Eyes On The Street: Mayor Newsom Shames Earth Day

Newsom_vehicle_small.jpgThanks to Livable City Executive Director Tom Radulovich for this photo from earlier today

Mayor Gavin Newsom sure knows how to milk a press conference when it suits his needs and beefs up his image.  My favorite has been all the press attention he got for announcing a proposal for the one of the world’s smallest public-use bicycle share programs (right up there with Pinerolo, Italy, and Porsgrunn, Norway). Fifty bicycles to the tune of $1 million.  Subsequent news reports about bike share programs in Seattle and Boston mentioned San Francisco in the same breath as Paris and Barcelona, despite the fact that San Francisco’s proposal is laughable and arguably could doom a real public-use bike program from getting traction.

That said, I’m mystified by the above photo, snapped this morning before Mayor Newsom’s Earth Day breakfast.

C’mon, Gav, that’s not just stupid, it’s callous.  Just before introducing Urban EcoMap, which is touted as an "internet-based tool that gives San Franciscans the ability to see the collective results of their individual climate change actions, while also motivating people to make responsible environmental choices," you drive to work in your SUV?

Of all the days to ditch the gas guzzler and ride "Muni incognito" or use the bicycle, wouldn’t today be the day?

Hey Nathan Ballard, how you gonna spin this one?  "Green mayor" be damned.

  • I’m pretty sure the Mayor’s people will tell us any second now that this vehicle is a hybrid. And as a hybrid, “slightly better than crappy for the planet” = GREEN.

    Sigh. We MUST do better, especially “environmental champion,” Gavin Newsom.

  • Hey Deep,
    One of the links in the post is to a USA Today review of the Tahoe Hybrid, which in their real-world driving got 18 MPG. I don’t know if Newsom’s vehicle is armored, but if it is, it will get worse mileage.

  • must. kill. flowers.

    =v= At least it’s not parked in the bike lane, though of course the door is.

  • Doubtless, this is the kind of “visionary leadership” Gavin the smiling haircut hopes to bring to the entire state as governor.

  • Funny that the mayor’s “green” 18mph SUV is reviewed in USA Today, of all places. I’ve always thought that Gavin’s claims to being green are as destructive as the USA Today claiming to be a real newspaper. You see, when people read the USA Today they think they are being informed. This means they think don’t have to search out any real news sources so they never get the kind of information that would actually help them understand the world. It actually causes people to be less informed.

    Well Newsom’s fake do-nothing “green” policies simply make people think that something is being done about the environment. Instead of making real improvements to transit, walking, and bicycling, we are supposedly going to be the electric car capital because of two electrical outlets at city hall (almost as exciting as the hydrogen highway!). Instead of making serious improvements for bicycling we get a claim of doing a pathetically small bike sharing program in the future. And for peds, well, peds don’t even count at all apparently (Newsom was for allowing motorized Segways and parked cars on the sidewalk when he was a Supervisor).

    We need real improvements. Not pathetic green-washing press releases that make people think that they don’t actually have to do anything more than they already are.

  • I’ve never been sure how much of Gav’s attempt to look green is just PR and how much is real concern. I’m pretty impressed at the fact that places like Jamba Juice aren’t allowed to use Styrofoam in this town, and solar panels on government buildings are worthy of applause. But this… crikey, it certainly shows the man isn’t always *thinking* green! He can’t be *that* ignorant!

    I wonder if he’d be a greener governor than Schwarzenegger…

  • All a part of the Emerald Aristocracy. True green is tossed aside for Gizmo Green.

  • mcas


    Claims that it weighs over 6,000 pounds– and is, therefore, illegal on at least 177 SF Streets– if it wasn’t a ‘city vehicle’, that is…

  • The sheer audacity of it all!

    USA Today, Tomorrow the World!


  • Keep it coming people. I am collecting notes for “The Case Against Gavin Newsom” coming to a theatre near you.

    While there was substantial noise to this effect on DailyKos (much coming from me and Jeffrey Baker, and other names I recognize), if you do a Twitter Search for Gavin Newsom it’s pretty scary. Among the names – Lance Armstrong. Say it ain’t so Mellow Johnny – Gavin was dealt 4 aces with respect to the bike plan, an opportunity to show leadership in doing what was necessary to overcome Sir Rob Anderson’s meddling. Gavin decided to fold and focus on a couple of electrical outlets.

  • Good post, Matthew. I couldn’t agree more re: dooming a real public-use bike program from getting traction.

    Leadership happens almost entirely by example.


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