Will Gavin debate with Tony Hall out of race?

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by Sarah Phelan

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While apparently not available for debating, Gavin has been spotted in City Hall like at this Aug. 14 event where he posed with a pretty unidentified brunette.

The day after former supervisor Tony Hall dropped out of the mayoral race, he told me that in the three weeks that
has passed since he filed to run, his campaign offered to meet Newsom, "in any format to have an intelligent informed debate," but to no avail.

The Guardian has offered to sponsor a debate, but so far Newsom's camp has not replied to our request.

Newsom's campaign manager Eric Jaye was quoted in today's Chronicle as saying Newsom will participate in debates with the other candidates-- a promise Jaye also made to us three weeks ago.

Meanwhile, Hall denies that his decision to drop out was connected to a City's Ethics Commission investigation into allegations that he misused thousands of dollars in contributions to his 2004 re-election campaign, when he was District 7 supervisor.

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Tony Hall participated August 17 in the first Meet the Next Mayor debate. Newsom did not. even though the event has been taking place every Friday night at 5pm, directly below the window of his R. 200 City Hall office.

Quintin Mecke, who works as program director for Safety Network Partnerships, remains in the race and now has the endorsement of progressive champion, Sup. Chris Daly.

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Newsom subsequently appointed Sean Elsbernd to the D7 seat, after luring Hall out of elected office by appointing him to head Treasure Island.

The move went south, when Hall disagreed with Newsom about the terms of the redevelopment's exclusive negotiating agreement with developer Darius Anderson. After Hall was fired by the Treasure Island Development Authority, he went public with his distaste for all things Newsom--a dislike that is still up front and central.

"I'm withdrawing my name because not enough people are willing to stand up and hold this clown Newsom accountable for the mess he has made of this City," Hall told us today. "If I'm in the ring fighting, people have to indicate that they are willing to stand up. Gavin and his little group of power brokers are selling this city piece by piece, but I'm not seeing evidence that people care."

As for the Ethics investigation, Hall says, "anyone who has ever stepped forward to take Newsom on, all of a sudden has a complaint filed against them with the Ethics Commission. It's Gavin's little machine at work."
Hall also said that he is no longer willing to risk the happiness of his family and the welfare of his supporters, who he claims, "have been intimidated and harrassed."

While refusing to elaborate on these claims, Hall likened his current predicament to that of Sup. Chris Daly.
"They crucified Chris Daly, they murdered him for speaking what lots of people knew to be the truth. Gavin is not even being honest about himself."

So, would Tony Hall's application for public financing have actually been approved? That's just one of the question Newsom watchers are asking, in the wake of Hall's decision to drop out of the race, two days after appearing to have qualified to receive $50,000 in public funds.

Hall's application, along with that of fellow challenger Chicken John Rinaldi, is currently under review, as city officials determine whether the funds raised so far--Hall for his part raised $27,000-- came from at least 250 local residents, each giving a maximum of $100.

The City won't determine whether Rinaldi or Hall's funds came from bona fide sources until next week.
In the meantime, and with another "Meet the Next Mayor" debate scheduled for 5 PM tonight outside City Hall, voters have the chance to meet Newsom's challengers. Like Lonnie Holmes.

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And then there's Josh Wolf, who Newsom never supported when the 24-year old was jailed for 226 days for refusing to hand over his video outtakes of a protest turned violent--material that it protected under California's reporter shield laws, but which the feds circumvented by claiming a car bought with Homeland Security Funds had been targeted with arson--a claim that subnsequently failed to check out.