Thursday, January 18, 2007

Did Gavin Stack the Deck?

At Mayor Newsom's January 13th "town hall" meeting, questions had to be submitted on index cards. Watch as Gavin pulls a card out of his pocket and puts it on top of the deck of questions. He's then super careful to make sure that his question remains on top. Can you follow his fingers as they dance over the questions he doesn't want to answer?

I'm sure Gavin will say that someone just handed him the question earlier. But the bigger point of this clip is how he's clearly screening the questions and dismissing any that he doesn't want to answer. He said at the beginning, "This is not the only way you can communicate. I'm happy to give you the mic." But he never let anyone from the public speak. To watch the whole meeting, go to SFGTV. The quote above is at 19:10.

Gavin also seems distant and disengaged. Watch how many times he ruffles through the questions, but never actually stops to read one.

My last point is that you can get a sense from this clip of how much Gavin participated in the "Town Hall" meeting. In this 11 minute clip, Angela Alioto and Father Harding do virtually all the talking. Gavin talks for about 20 seconds to ask Father Harding "Is it possible to end chronic homelessness in 10 years?"

Can anyone still argue that this format is a credible alternative to the kind of dialog that the voters asked for in Prop I? If you can, I'd love to hear it in the comments. And in case you don't know about Prop I, here is the entire text of the proposition:
Shall it be City policy to urge the Mayor to appear in person at one regularly scheduled YES meeting of the Board of Supervisors each month to engage in formal policy discussions with members of the Board?

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