ballard later

The for-real whiteboard in the Mayor’s Press Room, with a slight addition from the Appeal

3:45 PM: The Appeal asked longtime Newsom — and by extension, Ballard — nemesis Supervisor Chris Daly for his take. Daly, who lately referred to Ballard as a “smooth operator,” did not take any swipes at Ballard, taking the position that there’s something rotten in Room 200, and Ballard’s exit is merely a symptom of the overall malaise.

“I have no problem with Nathan Ballard — he was hired to do a job and he did it,” Daly said. “I’m part of the opposition to the Mayor; It’s no surprise that I’d butt heads with the Mayor’s spokesman.”

Daly said Ballard’s exit is emblematic of the internal workings of Newsom’s administration, “which is imploding,” he added.

3:13 PM: The man the media the San Francisco Bay Guardian loved to hate is no longer at City Hall, after somewhat-longtime Mayoral spokesman Nathan Ballard announced his resignation on Monday afternoon.

The resignation was effective immediately, other members of the Mayor’s Communications team said. Ballard’s office was empty, and The Appeal was told he was not at City Hall.

In a letter addressed to the Mayor, dated Monday, (you can read the entire letter here) Ballard took time to plug his personal political communications firm and said he would leave “city hall” and the administration in February 2010, though it is unclear what role he will play in the interim. Neither Newsom nor a member of his senior staff was available for further comment, reception staff at Room 200 told us.

Ballard and the media have often enjoyed a less-than-stellar relationship in the past, and of late, the bond between man and mayor seems to have been strained as well. Recently, the mayor jetted off to a Hawaiian vacation without informing his chief spokesman until an hour before the flight.

Ballard praised the mayor’s tech-savy ways, using the letter to tell Newsom he “never hesitated to embrace creative new ways of communicating with your constituents.” And indeed, under Ballard’s tenure the Mayor has amassed over 1,200,000 followers on Twitter, achieved a Facebook presence to rival that of anyone you ever knew in college, and delivered a State of the City address on YouTube. Breaking with this tradition, Ballard’s resignation was not delivered via text message.

2:18 PM (Eve Batey): Nate Ballard, the Mayor’s spokesperson, is leaving Gavin’s office for parts unknown. In a release sent out by another of Newsom’s press team (it’s not online yet, we’ll link to it when it is, screw it, we’ll just link to SFist, which published it in full), the mayor and Ballard look like they need to get a room:

“Nathan Ballard is unflappable, smart and a fierce advocate,” said Newsom. “He is a talented communicator and a consummate professional, and we will miss him.”

Ballard praised Newsom for his leadership.

“Mayor Newsom is a gifted leader who fearlessly tackles significant issues such as health care, the environment, education, and equal rights,” said Ballard. “It has been a privilege to serve this administration.”

We’ll leave the rumor mongering to folks more in the know than we are (the comments are there for just that, folks), but will say that we hope once Ballard is free of his day job (the release neither specified his next move nor his departure date) he’ll take some time for himself. Perhaps an impromptu trip to Hawaii?

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  • Beth S.

    Gavin Newsom: I will now say something nice about Nate.
    Nathan Ballard: And I will say something nice about Gavin.
    This is all very “Good Day, Sir.”

    Well, I wish Nate Godspeed as well. He’s a hoot!

  • Beth S.

    Gavin Newsom: I will now say something nice about Nate.
    Nathan Ballard: And I will say something nice about Gavin.
    This is all very “Good Day, Sir.”

    Well, I wish Nate Godspeed as well. He’s a hoot!

  • Rita

    maybe he’s going to live off Chris Daly’s trust fund.

  • Rita

    maybe he’s going to live off Chris Daly’s trust fund.

  • Greg Dewar

    If ever there was a time for people to wonder just who’s minding the store, now would be it. Gavin apparently didn’t learn the lesson of “be careful who you stomp on on the way up, as you may need them when you’re on the way down.”

    Losing Nathan, who was more of a Mayor than Gavin was during the abortive Governor’s race, is a bad sign. Clearly someone as talented as he can work for better places than the Mayor’s office, and is going forth and will do good work else where.

    Meanwhile, absentee “mayor” Newsom is making people wonder who really is in charge since the Mayor clearly is adrift and disengaged.

    The only reason no one launches a recall campaign against Newsom is because, barring a shift on the board, David Chiu would become mayor as next in line of succession, and lets face it, he’s barely qualified to be Supervisor, and certainly unqualified to be Board President. Mayor Chiu? God help us.

    Or, imagine a palace coup where someone else seizes the board presidency, and then the next thing you know….

