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Afternoon Update: Body Cams Are Coming Soon to the L.A. Sheriff’s Department

» The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will start deploying body cameras in the coming months. According to Sheriff Alex Villanueva, deputies in Lancaster, South L.A., Lakewood, Industry and West Hollywood will be the first to receive them. [ABC 7]

» TikTok-famous comedian Sarah Cooper, known for her Trump lip-syncs, is getting a Netflix special. Sarah Cooper: Everything’s Fine will debut in the fall. [The Hollywood Reporter]

» The Department of Health Services says that one in eight L.A. County residents have likely had COVID-19, but may not have had symptoms or had minimal symptoms. [LAist]

» As the Trump administration prepares to launch attacks against Kamala Harris, people are pointing out that the Trumps made multiple donations to Harris when she was running for California Attorney General. A spokesperson for Harris says the money was donated to a nonprofit. [The Hill]


RELATED: Joan Collins Opens Up About Her Sexual Assault and Hollywood’s Grim Realities 


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The City Will Now Issue Pandemic Relief Funds for Artists

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A new City of Los Angeles program is providing emergency artist relief funds to artists that have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The payments are designed to help keep working artists and performers afloat—particularly those who have had difficulty accessing traditional unemployment or other relief funds due to the nature of their work—and support the creation of new public art for the city.

Local artists and arts nonprofits are the creative heart of Los Angeles,” said Councilmember David Ryu, one of the program’s chief backers. “The work of writers, musicians, painters, and all artists help make Los Angeles the vibrant and dynamic city we love. We need to be supporting these artists—and finding new ways to bring their creativity to the public.”

Funds will be distributed in the form of one-time payments of $500 to $1,500, drawing from a pool of $340,000 and administered by the Department of Cultural Affairs. The program is one of the first city relief programs in the country to be targeted specifically at individual working artists.

Professional artists of all types will be considered for the aid, from poets to painters to DJs. To qualify, they must demonstrate that the pandemic has caused direct financial hardship, and that the art they are able to make using the money will, in some way, be made available to the general public—either online or in a physical public space.

“This is an opportunity for artists to re-imagine public art and how it is experienced in the places that we live, shop, and play while providing economic relief to support artists in these areas,” the Department of Cultural Affairs website states. “DCA will create new, inclusive definitions of public art that reflect the artists’ relationship to the sights, sounds and rhythms of their communities. As the City rethinks how people will inhabit physical public spaces once the city reopens, the Citywide COVID-19 Emergency Response Program will create an opportunity for new voices to participate and illustrate how all artistic forms can contribute to and envision how our virtual and physical spaces create a new ‘third’ public realm.”

Applications for the program are now open, and will continue being accepted either until September 1 or until 600 artists have received funding.


RELATED: The New Live Performance Series ‘With Love From L.A.’ Brings Local Indie Artists to the World


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A New Poll Finds That Most California Voters Want Police Reform

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After nearly three months of protests following the killing of George Floyd, a new poll from UC Berkeley reveals that the vast majority of California voters support sweeping reforms in law enforcement.

Among the most popular changes examined in the poll were measures that would make it easier to sue and prosecute cops, redirect some law enforcement money toward mental health and social work, and to limit the bargaining power of police unions, even as a majority of respondents said they were at least somewhat satisfied with their local police departments.

The poll—conducted via email in English and Spanish from July 21 to July 27 among 8,328 registered California voters—found that 80 percent of respondents favored making it easier to prosecute officers for excessive use of force, 78 percent supported a ban on choke holds, 70 percent want civilians given the right to sue cops for misconduct, and 61 percent think unions should see their collective bargaining rights diminished.

Eric Schickler, co-director of UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies, which conducted the poll, told the Los Angeles Times, “The data suggest that there’s widespread public concern about police practices. For many voters, that does not translate into a simple condemnation of police but a more nuanced position that reforms are needed.”

Co-director G. Cristina Mora added that while most Californians still trust their local police, it is “not a blind trust.”

