“Where’s Gavin?”


By Rebecca Bowe

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In an article last month about how Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates has decided to trade in his car for a bus pass, the Chronicle reported an interesting transportation tidbit about San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom:

“[Newsom] rides Muni incognito, disguised in a baseball cap, and walks when he can, said his spokesman Nathan Ballard.”

In the wake of recent drama over the Muni budget, a group of anonymous city transit riders has apparently banded together to kick off a contest dubbed “Where’s Gavin?”

In a letter posted today by the N-Judah Chronicles, the contest organizers explain: “We don't think that Gavin actually gets it on transit or gets on transit, contrary to the comment in the Chronicle that said he goes incognito. We'd like him to ride more, perhaps to get a feeling for what riders go through even on days when the budget hasn't been cut.”

To wit, they promise to buy a Fast Pass for the first person to get a picture of Newsom riding incognito on Muni. (Cable cars don’t count.) They also say they’ll buy beer for any others who present a photo, subject to a “verification of authenticity.” Here’s a snippet from the contest Web site: “Only you, the riders of our beloved San Francisco Municipal Railway, can find Gavin going incognito. And to get you excited, check out the sidebar to see what prizes you could win! The deep and resounding question of our time is not ‘Where’s Waldo?’ It’s ‘Where’s Gavin?’”