Thursday, July 07, 2005
The free tabloid "The Examiner" has a "What's Happening Today" page that is bizarrely useful. It lists events at City Hall, the governor and mayor's schedules, a few author readings at various bookstores, speeches at the Commonwealth Club, and usually a plug for a restaurant, and that's it.
Wednesday's listing was for the swearing in of new commissioners for the Asian Art Museum Commission to be held on the "Mayor's Balcony" in City Hall at 3:30 in the afternoon, which was being facilitated by this beautiful blonde.
There were about 50 chairs set up for the ceremony but the anticipated crowd never showed up, so the mayoral aides quickly had many of the empty seats pulled back and removed for what was essentially a photo-op.
The six commissioners were a motley crew, and they were joined by Brian Murphy, on the phone, who was being sworn in as a Department of Human Services commissioner at the same time.
This gentleman had just been hired as the Asian Art Museum's Chief of External Affairs. When I asked him how many people were on the commission, he told me "27."
"How in God's name does anything actually get done with 27 people?" I asked, but he diplomatically refrained from answering.
Gavin Newsom was about twenty minutes late arriving to the ceremony, so the small crowd chatted each other up while waiting for the ritual to begin.
Newsom finally emerged from his office, looking like his usual million bucks, and gave a short speech that was an odd mix of formal and informal. He also wondered aloud how anything could get done with 27 commissioners, but quickly corrected himself and said how much they had accomplished in the last couple of years without being specific.
Probably the best moment was when he first arrived and saw ex-supervisor and ex-assessor Doris Ward jabbering on her cell phone. "You haven't changed at all, Doris, have you?" he said, as he grabbed the phone out of her hand and proceeded to talk to the person on the other line, telling them that Doris would call them back after she had been sworn in as an Asian Art Commissioner.
He also introduced Supervisor Sean Elsbernd "who comes to all of these things, I've told him how important they are," which was an odd thing to say, since it was obvious that Elsbernd could care less about actually attending the event.
Finally, it was time to be sworn in clumsily with an "I do." And there you have your government in action.
Update: Mayor Newsom and various officials held a news conference today after the London bombings telling us that San Francisco was under "terrorist threat" because of all our "iconic sights" so they've added 100 overtime policemen to the streets today, and we're all supposed to call into the police and fire departments if we see anything "suspicious" on public transportation. This is not only absurd, but a ridiculous waste of money, and doesn't increase public safety one iota.
Update 2: For even more civic shame, check out what the newly elected mayor of Los Angeles did instead this morning at this blog. Instead of calling out the fascist police state, he rode public transportation all day and hung out with his citizens. All Gavin could do was be "iconically" self-absorbed and appeal to fear and paranoia. This is not a good sign.