Hasta la Vista, Baby!

Are Gavin and Kimberly doomed? Their future subjects voice their opinions.

Last month, as the rest of the country followed the dizzying ups and downs of Ben Affleck and J-Lo's relationship through the tabloids, San Franciscans were dished their own romantic soap opera. Two articles in the Chronicle hinted at trouble in the fairy-tale romance of hunky mayoral candidate Gavin Newsom and his lingerie model­turned-prosecutor wife, Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom. According to a Sept. 15 Matier & Ross column titled "Newsom Blues," Kimberly intends to move to New York City, to be closer to the national TV news shows on which she regularly appears as a legal analyst. M&R noted, ominously, that Gavin was "hoping" he and his wife would "get a chance" to spend weekends together, and ended with a downer quote from the leading mayoral hopeful. "The marriage is strong," he said. "It's just depressing."

On Oct. 1, Kimberly swung into damage-control mode in society writer Carolyne Zinko's column, insisting that although she "might" rent a pied-à-terre in New York, she has "no plans" to "move" there. Though the leggy assistant DA insisted that "Gavin feels he gets a ton of support from me and he does," her depressed hubby wasn't quoted.

Deeply troubled by this inconclusive follow-up, Dog Bites took to the streets to get San Franciscans' take on what lies in store for the city's favorite power couple. The results were not encouraging.

In SOMA's South Park, where what's left of the tech-media elite drink lattes on their lunch breaks, a group of four young men lolled on the grass. Only one had heard about Newsom's bicoastal relationship problems, but after all were brought up to speed, they offered a few opinions.

Scott Campbell, a 29-year-old artist, said he'd never had a long-distance relationship but he knew how tough they can be from watching movies. Not chick flicks, mind you. Movies like, um, Clash of the Titans.

"[Perseus] had to go get Medusa's head, while his girlfriend was chained up somewhere," said Campbell. "He had to do it without her. It was pretty tough for him -- she's a million miles away, trapped in a cage."

Campbell's friend Chris Schultz, a 30-year-old animator, saw some long-range political plotting at work in Kimberly's plans.

"I think they both know what they want out of life -- success at the highest levels," he said knowingly. "Their relationship is part of that. They're a good-looking package. ... I think she's going to New York to get herself known as his hot wife, so that when he runs for president, she'll already have the East Coast all shored up for him."

On a bench at the park's west end, a couple of regulars, 45-year-old Jerome Miller, aka Chi-town, and a pal who wouldn't give his name were drinking beer out of red plastic cups. They, too, hadn't heard about the Newsoms' problems, and had a hard time grasping the potential gravity of the situation.

"I watched Arnold speak ... oh, you talkin' about Newsom?" said Miller.

Dog Bites asked if he'd rather have a mayor who's single, or a first lady of San Francisco.

"If you are like Newsom, you do not need a wife!" pointed out Miller, quaffing from his cup.

"He ain't gonna have no ol' lady?" asked Anonymous, somewhat worriedly. "Willie Brown has one."

"No, he screwed a mistress," corrected Miller.

Over coffee at Peet's on upper Market Street in the Castro, 29-year-old Baruch Harris and his Australian buddy, Alusha Manchak, a thirtysomething scientist, were unclear on how Kimberly's move would affect the couple's love life.

"Maybe she snores, and they have great weekend sex," ventured Manchak.

"Every woman I know thinks he's just gorgeous," said Harris, adding wickedly: "And now he's available five nights out of seven."

Around the corner, outside the Castro Theatre, Karma Moffett, a 56-year-old musician and artist, had stopped with his girlfriend, massage therapist Sabrina Bedell, 34, to chat with an old friend. After being informed about Newsom's romantic challenge, the long-blond-haired, turquoise-jewelry-bedecked Moffett urged a spiritual approach.

"If you get in touch with them, tell them to come to my studio. I do ceremonies to try to bring people into the middle path," he said. "I would show them where 'the moment' is -- which is that space between yesterday and tomorrow. If you can let go of the illusion of yesterday and tomorrow and be in 'the moment' ... you're not upset, you don't create suffering for yourself and other people."

The vibrations were not as therapeutic over in Noe Valley. At Streetlight Records on 24th Street, the thirtysomething employees behind the register turned instantly hostile upon hearing Gavin Newsom's name.

"Jeez, I don't really care," spat shaggy-haired Mike Dineen.

Dog Bites wondered aloud if sexual frustration might cause Gavin to lose his political mojo.

"No way," said Dineen darkly.

"If anything, he'll be tired," said Dineen's co-worker, bespectacled Troy Vadakan.

"Those politicians, they've got hookers a phone call away," added Dineen.

"Full-on orgies," elaborated Vadakan.

We asked if he was implying that Gavin would be unfaithful to Kimberly.

Vadakan and Dineen both emitted negative grunts and fixed us with haughty gazes that signaled that this inane conversation had reached its conclusion.

The timing of Kimberly's decision to go to New York -- smack in the middle of the mayor's race -- struck employees of nearby Tully's Coffee as fishy.

"Everyone needs some sex, and everyone needs some goddamn lovin'," asserted 25-year-old Mark Bufo. "And you know, if your beautiful blond wife ..."

"She's brunette," corrected his co-worker, Dan Bradlow.

"A brunette, then. And she wants to go live on the East Coast, you would want some sex, and you would want your woman by your side."

"Let's not talk about sex," said Bradlow, glancing worriedly at Dog Bites' tape recorder.

"I'm just saying that the broad should wait," said Bufo. "And after it's over, it's all sound and kosher, you can do whatever the hell you want. It's the same thing as if Hillary divorced Bill in the middle of the scandal. You've got to be there for your hubby; stand by him whether you agree with him or not. After the whole charade is over, hasta la vista, baby!"

Bufo's insights notwithstanding, Dog Bites ended the afternoon convinced that many San Franciscans:

a.) Don't read the Chronicle very closely;

b.) Don't really care about the strength or weakness of Gavin and Kimberly's marriage;

c.) Believe that, if anything, Kimberly's move could result in Gavin getting some hot extramarital action -- and that that would be a good thing.

But maybe there's a deeper message here for Gavin: He's truly reached celebrity status when the man on the street can't feel his pain.

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