Newsom: "Everything You've Heard Is True"
Feb. 1 - KGO (KGO) -- Sex at City Hall -- San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom with a contrite admission about the affair he had with a married City Hall aide. Newsom's confession today came with an apology and a vow to restore the trust of the people and to press on with the business of governing San Francisco.
The mayor admitted having the affair with Ruby Rippey-Tourk, his appointments secretary at the time, and the wife of his close friend Alex Tourk, who confronted the mayor yesterday and abruptly resigned as Newsom's campaign manager.
The mayor is up for re-election and he was going into that campaign with sky-high approval ratings, according to the polls. Today, he vowed to try to restore any lost trust.
Mayor Gavin Newsom, San Francisco: "I am deeply sorry and am accountable for what has occurred."
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom says everything you heard or read is true, he did have an affair about a year-and-a-half ago as he was going through a divorce. The woman was his secretary, Ruby Tourk. She's also the wife of the mayor's close friend and top aide, Alex Tourk.
Alex Tourk resigned yesterday as Newsom's re-election campaign manager after his wife told him about the affair. Sources say she confessed as part of a rehab program for substance abuse.
Mayor Gavin Newsom: "I've hurt someone I care deeply about -- Alex Tourk, his friends and family. And that is something I have to live with and something I am deeply sorry for."
It's a big fall from grace for a politician who has national name recognition and was the subject in national magazines. His mea culpa news conference was jammed with mainstream and tabloid reporters.
The mayor apologized not only to the Tourks, but to his administration and to the city, saying he let his constituents down.
Mayor Gavin Newsom: "I'm also sorry that I've let the people of San Francisco down. They expect a lot of their mayor, and my personal lapse of judgment aside, I am committed to restoring their trust and confidence and will work very hard in the upcoming months to make sure that the business of running the city is framed appropriately."
The president of the Board of Supervisors believes Newsom has been asleep at the wheel for some time.
Aaron Peskin, President, S.F. Board of Supervisors: "This administration, at its top, has not been very hands-on and has been preoccupied with other matters."
It's unclear what the political fallout will be. Former Mayor Willie Brown, who had his own controversy fathering a child out of wedlock, believes the scandal will dissipate.
Willie Brown, Former S.F. Mayor: "I think Mr. Newsom and the other two parties will be the subject matter of your station's reviews and other news organizations for the next two or three days. Unless there's something about the relationship that is egregious to the public generally, it will be yesterday's news."
Brown feels Newsom has done the right thing by 'fessing up. Other politicians say he must now focus on running the city.
Tom Ammiano, S.F. Supervisor: "There's a little bit of Chicken Little happening, the sky is falling. I think a lot is going to depend on how he handles this."
Newsom's press secretary believes the personal problems won't interfere with the public duty, though the mayor was absent from a scheduled event to showcase a new bomb detection canine team for Muni.
Supervisor Ed Jew hopes the mayor won't let the scandal interfere with San Francisco's needs.
Ed Jew, S.F. Supervisor: "I think the citizens of San Francisco deserve better. I think we need to set examples, we are elected officials."
There was another event held this evening at City Hall -- the swearing-in of the city assessor -- and the mayor did show up for that.
There's no talk of resigning.
Mrs. Ruby Tourk appeared on ABC7's The View from the Bay on October 13, 2006 on a segment about celebrity designer handbags. You can watch the video here.
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