  • Greg Dewar

    If ever there was a time for people to wonder just who’s minding the store, now would be it. Gavin apparently didn’t learn the lesson of “be careful who you stomp on on the way up, as you may need them when you’re on the way down.”

    Losing Nathan, who was more of a Mayor than Gavin was during the abortive Governor’s race, is a bad sign. Clearly someone as talented as he can work for better places than the Mayor’s office, and is going forth and will do good work else where.

    Meanwhile, absentee “mayor” Newsom is making people wonder who really is in charge since the Mayor clearly is adrift and disengaged.

    The only reason no one launches a recall campaign against Newsom is because, barring a shift on the board, David Chiu would become mayor as next in line of succession, and lets face it, he’s barely qualified to be Supervisor, and certainly unqualified to be Board President. Mayor Chiu? God help us.

    Or, imagine a palace coup where someone else seizes the board presidency, and then the next thing you know….

  • apophis

    Someone should follow Gavin closely. I think he might be unfit for office and I mean that in a big way. Do mayor’s need to submit to a drug test?

  • apophis

    Someone should follow Gavin closely. I think he might be unfit for office and I mean that in a big way. Do mayor’s need to submit to a drug test?

  • Jamie Whitaker

    Is Carmen Chu still Mayor? Seriously … who’s running things?

  • Jamie Whitaker

    Is Carmen Chu still Mayor? Seriously … who’s running things?

  • sfresident

    @Greg – All things considered I think David Chiu’s doing a pretty good job as BOS president and I think he (along with Dufty, Elsbernd, Mirkarimi and possibly even Maxwell or Campos) would all make better mayors than Gavin from the standpoint of basic competence, if not from the standpoint of “I agree with their politics.” Gavin is a shitty, shitty mayor.

    It’s pretty clear that train Newsom has hurdled off a cliff. The only thing left is to find out if there are any survivors once the wreckage clears.

  • sfresident

    @Greg – All things considered I think David Chiu’s doing a pretty good job as BOS president and I think he (along with Dufty, Elsbernd, Mirkarimi and possibly even Maxwell or Campos) would all make better mayors than Gavin from the standpoint of basic competence, if not from the standpoint of “I agree with their politics.” Gavin is a shitty, shitty mayor.

    It’s pretty clear that train Newsom has hurdled off a cliff. The only thing left is to find out if there are any survivors once the wreckage clears.

  • Greg Dewar

    @sfresident: I think David is a fine supervisor. But he really shouldnt’ be BOS Prez, as he’s a new legislator. It takes time to learn how to confront the executive branch, and as we saw during the MTA budget fight, he capitulated because he was outgunned by the Mayor’s office, when he shoulda been more assertive, as he’s smarter than the Mayor. It’s that kind of guts and confidence one only gets from experience.

    That said, given that we have NO mayor and haven’t for some time, and as I watch today’s Muni FAIL, I’m thinking that I’d rather have Chiu or hell, put Chris Daly in there. As it stands we’re going to have mayor No Show for a LONG time.

  • Greg Dewar

    @sfresident: I think David is a fine supervisor. But he really shouldnt’ be BOS Prez, as he’s a new legislator. It takes time to learn how to confront the executive branch, and as we saw during the MTA budget fight, he capitulated because he was outgunned by the Mayor’s office, when he shoulda been more assertive, as he’s smarter than the Mayor. It’s that kind of guts and confidence one only gets from experience.

    That said, given that we have NO mayor and haven’t for some time, and as I watch today’s Muni FAIL, I’m thinking that I’d rather have Chiu or hell, put Chris Daly in there. As it stands we’re going to have mayor No Show for a LONG time.

  • bloomsm

    We have not had a functioning, full-time Mayor for several years in SF. Anyone who is surprised by this really doesn’t understand Gavin Newsom, a craven, upwardly-mobile career opportunist. He is the perfect creature of his own neighborhood.

    As soon as Gav decided to be Guv, he showed his true colors. We saw the arrogance of his campaign, his venal personal conduct (ask Billy Getty what happened to their friendship; Alex Tourke, who else….), his total disinterest in city governance, and the naked ambition which, in his mind, passes for leadership.

    Thank god for NYT v. Sullivan as I write this.

  • bloomsm

    We have not had a functioning, full-time Mayor for several years in SF. Anyone who is surprised by this really doesn’t understand Gavin Newsom, a craven, upwardly-mobile career opportunist. He is the perfect creature of his own neighborhood.

    As soon as Gav decided to be Guv, he showed his true colors. We saw the arrogance of his campaign, his venal personal conduct (ask Billy Getty what happened to their friendship; Alex Tourke, who else….), his total disinterest in city governance, and the naked ambition which, in his mind, passes for leadership.

    Thank god for NYT v. Sullivan as I write this.