Out & About: Standing room only for Gavin Newsom
PlumpJack was plump full of people last Friday night as the charismatic, youngest mayor of San Francisco in one hundred years, Gavin Newsom, greeted enthused attendees at the door of the conference center before his Squaw Valley Institute speaking engagement. Over 250 folks took their seats for what they anticipated was going to be a cursory twenty minute Im just doing you all a favor by speaking here speech. After a funny, extremely entertaining hour and a half whizzed by like a blink of an eye, the audience rose to its feet for a robust standing ovation for the mayor with long-time ties to Squaw Valley (Newsoms grandfather Bill Newsom Sr., a crony of Governor Pat Browns, was given a dollar-a-year lease of the state buildings built for the 1960 Olympics in Squaw shortly after the conclusion of the games. Gavins father, Bill Newsom Jr., met Gavins mother in Squaw Valley when she was just an 18-year-old lifeguard at the pool at what is now the PlumpJack Inn.Newsom, dressed in a navy blue sport jacket, white shirt and creased jeans, eased about the room with a remote microphone affixed to his lapel, speaking off the top of his head, without even a scrap of paper for a note or two.Gavin is definitely a phenomenon. Rising to prominence after struggling in school from his dyslexia, he drew from his moxie, jaw-dropping good looks (now I see why there is so much fun made of his perfectly coiffed head of hair), and his positive, risk-taking drive. He chronologically recounted his rise from a somewhat pathetic shoe orthotic salesman to real estate agent working for the well connected Shorenstein family, to wine merchant, and then restaurant entrepreneur who somewhat fortuitously hosted a fundraiser for the then Mayor Willie Brown. The rest is history The main premise of his talk was that in order to succeed in life, one need take risks. He punctuated his talk with several funny anecdotes, and by the end of the evening he had the audience eating out of the palm of his hand.He spoke of his ground-breaking directive to the San Francisco city-county clerk to issue marriage licenses in February of 2004 to same sex couples. The California appellate courts later struck this down, only to have it overruled by the California Supreme Court earlier this month. After finishing his talk, when asked by an audience member what environmental steps San Francisco was currently taking, he elaborated on how the citys board of supervisors established a goal to attain the environmental standards established by the Kyoto Treaty (which called for a ten percent reduction in carbon emissions by the year 2012). He proudly announced that already in 2008 San Francisco has reduced those emissions by a whopping twenty percent.There is talk Newsom would like to run for governor of California. And it appears hes brushing up on his speaking skills by currently working the speaking circuit (he recently spoke at UC Davis Law Schools graduation and is scheduled to speak at other upcoming events). The guy really knows how to work a room like a true politician, arriving early and staying late to shake hands, mingle with the masses, and be extremely amenable to having his photo taken with devotees. You never know, at only 41 years of age, hes got a pretty bright future ahead of him.Some of those listening attentively in the audience included Carole Sesko, and Truckee town council members Richard Anderson, Josh Susman and Carolyn Wallace Dee, Fifth District Supervisor candidate Jennifer Montgomery, Martha and Jim Simon, Mike Sabarese, Alvina Patterson, Reb Forte, Nancy Ryggs, Lisa Dobey and Debbie Cole, Rick Sylvester, Laura and Ed Heneveld, Nancy Cushing, Squaw Valley Institute board members Sally Gardner and husband Dave, Janet Zipkin and husband Charles, Pete Banson, and PlumpJack Squaw Valley GM Michael Murphy, Anne and Roger Beck, Jim Porter, Benita Luke, Julie Mauer and Dave Schotzko, John McLaughlin, John Moberly, Pettitt Gilwee and husband Ralph, Lorna and Paul Leighton, and John Shuff.
In her spare time Vicki Kahn is a Realtor with Prudential California Realty in Tahoe City. You can e-mail her at Vicki.kahn.prurealty.com