now siding with progressives, the Guardian, and even the San Francisco Chronicle in asking "Where is the mayor?"
5. The voters asked him to. Really, that should be enough. No? SFBG
Ted Strawser is the founder of the SF Party Party.
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