By Matthew Wood
If you would have told Gretchen Newsom a year ago that she would be in consideration for the District 2 seat on the City Council, she probably would have sent you home and told you to sleep it off.
After all, it was just this past year that she was elected president of the Ocean Beach Town Council. Now she is officially “campaigning” – for lack of a better word – for the position, holding a signature-gathering meet-&-greet with friends and supporters Thursday night at her home on Santa Cruz Avenue.
“It’s a bit of a whirlwind, but I’m feeling pretty positive,” Newsom said in between introducing herself to supporters on her front stoop and watching her son, Leif, play in the yard.
“I never, ever, ever foresaw this situation happening. It’s a really unique opportunity.”
In case you haven’t been following along, it more or less all started with former Mayor Bob Filner. When Filner stepped down from office in disgrace, his seat was eventually filled by former District 2 Councilman Kevin Faulconer.
And now? It’s up to the City Council to select a new member in a process that will most likely take up the better part of the next month and a half.
Newsom began the first steps to office: Collecting 50 signatures from constituents, followed by “A 500-word essay on why I’m so awesome, er, qualified for the job.”
Candidates must also release their financial records and undergo a security background check. Then the Council will really get into the vetting process, with an appointment coming no later than April 16.
She’s quick to point out it’s not really a campaign. She’s not at the whim of the voters, just the City Council. And whoever is appointed is not allowed to run in the next election.
“And I am A-OK with that,” she said. “I am not using this as a springboard. My constituents asked me and I’m happy to serve.”
Newsom looked at home in her dining room, in the house next door to where her husband grew up. She offered up craft beer and finger food while chatting up the locals who passed through and even chided a friend who refused to add to the signature list – arguing that he didn’t believe in signing anything.
By the time most of the crowd had thinned, she was well over halfway to the 50 signatures with just over a week to go before they are due.
While she expects a large list of potential candidates for the position, she also likes her chances to get the appointment.
“I think it is representative of why the community asked me to step up,” she said. “I’m not coming in with a personal agenda. I want to look out for District 2 and move our projects along.”