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Joe Biden to visit San Francisco, Oakland this week

Vice President Joe Biden is coming to the Bay Area this week.

The White House announced Tuesday that Biden will arrive in San Francisco on Thursday for a political event, and on Friday is scheduled to visit a PG&E center in Oakland to discuss the importance of workforce development and investing in job-training programs across the country.

His wife, Jill Biden, is coming as well, and plans to visit De Anza College in Cupertino to highlight the administration’s commitment to community colleges and their importance to the nation’s future.

The vice president last visited San Francisco in early October to raise money for the Democratic National Committee, and before that in late May.

More details to come…

Posted on Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
Under: Joe Biden | 2 Comments »

Bay Area students at White House Science Fair

Three Bay Area students’ projects will be among those featured in the White House Science Fair on Monday in Washington, D.C.

Holly JacksonHolly Jackson, 14, of San Jose, investigated the art of sewing from a unique, architectural point of view. After learning to sew in the 4th grade from her grandmother, Holly’s scientific curiosity led her to explore the relative strength and compatibility of threads and fabrics, important information to better understand innovative sewn materials for the 21st century. She engineered a device to measure the capacity and strength of stitched fabric, and designed experiments and procedures to yield precise measurements. Her research has potential applications in the design of high-performance protective gear, hazmat and space suits, parachutes, and more. Her work won the top award of $25,000 at the 2014 Broadcom MASTERS competition.

Natalie NgNatalie Ng, 19, of Cupertino, developed two micro-RNA-based prognostic models that can predict metastasis in breast cancer, and identified two micro-RNAs that independently impact the ability of breast cancer cells to metastasize. Ng’s project has important implications for breast cancer diagnosis and treatment. Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer diagnosed in women worldwide, according to the latest WHO report. A frustrating reality about cancer is that even when initial hormonal treatment seems to work, metastatic cancer cells can survive and spread to distant sites in the body. So, accurate prediction of metastatic outcome, such as with the aid of genetic signatures, can significantly improve the ability to predict the recurrence risk and to devise appropriate treatment strategies for individual cancer patients. Ng won First Place at the 2013 International BioGENEius Challenge.

Ruchi PandyaRuchi Pandya, 18, of San Jose, combining nanotechnology, biology and electrochemistry to use small biological samples – only a single drop of blood – to test for specific cardiac biomarkers. She developed a one-square centimeter carbon nanofiber electrode-based biosensor that has the potential to improve cardiac health diagnostics for patients around the world. Ruchi takes her passion for STEM education beyond the lab by mentoring 9th and 10th grade students on research and engineering as a teaching assistant for her school’s STEM-research class. She has competed at the California State Science Fair every year, and has won 18 category and special awards for scientific research. After graduation, Ruchi intends to major in materials science and engineering, and hopes to pursue a career as a technology entrepreneur.

Posted on Thursday, March 19th, 2015
Under: education, Obama presidency | 1 Comment »

CA17: VanLandingham says he’ll move into district

Joel VanLandingham, one of the Republicans challenging Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District, said Tuesday he will move into the district this summer whether or not he makes it past next month’s top-two primary.

And he says Honda, D-San Jose, should do the same.

Joel Vanlandingham“Being part of the district you represent is really important,” he said. “You’ve got to be part of something, you can’t just phone it in. He should do the same thing… he should be willing to be part of the community he represents.”

VanLandingham now lives off Alamden Road in San Jose, within Rep. Anna Eshoo’s 18th Congressional District. Asked where he and his family might move, he replied, “We haven’t looked at specific housing but we’ve looked at two areas: Cupertino or Fremont. We really like that Irvington district.”

The San Jose house in which Honda has lived in for four decades was in the district he represented until the boundaries were redrawn three years ago; it’s now within Rep. Zoe Lofgren’s 19th Congressional District. Honda won’t move, his campaign spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said last month, but he “has deep roots in every part of the 17th District.”

The U.S. Constitution requires only that a member of Congress be a resident of the state he or she represents, not the specific district.

VanLandingham’s candidacy has been controversial as accusations arose that Democratic candidate Ro Khanna and/or his followers played a key role in getting him on the ballot at the last minute, in order to dilute a Republican voting bloc that otherwise would’ve gone all to candidate Vanila Singh and so endangered Khanna’s chances of finishing in the top two with Honda. VanLandingham and Khanna have denied any such collusion.

Honda has refused to attend any debates before next month’s primary; he, Khanna and VanLandingham have been together only once, for a League of Women Voters forum early this month in Fremont, which Singh refused to attend. VanLandingham said he’s still trying to convince Khanna and Singh to meet him for a debate, but so far has heard “nothing from either of them.”

