Gavin Newsom

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WARNING! Sewage sludge is toxic. Food should not be grown in "biosolids." Join the Food Rights Network.

Gavin Newsom is the current mayor of San Francisco. A Democrat, Newsom was elected mayor in 2003. He is married to the actress Jennifer Siebel. His father is William A. Newsom III. In 2010 he was the Democratic Party candidate for Lieutenant Governor of California. According to his website, he "in 1991, Newsom recruited investors and founded PlumpJack, a wine shop, which he grew into a thriving enterprise of 15 businesses including wineries, restaurants, and hotels. In 1997, Mayor Willie Brown appointed him to the city’s board of supervisors. Voters elected Newsom to the board in 1998 and re-elected him in 2000 and 2002. ... One year later, after a fiercely-contested race, Newsom was elected mayor. ... In 2007, Newsom was re-elected with over 73% of the vote. [1].

Chez Sludge

The Food Rights Network released a major investigative report involving Mayor Newsom on July 9, 2010 titled: Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters. [2] It examines collusion between the Chez Panisse Foundation and the SFPUC based on an extensive open records investigation of the SFPUC internal files. (To view the internal documents see: SFPUC Sludge Controversy Timeline.)

Mayor Newsom is likely to leave his office after his November election for California Lieutenant Governor, and he hopes to leave this issue behind him, says Food Rights Network researcher John Stauber.

Toxic Sewage Sludge as "Organic Compost" Controversy

Photo by San Francisco Public Utilities Commission

In 2009 a major controversy erupted in San Francisco when the Center for Food Safety and the Organic Consumers Association called on the SFPUC to end its give-away of toxic sewage sludge as free "organic biosolids compost" to gardeners. The sewage sludge "compost" is processed by Synagro from the sludge of San Francisco and eight other counties.

A March 4, 2010, demonstration at City Hall by the OCA forced a temporary halt to the program. (See articles below)[3] [4][5][6] [7] The misleading labeled "organic compost," which the PUC has given away free to gardeners since 2007, is composed of toxic sewage sludge from San Francisco and eight other counties. Very little toxicity testing has been done, but what little has been done is alarming. Just the sludge from San Francisco alone has tested positive for 1,2-Dibromo-3-Chloropropane (a.k.a. DBCP), Isopropyltoluene (a.k.a. p-cymene or p-isopropyltoluene), Dioxins and Furans. [8]

'Green Mayor' Invested in BP Oil Disaster

On June 30, 2010, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that "San Francisco's eco-conscious Mayor Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, own a piece of the deepwater rig at the center of the gulf oil disaster. According to the mayor's most recently filed economic disclosure statement, last year the couple invested between $10,000 and $100,000 in Transocean Inc. - the company whose ruptured deepwater rig, which is leased to BP, is spewing millions of gallons of oil, endangering wildlife and beaches all along the Gulf Coast. Just last month, Newsom told the San Diego area East County Magazine that "the environmental catastrophe devastating the Gulf of Mexico is a tragic reminder of why we must take a stand against the oil companies and oppose all offshore drilling off California's precious coast." The Jennifer Lynn Siebel Trust also listed a half dozen other $10,000-to-$100,000 energy-related investments, including stock held last year in three companies involved in oil and gas exploration: Dorchester Minerals, Resolute Energy and Schlumberger Ltd. The portfolio also includes stock in Petroleo Brasileiro, Brazil's largely state-owned oil company that has been looking to the United States to help finance exploration of a huge offshore oil discovery near Rio de Janeiro. In all, the couple's 2009 trust portfolio listed 43 investments that, in addition to energy, included some of the biggest players in finance, pharmaceuticals, telecommunications and health care. The trust produced more than $100,000 in income last year for the couple, according to the report." [9]

Contact Information

  • Mayor Gavin Newsom
  • City Hall, Room 200
  • 1 Dr. Carlton B. Goodlett Place
  • San Francisco, CA 94102
  • Telephone: (415) 554-6141
  • Email: gavin.newsom AT
  • Website:

Articles and Resources in General

Articles and Resource on Toxic Sludge Give-Away

Related SourceWatch articles


  1. [ Newsom Website visited June 29, 2010
  2. John Stauber, Chez Sludge: How the Sewage Sludge Industry Bedded Alice Waters,, July 9, 2010
  3. Heather Knight, Nonprofit calls PUC's compost toxic sludge, San Francisco Chronicle, September 27, 2009.
  4. Barry Estabrook, Free Compost--Or Toxic Sludge?, The Atlantic, December 1, 2009
  5. Anna Werner, Concern Over SF Compost Made from Sewage Sludge, CBS Channel 5, March 3, 2010
  6. Leora Broydo Vestel, Food Groups Clash Over Compost Sludge, New York Times Green Inc. blog, April 9 2010.
  7. Chris Roberts, Farmers Call PUC's Shit, Will Dump it on City Hall Today, San Francisco Appeal, March 4, 2010.
  8. Jill Richardson, What San Francisco Found in Their Own Sludge, La Vida Locavore blog, April 8, 2010.
  9. Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross, Newsom, wife invested in BP's gulf oil rig, San Francisco Chronicle, June 30, 2010].

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