Reporting from CITY HALL
Dianne Feinstein was memorialized by colleagues and friends Thursday, celebrating her life and her decades of public service to the city as supervisor and mayor, and in the U.S. Senate. Feinstein died last week at the age of 90.
Vice President Kamala Harris, Speaker Emerita Nancy Pelosi, Majority Senate Leader Chuck Schumer and Mayor London Breed attended Feinstein’s memorial on the front steps of City Hall. President Joe Biden, who could not be at the service, recorded a message.
Harris said at the memorial:
“Women of America have come a long way. Our country has come a long way and you helped move the ball forward and our nation salutes you, Dianne.”
Breed welcomed invited guests to the memorial on the hot Thursday afternoon as the Blue Angels performed several flyovers over City Hall for practice runs as this week also marked Fleet Week in the city.
Breed said in her remarks:
“Senator Feinstein, that is her official title. It’s how Californians and people all over the world knew her. But to us, to San Franciscans, she was Mayor Dianne Feinstein.”
Feinstein rose in prominence after a dark period in San Francisco when former Mayor George Moscone and former Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated by former Supervisor Dan White in 1978. Feinstein at the time was president of the Board of Supervisors, and became acting mayor and eventually elected as mayor the following year becoming the city’s first female mayor.
Breed, who became the city’s second female mayor of the city, said:
“It was her words that meant the most when I became the second woman to be mayor of this city in the wake of tragedy. It was her advice on how to heal and lead that give me strength.”
Biden, who worked with Feinstein as a former senator, vice president and now president, described Feinstein as “tough,”“prepared,”“rigorous and“compassionate,”adding:
“God bless a great American hero. She was something else.”
Many spoke about Feinstein’s legacy as mayor and senator. Schumer said one of the qualities that stood out about Feinstein was her integrity and recalled working with her in 1994 on the Assault Weapons Ban:
“She worked that bill harder than anyone I’d seen work a bill. Attacking every angle, thinking of every pitfall, resisting every broad side from the NRA because she knew her cause to be just from her own experience.”
The last speaker at the memorial was Feinstein’s granddaughter, Eileen Mariano. While many in the city, state and nation will remember Feinstein’s accomplishment, Mariano said she will remember Feinstein as thed“most incredible grandmother.”
She added that her grandmother gave her some advice to pack a black pantsuit no matter where she traveled:
“There is no occasion in which you can’t wear a black pantsuit.”
Feinstein is survived by her daughter Katherine, who formerly served as a judge on the state superior court in San Francisco and now serves as a commissioner on the San Francisco Fire Commission.
Jerold serves as a reporter and San Francisco Bureau Chief for SFBay covering transportation, City Hall, and the Mayor's Office in San Francisco. His work on transportation has been recognized by the San Francisco Press Club. Born and raised in San Francisco, he graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism. Jerold previously wrote for the San Francisco Public Press, a nonprofit, noncommercial news organization. When not reporting, you can find Jerold taking Muni to check out new places to eat in the city.