Posted on Tuesday, May 20th, 2014
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | No Comments »

Brown signs, vetoes political reform bills

Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed one political-reform bill but signed several others Tuesday.

SB 3 by state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, would have required the Fair Political Practices Commission to create an additional online training course for campaign treasurers. “This is a costly and unnecessary addition to the extensive training and outreach that the Commission already provides,” Brown wrote in his veto message.

The bill also would’ve required the Secretary of State to write a report on what it would take to have comprehensive online campaign disclosure, and Brown acknowledged “the current system – widely viewed as outdated and cumbersome – needs upgrading.” He directed the Government Operations Agency to consult with the FPPC and the Secretary of State “and come back to me with recommendations on the best way to improve campaign disclosure.”

“While I’m disappointed SB 3 hasn’t become law, I’m glad to share common ground with the governor on the need to improve Cal-Access,” Yee said in a news release this afternoon. “I look forward to working with the FPPC and the Secretary of State in finding the best means of making the system more effective. The end goal is for California to have an easily accessible and searchable system that ensures accountability in our elections.”

Philip Ung, policy advocate for the good-government group California Common Cause, said in Yee’s release that although his group disagrees with Brown on the need for treasurer training, Brown’s movement to update the Cal-Access campaign finance filing system “is a step forward to improving transparency in our elections. This action would not have been taken without the pressure from the Legislature, voters, and organizations like Common Cause and the League of Women Voters of California.”

Brown did sign AB 409 by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, D-Fullerton, which lets the the Fair Political Practices Commission develop and operate an online system for local and state officials and candidates to file their statements of economic interests.

A legislative analysis of AB 409 said allowing electronic filing could save the state a lot of money on the staff time and public access that paper statements require, and might reduce errors on the statements too. The Legislature passed this bill with unanimous votes.

The governor also signed two bills by Assemblyman Paul Fong. AB 552 lets the Fair Political Practices Commission collect unpaid fines and penalties without needing to file a civil lawsuit in superior court. And AB 1090 lets the FPPC bring civil and administrative enforcement actions for violations of a longstanding state law prohibiting conflicts of interests in contracting decisions; it also lets the FPPC issue advice regarding a public official’s obligations under that same law.

Fong, D-Cupertino, issued a statement saying the new laws strengthen the FPPC’s authority and provide resources so those who violate the public trust can be held accountable.

And Brown signed AB 1418 by the Committee on Elections and Redistricting. That bill repeals a requirement that campaign statements must be open for public inspection and copying from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Saturday before a statewide election in the offices of the Secretary of State and the registrars of San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego counties; online availability of such reports has made those office hours obsolete, the committee said.

AB 1418 also makes some technical changes to the state’s Political Reform Act of 1974, in part to conform with California’s new top-two primary system.

Posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, campaign finance, Jerry Brown, Leland Yee, Paul Fong | 2 Comments »

CA17: Mike Honda sings; Ro Khanna in ‘War Room’

Rep. Mike Honda, facing a 2014 challenge from a well-funded fellow Democrat, is willing to sing for his supper – or, at least, to help fill his campaign coffers.

“Congressman Mike Honda is a master on the karaoke mic. Everyone from DC to California’s 17th Congressional District knows it. SF does too,” reads an invitation to the next fundraising event for Honda, D-San Jose. “Let’s celebrate Mike’s re-election effort by joining together for some fun, drink, and embarrassment on Friday, August 16th at Pandora Karaoke Bar in San Francisco! (If you don’t sing, don’t worry – come anyway!)”

The host committee includes former Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco; San Francisco Democratic Party executive director Ally Medina; and several others. Tickets for this “On the Mic with Mike” event cost from $45 to $1,000, but there’s no mention of how much you can pay to avoid listening to these folks sing.

Meanwhile, challenger Ro Khanna will be busy Friday night holding his umpteenth meet-and-greet at a private home in Cupertino; on Saturday, his campaign will be going door-to-door in Fremont, Milpitas, Cupertino and Sunnyvale.

Khanna is coming off a high-exposure week that started with his appearance on Current TV’s “The War Room:”

Posted on Thursday, August 15th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 9 Comments »

CA17: Khanna, Honda roll out more endorsements

Ro Khanna, the former Obama Administration official who’s challenging fellow Democrat Rep. Mike Honda in the 17th Congressional District, has opened a campaign office in Fremont and rolled out a list of endorsements from local elected officials.