Lt. Craig Lally, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League says that while he doesn’t think police unions should have less power than other public sector unions, he would like to see some police duties shifted to other agencies. However, he told the Times, he still hasn’t seen anyone who is pushing for a “re-imagining” of community policing present a plan as to how those changes would be implemented.

“They’ve put the cart before the horse,” Lally said.

The poll data indicates that Los Angeles County residents have a more critical view of police than in other parts of the state. For instance, in Orange County 50 percent of respondents said they were “very satisfied” with the police, compared to 26 percent in L.A. Statewide, 63 percent of those polled had a favorable view of Black Lives Matter and 70 percent said that Black people were more likely to experience police violence than white people, while those figures in L.A. were 67 percent and 72 percent, respectively.

The polling also shows that residents’ feelings about the police are sharply divided along racial lines.

While 74 percent of white people, 64 percent of Latino people, and 72 percent of Asian people and Pacific Islanders said they were “very satisfied” or “somewhat satisfied” with their local police, 50 percent of Black people said they were satisfied. And although a majority of voters of all races across the state agreed that black people are more likely to experience police violence (70 percent of white people, 67 percent of Latino people, and 75 percent of Asian people and Pacific Islanders), 92 percent of Black people felt that way.

Melina Abdullah, a co-founder of Black Lives Matter, told the Times that the numbers were “stark” but not surprising.

“Those who most experience police corruption, abuse and violence are Black people,” Abdullah said. “We’re the closest to that, so we have the highest levels of dissatisfaction with police.”


RELATED: Police Union Clashes with Garcetti Over ‘Party House’ Shutdowns


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Kamala Critics Are Going Back to the Birther Playbook

A historic candidate of color appears on a national ticket and the Default Twitter Avatar People go wild sharing all the reasons they think that candidate is secretly foreign born and, thus, ineligible for high office. Sound familiar? The birthers are back, posting their claims about where Kamala Harris was born and what her parents’ background really was.

To set things straight from the beginning: Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, on October 20, 1964. Even most (not all, of course) of the people sharing posts about her ineligibility to become president in the event something happened to Biden don’t seem to contest those facts.

One cut-and-paste post shared thousands of times on Facebook in recent days claims that she would not be able to become president because, it says, her parents were not citizens when she was born.

“Kamala cannot by constitutional law become President. She is an anchor baby, mother is from India, father is Jamaican, and neither were american citizens at time of her birth,” [SIC] the post’s text reads.

The term “anchor baby” does not appear in the Constitution. The phrase didn’t even exist until Los Angeles Times article published in 1987. Its popular usage now dates to the immigration reform debates of around 2006, according to The Washington Post.

And while some politicians on America’s far right do believe that U.S. citizenship should not automatically be conferred as a birthright, as it stands now, it is. Further, Article Two merely dictates that a person born after 1787 be a “natural born citizen” of the country, it says nothing about the citizenship of the individual’s parents.

Kamala Harris, like many Americans, is the product of a multicultural family of immigrants. Her mother, who traveled to the United States in 1958 to complete a master’s degree at UC Berkeley, was the daughter of an Indian civil servant who spent some of his career in Zabmia.

“It was a big deal,” Harris’s uncle told the Los Angeles Times last year. “At that time, the number of unmarried Indian women who had gone to the States for graduate studies—it was probably in the low double digits. But my father was quite open. He said, ‘If you get admission, you go.’”

While studying at Berkeley, Shyamala Gopalan fell in love with American jazz records–and with a Jamaican economics student she met through her advocacy for civil rights, Donald Harris. The pair married in 1963.

The next year, the future candidate was born, very much on American soil. After her parents divorced in 1970, she and her younger sister, Maya, would travel at times with their mother to Zambia to visit family, and did spend some time in Canada as a teenager—none of which makes her ineligible for the vice presidency or presidency.

“She is a natural born citizen and there is no question about her eligibility to run,” Harvard University law professor and Constitutional scholar Laurence Tribe told the A.P. “I can’t believe people are making this idiotic comment.”

So why do these viral posts and conspiracy theories manage to convince so many Americans? Many link questioning the “legitimacy” of Barack Obama and now of Kamala Harris to a discomfort with the idea that a non-white person could ascend to power.

