By Steven T. Jones
In the latest indication that Mayor Gavin Newsom intends to run as far away from San Francisco values as possible during his bid for governor, his campaign announced today the hiring of Garry South as its senior adviser.
I got to know South during my years as news editor for the Sacramento News & Review, when he was an adviser to then-Gov. Gray Davis, and I share the concerns of others that he represents the antithesis of Democratic Party values.
While the California Energy Crisis was barreling down on this state's citizens and government, with enough time to head off the worst impacts, I listened to South indignantly defend the governor's laissez faire approach until way after such passivity was indefensible. I argued with him as Davis became the most mindless law-and-order governor in California history (Davis famously argued for patterning our criminal justice system on that of repressive Singapore, a ludicrous South-inspired statement he never disavowed). And I sat in court while South and his Republican counterparts pleaded with a judge to overturn voter-approved campaign finance limits.
Garry South's conservative triangulation approach to politics is arguably a big reason why Davis was recalled, leaving us with the Governator. Along with other soulless, scorched-earth political operatives in Camp Newsom -- including Nathan Ballard, Peter Ragone, and Chris Lehane -- South is sure to drag this campaign down into the lowest common denominator muck.
Hmm, maybe this isn't such a bad thing after all. Newsom can run from us, lose, and then we won't need to keep explaining why Newsom is from San Francisco, but not of San Francisco.