Debra J. Saunders

The city's middle class is, you see, so well trained. Tell San Franciscans that they consume too much and they'll probably give you a quarter.

So the Prince of The Special City has chosen to pick on the behavior of contributing members to society. There's his Shape Up SF program with a campaign for a Soda-Free Summer. Newsom has proposed a "sweetened beverage fee" on retailers who sell soft drinks, which would bankroll ads to scold people about the evils of soda. His Democratic Party, which wants to get government out of the bedroom, has moved it to the kitchen.

And to the garbage can, with mandatory recycling. The city banned plastic grocery bags in supermarkets in 2007 and pharmacies in 2008. Newsom's City Hall also banned bottled-water purchases by city departments. Big government morphs into niggling government.

Newsom boasts that his legislation to ban the sale of cigarettes at pharmacies is "the first of its kind" in the nation. Talk about butting into other people's business.

At a California Target Book seminar Thursday, San Francisco pollster David Binder noted that last week's Rasmussen poll of gubernatorial candidates shows that 30 percent of California voters have a "very unfavorable" view of Newsom.

Binder believes that Newsom is paying a big political price for ads run by the Proposition 8 campaign that depicted Newsom roaring on City Hall's steps that same-sex marriage would be the law of the land, and that it's "gonna happen -- whether you like it or not."

Those ads, Binder said, "really penetrated among voters" -- even people who supported same-sex marriage. Binder didn't buy my contention that voters see Newsom as too much of a nanny figure. He thinks that Newsom's problem is that people see him as "arrogant."

But as Target Book publisher Allan Hoffenblum observed, "If you want to see a dysfunctional government, just look at the city of San Francisco."

No lie. I suspect that the biggest problem the mayor will face as he tries to win the Democratic primary for governor will be voters who wonder why Newsom wants to tell everybody what to drink, where they can buy cigarettes and that they must get out of their cars -- when he still hasn't cleaned up San Francisco.

Debra J. Saunders

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