Ro KhannaThe local elected officials endorsing Khanna, 36, of Fremont, include Cupertino Mayor Orrin Mahoney, Milpitas Mayor Jose Esteves, former Newark Mayor Emeritus David Smith, Cupertino City Councilman Rod Sinks, Fremont Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan, Fremont City Councilmember Raj Salwan and Milpitas City Councilmembers Carmen Montano, Debbie Giordano and Althea Polansky.

“As Mayor of Cupertino, a homeowner in Cupertino for the past 30 years, and a Cupertino based Hewlett-Packard employee for 20 of those years, I am proud to support Ro Khanna because of his understanding of high tech issues and vision for creating jobs locally in a world of dynamic change,” Mahoney said in Khanna’s news release. “Ro understands Cupertino’s unique values of excellent education, parks and recreation, and responsive local government. I know he will partner with local leaders to help Cupertino remain a beacon for innovation and economic growth in the 21st century.”

honda.jpgHonda, 71, of San Jose, last week announced some endorsements of his own, from notable Asian American and Pacific Islander leaders including former White House Cabinet Secretary Chris Lu; retired U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Tony Taguba; Maya Soetoro-Ng, an educator and President Barack Obama’s half-sister; actor George Takei; actor Kal Penn, former associate director of the White House Office of Public Engagement; and TV host Yul Kwon, former deputy chief of the Federal Communications Commission’s Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau.

“Over the past four years, I have worked closely with Mike Honda, and I have seen his commitment to providing greater economic opportunities for all Americans through investments in education and innovation,” Lu said in Honda’s news release. “I also have witnessed first-hand Mike’s commitment to the issues that matter to Asian American community – issues such as health care, immigration reform, and civil rights. Our nation needs more leaders like Mike Honda, and I am proud to endorse him for re-election.”

Posted on Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 7 Comments »

CA17: Honda raises $214k, Khanna holds 1st rally

On the heels of his well-bankrolled challenger’s campaign kickoff rally this weekend, Rep. Mike Honda announced Monday that he raised about $214,000 in this year’s first quarter toward his 2014 re-election campaign.

honda.jpgHonda, D-San Jose, faces a challenge in the 17th Congressional District from fellow Democrat Ro Khanna of Fremont, a former Obama administration Commerce Department official. Khanna raised a record-setting $1.2 million in the final quarter of 2011, when his plan was to succeed (but not challenge) Pete Stark in the 15th Congressional District; Stark was unseated by fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell last year, and now Khanna will try to do the same to Honda.

But Honda, who since the start of this year has been rolling out high-profile endorsements including those of President Barack Obama and almost all California House Democrats, seems ready to put up a hell of a fight.

His campaign said Monday that he raised $213,944.74 from 345 donors from Jan. 1 through March 31, and has hired a formidable fundraising team to hit wallets near and far. Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke, founder and principal of Arum Group LLC, will direct national fundraising efforts and Shari Rubin-Rick and Brittany Kneebone Feitelberg of Integrated Fundraising Strategies will guide the California money operation.

“In the last 90 days, we’ve added finance talent to build upon our on-going fundraising operation and we are moving ahead aggressively with face-to-face and online fundraising,” campaign spokesman Dan Cohen said in a news release. “In the second quarter, the Congressman will travel for fundraising events to Chicago, New Jersey, New York, and Los Angeles, and Mayor Ed Lee will co-host an event in San Francisco.”

Among the contributions Honda’s campaign touted are those from actor George Takei of “Star Trek” fame; Men’s Wearhouse founder George Zimmer; and officers or employees from tech companies including McAfee, Phillips Electronics, Qualcomm, and Semiconductor Equipment and Materials International (SEMI), a global trade association.

“This is a Congressman who works both for the people and the drivers of innovation in Silicon Valley,” Mielke said in the release. “He is known as a trusted voice to grow jobs, help families, and improve education. People at every level want to be a part of keeping Rep. Honda in Congress,” she added.

Honda started the year with about $78,000 cash on hand, so even the money he raised in the first quarter doesn’t put him anywhere close to Khanna’s $1 million bankroll. Khanna raised only $18,000 in the first quarter, but he was trying to remain somewhat under the radar (he didn’t formally announce his candidacy until April 2) and promises a much more aggressive second quarter.

Ro KhannaMeanwhile, Khanna – who formally announced his campaign earlier this month – held the first public event of campaign Sunday at DeAnza College in Cupertino. The “Rally with Ro” featured a performance by a local dance troupe, as well as speeches from supporters including two members of Khanna’s campaign committee: longtime local labor leader Sergio Santos and Lindsay Lamont, a student who took one of Khanna’s classes at Stanford. And, of course, the candidate himself gave a broad outline of why he’s in this race.

