booze.jpgSometimes it’s no fun being a celebrity mayor: your follies and foibles are foisted upon the public to be repeated ad nauseam “whether you like it or not,” for ridicule both personal and political.

Thus, then, does Mayor Gavin Newsom’s veto of controversial legislation that would have forced alcohol distributors to help pay for alcohol treatment strike many as hypocritical: after all, it was Newsom who, at the climax of the messy Rippey-Tourk affair, pleaded drunkenness and checked into alcohol rehab.

The fee, proposed by Supervisor John Avalos, would have required alcohol distributors to pay an estimated $16 million to the city annually, money that would help pay for the city’s existing alcohol treatment services. Bar and restaurant owners staunchly opposed the fee, saying that it they would have no choice but to pass on the added costs — up to a nickel per drink — onto their customers.

Late Tuesday, Newsom’s press office issued a release entitled “MAYOR VETOES UNNECESSARY ALCOHOL FEE TO PROTECT JOBS, SAN FRANCISCO’S ECONOMY.”

‘I cannot support this unnecessary and harmful new fee that will hurt our City’s economy and cost us jobs at a time when we most need them,” the mayor wrote. “It is in these times of struggle that we need to stimulate our local economy – not pursue policies that will stifle growth and put our county at a competitive disadvantage with every other county in California.”

Newsom’s veto came as no surprise: he’d pledged to do it before City Hall went on its August recess. Avalos and others knew the fee was doomed last week, when only seven supervisors voted in favor of it (eight votes are needed to override a veto). And for many, the alcohol fee was silly: what, after all, is the connection between someone having a glass of wine at Zuni and someone else passed out face first on Market Street after a bout with a bottle of Royal Gate vodka?

Even so, for some it is too much: Newsom’s success as a wine merchant and now principal of PlumpJack Group; Newsom’s party-boy days that ended in rehab; Newsom tut-tutting at the idea of asking alcohol merchants, whose product is already marked up significantly in the city’s bars and clubs, to help out.

“The Mayor knows the value of our treatment programs,” Avalos said. “I’m surprised he’s not willing to do what it takes to ensure we have the funding for them.”

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  • salsaman

    Vetoing it was the only sensible thing to do, and it’s not fair (but also not unexpected!) to have Newson’s personal history dragged into the discussion.

    Just another typical “we should do something” waste of time proposal by the Board of Supervisors clowns.

  • salsaman

    Vetoing it was the only sensible thing to do, and it’s not fair (but also not unexpected!) to have Newson’s personal history dragged into the discussion.

    Just another typical “we should do something” waste of time proposal by the Board of Supervisors clowns.

  • Haze Valet

    Cheap shot on Newsom Roberts and Avalos. Not very classy.

  • Haze Valet

    Cheap shot on Newsom Roberts and Avalos. Not very classy.

  • Eve Batey

    How is it a cheap shot? Public officials, including Newsom, use their background/personal stories as explanation for legislative proposals and decisions on a regular basis! It appears disingenuous to elaborately ignore Newsom’s, in this case.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I don’t see how it’s fine when the elected official brings it up as a motivation, but it’s “not fair” when the media does it. What am I missing?

  • Eve Batey

    How is it a cheap shot? Public officials, including Newsom, use their background/personal stories as explanation for legislative proposals and decisions on a regular basis! It appears disingenuous to elaborately ignore Newsom’s, in this case.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight, but I don’t see how it’s fine when the elected official brings it up as a motivation, but it’s “not fair” when the media does it. What am I missing?

  • DT

    Um, I thought that Delancey Street was an alternative to state prison, not an alcohol rehab.

    It is not listed in the SF Social Workers Resource book under alcohol rehabs.

  • DT

    Um, I thought that Delancey Street was an alternative to state prison, not an alcohol rehab.

    It is not listed in the SF Social Workers Resource book under alcohol rehabs.