100: Alexei Koseff
Fodder for national pundits, ambitious Republicans and a Saturday Night Live skit, Gov. Gavin Newsom’s attendance at a maskless birthday party for lobbyist Jason Kinney (see No. 65) at The French Laundry was the game-changing California politics story of 2020, thanks to San Francisco Chronicle reporter Alexei Koseff. It provided fuel for the Newsom recall effort, gave bragging rights to Capitol insiders who attended and made “French Laundry” synonymous with Capitol excess and Newsom’s nagging do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do problem. Koseff, a Stanford University graduate who came to the Chronicle in 2019 after five years in the Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Bureau, has covered all things state government. (Some may recall Koseff as the first reporter to actually attend the annual post-session junket for legislators and lobbyists in Hawaii – and take pictures.) Koseff is president of the Sacramento Press Club, which launched its first statewide political journalism competition this year under his leadership. When he’s not doing journalism, he’s a trained dancer and member of local dance crew Boogie Monstarz.