Stories highlight Newsom's hypocrisy

Our June 10, 2009 cover story highlighted the wide gulf between Newsom's rhetoric and actions.

A pair of interesting stories in today's Chronicle paint Mayor Gavin Newsom as a self-serving hypocrite, highlighting how his cuts-only budget proposals ignore the city's long-term needs and have led Moody's to lower the city's credit rating, and how his green rhetoric is belied by his oil industry investments, including in the company responsible for the ongoing oil leak in the Gulf.

The Guardian has long noted how fiscally irresponsible Newsom's budgets have been, with our latest editorial calling for Newsom to finally offer support for some of the revenue measures now being explored by the Board of Supervisors, which will need strong support from everyone in City Hall to have a chance of winning voter approval.

The Controller's Office and now Moody's have confirmed that Newsom's reckless and gimmicky budget leaves a long-term budget hole even as it does short-term damage to the city's social safety net and public health programs. But instead of acknowledging that reality, Newsom flak Tony Winnicker is still offering snide, Republican-style put-downs of the supervisors who are actually working hard to improve the city's fiscal health while Newsom is out running for state office, afraid he will be criticized for supporting the tax revenue this city desperately needs.

As for Newsom's oil industry investments, well, they speak for themselves. His whole political career, and even the restaurant and bar career before that, was built on a foundation of oil money heaped upon him by the Gettys. And even after he found there was political gold to be mined from green rhetoric, he has continued to financially support and profit from the oil industry.

Many Guardian readers have long said that we should just give up on Newsom, calling him a shameless and self-serving politician of the very worst sort. Maybe they're right. But if Newsom wants to earn our support in his race for lieutenant governor – whose most important responsibilities are his key votes in deciding whether to support new offshore oil drilling in California and whether to continue pushing myopic cuts-only budgets for the public university systems – then now is the time for him to show some political courage by disinvesting from the oil industry and supporting a responsible city budget that includes new revenue measures for which he should actively campaign this fall.