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33 new White House interns from California

Thirty-three of the White House’s Fall 2015 interns hail from or have studied in California, including 20 with Bay Area ties.

The White House says its internships provide a unique opportunity to gain valuable professional experience and build leadership skills. Interns work in one of several White House departments, including the Domestic Policy Council, the National Economic Council, the Office of Cabinet Affairs, the Office of Communications, the Office of Digital Strategy, the Office of the First Lady, the Office of Legislative Affairs, the Office of Management and Administration, the Office of Political Strategy and Outreach, the Office of the Staff Secretary, the Presidential Personnel Office, the Office of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs, the Office of Scheduling and Advance, the Office of the Vice President, the Office of the White House Counsel, and the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships.

The California interns include:

    Demi Char of San Francisco (Wesleyan University, Conn.)
    Chamroeunpaul Chhean of Long Beach (UCLA)
    Jessica Chitkuer of Fullerton (Loyola University, Chicago)
    Emily Collinson of Tustin (American University, D.C.)
    Wendy Gomez of Los Angeles (Dickinson College, Pa.)
    Joshua Gray of Simi Valley (California Lutheran University)
    Reyna Harvey of Riverside (UC Riverside)
    Logan Heley of Overland Park, Kan. (University of Southern California)
    Brian Huh of Foothill Ranch (University of Southern California)
    Jonathan Kim of Los Angeles (Duke University, N.C.)
    Cerin Lindgrensavage of Los Angeles (New York University)
    Dawn Rauch of Rutland, Vt. (UCLA)
    Janette Valenzo Venegas of Los Angeles (New York University)
    Cheryl Wilson of Santa Barbara (UC Santa Barbara)
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Former House candidate lied to feds about threats

A Republican who ran against Rep. Jerry McNerney in the 9th Congressional District last year has been charged with lying to the FBI about death threats she said she received during the campaign – threats she now admits she made up herself.

Karen DavisKaren Davis – who served as the Stanislaus County Clerk-Recorder from 1990 to 2001 and as the Manteca City Clerk from 1981 to 1984 – is charged with making false, fictitious or fraudulent statements or representations to federal law enforcement officers during their investigation into the mailing of threatening letters.

Davis, 67, was arrested at her Lodi home and then released after posting $50,000 bond Thursday, court documents show. She’s scheduled to return to federal court in Sacramento on Nov. 19.

She was one of three Republicans who challenged McNerney, D-Stockton, as he sought a fifth term last year. She finished fourth out of four in the June 2014 top-two primary, with only 6 percent of the vote.

In an affidavit accompanying the criminal complaint, Treasury Agent John Hartman wrote that Davis contacted authorities in December 2013 to report she had received an anonymous letter that read in part, “You will be stopped by those who believe in the soverign [sic] rights. A close up shot to your head or to your husband will be final. You make the decision now not to run for congress.” Federal agents and Lodi police began investigating.

Davis reported receiving a second letter in March 2014, Hartman wrote. That letter said in part, “If you don’t quit very soon, you won’t be warned. YOU WON’T SEE IT COMING! Your family will have to plan a funeral.”

Davis mentioned the threats in several news stories about her candidacy, including articles in the Manteca Bulletin, Lodi News-Sentinel and IVN.us.

“It’s been scary and it’s like throwing a bucket of ice water on democracy,” she told the Bulletin in May 2014. “Nobody should be threatened because they’re running for office, but I’m not somebody that runs from threats. It has changed the way that I can do things, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get the word out and talk about the sorts of things that matter.

The investigation continued, and in February, Davis went to the FBI office in Stockton to be interviewed. She agreed to take a polygraph test but failed it, and then admitted she had written both letters and sent them to herself, Hartman wrote. In a signed statement, Davis wrote that she sent herself the first letter after Lodi police told her she probably wouldn’t be granted a permit to carry a concealed handgun.

