Mayoralty of Dianne Feinstein

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Dianne Feinstein
Dianne Feinstein, official Senate photo.jpg
38th Mayor of San Francisco
In office
December 4, 1978 – January 8, 1988
Preceded byGeorge Moscone
Succeeded byArt Agnos
Personal details
Born (1933-06-22) June 22, 1933 (age 86)
San Francisco, California
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Judge Jack Berman (div.)
Bertram Feinstein (deceased)
Richard C. Blum (1980 - )
ChildrenKatherine Feinstein Mariano
ResidenceSan Francisco, California
Alma materStanford University (B.A.)
OccupationUnited States Senator
WebsiteU.S. Senator, Dianne Feinstein [1]

Dianne Feinstein became mayor pro-tem of the City and County of San Francisco, California on December 4, 1978, following the Moscone–Milk assassinations in which her predecessor in office, George Moscone and fellow member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, Harvey Milk, were assassinated by former supervisor Dan White. At the age of 45, Feinstein became the first female mayor of the municipality, and was formally elected to the position on November 4, 1979 and re-elected in 1983. She was prevented from seeking a third term in office and was succeeded in 1987 by Art Agnos.


Feinstein served out the remainder of Moscone's term. She did not make any staffing changes to his team during this period.

First full term[edit]

As mayor of San Francisco, 1978-1988

Feinstein participated in a tough race against supervisor Quentin Kopp on November 6, 1979, eventually winning against Kopp in the December 11 runoff with 53.96% of the vote. She was sworn into office on New Year's Day 1980.

Revamp of the cable car system[edit]

One of the first challenges to face Feinstein as mayor was the state of the San Francisco cable car system. In late 1979, the system had to be shut down for emergency repairs, and an engineering evaluation concluded that it needed comprehensive rebuilding at a cost of $60 million. Feinstein took charge of the effort, and helped win federal funding for the bulk of the rebuilding job. The system closed for rebuilding in 1982 and reopened in 1984 in time for the Democratic National Convention that was held in the city that year.[2] Feinstein also oversaw planning policies to increase the number of high rise buildings in San Francisco.[3]

1980 Democratic campaign participation[edit]

In the 1980 presidential election, while a majority of Bay Area Democrats continued to support Senator Ted Kennedy's primary challenge to President Jimmy Carter even after it was clear Kennedy could not win, Feinstein was a strong supporter of the Carter-Mondale ticket. She was given a high profile speaking role on the opening night of the August Democratic National Convention, urging delegates to reject the Kennedy delegates' proposal to "open" the convention, thereby allowing delegates to ignore their states' popular vote, a proposal that was soundly defeated.

Relations with local base[edit]

Perhaps because of her statewide ambitions, Feinstein was seen as a relatively moderate Democrat in one of the country's most liberal cities. As a supervisor, she was considered part of the centrist bloc that included Dan White and was generally opposed to Moscone. As mayor, Feinstein angered the city's large gay community by refusing to march in a gay rights parade and by vetoing domestic partner legislation in 1982.[4]

1983 recall election[edit]

Also in 1983, Feinstein proposed banning handguns in San Francisco, and became subject to a recall attempt organized by the White Panther Party. She won the April 26, 1983 recall election by 81%.[5]

Second term[edit]

Feinstein easily won re-election on November 6, 1983 with over 79% of the vote. She was sworn into office on New Year's Day 1984, and finished her second term as mayor on January 8, 1988.

Aids Awareness Week[edit]

In 1984 Feinstein declared the first Aids Awareness Week.[6]

Presidential speculation[edit]

In the run up to the 1984 Democratic National Convention, there was considerable media and public speculation that Democratic presidential nominee Walter Mondale might pick Feinstein as his running mate. However, he chose Geraldine Ferraro instead.

Other details[edit]

In 1987, City and State magazine named Feinstein the nation's "Most Effective Mayor." Feinstein served on the Trilateral Commission during the 1980s while mayor of San Francisco.


  1. ^ "Dianne Feinstein's Personal Finances". 2006.
  2. ^ "Museums in Motion - 1984: Rejuvenation". Market Street Railway. Archived from the original on November 16, 2010. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
  3. ^ Andrew Stevens. "Gavin Newsom Mayor of San Francisco". City Mayors. Retrieved 2008-03-11.
  4. ^ Turner, Wallace (10 December 1982). "Partnership law vetoed on coast". New York Times.
  5. ^ "Shall Dianne Feinstein be recalled from the office of Mayor? - April 26, 1983". Our Campaigns.
  6. ^ Mick Sinclair. San Francisco: A Cultural and Literary History. Signal Books. p. 215. ISBN 978-1-902669-65-6.