Alex Constantine - May 23, 2009
Newsom's own father was a partner in an early Silicon Valley computer firm, with Otto Albrecht von Bolschwing - a ranking Nazi official who resettled in California after the war with the assistance of Richard M. Nixon - so we do have a case of the pot calling the kettle black ... not that the average newspaper reporter is likely to rise above Good German status and say so.
MAY 22, 2009
San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, a declared Democratic 2010 California gubernatorial candidate, has decided to return a hefty $25,000 campaign contribution -- from the son of controversial conservative talk show host, Michael Savage.
As we reported earlier this month, Savage was one of 16 individuals on a "name and shame" list who was banned from the United Kingdom. U.K. Home Secretary Jaqui Smith charged that Savage's right wing controverial broadcasts constituted "hate speech" and could promote violence, and did not represent the "values" of Britian.
Now, the move at home against Savage comes after a progressive activist in San Francisco, Aaron Baldwin, asked the Newsom campaign to reject the May 11, 2009 contribution of $25,000 from Russell Weiner, the CEO of Rockstar Energy Drinks. The company which was founded in Nevada in 2001 promotes a popular energy beverage -- but is a family business, charges Baldwin. Janet Weiner, the wife of Savage -- real name, Michael Weiner -- is the chief financial officer for both Savage Productions and Rockstar, documents show.
Baldwin told us he contacted Eric Jaye, the Newsom campaign consultant, to inform him of a campaign called "The Truth About Rockstar.'' He said 10,000 have already signed up on Facebook to now promote a boycott of the energy drink based on Savage's alleged links with the brand.
"When I found out Rockstar was affiliated with Michael Savage, I thought it was necessary people know,'' Baldwin said, arguing that public documents show "it is a privately-held company, the (Savage) assets are co-mingled with it.''
Baldwin said documents show Russell Weiner was also a founder of the conservative Paul Revere Society -- which uses the same address as Savage Productions; the group has promoted immediate deportation of illegal aliens, support for "traditional marriage'' only, "requiring health tests for all foreign born immigrants,'' all things "that are completely opposed to everything that Gavin stands for,'' he said.
Russ Weiner, in a phone interview today, strongly denied the allegations. "The Truth about Rockstar' site is full of misinformation,'' he said, saying he started the firm "with $50,000 of my own money. It has nothing to do with my dad. He's not an officer....he's not the founder or the creator.''
Our colleague Josh Richman over at the MediaNews/Oakland Tribune's Poitical Buzz blog wrote earlier this month that while talk show Savage has been savaged by the left for saying Newsom is "in love again with the gay mafia" and has called him "a whack-job as a mayor," his son is not too far away on the political spectrum.
"He ran for the state Assembly in 1998 as a Republican, touting the fact that he with his dad had founded the conservative Paul Revere Society (later stripped of its nonprofit status, and now redirecting Web browsers directly to Savage's site), Richman wrote.
Weiner, Savage's son, told Richman regarding the Newsom donation: "We're personal friends, went to the same high school at different times...and he's a businessman, I'm a businessman, so I hope he'll be good for the business community if he's governor."
Now Jaye, in an email today to Baldwin -- which has been forwarded to us -- wrote to Baldwin that "thanks to the information you provided, the campaign is returning this contribution. Your insight is greatly appreciated.''
We just spoke to Jaye, who confirmed the information: "There was some statements made during (Weiner's) 1998 campaign in the GOP primary which conflicted with the mayor's position and we're returning the check,'' he said.
Weiner told us: "I still wish Gavin well. I always will.'' But he said that with the donation rejected, "I'm taking this money and I'm donating it to charity. We're telling them to name a charity of their choosing, and if they don't want it, we'll donate it to Project Open Hand.''
Meanwhile, his dad, Michael Savage, we reported last week, has asked Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for aid in fighting the ban by the British Home Secretary, and has said he will file a defamation lawsuit after being put on the same list of banned individuals as terrorists, gang leaders, neo-Nazis and other dangerous criminals.
We're seeking a response from Savage, and will keep you updated.
UPDATE: In a new email to us, talk show host Savage said the following: "I had nothing to do with the founding or creation of Rockstar. These are my political enemies, trying to hurt me through my son." He calls it a "McCarthyesque smear campaign.''
Posted By: Carla Marinucci (Email) | May 22 2009 at 02:45 PM