Hey, do you guys remember Peter Ragone, the former communications director for then-mayor Gavin Newsom who became of figure of San Francisco fun after it was revealed that he was posting sock-puppeted, trolly comments on SFist? Well, he's apparently returning to San Francisco, after a stint in New York as "senior adviser" to Mayor Bill de Blasio.
It's no coincidence that I first learned about the Ragone Return via the above tweet from New York Times investigative reporter David W. Chen. It was in my feed via retweet from my esteemed former SFist colleague Rita Hao. Hao, as longstanding readers of SFist might recall, was SFist's first City Hall writer, and was once the target of Ragone's ire, so much so that he created two or three identities in an effort to shut her up.
Despite the preceding paragraph, today's post isn't all about SFist. So, if you don't remember the story and want to learn more, I've pulled together a little background reading at the bottom of this post. But according to a report in the New York Times Thursday, we might be seeing Ragone on SFist again — once de Blasio's "chief communicator and consigliere," he's being replaced by the mayor's press secretary at the end of the month.
According to the Times, Ragone was "hired to bring a bare-knuckled political sensibility to the mayor’s team," (because it is very hard to type comments with your knuckles covered ha ha ha). Described as "a polarizing figure" in de Blasio circles, "Ragone never entirely fit the de Blasio down-home brand: In casual conversations, he referred to skiing in Colorado and shopping at Brooks Brothers. (He describes himself as 'particular' about his clothing, and is often seen in neatly tailored suits with a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses hanging from a belt loop.)"
Yeah, when I think bare knuckles, I think Brooks Brothers, skiing, and Ray-Bans! Totally.
And now we get into my favorite part of the article:
A former top aide to Gavin Newsom, the onetime mayor of San Francisco, Mr. Ragone boasted that he could sidestep the pitfalls of New York’s competitive media market. In describing his media strategy, he emphasized television interviews and social media as the most effective outlets for the mayor’s message.
I am dying to know if by "sidestep the pitfalls" he means "remember not to comment with fake names on local websites." What do you think?
Anyway, now that he's lost his job in New York, he's returning to California, where his family has continued to live. No word yet on what he'll be doing for work when he gets back here, but we're sure whatever it is, it will be really exciting.
And now, your Pewter Ragone Primer!
Gavin's Sock Puppet Jan 25, 2007
Some of you might have noticed a new commenter to the site, Peter Ragone. As in Gavin Newsom's communications director Peter Ragone. Now the first question some of you might have is "is it really him?" And the second question you might have is "doesn't he have better things to do with his time?" Well, we're pretty sure that most, if not all, of the comments in his name were made by him, since we've received second-hand confirmation that he's commenting on SFist. We don't, however, know if he has better things to do with his time. [Read more]
SFistGate Online Jan 31, 2007
Hello there! You might know this correspondent as Gavin Newsom press secretary and SFist comment-spoofer Peter Ragone/John Nelson's "that rita chick is kind of weird" and subsequent KGO 7 fame. (!!!!!!) This whole thing is so bizarre -- you know, you go to one event where people show up in chicken suits and just look what happens! Did SFist really get name-checked at the Board of Supervisors' meeting yesterday???? [Read more]
Update on SFistGate! Jan 31, 2007
KCBS is reporting that Peter "Byorn" Ragone has finally copped to using all those fake names and admitted that all the postings as "John Nelson" and others was him. He also said he wouldn't do it again and would only post under his real name. We wonder if that means he'll go as "Peter Ragone" while posting on MTV's "Sweet Sixteen" message boards. [Read more]
Meet John Nelson Feb 1, 2007
Guess who showed up for a photo session and interview with the Chron? That's right -- Peter Ragone's best friend and your correspondent's biggest fan, John Nelson! We always love to meet our readers! [Read more]
Peter Ragone By The Numbers Feb 18, 2007
Number of posts Ragone made on SFist from his confirmed IP address: 15: 7 under the name "Peter," 7 under the name "John Nelson," and 1 under the name "Jonell." [Read more]
RagoneWatch (A Day Late) Feb 26, 2007
And yes, you heard it correctly from commenter Ragone Has Resigned -- former mayoral press secretary Peter Ragone is leaving his recently retitled job as Director of Communications in City Hall to move up the street to work out of the Newsom reelection campaign office at Van Ness and Sutter. [Read more]