“In Silicon Valley, we reject labels and respect out-of-the-box thinking,” Khanna said. “We judge a person based on the merit of their ideas, not their party or their seniority or their title. Isn’t it time we had a Congress capable of doing the same?”

Khanna ran through a series of policy points geared toward Silicon Valley’s needs, such as “tax rules that incentivize companies to invest here at home instead of parking money overseas;” a need to “simplify government regulations at all levels so that businesses choose to create jobs in Sunnyvale and Santa Clara instead of Ireland or Singapore;” tech-oriented education system that teaches code to elementary school students; and immigration reform that welcomes and retains job creators.

“The world looks to Silicon Valley as a place for innovation, unencumbered by past struggles along national, racial, or religious lines. It represents America at its best; the 21st century at its best,” he said. “If you believe, then, as I do, that Silicon Valley not only can, but must shape American politics; that from here we can build a new politics for a new century, grounded in the founding ideals that define our nation; then I ask you to join this campaign.”

Honda’s campaign on Friday had offered up a roster of Silicon Valley politicians (including San Jose Councilman Ash Kalra, Fremont Mayor Bill Harrison and Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews); business and labor leaders (including South Bay Labor Council CEO Ben Field, Root Square CEO Shelly Kapoor Collins and Yonja Media Group CEO Dilawar Syed); and others who’ll sing Honda’s praises as a champion for the region. Honda himself was at the California Democratic Party Convention in Sacramento this weekend, doubtlessly shoring up what few party-politico endorsements he doesn’t already have.

Read Khanna’s complete remarks as prepared, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Monday, April 15th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, campaign finance, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 18 Comments »

Honda has House support, Khanna plans rally

As Ro Khanna – the former Obama administration official who announced last week that he’ll challenge fellow Democrat Mike Honda in 2014 – prepares for his first public campaign event, Honda has announced he’s been endorsed by 34 other California House Democrats.

In a news release issued Thursday, Honda said he and his House endorsers “are working with President Obama to help create jobs, improve our schools, and ensure California’s continued leadership in technology and innovation. I’m eager to continue this work and grateful to have the support of my colleagues.”

It’s just the latest in a series of high-profile endorsements that Honda has rolled out in the first few months of this year, including that of President Obama.

The only Bay Area House members who aren’t on Honda’s list of endorsers are Anna Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, and Eric Swalwell, D-Pleasanton.

Swalwell’s absence isn’t so surprising, given he just won his office by ignoring the party’s wishes and unseating veteran Rep. Pete Stark in 2012 much as Khanna hopes to do to Honda in 2014. In fact, Swalwell should be quite pleased that Khanna is running against Honda in the 17th Congressional District; Khanna initially had hoped to succeed Stark in the 15th Congressional District after his expected retirement in 2014, and some thought he might challenge Swalwell instead.

Eshoo’s absence from Honda’s list of endorsers seems more remarkable, given her district’s Silicon Valley similarities to Honda’s.

Khanna, meanwhile, is planning a “Rally with Ro” for 2 p.m. Sunday in the Sunken Garden on DeAnza College’s campus, 21250 Stevens Creek Blvd. in Cupertino. The event “will bring together community residents and key campaign supporters to hear Ro’s forward-looking vision for the district,” his campaign says.

He’s positioning himself as a younger, more-tech savvy alternative to Honda with a better appreciation of Silicon Valley’s needs; watch for a speech that touches on tax and regulatory policies that would foster innovation and job creation, and education polices that would produce a tech-trained workforce.

Posted on Thursday, April 11th, 2013
Under: 2014 primary, Mike Honda, U.S. House | 8 Comments »

Reax to Gov. Jerry Brown’s ‘State of the State’

From state Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento:

“We enter 2013 surrounded by the most positive atmosphere in several years, and the Governor’s State of the State address points us toward the great potential that lies ahead for California. With bold action, the Legislature worked with Governor Brown to weather the storm of fiscal adversity in perhaps the most difficult period in modern California history. We handled that well; we can also handle success in the better times that lie ahead.

“I join the Governor in his call for fiscal restraint, but neither can we be afraid to be bold in our vision for California. We cannot spend money that we don’t have, and we won’t. As the economy grows, we will develop smart strategies to pay down debt, to build-up our reserves, and also to begin restoring what’s been lost when the opportunity is there to do so.

“We’re ready to roll up our sleeves and get to work to further restore the promise of this great state.”

