By Steven T. Jones
Mayor Gavin Newsom has refused to take any questions about his affair or drinking problem -- and we don't intend to turn to his press secretary for answers anymore -- so I called his campaign spokesperson Eric Jaye this afternoon to pose a couple questions and let him know that we expect to pose a few more directly to Newsom, whether or not he wants to answer them. Luckily, we're patient and we buy our ink by the barrel, so we're in no hurry.
Jaye said the reports that Alex Tourk is still being paid by the campaign (potentially a violation of campaign finance laws) is not accurate. And he said Ruby Tourk never received any payments either. "There have been no payments whatsoever to anyone (connected to the scandals) for anything. We won't do anything until three attorneys sign off on it," he told us. "We don't want to compound an error in judgment by making a campaign finance error." But Jaye did say the campaign feels an obligation to help Tourk make ends meet until he can find a new job, a task that he expects to have good legal advice on in the next day or two. "He's a great guy who doesn't deserve any of this...We don't right now know how to pay him or if we can through the campaign."
The other big question was how Newsom can expect to seriously deal with his alcohol and other personal problems while reengaging with his job as mayor and standing for reelection. No surprise that Jaye feels like Newsom is up to it, but he did say the campaign comes last on that list: "The priority is for Gavin Newsom to do what he has to do to be a better mayor and be a better person...In the scheme of things, the campaign comes after that."
Does that mean that the campaign could get squeezed out once Newsom learns about what kind of program he'll face at Delancey Street Foundation and if the job of being mayor is made all the tougher by his recent scandals and his handling of them? Might Newsom not run? Jaye categorically rejected the idea that Newsom might not run, noting that he might have less time to personally campaign, but the campaign will move forward anyway. "Absolutely he's running to reelection and he's going to run a successful campaign."