It’s no secret that Willie Brown rarely returns phone calls from reporters. But now that the former San Francisco mayor is a columnist at the Chronicle, you’d think he’d call back his newsroom colleagues.
However, the SF Weekly’s Joe Eskenazi reports that Brown is stiffing them for comment as well. And Brown’s refusal to talk to his own newspaper is awkward for Chronicle reporters who are covering the entry of Ed Lee into the mayor’s race. Brown is apparently backing Lee, but not talking to his own paper about his backroom role. Eskenazi writes:
- The closest Brown has come to discussing his role in Lee’s ascendancy was a January column that manged to be both coy and triumphalist.
- “As for my behind-the-scenes role in all this? If people ask me for advice, I give it. Nothing says they have to take it,” he wrote. “Of course, I was the first to suggest Ed Lee right here in the column for all to see. Some columnists report the news, some of us make it.”
- Reached on his cellphone, Brown, in fact, took our call. When asked if he could talk about his column at the Chron he quickly responded “you call the paper and they’ll tell you about it, George.” He then hung up.