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Report: Calif., U.S. candidates mostly white men

White men still dominate electoral politics in California, though not by as wide a margin as the entire nation, a new report finds.

infographic-1White men represent two of every three names appearing on the ballot in 2012 and 2014 from the federal level down to counties, according to the “Who Runs (in) America?” report released Thursday by the Reflective Democracy Campaign of the Women Donors Network. Overall, 90 percent of candidates are white, 73 percent are men, and 66 percent are white men.

In California, 68 percent of candidates are white, 76 percent are men, and 54 percent are white men.

The demographics of candidates almost exactly match the demographics of those who hold elected office, as shown by the national “Who Leads Us?” report that the campaign released last fall. Of 42,000 people who hold office from the federal government down to the county level, 90 percent are white, 71 percent are men, and 65 percent are white men.

“The stark imbalance between the demographics of the American people and their elected officials will not change until voters have the opportunity to choose among candidates who reflect their communities,” Women Donors Network CEO Donna Hall said in a news release. “Women are half the population and people of color are almost 40 percent, and it’s time the people on our ballots reflect that.”

The new study analyzed more than 51,000 candidates running in nearly 38,000 elections in 2012 and 2014, and found the imbalance is a bipartisan problem. While 96 percent of Republican candidates are white, so are 82 percent of Democrats and 90 percent of independents; woman make up 24 percent of GOP candidates and 33 percent of Democratic candidates.

“This data shows that the problem is not that women and people of color candidates aren’t winning—in fact, they’re winning at the same rates as men and white candidates,” campaign director Brenda Choresi Carter said in the release. “The problem is that the demographics of our office holders are set when our ballots are printed.”

That is, the population that runs for office skews towards those who can afford not to hold a regular, full-time job; people who are connected to political networks; and people who aren’t perceived as “risky” by the political parties, donors, and other gatekeepers who select candidates, the report said.

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Fiorina calls HP/Compaq merger ‘highly successful’

Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina said Thursday that the Hewlett Packard/Compaq merger she engineered as HP’s CEO in 2001 has “been described as the most successful merger in high-tech history,” but there are plenty who say exactly the opposite.

Fiorina was on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” when she took a question from Yahoo news and finance anchor Bianna Golodryga.

“You scored a lot of points yesterday by honing in on phony capitalism and focusing on the mergers that we’re seeing between large companies across the board that’s really, in your opinion, disturbing the smaller companies that are still trying to stay afloat,” Golodryga said. “We’re seeing a potential merger at Pfizer, we see health care mergers left, right, and center. Looking back though, you know, people talk about your record at HP and the merger with Compaq. Do you regret that merger now?”

“No, not at all,” Fiorina replied. “That was a highly successful merger. It’s been described as the most successful merger in high-tech history. It was.”

Wait, what?

Even before Fiorina was fired by HP’s board in 2005, Fortune did a cover story on “Why Carly’s Big Bet is Failing.”

Fortune Fiorina cover 2005“Beneath the public image are the yardsticks against which executives are — and should be — measured. So it is right to ask whether this whirlwind has succeeded. And inevitably that question must be answered in two parts. First, under the only lens that matters, did the famed merger that Fiorina engineered between HP and Compaq produce value for HP’s shareholders? Second, with that merger nearly three years past, is HP in shape to thrive in its brutally competitive world?

“The answers are no and doubtful.”

CIO in 2011 listed the HP/Compaq merger in its article “Match Made in Hell: 7 Worst Tech Mergers and Acquisitions.”

“The merger made HP more narrow and shareholders and Wall Street did not like it. After the deal, HP’s share price dropped by a quarter,” the article said. “In 2005, CEO Carly Fiorina was forced to step down with shares at half the price they’d been when she started in 1999. The Compaq deal is seen as the genesis of Fiorina’s troubles.”

Tom’s IT Pro in 2013 listed the HP/Compaq merger as one of the “13 Worst Tech Industry Mergers and Acquisitions.”

“The ‘surprising success’ attributed to the merger of the company most responsible for the growth and success of the personal computer industry, with HP, is perhaps on account of a heartening realization that nobody died.

