Gavin Newsom is putting on the friendly face, at least publicly -- the Board of Supervisors, however, are getting no love.
For starters, a weird but interesting piece of Gavin-inspired art has finally been unveiled at City Hall after years in storage which parodies Newsom aghast at fictitious demands by the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition.
Plus, after some pointed but contructive criticism by number one fan, blogger Beth Spotswood, his weekly YouTube address is breaking out of the box, with Newsom taking the show on the road and not hogging all the face time on camera.
It's nice to see Newsom being a big enough man to actually listen to critics and even poke fun at himself, but don't think for a moment that it's anything but business as usual as far as his relationship with the Board of Supervisors.
As the mid-year budget discussions heat up, the latest squabble has the mayor facing off with the supes over a proposed jobs creation plan.
The Board has yet to schedule a hearing on the bill, which would slash payroll taxes, and provide tax credits for small business and biotech firms -- all while the City faces staggering budget deficits and city services are being cut left and right.
Supervisor John Avalos, responsible for scheduling a committee hearing on the bill, has gotten an earful from the mayor's office. But when Newsom's representatives met with Avalos to discuss the plan, they had no actual numbers or documents to support their contention that the bill would actually create jobs, leading Avalos to call it a "faith-based tax break plan."
Meanwhile, Newsom has every opportunity to bring the issue up himself in the regularly scheduled time at board meetings set aside for Newsom, which the mayor has never actually taken up. Alternately, the bill's co-sponsor, Bevan Dufty, could bring it up at a full board meeting himself.
The board, probably more than a bit miffed to be painted as obstructionists by Newsom, passed the "Gavin's Law" bill that would require public officials to reimburse the City for security expenses when campaigning for office out of town. Newsom is expected to veto the bill.
It seems that while San Francisco is seeing much more of Newsom's friendly face of late, at City Hall it's still all scowls.
Jackson West likes to see some self-deprecation from Newsom, but man is he glad that he won't be the guy trying to wrangle the state legislature come 2011.