Newsom's fancy gift, trip to China

Was Newsom issuing vetoes with a $400 pen?

The Chronicle's got a story today about how Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom's personal investments and earnings, documented in an economic disclosure form released by the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC), make him a lot richer than his boss, Gov. Jerry Brown.

The form also discloses travel payments and gifts Newsom received in 2010, which makes for some interesting reading. For one, San Francisco's former mayor evidently received a very expensive pen (made by Louis Vuitton and valued at $398) last year from this guy.

The most significant item in the travel and gifts category, of course, was Newsom's trip to Shanghai last June, valued at $9,082 and paid for by the San Francisco-Shanghai Sister City Committee. He traveled there with former Mayor Willie Brown and some others for San Francisco week at Expo 2010 Shanghai China.

Evidently, it was a week filled with dancing, singing, and celebration. (And dressing to impress. Check out the creamy, eco-friendly suit Brown wore at this "dazzling" event.)

Since becoming lieutenant governor of California, Newsom has continued his efforts to improve business relations between China and San Francisco. Just have a look at his recent article in China Brief, a magazine published by the American Chamber of Commerce in the People's Republic of China (AmCham-China).

In the article, penned in late January of 2011, Newsom wrote:

"China’s central government stresses the importance of developing their innovation industry sectors–including clean-tech, biotech and information technology (IT)—and is projected to commit over $600 million of government funds to support this development. This overlaps with San Francisco’s core industry sectors. With over 500 tech and new media companies (including leaders such as, Zynga and Twitter), more than 225 clean-tech companies and a worldclass biotech hub (anchored by the University of California San Francisco), San Francisco brings together internationally-recognized leadership in each of these sectors."

Meanwhile, a few items on that economic disclosure form suggest that what's good for business in China is also good for Newsom. His wife's investment portfolio, the Jennifer Siebel Newsom Trust, includes stocks ranging from $10,001 to $100,000 each in China Valves Technology, a for-profit, "e-learning services provider" called  Chinacast, and a Chinese motor manufacturer called Harbin Electric.