The underground campaign - Page 6

Despite the veneer of Newsom's popularity, the mayor's race shows some real discontent -- and some good policy ideas

In response, Peskin told us that was not the intent and that he is already working with Newsom to address those concerns with a joint letter and possible legislation.

"If San Francisco is going to be a world-class city, it's got to have a great transportation infrastructure," Peskin told us about the motivation behind Measure A. "This would make sure that San Francisco has a transit-first policy forever."

Measure A would place control of almost all aspects of the transportation system under the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and give that panel more money and administrative powers in the process, while letting the Board of Supervisors retain its power to reject the MTA's budget, fare hikes, or route changes. He also inserted a provision in the measure that would negate approval of Measure H, the downtown-backed measure that would invalidate existing city parking policies.

Ironically, Peskin said his approach would help prevent the gridlock that would result if the city's power brokers got their wish of being able to build 10,000 housing units downtown without restrictions on automobile use and a revitalization of public transit options. As he said, "I think we are in many ways aiding developers downtown because [current development plans are] predicated on having a New York–style transit system."

Asked about Newsom's controversial decision to ask for the resignations of senior staff, Peskin was critical but said he had no intention of having the board intervene. McGoldrick was more animated, calling it a "gutless Gavin move," and said, "If you want to fire them, friggin' fire them." But he said it was consistent with Newsom's "conflict-averse and criticism-averse" style of governance.

McGoldrick also had lots to say about Newsom's penchant for trying to privatize essential city services — "We need to say, 'Folks, look at what's happening to your public asset'" — and his own sponsorship of Proposition K, which seeks to restrict advertising in public spaces.

"Do we have to submit to the advertisers to get things done?" McGoldrick asked us in discussing Prop. K, which he authored to counter "the crass advertising blight that has spread across this city."*