Mayor Gavin Newsom's chief spokesman resigns

November 16, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
The chief spokesman for San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom announced his resignation today.

In a statement released by the mayor's office, Newsom communications director Nathan Ballard said he will leave the post in February.

Newsom called Ballard, who began as spokesman in February 2007, "unflappable, smart and a fierce advocate."

"He is a talented communicator and a consummate professional, and we will miss him," Newsom said.

Ballard has previously served as a spokesman for U.S. Sen. John Kerry, General Wesley Clark, the Democratic National Committee, the California Democratic Party and the California Labor Federation, AFL-CIO.

Ballard, 40, said he plans to spend more time with his family and to re-launch a media relations company he founded in 2004.

In the statement, Ballard praised Newsom's work on health care, environmental issues, education and equal rights.

"It has been a privilege to serve this administration," Ballard said.

There was no immediate word from the mayor's office on his replacement.

Newsom, 42, a Democrat, announced Oct. 30 that he was pulling out of the 2010 California governor's race. His second and final term as San Francisco mayor ends in January 2012.