Long-Distance Call: Dialing City Hall Results in a Blast from the Past

A long time ago, Alex Tourk left his position as Gavin Newsom's deputy chief of staff to run the mayor's re-election bid. Newsom repaid his friend's loyalty and devotion by carrying on an affair with Tourk's then-wife — who also happened to be Newsom's appointments secretary.

So, Tourk departed City Hall about as definitively as anyone can. Those dialing (415) 554-6299, however, can still reach him on his City Hall phone line. His cheery greeting — “It's Friday, September first” — reveals the year to be 2006.

Tourk's erstwhile extension has somehow eluded city policies meant to cull unnecessary lines for seven years and four months. Had he been a mere intern, his department's “phone access coordinator” would likely have had the Department of Technology nix the extension within hours of his leaving the building. More established employees often record forwarding messages like Tourk's; Ron Vinson, the Department of Technology's chief marketing officer, notes his former voicemail was kept active for six months.

That's only 92 months fewer than Tourk's.

Tourk, unsurprisingly, was taken aback to learn his 2006 iteration still answers the phone at City Hall. He encourages anyone looking for him to call his firm, Ground Floor Public Affairs, at (415) 291-9501.

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