Friday, September 29, 2023

Dianne Feinstein

I first heard of Dianne Feinstein when I was sitting in my Jeep Wagoneer outside the Grand Traverse County courthouse in Traverse City, Michigan, in November 1978 when I was about to file a report on a trial I was covering for WBNZ, the radio station in Benzie County where I was the news director.  The breaking news was about the assassinations of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.  As the next in line, Ms. Feinstein had the burden of addressing the media about the events.  My coverage of the trial of Benzie County Sheriff Bert Higgins for sexual assault was swept away.

I don’t remember what she said, but even under the horrendous pressure of the moment, she sounded calm and attempted to reassure the city and the country that justice would prevail and that the works and legacies of Mr. Moscone and Mr. Milk would not be forgotten.

Depending on who you ask, she was either a flaming liberal (the AP) or a mild-mannered centrist (Washington Post).  In recent months, she was described as way too old and frail at 90 to be serving in the Senate although she had announced she would retire when her term was up in 2025.  Now the skirmish is on to see who will succeed her.  There are a lot of already-announced candidates, and Governor Gavin Newsom has the task of appointing a replacement for the remainder of the term.  Let the gaming begin.

What I think matters most is that she stepped up in the middle of a tumultuous time in her hometown and weathered the tempest-tossed seas of state and national politics to serve the people of her state.  That always seemed to be her priority, as well it should have been.