Newsom emphatic about staying on the job 

"Absolutely not." That is the response from the Mayor’s Office regarding a call for resignation after Gavin Newsom’s public confessions of abusing alcohol and having an affair with a staffer, who was also the wife of his campaign manager.

Supervisor Jake McGoldrick had a private one-on-one meeting with Newsom on Tuesday afternoon and asked him to step down following his admission last week that he had an affair with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, a former appointments secretary and the wife of Alex Tourk.

Newsom admitted to the sexual relationship Thursday after media reports surfaced that Tourk, a long-time adviser and the brains behind some of Newsom’s most successful policies on homelessness, resigned after confronting the mayor about the affair Wednesday.

On Monday, Newsom said he would be seeking counseling for alcohol abuse but would continue with his duties as mayor while doing so.

McGoldrick emerged as the only elected official to publicly call for Newsom’s resignation, with the remaining 10 supervisors, many longtime critics of the mayor’s policies and governing style, taking a less aggressive approach.

McGoldrick said Newsom lacks the "moral fiber" to remain in The City’s top post.

Following the approximate 10-minute meeting with Newsom, McGoldrick said he told Newsom that he should resign "for the good of The City" and for the "good of your own future."

"The consequences on The City have been extremely negative and there is no reason to put us through this torture," McGoldrick said. He added, "I ain’t no saint either, but when you commit certain sins you’ve got to do penance."

When asked if Newsom would resign, Newsom spokesman Peter Ragone said, "Absolutely not," adding that the mayor will continue to serve his public responsibilities while seeking treatment like many other people who deal with problems related to alcohol.

McGoldrick said Newsom was angry at times during the conversation. "[Newsom] said that he resents that I would try to go after him in a situation like this because basically he’s down, and why would I pick on him when he’s down. I said, ‘Well you are just trying to do what is in fact the worst part of all this, portray yourself as a victim,’" McGoldrick said.

McGoldrick’s public call for Newsom to step down is not being echoed by other members of the Board of Supervisors.

"I personally am taking a wait-and-see approach," Board of Supervisors President Aaron Peskin said, who would assume the position if Newsom were to step down. "I have to stay focused on running The City, and I don’t think dividing the government is going to help us stay focused on leading San Francisco."

It was business as usual during the Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, as members steered clear of the Newsom topic in board chambers.

Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval, who often battles Newsom politically, said, "I’m kind of in a state of shock trying to digest this all. There are still a lot of unanswered questions, and I think it’s best for everybody to hold back and process this."

One question left unanswered is the kind of treatment Newsom will seek, and how much time it will take away from his role as mayor and his bid for re-election in November.

Newsom’s chief campaign consultant, Eric Jaye, said Tuesday that the time the mayor devotes to recovery would not detract from his job performance or his re-election effort.

"Is he going to be reading fewer novels for the time being? I don’t know, probably," Jaye said. "But will it take an hour here and there out of the campaign? ... He certainly has time to do that and address this problem and to run a very successful re-election campaign."

The campaign has not yet tackled the question of whether the mayor’s future fundraisers will need to be alcohol-free events, Jaye said.

"There are many elected officials, people who don’t drink any longer, who are in this environment and they cope by not drinking, and they are all doing pretty well," Jaye said.

For a related story on Mayor Gavin Newsom, see 'Mayor frustrated with media scrutiny.' 

Each day until voters go to the polls Nov. 6, The Examiner lays odds on local figures beating Mayor Gavin Newsom. Check out our exclusive blog: San Francisco's Next Mayor?

jsabatini@examiner.com

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