Mayor Willie Brown, one of California's best-known and most controversial politicians, is having a baby with his chief fund-raiser, an aide acknowledged Friday.
The 66-year-old grandfather, who is separated from his longtime wife, Blanche, is expecting a daughter in late April or May, said P.J. Johnston, the mayor's spokesman. Brown and his wife have been separated for nearly 20 years.
The expectant mother, 38-year-old Carolyn Carpeneti, could not be reached for comment Friday.
Brown also would not comment on his impending fatherhood. But Johnston said the mayor notified his wife, his three grown children and close friends of the news several weeks ago.
"Mayor Brown has been fairly open about his marital status and how he lives his life," Johnston said. "He's happy about this new development. He's completely supportive of of Miss Carpeneti. But beyond that, this is really a private matter between the two of them."
Brown was in Washington, D.C., this week attending a gathering of the National Conference of Mayors. On Thursday, he told San Francisco Chronicle columnist Phil Matier he has no immediate plans to get divorced or to marry Carpeneti.
"I wouldn't burden her with that," he told the newspaper. "This was something certainly not planned, and to be honest, it's something that I never in my life expected to happen at [this] age."
The news about Brown came one day after prominent civil rights activist and two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson admitted that he had fathered a daughter during an extramarital relationship.
Brown told the Chronicle he is making no excuses about his relationship with Carpeneti. "There is nothing unseemly about this at all," he told the newspaper. "She's a great friend."
Added Johnston: "She isn't a city employee. She's a private businesswoman, a fund-raiser and an events planner."
Some San Franciscans were shocked by the news.
"That dirty old man!" said Nanette Enriel, a 47-year-old mortgage loan processor. "Like every other politician, he thinks he can get away with whatever he wants. I just wish he'd start acting his age."
Businesswoman Jules Grey disagreed. "I say live and let live," she said. "He's committed no crime."
At City Hall on Friday, the mayor's expected baby was a much-discussed topic.
"Like the mayor, I think this is a personal matter," said newly elected Supervisor Aaron Peskin. "But around City Hall, I've seen some raised eyebrows and large smiles."
Johnston was critical of a Chronicle report detailing how the mayor's reelection committee paid Carpeneti's company $380,000 for recent fund-raising services. She also received $181,000 from a political group aligned with the mayor, the paper said. The aide said the payments were legitimate.
"We're not concerned about it, but if others want to raise this as an issue that's their choice," Johnston said.
Peskin said he had heard of no move at City Hall to investigate the arrangement. "But if I was one of this political group's campaign contributors," he said, "I'd be wondering where my money went."