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Apples and Oranges; Water Fight 

How Kennedyesque is Gavin Newsom?

Wednesday, Dec 19 2001
Apples and Oranges

When San Francisco Supervisor Gavin Newsom married lawyer Kimberly Guilfoyle recently, an event that included a lavish reception thrown by billionaire socialite Gordon Getty, the town's gossip columnists were atwitter for days. The Chronicle's Matier & Ross, for example, cooed about the smell of "glitz, media, money" and the fabulous cost of the Gettys' floral arrangements. And, inevitably, some writer (in this case, Chronicle columnist Rob Morse) dredged up that tired comparison of Newsom to you-know-who: "Forget 'Kennedyesque,'" Morse wrote. "I think we need a new word -- Newsomly."

Ordinarily, we could let that reference pass, except that it came on the heels of a recent Newsom profile in San Francisco magazine, which revealed that the urbane wine merchant/politician actively promotes himself as a 21st-century version of former President John Kennedy. "Newsom is looking more Kennedyesque than ever," writer Dashka Slater gushed. "Even his fiancée seems cast as a gracious and glamorous Jackie O."

Enough. If anyone else tempted to make such comparisons, click on the chart at the top of the column for an instructive experience.

We trust this will be the last we hear of the K-word.

--Peter Byrne

Water Fight
Considering how bombastic the fight over building a new power plant on Potrero Hill has been, the organization in charge of local air quality pulled off a coup last week when it stealthily announced that the power plant meets its environmental requirements.

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District's decision came as quite a shock to many of the plant's opponents, who have argued for months that the plant would unfairly dump more pollution on the mostly minority communities of southeast San Francisco, which would violate federal "environmental justice" laws.

The ruling is "a significant milestone," says a spokesman for generator Mirant Corp., which has had a hard time convincing a community plagued by high asthma and cancer rates that it should take on yet another power plant. But even with that victory, the battle is far from over. The two biggest obstacles now are getting approvals from the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Marine Fisheries Service, which means you can expect to hear a lot less about racism and a lot more about ... fish?

"This [decision] does remove a hurdle, but there are still substantial problems for this project," says Will Rostov of Communities for a Better Environment. "The next battles are going to be about fish."

Specifically, the next sparring match will focus on the plant's "once-through" cooling system. It works by sucking in bay water to cool off its turbines, and then pumping the same water back into the bay. While the cooling method doesn't pollute the water, environmentalists say it could jeopardize local salmon by sucking fish into the system and heating up their habitat.

"On a basic level, they'll [the plant] suck in a lot of water, and then they suck out a lot of heated-up water, and that will kill fish, particularly juvenile salmon," says Rostov, "which, you know, are pretty important if you want to have more salmon."

--Jeremy Mullman

About The Author

Peter Byrne

About The Author

Jeremy Mullman


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  • Nevada City and the South Yuba River: A gold country getaway

    Nestled in the green pine-covered hills of the Northern Sierra Nevada is the Gold Rush town of Nevada City. Beautiful Victorian houses line the streets, keeping the old-time charm alive, and a vibrant downtown is home to world-class art, theater and music. The nearby South Yuba River State Park is known for its emerald swimming holes during the summer and radiant leaf colors during autumn. These days the gold panning is more for tourists than prospectors, but the gold miner spirit is still in the air.

    South Yuba River State Park and Swimming Holes:
    The park runs along and below 20 miles of the South Yuba River, offering hiking, mountain biking, gold panning and swimming. The Highway 49 bridge swimming hole is seven-miles northwest of Nevada City where Highway 49 crosses the South Yuba River. Parking is readily available and it is a short, steep hike to a stunning swimming hole beneath a footbridge. For the more intrepid, trails extend along the river with access to secluded swim spots. The Bridgeport swimming hole has calm waters and a sandy beach -- good for families and cookouts -- and is located 14 miles northwest of Nevada City. Be sure to write down directions before heading out, GPS may not be available. Most swimming holes on the South Yuba River are best from July to September, while winter and spring can bring dangerous rapids. Always know the current before jumping in!

    Downtown Nevada City
    The welcoming, walkable downtown of Nevada City is laid back, yet full of life. Start your day at the cozy South Pine Cafe (110 S Pine St.) with a lobster benedict or a spicy Jamaican tofu scramble. Then stroll the streets and stop into the shop Kitkitdizzi (423 Broad St.) for handcrafted goods unique to the region, vintage wears and local art “all with California gold rush swagger,” as stated by owners Carrie Hawthorne and Kira Westly. Surrounded by Gold Rush history, modern gold jewelry is made from locally found nuggets and is found at Utopian Stone Custom Jewelers (301 Broad St.). For a coffee shop with Victorian charm try The Curly Wolf (217 Broad St.), an espresso house and music venue with German pastries and light fare. A perfect way to cool down during the hot summer months can be found at Treats (110 York St.) , an artisan ice cream shop with flavors like pear ginger sorbet or vegan chai coconut. Nightlife is aplenty with music halls, alehouses or dive bars like the Mine Shaft Saloon (222 Broad St.).

    The Willo Steakhouse (16898 State Hwy 49, Nevada City)
    Along Highway 49, just west of Nevada City, is The Willo, a classic roadhouse and bar where you’re welcomed by the smell of steak and a dining room full of locals. In 1947 a Quonset hut (a semi-cylindrical building) was purchased from the US Army and transported to its current location, and opened as a bar, which became popular with lumberjacks and miners. The bar was passed down through the decades and a covered structure was added to enlarge the bar and create a dining area. The original Quonset beams are still visible in the bar and current owners Mike Byrne and Nancy Wilson keep the roadhouse tradition going with carefully aged New York steaks and house made ingredients. Pair your steak or fish with a local wine, such as the Rough and Ready Red, or bring your own for a small corkage fee. Check the website for specials, such as rib-eye on Fridays.

    Outside Inn (575 E Broad St.)
    A 16-room motel a short walk from downtown, each room features a unique décor, such as the Paddlers’ Suite or the Wildflower Room. A friendly staff and an office full of information about local trails, swimming and biking gets you started on your outdoor exploration. Amenities include an outdoor shower, a summer swimming pool and picnic tables and barbeques. Don’t miss the free vegetable cart just outside the motel in the mornings.

    Written and photographed by Beth LaBerge for the SF Weekly.

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