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Bringing Up Baby Gavin 

How William Newsom's pipeline into the Getty fortune has put money -- lots of it -- in his politically ambitious son's pocket

Wednesday, Apr 2 2003
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Page 4 of 4

"I fronted Gavin the money and he paid me back," the judge says. "I have the canceled checks to prove it."


Judge Newsom says that one of his favorite books is Imperial San Francisco, Gray Brechin's historical account of the predatory political and financial practices of the city's monied families.

"The Gettys are not absolutely evil like some of the old families," Brechin said in an interview. "Ann and Gordon have minds. He is serious about music, she had a book-publishing business. But Gordon has the gravitational field of Jupiter. We are dust particles to him.

"Democracy requires the presence of level playing fields in order to work. In the end, the size of the Getty fortune is not compatible with democracy."

From the PlumpJack businesses -- which grossed $25 million last year -- to the Maui beach deal, the Gettys have embraced and rewarded Gavin Newsom as they embraced and rewarded his father. The only question that remains to be answered is whether Gavin, as mayor, would reward his patrons in return -- and how that might affect us dust motes and our local democracy.

About The Author

Peter Byrne

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