How San Francisco’s Wealthiest Families Launched Kamala Harris

SAN FRANCISCO—In the summer of 1999, in the monied Napa Valley north of here, a bejeweled bride rode sidesaddle on a speckled horse into what the press would label “the Bay Area’s version of an outdoor royal wedding.” The lavish nuptials of Vanessa Jarman and oil heir Billy Getty—replete with red carpet, hundreds of flickering votives, and “a fair amount of wine,” according to one deadpan attendee—featured a 168-person guest list stocked with socialites and scions, philanthropists and other assorted glitterati.

This coterie of the chosen included, as well, a 34-year-old prosecutor who was all of a year and a half into her job in the San Francisco district attorney’s office. And she wasn’t just some celebrity’s all but anonymous plus-one. She was featured in the photo coverage of the hot-ticket affair, smiling wide, decked out in a dark gown with a drink in hand.