San Francisco Chronicle spotlights Kamala Harris’ office redecorating amid scandals: ‘The room is warmer’ San Francisco Chronicle spotlights Kamala Harris’ office redecorating amid scandals: ‘The room is warmer’
She was known as the state’s liberal attorney general and he as the Democratic mayor of Oakland. But Tuesday’s news in San Francisco went beyond politics to shine a new light on California’s new, Attorney General Kamala Harris.
State Senator Mark Leno, of San Francisco, asked the California Supreme Court on Monday to review what he calls a decision by Kamala Harris – the new attorney general – that could have an effect on an investigation into San Francisco public officials.
The California state senate leader, Kevin de Leon, also asked the state supreme court to order a new audit of the California attorney general’s office.
The California attorney general’s office has taken a hardline in prosecutions of California’s state and local governments under the newly inaugurated Kamala Harris. Harris has sent subpoenas to officials in California cities and counties who failed to comply with a 2014 court order to shut down a troubled jail housing Latino jail inmates with mental illnesses.
But it’s the new attorney general’s renovations to her Oakland office that have been making national headlines.
Federico Bravo, owner of Rico Nails Salon, (which had once been directly above Harris’s office in the building), was served a notice on Monday by the attorney general’s office to remove unauthorized signs that advertized the shop.
On Tuesday the San Francisco Chronicle posted a story about the renovation on the front page – and the lift it gave to an ongoing saga about Harris:
The San Francisco Chronicle
That article, and the last paragraph – “That airy room is warmer” – spread across the front page of both of the national newspapers in Tuesday’s print editions. (The story was also on the homepage of Vox.)
The story shows that Harris’s first appearance as attorney general was also her first encounter with attention and with controversy.
Harris needs to weather the firestorm. It’s not the one about the playground fight at church. Or about the fear spread from some law enforcement officials that her new campaign for the US Senate will help accelerate a return to less enlightened police practices.
Nor is it about Harris’s friendship and association with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, her appointment of a federal judge to oversee the killing of inmates by police, her congressional record or the recent federal decision to halt deportations and restore the rights of a father of two who was living illegally in San Francisco.
These scandals have yet to face Harris’s Senate opponents in California, such as Republicans Steve Poizner and Neel Kashkari. They’re good men and right-wingers and Harris needs to be careful of their attacks.
Instead, she’s been called out on a personal squabble. It’s not a two-ring circus: though her office said its evidence is that the installation of the new carpet was not designed to keep a gay man from selling nail salons, that distraction is small in the larger scope of Harris’s new job.
The real story is that Harris suddenly found herself in a national spotlight after a decades-long career focused on fighting poverty, crime and civil rights. It’s not about U.S.-Mexican border control or the surveillance of social media.
It’s about the status quo in San Francisco, and the status quo in her new post.
Mark Edelstein has worked at the San Francisco Chronicle since 2008, and has recently edited the paper’s enterprise team. His Twitter feed is @edelsteinSF.