|Mayor Gavin Newsom’s Second-term Inauguration
By Jeanne Lawrence
Ever popular, ever handsome Gavin Christopher Newsom began his second term as Mayor of the City and County of San Francisco officially at noon on January 8, 2008.
On the staircase inside the stately City Hall under the rotunda, the forty-year-old Newsom, took the oath of office for his second and legally mandated final time. Newsom ran virtually unopposed winning re-election by a landslide with nearly 74 per cent of the votes.
The swearing in ceremony was very much a family affair. The Mayor’s father, the distinguished retired Judge William Newsom, and his sister Hilary Newsom Callan and her two young daughters Talitha and Siena Callan participated in the ceremony. A humorous touch was when Siena left the podium and walked back on stage with her “blankie” in hand.
Also prominent was the Mayor’s new fiancée, stunning Jennifer Siebel. Yes, it’s true. He proposed in December while on holiday in Hawaii with his soon to be in-laws, Judy and Ken Siebel. The couple entered together holding hands – wearing her Tiffany engagement ring - and sat together on stage, with Jennifer holding Gavin’s niece on her lap during the ceremony.
Dignitaries seated front and center: former Mayors, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Frank Jordan, and Willie Brown; Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums; former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz with his wife, Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz; Supervisor Michela Alioto-Pier and her aunt Angela Alioto (whose late father Joe Alioto was once Mayor), Assemblyman Tom Lantos, Senator Carole Migden, Mimi Haas, and Dick Blum. Of course, family and friends were there too.
|The event was open to the public and supporters packed the balconies overlooking the ceremony. Afterwards, citizens were invited to greet the Mayor in his private chambers and enjoy refreshments in the North Light Court.
Mayor Newsom’s second-term speech included many ambitious proposals: California’s very first regional emergency coordination plan, universal healthcare for all San Franciscans, and guaranteed admission to San Francisco State University for every qualified local high school graduate.
One of his highest priorities is to continue to meet the challenge of homelessness. Housing First, Care Not Cash and Homeward Bound have already reduced the homeless street population by 38.9%.
|Always on the front lines in efforts to save the environment, Newsom proposed a local carbon offset plan, including a landmark solar incentive program, a green collar jobs tax credit and innovative green building requirements.
To further this effort, he put forward his plans to increase parks and open space by more than 700 acres, the largest expansion since Golden Gate Park in over 140 years.
|Newsom affirmed that a “sensible congestion pricing plan is the single greatest step we can take to protect our environment and improve our quality of life.” New York’s Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed the same.
Mayor Newsom suggested the creation of a China Desk since the city is a gateway to Asia and Pacific. Many lofty goals, indeed.
The 48-minute speech left one admirer to comment, “The Irish do have the gift for gab.” His speech sounded a lot like the presidential pack. Maybe he’s practicing.
|While his initiatives were foremost, everyone wanted to know more about Jennifer, the bride-to-be. Here’s as much as I could scope out.
The 31-year-old is a California golden girl and the daughter of Judy and Ken Siebel, has three sisters, and was raised in Marin County – just over the Golden Gate bridge, Her dad is in wealth management and her mother helped found the Discovery Museum in Marin and they are involved in community and environmental causes. By all accounts, they are a wonderful family.
But don’t let Jennifer’s blond beauty fool you – she’s an athlete, an actress, and is committed to serious issues like Conservation International. Armed with a BA and MBA from Stanford, she’ll be fine partner for the Mayor.
|This promises to be some match. As one of the most attractive couples on the American political landscape, they have a world of possibilities ahead. We can only wait and see.
The couple plan to be married this summer – no official announcements yet, but her family does have a spread in Montana where they raise horses.
The morning was gray and sunless, but during Newsoms’ inauguration the sun broke through and literally flooded the rotunda with sunbeams. I overheard, “Is this an omen?” Hopefully, it’s a forecast of optimism and sunshine for the next four years – and beyond.
|Inauguration Reception at the de Young Museum
The next evening, Wednesday, the Swearing-in Committee hosted an inaugural reception at the J. H. deYoung Museum in Golden Gate Park, where almost 4,000 constituents showed up to celebrate – a thousand more that had RSVP’d.
Before the doors opened to the public, a VIP reception, by invitation only, was held high in the sky in the Jake and Nancy Hamon Tower. Some of you might recall that witty Dallasite philanthropist Nancy Hamon suffered a stroke a few years ago, but last summer, she triumphantly returned to host an exquisite dinner in her tower.
|Seen at the VIP Reception were: Dede Wilsey, Mimi Haas with her son Daniel Lurie and his wife Rebecca Prowda, Brian Wilsey, Judy and Ken Siebel (parents of the Mayor’s fiancée), the Mayor’s father Judge William Newsom, Hilary and Geoff Callan (the mayor’s sister and brother in law), Richard Goldman, Kathleen Sullivan Alioto, State Senator Carole Migden, Joe Alioto Veronese and his wife Julie Gilman Veronese, Supervisor Sean Elsbernd, and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White.
There was non-stop food and drink throughout the evening featuring platters piled high with sushi, shrimp, meatballs, roast beef, and ravioli. “There is every thing you could possible want,” exclaimed a very satisfied attendee.
The city’s attitude is best summed up by Mayor Newsom in his inaugural speech, “This place, our people, make up the finest city in this nation. There are bigger cities. But there are simply no better cities.”
Soon after his inauguration, Mayor Newsom flew to the nation’s capital to meet with members of the Democratic Party and attend roundtable discussions on his city’s important issues. Next, he was off to Davos, Switzerland to attend the World Economic Forum, where he was to lead a panel on global climate change.
|District Attorney Kamala Harris's Swearing-in
Later, the same afternoon of the Newsom’s swearing in, former Mayor, now Senator Diane Feinstein, swore in District Attorney Kamala Harris for her second term. Proud mother, Dr. Shyamala Gopalan, held the Bible as her daughter took her oath.
The chosen setting was Delancy Street center on the Embarcadero; a well-respected half-way house co-founded 25 years ago by criminologist Dr. Mimi Silbert. The program at Delancy Street boasts great success training former drug abusers and ex-convicts to re-enter the work force.
|In the crowd, newly reinaugurated Mayor Gavin Newsom with fiancée Jennifer Siebel, former Mayor Willie Brown, Police Chief Heather Fong, Fire Chief Joanne Hayes- White, and Supervisor Bevan Dufty.
Others attending were Public Defender Adachi, District Attorneys of San Mateo, Santa Clara, Napa, Sonoma, Lake and San Diego, Dr. Cherie Mohrfeld, Vanessa Getty, Summer Walker, and Dr. John Owsley and Sharon Owsley. Sharon deserves kudos as mid-life went to law school, earned her degree, and is now practicing in the DA’s office.
|Kamala’s campaign promised to neither be “soft on crime” or “tough on crime” but instead to be “smart on crime.”
Harris, San Francisco’s first female District Attorney, is a highly educated woman - both her parents are professors. With her qualifications, and her personality, she has a big future ahead of her.
|Photographs by Jack Huynh/Orange Photography, Mona Brooks, Jeanne Lawrence|