PUBLIC INFORMATION -- For someone with his eyes so clearly on the Governor's office, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom seems to have no concern for the impression he is leaving of indifference to secrecy about government spending. As noted by Marisa Lagos in the San Francisco Chronicle's City Insider blog,
Supervisor Ross Mirkarimi wasn't messing around in June when he posed some tough questions about the cost of Mayor Gavin Newsom's security detail: On Tuesday the supervisor introduced a law that would require elected officials to reimburse the city for the cost of security provided during travel for campaign-related activity.
The legislation is a clear shot at Newsom, who has frequently traveled out of the city and state in recent months as he runs for governor but has refused to tell even supervisors what the city is spending on security. But it also takes aim at another area that perpetually annoys many reporters and Newsom critics: his schedule.
Newsom's administration is known for being less-than-forthcoming when it comes to releasing detailed schedules. In addition to forcing any elected official to reimburse the city, if passed, Mirkarimi's legislation would require the official to submit a detailed scheduled stating the amount of time spent on each activity or meeting and whether those meetings were campaign-related.
Mirkarimi said the legislation is a good step toward curbing city costs and stressed that it only applies to campaign-related activity, not city business. He also noted that city and state laws already prohibits using city resources -- except security -- for all political activities.
Newsom's office was not amused.
"Ross Mirkarimi should be ashamed of himself for cynically using the mayor's safety as an issue to score cheap political points," said spokesman Nathan Ballard. "In a city that has seen more than its fair share of political violence, security decisions are best made by police officers not long-winded politicians like Ross Mirkarimi."
Mirkarimi, who has insisted in the past he does not want to undermine Newsom's safety, noted Tuesday that mayors in other cities have no problem disclosing the amount of taxpayers money spent to protect the mayor.