Mayor, Tots, Rap About Hair and Other Reminiscences of Longtime City Hall Guide

Ellen Schumer has heard plenty of stupid questions in her 11 years as a City Hall historian and tour guide. But the resoundingly silly query that comes up again and again is certainly “Well, we are going to see the mayor, aren't we?”

Mayor Gavin Newsom is many things. But a department store Santa he is not.

That being said, there are times when Newsom makes a tour group's day. “The other day we were in the International Room, and we were talking about how when a foreign dignitary comes to San Francisco with a gift, the mayor presents them with a gift from San Francisco,” recalls Schumer — and, yes, she's Sen. Chuck Schumer's cousin. “So I was explaining this to a group of children and [Newsom] says 'Oh, hi!' And he invited the children into his office and they were beside themselves.

And what did Newsom and the kids talk about? Hair. Really. Newsom pointed at the framed portraits and photos of his predecessors and pointed out their odd hairstyles — particularly Mayor James Van Ness. And who initiated this subject of conversation — Newsom or the kiddies? “I think it was a combination,” answers Schumer.

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