“It would be both unfair and incorrect to say that neither party to the most spectacularly celebrated merger failure in tech history did not see the culture clash coming (I count AOL + Time Warner as a media merger). Indeed, HP under then-CEO Carly Fiorina performed extensive due diligence in investigating the various cultures of competence in both companies. The thing is, its investigation used HP’s classic scientific methods, which may be as thorough yet as effective as an IRS audit of the IRS.”

And ZDNet just last week listed the HP/Compaq merger among its “worst mergers and acquisitions in tech history.”

“Under Carly Fiorina’s reign, the merged ‘New’ HP lost half of its market value and the company incurred heavy job losses. Fiorina stepped down in 2005.

“Since the Compaq merger, HP has endured numerous problems with failed initiatives, dubious acquisitions (3COM, EDS, Palm, Autonomy) and has been plagued with ineffective management, including two major ethics scandals that have forced Chairwoman Patricia Dunn and two CEOs in succession, Mark Hurd and Leo Apotheker to resign.”

[snip]

“On August 1, 2015, HP split into two companies — HP Enterprise, which is keeping the servers, storage, services and software businesses, and HP Inc., which will sell PCs, printers and other consumer products.”

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Ex-Walnut Creek mayor named to medical board

Gov. Jerry Brown appointed former Walnut Creek Mayor Kristina Lawson to the Medical Board of California on Wednesday.

Kristina LawsonLawson, 38, a Democrat, served on the city’s council from 2010 to 2014 and as mayor in 2014; she chose not to seek re-election last year. A land use, environment and natural resources attorney, Lawson has been a partner at Manatt, Phelps and Phillips since 2011; earlier, she was an associate and shareholder at Miller, Starr, Regalia from 2003 to 2011 and an associate at Meyers Nave from 2001 to 2003.

Lawson earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science from the University of Arizona and her law degree from the Santa Clara University School of Law.

The Medical Board of California licenses and regulates physicians and surgeons and enforces the state’s Medical Practice Act. Members are appointed by the governor but must be confirmed by the state Senate, and while serving receive a $100 per diem.

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CA17: Honda endorsed by prominent Democrats

A big chunk of Northern California’s Democratic establishment endorsed Rep. Mike Honda on Wednesday for re-election to a ninth term, shoring up his 17th Congressional District campaign against the second consecutive challenge from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna.

honda.jpgThe list released by Honda’s campaign includes House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco; Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose; Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland; Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton; Rep. Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; Rep. Ami Bera, D-Elk Grove; former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta; and California Democratic Party Chairman John Burton.

“Mike Honda is a tireless champion for his constituents and for hard-working families across the country,” Pelosi said in the release. “His background in education has made him a strong voice for underserved students and for reforming our broken immigration system to reunite families. Mike’s unwavering dedication to public service has made him a strong and respected leader.”

Lofgren praised Honda’s work in “securing funds for Silicon Valley” and “fighting for fairness in immigration.” McNerney called Honda one of the party’s strongest voices ““when it comes to building a strong middle class, reversing income inequality, and expanding opportunities for women and underrepresented communities,” as well as for boosting STEM education. And Panetta called him “an honest and hardworking public servant who gives his all to his constituents.

The endorsements come despite the cloud of a pending House Ethics Committee investigation into whether Honda’s office and campaign blurred or crossed their lines in violation of House rules or federal law.

Khanna’s campaign respects these leaders who have been Honda’s longstanding friends and colleagues, spokesman Hari Sevugan said in an email Wednesday. “At the same time, we are humbled by the support of many Democratic leaders who like Ro’s background as an educator and his vision of making college more affordable, of universal preschool education, and fighting for equal pay for women for equal work.”

Ro KhannaRecent endorsements of Khanna – a former Obama administration official who lives in Fremont and lost to Honda by 3.6 percentage points last year – have included state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin De Leon, D-Los Angeles; San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen and and Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone; and two local officials who had endorsed Honda in 2014.

“Congressman Honda may be in denial that his campaign is in a downward spiral, but when you’re under federal investigation for using your taxpayer-funded office for personal political gain and you’re spending donor money on an expensive legal defense, it shouldn’t be surprising that you’re losing support,” Sevugan said.