Newsom’s (unbelievably short) resignation letter

Last days as mayor
Sarah Phelan
Gavin Newsom talks to the media for one of the last times as mayor of San Francisco

When I clicked on the link to “Mayor resignation” on the Board of Supervisor’s website, I expected a video of Newsom making an incredibly gushy and long-winded resignation speech to pop up.

Instead, I found a one-sentence resignation letter that Starr Terrell faxed to Clerk of the Board Angela Calvillo at an unspecified time on Jan. 10, 2011.

“I am resigning my position as Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco, effective this date, so as to assume the role of Lieutenant Governor of the State of California,” Newsom wrote.

The brevity of Newsom’s letter—and the seemingly endless time it took him to vacate the post--reminded me of something Newsom said the Friday before he resigned.

We were all standing outside Room 200, listening to Newsom go on about how great it was that the outgoing Board had nominated Ed Lee to be the new mayor, especially since Lee reportedly didn’t even want the job—an attitude that apparently impressed Newsom when reviewing potential candidates for both the mayor’s and D.A.’s post.

Anyways, some brave reporter asked Newsom something about his swearing-in ceremony as Lt. Governor, which was slated to take place at 1:30 p.m. Monday, Jan. 10.

At which point Newsom said, “Willie Brown said it best, when he told me, don’t worry, I’ll be at your funeral Monday.”




resignation letters from jobs should be one line, along the lines of "I resign and my last working day will be nn/nn/nn"

Everything else should already have been said by now. He won two elections, got promoted, and engineered a coup of stunning effectiveness for his replacement.

Spin that as best you can.

Posted by Rick on Jan. 24, 2011 @ 6:18 pm

Two lead articles on this evening's website at The Guardian. One deals with the brevity of Gavin Newsom's resignation letter. The other deals with fears that George Gascon will be unbeatable in November.

These two articles come on the heels of a recent fatwa from the Ayatollah Brugmann bemoaning the closure of the Haight's outdated recycling center.

Does The Guardian have an substantive vision anymore for SF? Does it know of any progressive candidates who will be credible in November? Can it engage in any sort of creative dialogue with thinking people besides issuing fatwas?

For the remainder of 2011, we will apparently be watching the slow-motion train-wreck of The Guardian as a viable intellectual force in SF politics.

I, for one, remember a time when it did better.

What happened?

Posted by Arthur Evans on Jan. 24, 2011 @ 6:55 pm


One can reasonably deduce and infer the fall from grace of the so-called "progressive" movement by the increasingly trivial irrelevancy and implied desperation of these plaintively whiney story lines.

Posted by Rick on Jan. 24, 2011 @ 7:28 pm

"... a recent fatwa from the Ayatollah Brugmann "

LOL. Seriously Arthur. LOL.

You stoic hyperbole exceeds.

"History, Stephen said, is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake."

Posted by Ian Waters on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 8:30 am

Is The Guardian so bereft that it's still beating up on Newsom, even though he's no longer mayor?

Move on.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jan. 24, 2011 @ 7:27 pm

“Offered the reigns of empire, Tiberius took them after frequent refusal” (Ex Ponto 4. 13) - Ovid

Posted by Guest on Jan. 24, 2011 @ 8:48 pm

came up with the term "molehill politics" to reference AM radio gas bags nit picking.

Posted by matlock on Jan. 24, 2011 @ 8:50 pm

That is an absolutely standard resignation letter. Have you ever read Richard Nixon's?

You don't put in writing what you can say to the press, as this article clearly observes.

"We were all standing outside Room 200, listening to Newsom go on about how great.."

Posted by Ian Waters on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 10:42 am

Yes, resignation letters are usually short. But in Newsom's case it was a surprise, because he's usually so long-winded. Lighten up, guys and gals!

Posted by sarah on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 11:17 am

Now Nixon, that man could talk, and record everything at the same time. I hope Gavin did too.

Posted by Ian Waters on Jan. 25, 2011 @ 5:11 pm

Related articles

  • Why does the mayor appoint supervisors?

  • The selling of Ed Lee

    How a career bureaucrat became interim mayor and blossomed into a full-blown politician

  • The billionaire's mayor

    Mayor Ed Lee calls himself a progressive — but rich, powerful conservatives are funding his campaign