Willie Brown thinks it's a good idea. And you can tell Newsom wants to consider it, since he knows there's nothing else obvious for him to do once his term as mayor is up -- and there are going to be a lot of options not too far down the road. Sen. Dianne Feinstein isn't getting any younger, and at some point she'll retire. If Jerry Brown doesn't get elected governor, the Democrats will be looking for someone very different in four years. But once a politician like Newsom is out of office and out of the spotlight, he'll have a hard time coming back.
So he could sit up there in the Lite Gov's office, doing what John Garamendi did -- taking on issues like cuts to the University of California (the Lt. Gov. sits on the Board of Regents) and making speeches about reform, and maybe he could get out in front of this constitutional convention stuff, and keep his name in the news, without having to make a single difficult or unpleasant decision that he can be blamed for later.
You know he wants to do it ....
But there's this problem, and for Newsom, it's very real.
As people close to the mayor have told me repeatedly, the money people who helped put the mayor in office -- and who would have to be around to help him run for any other office -- are not at all pleased with the prospect of Newsom leaving San Francisco a year early. See, that would give the district-elected supervisors the chance to fill the mayor's job for the last year of Newsom's term, and the person they appointed would be able to run as an incumbent.
And while it's not clear who could get six votes (David Chiu? David Campos? Ross Mirkarimi? Aaron Peskin?) it's pretty clear that the new mayor would not be an ally of Newsom's pals.
Sure, when he was running for governor, it seemed fine -- having their guy in charge of the state was worth the loss of the San Francisco mayor's office. But for a relatively powerless job? I think they'd crucify him.