Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Newsom: Another Politico Pleads Alcohol

The parade of public figures "taking the fifth" -- pleading alcohol abuse -- swelled last week with the addition of Mayor Gavin Newsom (photo right) of San Francisco.

After admitting to a sexual affair two years ago with his former appointments secretary, (photo middle) a woman married to his campaign manager (photo left), Newsom said that although "my problems with alcohol are not an excuse for my personal lapses in judgment," he had stopped drinking and wanted professional help staying sober.

"Upon reflection with friends and family this weekend, I have come to the conclusion that I will be a better person without alcohol in my life," Newsom said in a statement.

Newsom said Monday that he would get treatment from Mimi Silbert, the founder and director of the Delancey Street Foundation in San Francisco, and that it would not affect his duties as mayor.

Delancey Street provides a residential program for hard-core addicts, including ex-convicts and prostitutes. Although the mayor plans to work with her on an outpatient basis, the program will not be easy, said Silbert, who met with Newsom over the weekend.

"The good thing, to me, is that he came and asked for help from a place he knows would not be light," Silbert said.

Delancey Street, which she founded in 1971, does not rely on the 12-step philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous but works to address the underlying reasons for excessive drinking, she said.

Citing privacy reasons, Silbert would not elaborate on how specifically she planned to help Newsom, whom she described as "very serious" about getting help. More.

Sources said that Ruby Rippey-Tourk, 34, Newsom's partner in the 2005 affair, has an alcohol issue of her own and revealed the affair to her husband as part of the ninth step of the Alcoholics Anonymous program, which requires the person to "make amends." Source. Discussion. Her husband, Alex Tourk, then confronted Newsom with the affair and resigned his post as campaign manager.

Newsom is up for re-election in November. Commentators say that Tourk commands a loyal following of volunteers who won't be working for Newsom this fall. More.

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