CD11: Great NYT story about Miller’s D.C. flophouse

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez

Check out this super smart New York Times story by Ashley Parker at the NYT:

WASHINGTON — This week’s news that Representative George Miller, Democrat of California, is planning to retire at the end of the year reverberated around the House of Representatives, where Mr. Miller has served since 1975.

But the news hit even harder around another less stately, more fratlike house about a quarter-mile southeast of the Capitol, where Mr. Miller has lived for more than 30 years with a rotating cadre of congressional Democrats — and which served as the inspiration for the Amazon web series “Alpha House.”

Mr. Miller, 68, who owns the two-story, two-bedroom house — part messy crash pad, part political seminar — currently shares it with Senators Richard J. Durbin of Illinois, the majority whip, and Charles E. Schumer of New York, the No. 3 Democrat … 

Read the rest of the story here.


Cool Rep. George Miller factoids

Lafayette political blogger Jason Bezis at CalPolitical has posted some very cool factoids about retiring Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, and East Bay representation in Congress for the past 150 years:

East San Francisco Bay Area Members of Congress: 1865 to 2014: George Miller is Just Third to Retire Normally in 150 Years

 Thirty-five individuals (33 men and two women) have represented the East San Francisco Bay Area (Alameda and Contra Costa counties) in the U.S. House of Representatives since California’s first single-member districts were created in 1864.  (Not including the two congressmen who represented California at-large from 1883 to 1885.  California gained two seats in 1882 as a result of the post-1880 census re-apportionment but the Legislature postponed re-districting until the 1884 congressional elections.) 
The East Bay today has six U.S. representatives: George Miller, Barbara Lee, Eric Swalwell, Jerry McNerney, Mike Honda and Mike Thompson.
Here is how the 29 other East Bay U.S. representatives left their East Bay districts:
  • Defeated in primary or general elections: 14 (Higby, Page, Hilborn, English, MacLafferty, Eltse, Carter, Condon, Allen, Cohelan, George P. Miller, Baker, Pombo, Stark)
  • Died in office: 3 (Elston, Curry Sr., Baldwin)
  • Resigned mid-term: 4 (McKenna, Metcalf, Dellums, Tauscher)
  • Re-districting caused loss of all East Bay territory: 3 (Curry, Jr., Edwards, Garamendi)
  • Ran for another office at end of term: 3 (Sargent, Knowland, Waldie)
  • Retired at end of term: 2 (Budd, Tolan)

Retirements are very rare.  Just two East Bay representatives in the past 150 years have retired from the House and not sought another political office immediately thereafter: James Budd in 1884 and John Tolan in 1946.  George Miller III will become the third in 2014.

Link to the rest of CalPolitical’s post here.


Bay Area congressmembers call Safeway lawyer’s joke ‘sexist’

What’s good for Jay Leno, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert is apparently not good for corporate lawyers.

A group of Bay Area congressmembers sent a stern letter to Pleasanton-based Safeway CEO Steve Burd admonishing the grocery giant for a joke its top lawyer reportedly made at the expense of Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi during a May 15 stockholder meeting.

General Counsel Robert Gordon reportedly told a joke involving the Secretary of State and the House Minority Speaker from San Francisco, pigs and the Secret Service. Gosh, it already sounds funny. (Read the full narrative below.)

Lighten up, people.

If members of Congress start writing to every business organization where a national politician was the butt of a joke, they’ll be busier than a genuine Arkansas razorback hog farmer at feeding time.

Here’s the letter:

Mr. Steve Burd

President and CEO

Safeway Inc.

5918 Stoneridge Mall Road

Pleasanton, CA 94588

 By Fax (925) 467-3230

 Dear Mr. President,

 We are writing to express our strong disapproval of inappropriate comments reportedly made by Safeway General Counsel Robert Gordon at Safeway’s May 15 shareholder meeting. We are deeply disappointed by these comments and believe Safeway must take corrective steps immediately.

According to an audio recording reportedly taken from the shareholder meeting, General Counsel Gordon inappropriately used House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as the butt of his joke, as follows:

You know, this is the season when companies and other institutions are interested in enhancing their reputation and their image for the general public, and one of the institutions that’s doing this is the Secret Service, particularly after the calamity in Colombia. And among the instructions given to the Secret Service agents was to try to agree with the president more and support his decisions. And that led to this exchange that took place last week, when the president flew into the White House lawn and an agent greeted him at the helicopter. The president was carrying two pigs under his arms and the Secret Service agents said, “Nice pigs, sir.”And the president said, “These are not ordinary pigs, these are genuine Arkansas razorback hogs. I got one for former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and one for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” And the Secret Service agent said, “Excellent trade, sir.”

Poking fun at politicians is part of our culture, and TV comedians carry this out nightly. But sexist jokes told by a top executive of a Fortune 500 company to an international audience are completely inappropriate and demonstrate a shocking lack of respect, not only for two of the most important and respected people in our country but for all women.

