By Chris Albon
Mayor Gavin Newsom is still dodging questions about his affair with his campaign manager’s wife and his alcohol problem, even as masses of reporters show up at his public appearances, such as today’s event touting a PG&E program.
The small press conference at the Academy of Art University on San Francisco’s new $11.5 million Energy Watch program, sponsored primarily by PG&E, was Newsom’s first event since he announced yesterday that he was seeking treatment for alcohol abuse at Delancey Street Foundation.
Newsom was 15 minutes late and a small crowd of reporters were anxiously loitering and watcing every Lincoln Town car that crept through lunchtime traffic. When the limo finally arrived, Newsom locked in a smile, looked forward, and walked in the building to PG&E’s display table of high-tech light bulbs.
The mood was tense and the event’s organizers and the mayor’s staff seemed skeptical that the media was there to get information on the plan to distribute more energy efficient light bulbs to small businesses.
“I know many of you are here because you care so deeply about climate change,” was how Jared Blumenfeld, director of the San Francisco department of the environment, expressed his cynicism.
When Blumenfeld introduced Newsom to speak, the room was awkwardly quiet. No one applauded.
“Thank you everyone, for the applause,” Newsom said. Only then did the small crowd applaud.
After his speech on the new plan, the mayor did take questions, but he was not going to dive into the affair or his alcohol problem.
“Any more questions,” Newsom asked adding, “on this issue?” before it was too late.
As the mayor walked out, I thought it a perfectly appropriate and respectful question to ask the mayor “if there was going to be a time when he would take questions on his alcoholism or his affair,” but apparently he didn’t agree.
“You’ve taken liberty with the question,” he said.
I took that as a “no.” Maybe I should have asked why a mayor who purports to support public power was helping to prop up PG&E’s aggressive greenwashing efforts. Next time.