Editor’s Notes

Pub date October 6, 2009
WriterTim Redmond


The folks at SEIU Local 1021 have been getting the mayor’s panties in a bunch lately — and it’s caused Newsom to make something of an ass of himself.

The union, which represents city employees, is still seething about the mayor’s failure to follow through on a deal he cut during the summer budget crunch. The way it was supposed to work, the union members gave $38 million in concessions, and Newsom agreed to hold off on major layoffs until this November — when he was going to support a measure to raise new revenue for San Francisco.

That never happened, and the layoff notices — more than 600 of them — have gone out, mostly to women of color who work on the front lines in the Department of Public Health. At the same time, the city’s forcing some skilled workers into lower-paid job classifications, in essence slicing their pay by more than 20 percent.

So the union put out a flyer demanding that Newsom stop the layoffs — and when a Local 1021 member handed it to the mayor at an event Sept. 28, Newsom went ballistic. According to union member (and certified nursing assistant assistant) Evalyn Morales, the mayor "said, ‘this is a lie,’" referring to the flyer. He then went on to say: "I don’t want to do anything to deal with the union. I hate Robert [SEIU organizer Robert Haaland]. What you’re doing now is hurting me … I hate Robert. I don’t want to do anything for the union."

Which is all too typical of how Newsom responds to criticism — particularly when the critics are going around to his gubernatorial campaign events and reminding people that this is the mayor who, like (Republican) Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, produced an all cuts, no-new-taxes budget. He gets pissy. He loses his shit. He looks like … well, like someone who isn’t quite ready to be the governor of the nation’s most populous and probably most complex and contentious state.