We need to discuss Suliman.
You know. Suliman. Gavin Newsom's "black foster brother."
The Weekly has a fabulous piece about Gavin's foster friend who may or may not be named Suliman and may or may not be in jail FOR SELLING CRACK. Apparently, Gavin spent his childhood running through the slums of Marin City with his black foster brother, Suliman Akabar/Stephen Ashby, thus providing our Mayor with a certain level of street cred.
Over the years, Gavin's occasionally mentioned his relationship with "Suli" to the press and now that he's a candidate to run "the 8th largest economy in the world," people are asking, "Hey, what ever happened to your black foster brother?"
If I may paraphrase the Newsom Campaign's response, "Er, uh, We don't know. He's in jail. He had to sell crack to support his family. Stop asking us about it! It's personal!"
The Weekly couldn't find any trace of this brother or friend of whatever Suliman was to Gavin, but I definitely remember the mention of the foster brother in my favorite Gavin article of all time, THIS from 2005's Chronicle. My favorite Gavin moment?
The mayor spends so much time in Hunters Point, in Sunnydale and other housing projects in the southeastern quadrant of the city that young men there, idle on a weekday mid-morning, pass him by with a casual greeting: "G, man."
(I've bolded the best parts, obviously.)
I was asking around last night's League of Pissed Off Voters Fundraiser. First of all, everyone knew exactly what I was talking about when I asked, "So, Suliman, huh?"
Second of all, the consensus was that Gavin did probably have a "black friend" once a long time ago. Hilary Newsom Callan, Gavin's sister, confirmed that she hadn't heard from "Suli in years." Hilary, we all agreed, seems like a nice, normal person who would honestly verify something like the existence of a foster brother.
As one political insider broke it down for me, "When you're running for Mayor in a relatively small city, a close childhood friend can get spun into something more than that and you just ride with it. It's not that big of a deal." Running for Governor, however, is a different story.
I just think it's really interesting that of all the wonderfully curious things to investigate about Gavin Newsom, we're focused on the black foster brother.
In related news, Jordan and Jonathan Knight (of New Kids on the Block*) had a black ADOPTED brother, so, you know...
*I originally typed "New Kids on the Black." Heh.*
ALSO, you can read all about last night's event HERE at See Spot Write in the SF Appeal...