“The whole birther movement was racist. That’s what the 99 percent believe,” Colin Powell, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote in 2016. The Republican statesman then went on to describe Donald Trump as “a national disgrace and international pariah.”


RELATED: Kamala Harris Selected as Joe Biden’s Running Mate


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Larger-Than-Life Hollywood Mogul Sumner Redstone Has Passed Away

Sumner Redstone, the powerful, controversial media mogul who was the longtime controlling shareholder of CBS and Viacom—now merged into ViacomCBS—passed away at 97 on Tuesday, August 11, though his passing wasn’t disclosed until Wednesday. Redstone, who’d been in declining health for a number of years, was at his 15,000-square-foot mansion in the Beverly Park private gated community off Mulholland Drive when he died. While some have assumed he became stricken with COVID-19, The Hollywood Reporter says that wasn’t the case.

Redstone was born in Boston in 1923 to a family of meager means; in his 2001 autobiography A Passion to Win, he claimed their apartment didn’t even have a toilet. Later on, his salesman father Mickey got a $50,000 loan from a Boston mobster and used the money to start buying theaters and nightclubs in Boston and on Long Island. Sumner attended college at Harvard, where he did so well that he got involved with cracking Japanese codes during the second World War. After law school, a San Francisco judge hired him as a clerk, contributing to his later legal acumen. He went on to work for a U.S. attorney, then practiced law on his own.

Redstone grew tired of working in law and took up with his father’s movie exhibitor business in the mid-1950s; it wasn’t long until he started buying up movie theaters on the East Coast. During that period, he nurtured his famous credo about success in film: “Content is king.”

As Redstone began to interact with studio heads, he became adept at entertainment biz deal making and was named CEO of his father’s company, National Amusements. In the late ’80s, Redstone added to the portfolio by purchasing Viacom, then Paramount Pictures. Redstone’s company also then owned Madison Square Garden, the New York Knicks, the New York Rangers, and even divisions of the book publisher Simon & Schuster. In 1999, he bought CBS from Westinghouse for a cool $37 billion.

Along the way, there were high-profile lawsuits and feuds galore with studio chiefs and titans like Barry Diller, Mel Karmazin, and John Malone. Redstone credited his background in law and legal matters for a lot of his subsequent successes in court.

Redstone ran his media empire with an iron fist, old-school style, not unlike business titans William Randolph Hearst or J. Howard Smith II, feared by many and with a reputation for litigiousness. Forbes reports that his net worth was $3 billion as of August 10. Redstone’s landmark accomplishments mostly revolve around his fierce business practices and tough-guy persona, which included surviving a 1979 hotel fire and sustaining third-degree burns over 45 percent of his body. In the ’50s, he became known in Hollywood for suing to break up the studios’ hold on theatrical movie distribution.

During his long tenure running Viacom and Paramount, Redstone oversaw the making of everything from the Transformers franchise to Al Gore’s landmark environmental documentary An Inconvenient Truth. He’s also credited with pushing forward the careers of Martin Scorsese and the Coen Brothers.

Innumerable anecdotes about Redstone have become the stuff of Hollywood lore. One story involves Redstone actually firing Tom Cruise from Paramount Pictures in 2006 after blowing up over Cruise’s famous, freaky couch jumping during an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. At the time he said, “[Tom’s] behavior was terrible,” and said the actor was getting paid “ten million, on the lot, for doing nothing.” They eventually reconciled.

In his later years, Redstone became more infamous for his relationships with women—and their relationships with his money—than for his hard-charging leadership style. He’d been married twice, to his first wife for 50 years and his second one for seven. For years, two of Redstone’s girlfriends, Manuela Herzer and Sydney Holland, battled with Redstone’s daughter, Shari Redstone—now chairman of the board of ViacomCBS—over control of the elder Redston’e empire. In 2015, The Hollywood Reporter published a notorious story by Tim Jensen, who worked for Redstone as a driver and confessed that a huge part of his job was delivering large envelopes stuffed with cash to a variety of women all over town, which added up to about a million dollars.

