While San Francisco taxpayers are fretting over the interest-free loan they've been involuntarily asked to give the State of California in the form of delayed income tax refunds, statewide unemployment is at nearly ten percent and rising, and the city's Board of Supervisors are debating which deep cuts to make to city services thanks to massive budget deficits — one question remains: Where is San Francisco Mayor and gubernatorial hopeful Gavin Newsom?
On his annual visit to Davos, Switzerland for the World Economic Forum, after spending four days in Paris taking in the sights of the city of lights and five days in Washington D.C. at the inauguration of President Barack Obama. You can read more here.
I'd certainly prefer to be schussing in the Alps and hobnobbing with celebrities like Jet Li and Amitabh Bachchan than presiding over four hours of public comment from patients and nurses desperate to preserve treatment and jobs provided by local public health spending. Certainly proposing a bicycle sharing program similar to the one enjoyed by Parisians is sexier than arranging a special ballot on new taxes to cover the $118 million shortfall this fiscal year and a projected $576 million next, directly impacting other transit improvements.
After coming under fire in the press for his own planned trip to Switzerland, New York Governor David Patterson decided to cancel, citing "deficit reduction."
Newsom's continental breakfasts are being financed privately, but taxpayers are picking up the tab for his security, provided by the San Francisco Police Department -- while police chief Heather Fong is cutting overtime for homicide investigators even as the murder rate in San Francisco is at a fifteen-year high.
Which might explain why "Newsom has become a joke to Democratic insiders," according to Newsweek. Yet San Franciscans still love their rakish mayor, if the numbers from his last election are any indication.
But in flirting with higher office and playing the field far from home, I'm wondering if he hasn't already moved on.