See ya later, Gavin!
San Francisco's mayor has been hearing that a lot this week. Gavin Newsom has seen a number of high-profile departures this week from both his City Hall administration and gubernatorial campaign, including one of his longtime political advisors.
But Newsom denies the idea of a newly-installed revolving door. He says the turnover in his staff has actually been less than normal.
"It's just that more people are paying attention," Newsom said.
There’s a simple reason that these deserters are garnering attention. Newsom is going up against a strong competitor within the Democratic Party, State Attorney General and former governor Jerry Brown, in a bid to try to take over the chair that will be vacated by Arnold Schwarzenegger. Yet Eric Jaye, the mayor's longtime political advisor, abruptly walked away from the campaign this week.
Newsom clearly didn't want to talk about it Thursday after a press conference about the revitalization of the Hunter’s Point Shipyard. He referred reporters repeatedly to a crafted media statement that his office distributed instead. With each question about Jaye, Newsom became increasingly terse: "The fact that one person left the campaign but the campaign manager is still there and we're not missing a beat is not negative from my perspective."
But Jaye is not the only one who has disappeared.
Director of Climate Protection Wade Crowfoot is exiting City Hall, along with Budget Manager Nani Coloretti.
After two years on the job, Coloretti is headed to Washington, D.C. to work for the U.S Department of the Treasury. Secretary Tim Geithner will be her boss instead of Gavin Newsom.
Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said that during his two terms as mayor he had four or five budget managers. According to Brown, this turnover is not unusual in the world of politics.
"Not unlike a pro football team, you're constantly retooling," Brown said. "You're constantly upgrading and if there are some better draft choices you jump on them."
But Brown admits that through the eyes of the average voter, it looks like there's instability in Newsom's camp.
Questions about that made Newsom bristle today.
"I love reading some of this," Newsom said, sarcastically. "It's just truly magnificent form of fiction and i'm not going to buy into it."
"I think people really need to take deep breaths," he added. "Stop reading their own sort of screeds and put things into perspective."
Newsom said he already has replacements lined up for his city hall defectors.
He also said it’s not fair to say Paige Barry Ararta, one of the top fundraisers for his gubernatorial campaign, left her job this week. She's simply returning to her old job at city hall, he says.