By Joe W. Bowers Jr. and
California Black Media
On Sunday, the California Black Women’s Collective (CBWC), a coalition of women from different professional backgrounds, issued a statement responding to remarks Gov. Gavin Newsom made to NBC’s Chuck Todd on “Meet the Press.”
When asked what he would do if 90-year-old Sen. Dianne Feinstein were to step down due to her failing health, the Newsom said he would appoint a short-term caretaker to replace her.
“Interim appointment,” Newsom told Todd. “I don’t want to get involved in the primary. It would be completely unfair to the Democrats that have worked their tail off. That primary is just a matter of months away. I don’t want to tip the balance of that.”
U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA-12) is running for U.S. Senate to replace Feinstein against two other Democratic contenders: U.S. Reps. Adam Schiff (D-CA-30) and Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA-47).
In 2021, when Newsom appointed Sen. Alex Padilla to replace former Sen. Kamala Harris, he promised to appoint a Black woman to the U.S. Senate.
Kellie Todd Griffin, founding convener of CBWC, said she expected Newsom to keep his promise.
“I fully expected that he will keep his word. We ran a respectful campaign, “Keep the Seat,” that highlighted the need for a Black woman to be appointed as well as provided two highly qualified options with Hon. Karen Bass and Hon. Barbara Lee. He appointed Senator Padilla instead,” said Griffin.
“His commitment after that act was clear and a promise to appoint a Black woman if there was another opportunity to appoint to the U.S. Senate arises. The notion of a caretaker is not what was promised nor is it expected to be acceptable,” Griffin continued. “Appointing a caretaker has not happened since the 1930s in California history.”
Lee, who is the only Black woman in the race, said in a statement, “Black women deserve more than a participation trophy. We need a seat at the table. I am troubled by the governor’s remarks.”
Last week, Lee also made headlines when she led members of the California Congressional Delegation in writing a letter to the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) urging a swift investigation into the allegations of violations of federal labor law by the Laguna Cliffs Marriott in Dana Point and related entities.
On Labor Day, the members urged NLRB to investigate the hotel’s use of automated management practices — together with the company Instawork — to punish workers who participate in strikes or honor picket lines, as well as look into incidents of violence and property destruction against striking workers.
Both sets of issues are subject to pending unfair labor practice charges
“The conduct alleged above is profoundly troubling and raises serious concerns about the ability of workers at this property to exercise their core labor rights,” said Lee in the letter. “We ask that the NLRB investigate these issues thoroughly and prosecute the companies involved for all violations of the National Labor Relations Act.”
This is the second time Lee has written a letter concerning the Laguna Cliffs Marriott. In July, a letter was sent “regarding reports of racial exclusion and problematic employment practices.”
The most recent letter was signed by Lee and Representatives Maxine Waters (D-CA-43), Sydney Kamlager-Dove (D-CA-37), Mike Levin (D-CA-49), Lou Correa (D-CA-46), Ted Lieu (D-CA-36), and Jimmy Gomez (D-CA-34).
On Sept. 4, President Biden announced that he intends to nominate Lee to serve as a United States Representative at the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, scheduled to take place in New York City from Sept. 18-26.
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