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I will never forget the chaotic television images of a 45 year old Dianne Feinstein, with some mix of calm and shock, announcing the deaths of Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk.

And then with the coda: “The suspect is Supervisor Dan White.”

November 27th, 1978. I don’t know whether I saw the video live but if not live then within an hour or so of the impromptu press conference.

When she made the announcement Feinstein was already acting mayor, though this couldn’t be known to most of the onlookers until she announced Moscone’s death. The President of the Board of Supervisors is next in line of succession to the mayor. The following month the Board voted 6 to 2 to appoint Feinstein on a permanent basis.

Feinstein had become President of the Board of Supervisors the previous January.

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