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‘I, Gavin’: An unauthorized (and unreal) excerpt from Gov. Newsom’s memoir

A political tell-all with big budget energy.

An illustration shows a smiling man in a suit at a desk with a typewriter, set against a vivid pink and yellow background.
Source: AI illustration by Clark Miller

Last week, California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced he would publish an autobiography sometime after the 2024 presidential election. Newsom’s planned memoir has added to the speculation that he will be running for president, but the book’s contents have not been disclosed—until now. Thanks to The San Francisco Standard’s innovative reporting techniques (we read a lot of fan fiction), we can now reveal these exclusive excerpts from Newsom’s life story.



“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” That’s good advice from my favorite author. To write a memoir, first I had to understand myself. There was a lot of soul-searching. I had a lot of conversations with old friends, my family, my wife, Jennifer, and our four wonderful children. I learned many things. Most of all, I learned this:

I am a management consultant trapped in Hugh Jackman’s body. 

Every time I want to talk about something important—Digital transformation! Skills-based hiring! How TPS reports have been unfairly maligned in pop culture!—people get so distracted by my raw, seething masculinity.

Luckily, you can’t smell my pheromones in print. So let’s get into it, zero-based budgeting included.


Page 3

Some fun facts about me: My dad was an attorney for Getty Oil; my mom a waitress. The musician Joanna Newsom is my second cousin twice removed. Before entering politics, I started a successful business, PlumpJack, that includes restaurants, wineries, bottle shops and hotels. Also, I earned 35 wins over three seasons pitching for the St. Louis Cardinals. (That’s more of an emotional truth.) 


Page 11

The first time I became aware of the weight of my animal sensuality was when I was on a date with my then-girlfriend, Kimberly. (The less I say about her subsequent partners, the better—we signed airtight NDAs.) 

We were at my usual table at Stars, just around the corner from my chick-magnet bachelor pad Board of Supervisors office at City Hall. Chef Jeremiah had just brought out our second course, a ripe garden tomato salad with purple and green basil and dolcelatte blue cheese. I was explaining to Kimberly that by switching to a zero-based budgeting system, San Francisco could improve efficiency while reducing taxpayer outlays.

“Listen, stud,” she said, “I don’t understand a thing you just said, but look right in my eyes and say it again, real slow.”

And that’s when I knew: Kimberly was the one I wanted to be with forever. She was my budget bae.


Page 24

You probably know the rest of my story. Kim and I got married in December 2001. I won election for mayor two years later. Care Not Cash. Gay marriage. The operas, the galas, the thirst traps. The time Chris Daly said I was doing cocaine. The time I gave a seven-and-a-half hour speech. (Tell me this, Chris—how could someone on coke talk that long?) The late-night budget meetings. Community events. The time Kim and I sprawled on a rug in Ann Getty’s mansion for Harper’s Bazaar. The time I paid the local Republican Party $500 to appear on its mailer. The time Kim and I divorced. The time I dated a 20-year-old for a while, then married Jennifer. I wrote a book called Citizenville that nobody read. 

I wouldn’t change a thing.

Except that San Francisco should have adopted zero-based budgeting. 

You see, if you’re going to operationalize a digital-first, results-oriented, total-quality, mobile-optimized eGovernment in real time that draws lessons from best-in-class Web 3.0 countries like Singapore, Estonia and the on-chain Network State startup micronations, you’ve got to be doing zero-based budgeting. Localism is determinative


Page 68

I won’t bore you with the details of my time as lieutenant governor. Like I said in 2012 about Sacramento, “It’s just so dull. Sadly, I just, ugh, God.” 


Page 104

When I first became governor, Jerry Brown took me out for lunch. I was hoping we’d go to Localis or the Firehouse, but you know Jerry. He’s not a big spender. Jerry bought one takeout sandwich from La Bou on 11th and O for us to split. Turkey, no avocado. We sat on the bench at Franklin D. Roosevelt Park and ate our halves in silence. 

Finally, when we were done, Jerry looked me dead in the eye and said:

“Has the dog Buddha nature?”

“Jerry,” I said. “What the hell?”

“Without,” Jerry replied, then stuffed his soiled paper napkin in his jacket pocket to use later.

When I got home to Marin, I called Schwarzenegger. Before I could even say hello, Arnold said, “So he told you the one about the dog and the Buddha, too, huh? I don’t get it either.”


Page 156

I love being governor, and I think I’ve done a good job, but during the coronavirus lockdown, I made a big mistake. You probably heard about it. In 2020, I attended a fancy dinner at the French Laundry. That was wrong. But look, it’s not like I could just order the oyster and pearls on UberEats.

Still, I made a mistake. It was wrong for me to ask for my third course to be substituted for the sauteed filet of Atlantic tilefish, served with a charred eggplant bechamel, marinated sungold tomatoes, paprika-infused olive oil and a spicy tomato glaze. This was at a time when neither eggplants nor tomatoes were in season. Furthermore, it was an error of judgment to ask for the tilefish to be shipped from the Atlantic when there are many sustainable fish options right here on the Pacific coast. 

I am truly, deeply sorry and all I can do is ask for forgiveness. And another round of the oysters and pearls.


Page 198

So let’s get down to the proof points. Tough questions deserve tough answers. I know what you really want to know. 

Am I running for president in the 2028 election? Maybe. In a way, aren’t we all running for president in 2028? 

And what about 2024? Am I hoping that Joe Biden breaks a hip and is forced to abandon his campaign? No, and I am offended that you would even suggest that. Do I secretly want Kamala Harris to develop a sudden interest in becoming the next chancellor of Howard University? Perhaps.

Is my not-exactly-pro-vax wife voting for RFK Jr.? No comment.

But while you think about those questions, please remember this: I haven’t killed any dogs.


Scott Alan Lucas is a former editor at San Francisco magazine whose book, “Last Night in San Francisco,” about the death of technology executive Bob Lee, will be published next year by Steerforth Press. Find him on X at @scottlucas.

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