Sen. Dianne Feinstein, right, lends a reassuring touch to evacuee Margaret DiGenova at a community meeting with residents still reeling from the fires at Santa Rosa High School on Oct. 13, 2017. (Genaro Molina/Los Angeles Times/TNS)

Can Dianne Feinstein be the responsive senator we need?

Last April, after nearly 25 years in office, Sen. Dianne Feinstein held her very first town hall and promised at that event to hold another town hall “on a weekend during the summer.” As members of Indivisible, we were thrilled because we believe deeply that responsive representation is essential to the strength of our republic. Open and consistent dialogue with everyday Californians helps ensure that our elected officials represent our interests.

Unfortunately, Feinstein broke that promise.

Over the August recess, the senator attempted to pass off an exclusive Commonwealth Club event in San Francisco — at $40 to $65 per ticket — as a town hall. We, as members of grassroots Indivisible groups across California, find this unacceptable. True town halls are free of charge and involve an open forum for questions that have not been vetted by a third party, particularly her staff or others beholden to her. The Commonwealth Club event was an interview moderated by a long-time ally who incorporated a few pre-screened questions from the public.

Meanwhile, her “constituent breakfasts” in Washington, D.C., held while the Senate is in session, are only for Californians who have the means to fly across the country. If a senator meets mostly with well-heeled donors and influential leaders, but not everyday constituents, whom can she adequately represent?

We are not yet taking a position on who California’s next senator should be, but we are united in our call for all of our representatives to be more responsive. We hope Feinstein will heed this call and hold frequent town halls as long as she represents California. She still has time this year, and we hope that she takes the opportunity to engage in face-to-face dialogue with constituents.

The senator is running for re-election and said she’s “all in” and “ready for a good fight.” Let her demonstrate it at town halls throughout California.

Aram Fischer and Amelia Cass are activists with the Indivisible movement, writing in partnership with Indivisible groups in San Francisco, the East Bay, Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, South Bay, Petaluma, Orinda, Silicon Valley, Sacramento, San Diego, Windsor and Yolo.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

A lab worker from the Medical Examiner’s Office was arrested with an evidence bag of methamphetamine in August. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Audit over lab worker meth arrest finds medical examiner is missing drugs

An audit of the Medical Examiner’s Office prompted by the arrest of… Continue reading

The City is seeking to enhance health care for San Francisco International Airport workers, which include more than 100 who have tested positive for COVID-19. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Airlines, business groups fight new health insurance requirements for SFO workers

Heathy Airport Ordinance would require companies to offer family coverage or increase contributions

The Hall of Justice building at 850 Bryant St. is notorious for sewage leaks and is known to be seismically unsafe. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD speeding up Hall of Justice exit after another ‘large leak’

San Francisco police can’t get out of the decrepit Hall of Justice… Continue reading

The main entrance to Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Voting rights of seniors, disabled must be protected

Coronavirus pandemic adds new challenges for accessing the polls

The Telegraph Quartet is pictured during its SF Music Day 2020 recording session at the striking, beautifully lit and almost empty Herbst Theatre. (Courtesy Marcus Phillips)
SF Music Day goes virtual with Herbst broadcast

Performers pre-record sets in empty, iconic theater

Most Read