In 2015, Herzer filed a lawsuit challenging Redstone’s mental competence, a judge dismissed the case when Redstone submitted video testimony saying he didn’t want anything to do with the woman, and repeatedly referring to her as a “fucking bitch.”

In his autobiography, Redstone penned a line that might sum up his entire career: “When your life depends on it, you must wage war.”

Redstone’s only trustee is said to be daughter Shari and her son Tyler.


RELATED: Once Dismissed as a Lightweight, Shari Redstone Is Now the Most Powerful Woman in Town


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The New Live Performance Series ‘With Love From L.A.’ Brings Local Indie Artists to the World

On March 12, musician and DJ Mark de Clive-Lowe was heading to San Francisco with Hailey Niswanger of the band Mae Sun, where the two were set to play SF Jazz. The following night, he was set to bring his long-running party Church to Oakland. But a few hours into the drive from Southern to Northern California, they pulled over to the side of the road and watched as emails arrived one after the next with news that their upcoming gigs were canceled.

“[Musicians] were amongst the first to lose work,” de Clive-Lowe says via phone call from his home in Echo Park. He had a realization that touring wasn’t going to return, at least not in the way it existed before the pandemic. “I feel like this is a turning point, in history, really,” he says. While de Clive-Lowe admits that’s a pessimistic response, it also led to his more optimistic recent project.

With Love from L.A., which launches on August 12, is a new online series that brings live performances and interviews with Los Angeles-area musicians to viewers across the globe. Each month will host two episodes dedicated to a featured artists. On the second Wednesday of the month, the series will broadcast a live interview session. The following Wednesday is reserved for the concert. In August, the guests are drummer Jamire Williams and guitarist Jeff Parker, who will be performing as a duo. “They are both some of the best jazz-adjacent creative improvisers I’ve ever heard,” says de Clive-Lowe. Other guests will be announced over the course of the series and range from jazz to experimental to electronic artists.

The project is being funded through the City of Glendale Library, Arts and Culture Department’s “Art Happens Anywhere” program and, because of that, the musicians will be paid. For de Clive-Lowe, part of the goal is to build a model where live streaming is considered paid work for artists as well as opportunity to connect with fans and new audiences.

Raised between New Zealand and Japan, de Clive-Lowe learned classical piano as a child and gravitated toward hip-hop and late ’80s/early ’90s scenes like New Jack Swing as he hit adolescence. “I grew up straddling these worlds between wanting to be a jazz piano player and wanting to make cool beats,” he says. “Over my life, that’s been the theme. It’s taken me a lot of places.”

He moved to Los Angeles in 2008, after spending a decade in London, and has been active in both the jazz and electronic music scenes as a pianist, DJ, and producer. In addition to releasing numerous solo albums and organizing his own events, de Clive-Lowe has worked steadily as a touring musician. “My life is usually in a suitcase, on a plane, in a hotel, taking gear around the world,” he says. The great gig cancelation of 2020 forced him to rethink how he approached his work.

In the midst of the pandemic, de Clive-Lowe became a founding artist-in-residence for La Ceiba Fest, where he remixed musicians live from his home. “I pretty much moved from going 3,000 miles to play a gig to going to my bedroom to play a gig, which is amazing,” he says. “I’ve never had that experience before.”

The loss of live work in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic shines a light on a major fault within the 21st century music industry. For years, musicians have been reliant on tours to make ends meet, with recorded music serving as a means to keep the artists on the road, rather than a primary source of revenue. That fraction of a cent that Spotify pays out per stream isn’t cutting it. “That’s a broken industry,” says de Clive-Lowe. “We got to this point where touring was the primary income.”

“That’s a broken industry. We got to this point where touring was the primary income.”

With live streaming, de Clive-Lowe says, “The question has always been, how do you make money?” In the case of With Love From L.A., the grant has taken care of that part for the first six months.

But there’s also a secondary question that might be just as important: How do you approach a live performance when the audience isn’t with you in the same room? “For any musician who has played on live TV, that’s the closest, I think,” says de Clive-Lowe, “but on live TV you’re guaranteed that there’s an audience. With streaming, you don’t even know if there’s an audience.”