Safeway owes an apology to Secretary Clinton, Leader Pelosi, and the country. It is up to the Safeway board to decide what action to take against its general counsel for his comments but let there be no doubt as to our strong disapproval and deep disappointment in your company for what he said.


Reps. George Miller, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Mike Thompson, Lynn Woolsey, Jerry McNerney, John Garamendi, Doris Matsui, Barbara Lee, and Mike Honda



Richmond anti-violence activist to attend SOTU

Young Richmond anti-violence activist D’vondre Woodards, 22, will be Democratic Rep. George Miller’s guest at President Barack Obama’s state of the union address at the Capitol tonight.

Members receive a single ticket apiece for a guest.

Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, has invited an Iraq War veteran and Delaware native as his date. Sgt. Shaun Rieley now serves as Assistant Director of the Legislative Affairs Department at the American Legion.

Read on for the news releases from each office.

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Miller denounces end of ‘No Child Left Behind’ talks

Rep. George Miller

The House has ceased bipartisan talks around the reworking of No Child Left Behind, national legislation intended to help boost the quality of education in poor and minority communities.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, one of the authors of the original legislation and the ranking Democrat on the House Education and Workforce Committee, issued this statement:

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. George Miller (D-CA), the senior Democrat on the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Committee, issued the following statement after committee Republicans confirmed that they are abandoning bipartisan talks to rewrite the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, known as ‘No Child Left Behind’ in the law’s recent iteration. Miller has been working in a bipartisan manner since 2007 to rewrite the law so that it works better for our nation’s students and families.

“I have communicated to Chairman Kline my disappointment that he has chosen to go the partisan route. Partisanship means the end to NCLB reform in this Congress. Bipartisanship is the only successful way forward. The Senate has moved a bipartisan bill out of committee. The House could do the same if it had the political will to do so. Our nation’s children deserve a real process for achieving consensus, not partisan political games.”


California Democrats urge mortgage investigation

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove, joined fellow California Democrats today and sent a letter to President Barack Obama urging federal support for an investigation into mortgage fraud.

California and Nevada attorney generals have teamed up to crack down on mortgage fraud.

Here’s what Garamendi’s office just sent out:


WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman John Garamendi (D-Fairfield, CA) yesterday joined more than 30 Congressional Democrats from California in sending a letter to President Barack Obama urging the Administration to support California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ efforts to investigate and crack down on fraud in the mortgage industry. Congressman Garamendi’s district was especially hard hit by the housing crisis and Great Recession. Solano County continues to have the nation’s second-highest foreclosure rate, and Contra Costa County communities like Antioch and Oakley have also been hard hit by foreclosures.

“The abuses and fraud need to be fully investigated, and I commend Attorney General Harris for taking appropriate leadership in helping homeowners,” Garamendi said. “I hope the President uses the power of his Administration to aid Harris. We need to make sure that these rip off artists are exposed for their crimes, and to whatever degree we can help working families keep their homes, we should.”

32 California Democrats signed the letter to President Obama. Text of the letter is below. A pdf of the letter, including signatories, is available here.

Dear President Obama:

California homeowners, and those throughout the country, continue to suffer as a result of the irresponsible and fraudulent actions of the mortgage industry.  We write in support of California Attorney General Kamala Harris’ continued investigation into the potential misconduct and fraud by the mortgage industry.  Her determination to provide meaningful relief for California homeowners led to her decision in October 2011 to leave the multi-state settlement negotiations with the major banks.  Attorney General Harris recently announced that she would be aligning her efforts with Nevada’s, with each state committing more resources and energy towards holding the mortgage industry accountable for their actions. 

In October 2011, California ranked second in the country, behind Nevada, in percentage of housing units that entered the foreclosure process—with nearly one in every 243 California homes entering the foreclosure process in that month alone.  We know that California has been home to a myriad of abuses as we catalogued numerous constituent cases in a letter we sent to your Administration last year urging an immediate investigation. 

We support Attorney General Harris’ recent decision to pursue an independent investigation.  We believe that any meaningful settlement must provide assistance for struggling homeowners—particularly those underwater—and should not grant banks a broad release from liability for abuses that have not been investigated and are not remedied by the settlement.  The current multi-state settlement under review would relieve the banks of further liability without fully investigating the alleged wrongdoings.  Furthermore, it would not provide meaningful relief to homeowners as it would apply to only 13% of the mortgages serviced by banks nationwide.  It would likely result in $5 billion in penalties to mortgage servicers, with the rest of the settlement coming in the form of non-cash accounting losses that servicers would have experienced anyway, as the borrowers they declined to assist went into foreclosure.  We can and we must do better for our constituents.

Attorney General Harris’ commitment to delivering a fair outcome for those who have been wronged by the mortgage industry should be commended.  We hope that you will join her and advocate for stronger terms that will have a real impact for hard-working Americans who were victimized by the mortgage industry.