San Francisco Mayor Doesn't Deny Lieutenant Governor Run

Poll shows Newsom a potential favorite for state's most boring job

By Jackson West
|  Thursday, Feb 4, 2010  |  Updated 4:00 PM PDT
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San Francisco Mayor Doesn't Deny Lieutenant Governor Run

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Gavin Newsom is having some trouble keeping his friends close if Michela Alioto-Pier's recent comments are an indication.

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When San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom dropped out of the gubernatorial race, there was plenty of speculation that he might set his sights a little lower and run for Lieutenant Governor instead.

That chatter is back, with a recent poll showing Newsom leading the lineup of declared candidates, and the deadline for officially announcing for the campaign not until March 12th.

Newsom told reporters that he hasn't ruled out a run, and expressed an interest in having a platform to discuss the problems with the state, but says that he's enjoyed the extra time with his family and working on city issues.

However, the currently vacant position isn't a powerful one -- one look at the sad Web site for the office tells you everything you need to know -- and as Newsom pointed out, the office budget was slashed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Besides the poll, where might Newsom have gotten the idea?

Well, due to a recent injury, Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier abandoned her own campaign for the post. And, according to Alioto-Pier, it wouldn't be the first time that Newsom tried to steal her thunder.

The mayor's controversial plan to boost jobs by cutting payroll taxes for biotech companies, saving them a couple of hundred dollars a year per employee was an issue Alioto-Pier was already working on last year, according to the supervisor.

Her accusation is a bit of a surprise, since Alioto-Pier was originally appointed to her seat by Newsom to replace him as the Marina District's Supervisor when the latter was elected mayor in 2003, and has been one of the mayor's few political allies on the board.

Recently, Alioto-Pier also questioned Newsom's request for the resignation of San Francisco Film Commission Executive Director Stefanie Coyote, which took her by surprise.

It's also not the first time that Newsom has been accused of taking credit for the ideas of others -- former Supervisor and current State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has expressed his displeasure over lack of acknowledgment from the mayor for Ammiano's hard work getting the City's public health option, Healthy San Francisco, not only passed but funded.

Jackson West will not be running for lieutenant governor.

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