That can be a challenge for musicians live streaming for the first time. “As musicians, if we’re streaming, I think it’s important to remember that you can’t see the audience, you can’t hear the audience,” he says, “but you’ve got to trust they’re there and they’ve tuned in because they want to hear what you’re doing.”

It won’t be the same as the club or the concert hall or the festival field, but that doesn’t mean that live streaming won’t become its own special experience with a future.

“Nothing is the same. Everything is different now,” says de Clive-Lowe. “I think it’s exciting to explore as a technology and platform. In five years, ten years time, live streaming is going to be a different beast.”


RELATED: What Will Be Left of L.A.’s Music Scene After the Pandemic?


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Everyone From Karen Bass to TV’s Veep Congratulates Kamala Harris

After months of feverish speculation, Joe Biden announced on Tuesday that California Senator Kamala Harris will be his running mate in the 2020 election. Harris will be the first Black woman and the first person of Indian heritage to ever be nominated for national office by a major party.

The historic nature of her selection was cause for widespread celebration on social media. Progressives who already aren’t pumped about Biden’s candidacy and are suspicious of Harris’s record as a District Attorney and Attorney General bemoaned the pick, but the figurehead of their movement, Bernie Sanders, was quick to congratulate his fellow senator. “She understands what it takes to stand up for working people, fight for health care for all, and take down the most corrupt administration in history,” Sanders wrote. “Let’s get to work and win.”

Los Angeles Congresswoman Karen Bass, who was among Harris’s fellow vice presidential frontrunners, issued a thread of tweets calling Harris “a great choice for Vice President,” adding that her “tenacious pursuit of justice and relentless advocacy for the people is what we need right now. I worked closely with her when I was in Sacramento and she was the District Attorney in San Francisco. I continue to work closely with her here in Washington, DC as we push to reform our nation’s policing system.”

Bass concluded, “California is better because of her work as Attorney General and stronger because of her work as Senator. Now all Americans will benefit from her work as Vice President. I will do everything I can to help her and @JoeBiden win in November.”

Other reported VP hopefuls also voiced their support, including Amy Klobuchar, who said on Twitter that she was “filled with joy,” and Elizabeth Warren, who posted a lengthier statement to Instagram in which she calls Harris “an inspiration to millions of women who see themselves in her.”

Locally, Mayor Eric Garcetti, who was on Biden’s Vice Presidential search committee, tweeted from his personal account to congratulate his “dear friend,” continuing in a subsequent tweet that he’s proud that the selection process “elevated so many women qualified to lead our country,” adding, “We worked to build a team that puts women at the table, reflects America, and that will lead our country forward.”

Delaware congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, who was also on the search committee, said, “I know first-hand what an exceptional Vice President [Harris] will be. Now let’s get to work to make it happen.”

Plenty of Hollywood Dems tweeted their support for the official ticket. Actress Gabrielle Union made Harris her “woman crush Wednesday,” saying, “I met her during President Obama’s first inauguration party with mutual friends and I found her whip smart, easy to talk to, and passionate about creating change.” Director and vocal Hollywood progressive Rob Reiner said, “Finally a Presidential ticket that looks like America!! Now we all go to work to restore the soul of our Nation. VOTE!!!!” And actress Julia Louis Dreyfus, aka Selina Meyer on HBO’s Veep, shared a photo of herself on Instagram holding up a copy of today’s New York Times, headlined, “Harris Joins Biden Ticket, Achieving a First.”

The person everyone wanted to hear from was even more concise. Maya Rudolph, who’s currently nominated for an Emmy for impersonating Harris on Saturday Night Live, simply said, “Oh shit.”


RELATED: If Kamala Harris Becomes VP, What Happens to Her Senate Seat?


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Orange County Declares August 24 Kobe Bryant Day

Orange County’s Board of Supervisors voted yesterday to declare August 24 Kobe Bryant Day, a nod to the late Lakers legend’s now-retired jersey numbers “8” and “24.”

