LETTERS TO THE EDITOR, THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE National Women’s Political Caucus

By ALIX A. ROSENTHAL, president National Women's Political Caucus San Francisco chapter

Editor -- I was appalled to read in your Style section profile the comments of Jennifer Siebel regarding the mayor's affair with Ruby Rippey-Tourk ("Girlfriend, uninterrupted," March 11). Siebel blamed Gavin Newsom's affair on Rippey-Tourk, calling her "the culprit," as if the mayor was an unwitting victim of a predatory woman. When the story broke, the news of the affair immediately made my skin crawl -- not because of the mayor's betrayal of a trusted aide and friend -- but because the affair was with an at-will employee, who reported directly to him. Sexual harassment law has been developed to protect at-will employees from being manipulated into sexual encounters with their bosses, not the other way around. A supervisor, particularly one who is an elected official and a fiduciary of the public's trust, must avoid compromising situations with staffers.