From state Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar:

“We share the Governor’s optimism and celebration of California’s entrepreneurial spirit, business community and educators. We are encouraged by the Governor’s acknowledgement that we need to pay down debt, develop a rainy day fund, and avoid saddling our college students with more tuition increases.

“We look forward to working with the Governor on education reforms to ensure that all California students can obtain a world class education.

“While the Governor acknowledged the loss of jobs in California and focused on job creation in Silicon Valley, he did not offer any substantive proposals for job creation or helping California’s working families. The long-term solution to California’s economic challenges is to get Californians back to work.”

From Assemblywoman Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley:

“Governor Brown’s State of the State address was a breath of fresh air and the first time since my start in the Assembly that the dark cloud of deficits was lifted.

“To the naysayers who doubted California’s ability to bounce back from the worst global economic collapse in recent memory, the Governor reminded us that together Sacramento and California voters acted decisively and proved them wrong. Our state is on its way to economic recovery.

“I commend Governor Brown for his message of optimism and boldness that reflects a return to California the great. He outlined our past and present efforts that will continue to secure California’s status as the golden state with unparalleled education opportunities, global leadership on transportation, clean energy and climate change and an innovative, growing economy.

“While restraint is necessary to not invite the next bust cycle, restoration of essential safety net services is also important to support Californians still hurting from the economic downturn.

“I am proud that, among the achievements mentioned by Governor Brown, legislation I authored is among accomplishments that have helped pave the way for internet sales taxes, responsible for over 1,000 new jobs in the state and California’s achievement of more than 20 percent renewable energy this year.

“It’s an exciting time for California – and a proud moment for all – as we continue the work ahead of shaping a stronger economy, fueling technology, expanding health care, supporting education and combatting climate change.”

From California Republican Party Chairman Tom Del Beccaro:

“Today, the Governor wasn’t so much kicking the can down the road as he was hiding the can entirely. And while we’re glad he embraced a number of key Republican proposals, there’s still no plan to create jobs. If you’re unemployed, you want action, not rhetoric.

“His bold proclamations of an economic turnaround conveniently ignored the facts: our cities are going bankrupt because they can’t pay off pension obligations, 4.4 million taxpayers have left the state since 1998 while job creators are fleeing the worst business climate in the nation, and continuing government waste and abuse undermines any promise of fiscal restraint. It’s time for a reality check.

“The overall picture of California’s economy is not nearly as good as Gov. Brown paints it, mainly because Democrats raised taxes retroactively and have virtually guaranteed future job losses to add to the millions of Californians out of work today. This all may be ‘par for the course’ for Jerry Brown, but not for those living with less through no fault of their own. They have a much more realistic outlook and our leadership would do well to accept that reality instead of trying to blur the facts.”

Much more, after the jump…
Read the rest of this entry »

Posted on Thursday, January 24th, 2013
Under: Assembly, California State Senate, Darrell Steinberg, Jerry Brown, Leland Yee, Mark DeSaulnier, Nancy Skinner, Paul Fong | No Comments »

A few more bits from Bill Clinton’s speech

As you’d expect, there was plenty more from 90 minutes of Bill Clinton in Cupertino last night than I could fit into my story.

On Afghanistan: “Unless you want to stay 25 more years, we might as well get out now,” Clinton said, noting that nothing costs a nation more in fortune and human toll than a war. “It’s time to come home – we’ve paid and paid and paid.”

On climate change: California will be glad it adopted a renewable energy portfolio standard, which will put it at the forefront of abandoning fossil fuels. Meanwhile, he said, there’s no easier and cheaper way to address energy supply and climate change than to invest in making existing buildings more energy efficient, which also creates good-paying jobs. “That used to be a conservative principle: Do more with less.”

On infrastructure: Even as the nation debates how to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” it should be looking ahead. South Korea’s average download time is four times faster than the United States’, he said, underscoring the need for public investment in a uniform, nationwide broadband infrastructure. “In all this budget debate, don’t forget the future.”

On staying in shape: Clinton discussed his heart disease, his 2004 coronary artery bypass surgery and the vegan diet he has adopted since. He said he now weighs 185 pounds – seven pounds less than his weight at his high school graduation, “but alas, it’s distributed differently.”

On his genes: Clinton digressed during his speech to talk about the interesting times in which we live, from our search for the possibility of extraterrestrial life to our discovery of the Higgs boson. He singled out the relatively recent discovery that elements of Neanderthal genome remain in most modern non-African humans; he said he’d excitedly told his wife and daughter about this discovery – and was told by both that they’d always been pretty sure he had some Neanderthal in him.

Posted on Thursday, December 6th, 2012
Under: Bill Clinton | No Comments »