The declaration calls Bryant a “basketball legend [who] inspired so many globally to pursue their dreams and taught us that hard work truly pays off,” and encourages the community to celebrate by engaging in community building, helping young people in need, encouraging aspiring youth to follow their dreams, and living by Bryant’s words: ‘The most important thing is to try and inspire people so that they could be great in whatever they want to do.'”

Bryant lived in the O.C. community of Newport Beach when he passed away in a catastrophic helicopter crash last January. The crash killed a total of nine people, including the helicopter’s pilot and Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter Gianna.

Supervisor Don Wagner referenced the “challenges” Bryant faced, saying, Kobe, like all of us, faced challenges, challenges of his own making and challenges thrown at him by life, that he overcome. Today, we celebrate the effort in overcoming those challenges.”

Bryant would have been 42 on August 23.


RELATED: Kobe Bryant Embodied the Soul of Los Angeles Like No One Else


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Morning Brief: Salton Sea ‘Quake Storm’ Ups the Chances of a Bigger Earthquake

» The Salton Sea quake storm could increase chances of a bigger earthquake within the week. USGS says there is an 80 percent chance the small temblors will continue–and a 19 percent chance of a larger San Andreas Fault event. [CBS Los Angeles]

» Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have reportedly purchased a home of their own in Santa Barbara. The couple recently visited Montecito to celebrate Markle’s birthday, and appear to have decided to set down roots in the area.  [Page Six]

» Colleges in the ‘Pac-12’ will postpone all sports through at least the end of 2020. That grouping includes USC, UCLA, and other western universities. [ESPN]

» Prosecutors say the LAPD framed a pair of brothers as MS-13 gang members. The young immigrants from Guatemala were reportedly stopped by officers who told them they “looked like gang members.”  [Los Angeles Times]

» Even though air travel has plunged, TSA has collected three times the typical number of firearms from passengers attempting to board airplanes while armed. The vast majority of the guns were fully loaded while going through security. [NPR]


TOP STORIES FROM L.A. MAG

» If Kamala Harris Becomes VP, What Happens to Her Senate Seat? Political insiders are already speculating about who might take her spot

» Uber and Lyft Have to Start Classifying Their California Drivers as Employees, a Judge Says A ruling says the companies have failed to comply with AB 5, the state’s gig economy legislation

» L.A. Hot Dog Landmark Pink’s Is Reopening After Almost 5 Months ”It’ll be the original Pink’s experience … except with Plexiglass”


ONE MORE THING

perseid meteor shower
Perseid Meteor Shower

Benjamin Schaefer/Getty Images Plus/Getty Images

The Best Places to Watch the Perseid Meteor Shower Around L.A.

The Perseid meteor shower, one of the most impressive meteor shower shows of the year, peaks this week. To get the best view, you may need to drive a bit out of the city in search of darker skies. We’ve got your guide to the best places to catch a glimpse of some shooting stars.

 [FULL STORY]


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If Kamala Harris Becomes VP, What Happens to Her Senate Seat?

California’s junior Senator has been tapped as Joe Biden’s running mate. So, who will replace Kamala Harris in the Senate if she becomes Vice President? Insiders are already tossing around names of rising political starts who might be up for the job.

In the event of a Biden-Harris victory, she would vacate her Senate seat–and it would fall to Governor Gavin Newsom to appoint someone to serve out the rest of her term. That individual would then run in 2022 as the incumbent.

Among the names being mentioned as contenders are California’s Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Attorney General Xavier Becerra, Lieutenant Governor Eleni Tsakopoulos Kounalakis, or Representative Karen Bass–who had been floated as a VP pick herself.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti could get a look for the gig, though Politico notes his star may have dimmed recently amid criticism of his handling of the pandemic, homelessness, and other city issues.

Dolores Huerta, the firebrand co-founder of the United Farm Workers, is a long shot, though a source identified as a “top insider close to Newsom” reportedly told Politico that her name has come up–with the assumption that the 90-year-old would serve the remainder of Harris’s term as something of an honorary placeholder, and then opt not to seek reelection.


RELATED: Kamala Harris Selected as Joe Biden’s Running Mate


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