Letters to the Editor: California lost its Black senator, but the nation gained a Black vice president

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks on Dec. 8.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris speaks as President-elect Joe Biden listens in Wilmington, Del., on Dec. 8.
(Associated Press)

To the editor: As a woman in California, albeit a white one, I do not agree with columnist Erika D. Smith that Gov. Gavin Newsom let down Black women in the state by picking Secretary of State Alex Padilla to replace Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, the Senate’s only Black woman.

The fact of the matter is, this nation gained a Black female Californian as its vice president. I think this is a good thing, especially when we realize how much pressure Newsom was under to appoint a Latino or Latina to the Senate. Furthermore, as vice president, Harris will return California to the executive branch’s good graces.

I do agree with Smith on one thing: It’s time for Sen. Dianne Feinstein to resign and allow a member of younger generations the chance to serve.


Audrey Liebross, Palm Desert


To the editor: As of Jan. 20, the presiding officer of the U.S. Senate will be a Black woman. Yes, the Black and Latinx communities are woefully underrepresented in all branches of government, but there was only one senate seat that Newsom could fill.

Democrats should be grateful for what Black voters and organizers (especially Black women) did in the 2018 and 2020 election, but we should not disregard what Latinx voters and organizers have done in our home state.

Importantly, the largest ethnic plurality in California, at about 40% of the population, is Latinx. A U.S. senator from California who is a part of this vital community is long overdue.

Brian Lipson, Beverly Hills


To the editor: I am an 89-year-old, bleeding-heart liberal, and I take exception to Smith’s column saying that Newsom let Black women down by selecting Padilla to replace Harris. I have always tried to vote for the person most qualified for the job, and I can only assume this is what Newsom did in his choice of Padilla.


In this era of heightened expectations of inclusiveness, I can only point to the diversity that will be present among the next administration’s Cabinet appointments.

It is my fervent wish for 2021 that the Biden-Harris administration will usher in a time of coming together and not divisiveness. We have had enough of that these last four years.

Barbara Brenner, Sherman Oaks