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CA17: Two former Honda backers turn to Khanna

Two South Bay politicians who endorsed Rep. Mike Honda for re-election last year are now supporting Democratic challenger Ro Khanna instead.

Debi DavisSanta Clara Vice Mayor Debi Davis and former two-time Milpitas Mayor Bob Livengood now prefer Khanna, a former Obama administration official who lives in Fremont, to the eight-term Honda, D-San Jose.

“I’m convinced that Ro Khanna is the type of principled, energetic fighter Santa Clarans need in Washington to get things done for our families,” Davis, who is registered as an independent voter, said in Khanna’s news release. “I am impressed with his focus on education and preparing our young folks for citizenship and jobs in the 21st century. His ideas for revitalizing our manufacturing base and strengthening the middle class also make me proud to endorse his candidacy.”

Bob LivengoodLivengood, a Democrat, said Khanna’s priorities “are in line with the people of Milpitas, from public safety, to job creation, to bringing the highest ethical standards to Washington, he’s proven he’s not only the right choice for CD-17, but to bring leadership free from the grip of the special interests to Washington.”

Those comments about “highest ethical standards” and “the grip of the special interests” seem to be thinly veiled referrals to the ongoing House Ethics Committee investigation of whether Honda’s campaign and office blurred or crossed their lines.

After several prominent Democrats endorsed Khanna last month, Honda campaign spokesman Adam Alberti had noted nobody who backed Honda in 2014 had endorsed Khanna for 2016. Davis and Livengood are the first two public “defections” from the ranks of Honda’s former backers.

“While the Congressman is sorry to have lost the support of Debi Davis and Bob Livengood, we are confident that with the continued support of the California Democratic congressional delegation and the vast majority of the party he will continue his efforts in Congress, fighting for working class families and a better life for all residents of Silicon Valley,” Alberti said Wednesday.

Khanna said he’s grateful for the faith they’ve put in him.

“Debi has been a strong advocate for working Californians, and I look forward to joining her side as we take on that fight in Washington,” he said. “After three decades of service, Bob has shown the proven ability to get things done to make our community safer and more prosperous. I look forward to being their partner and advocate in Washington and delivering results for the families of the South Bay.”

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Mike Honda to hold town-hall meeting on drought

Rep. Mike Honda will hold a town hall meeting on California’s drought at 6:30 p.m. next Thursday, Aug. 20 at Santa Clara City Hall, 1500 Warburton Ave.

honda.jpg“We are experiencing an historic drought in California that could last for many years and change the way we think about and use water. The drought is a consequence of climate change, and we need to talk about how we’re going to deal with the impacts as a community and as a region,” Honda, D-San Jose said in a news release.

“I welcome everyone in the community to join me at the town hall not just to learn more about the drought, but to ask whatever questions they may have about how it will affect them and their families.”

The town hall will include a panel discussion moderated by Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews featuring Honda and representatives from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, California Department of Water Resources, and Santa Clara Valley Water District.

Honda has taken heat from critics – including Democratic challenger Ro Khanna and his supporters – for not doing enough general-subject town hall meetings with constituents. Honda has held some public events on specific topics, such as the April event on Social Security benefits for same-sex couples, but none lately in which everyone was encouraged to come ask questions about anything. Some Bay Area members do a lot of those – notably Eric Swalwell, D-Dublin, and Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord – and others don’t.

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Hillary on Blackberries, Fitbits and tighty-whities

After Hillary Clinton finished her speech Tuesday at the Lead On Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women in Santa Clara, she sat for a Q-and-A session with noted tech pundit Kara Swisher. Before getting to more serious stuff, they took a quick run through gadgets, Fitbit guilt, and appearing in front of 37.3 million viewers in one’s tighty-whities:

SWISHER: So I want to ask the big question, iPhone or Android?

CLINTON: iPhone. (Cheers.) Okay, in full disclosure, and a Blackberry. And I think the president told you the same thing, because I think he really loves his.

SWISHER: Well, you know, it is –

CLINTON: There are reasons why when you start out in Washington on a Blackberry you stay on it in many instances. But, it’s also — I don’t know. I don’t throw anything away. I’m like two steps short of a hoarder. So I have an iPad, a mini iPad, an iPhone and a Blackberry.

SWISHER: You know, if you lived in, and I go to Washington a lot lately, my kids are living there, and you would think Blackberry was the biggest company in the world form all the people that — because everybody uses it. All right, second one, Apple Watch or Fitbit?

CLINTON: Well, you can tell I’m not doing Fitbit and I haven’t gotten into the Apple Watch yet. I’m not in a wearable frame of mind yet. You know, I mean three people have given me a Fitbit or a Jawbone, and I look at it and I think do I really want something telling me I should do what I know I should do? I mean I have enough stress in my life avoiding doing what I’m told I should do, so I haven’t jumped off the ledge yet.

SWISHER: Okay. President of the United States, running for President of the United States or host of the Oscars next year, both jobs are open it seems?

CLINTON: Yes. Well, and both jobs are really painful from my own personal experience and observation. I don’t think I could do the “Birdman” man imitation. That goes back to the Fitbit conversation. I just couldn’t do that.

SWISHER: What about the president thing?

CLINTON: You know, there have been a lot more Oscar presentations than there have been presidents. So the pressure is probably somewhat less. It’s a one-night gig. And for many it’s just one night. And the other one it’s like a many-year commitment.

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Hillary Clinton in Silicon Valley next month

Hillary Rodham Clinton, the former U.S. Secretary of State and presumptive 2016 Democratic presidential candidate, will give a paid speech at a women’s conference on professional development and personal growth next month in Silicon Valley.

Clinton is scheduled to deliver a keynote address at the Watermark Silicon Valley Conference for Women on Tuesday, Feb. 24 at the Santa Clara Convention Center.

She last visited the Bay Area in October for a Democratic fundraiser; in August for a paid speech at the Nexenta OpenSDx Summit; and in July to visit tech companies and tout her book.

Themed “Lead On,” next month’s nonpartisan, nonprofit conference is “a unique place for women coming together to promote professional development and personal growth, to further opportunities for connections and to inspire each another,” organizers say. “The day will feature one-of-a-kind discussions among thought leaders and industry experts about how women can rise to the top of their organizations; insight and expertise about navigating career and life transitions, and interactive sessions offering practical advice to help create and grow positive personal experiences outside the workplace.”

Others scheduled to speak at the conference include fashion icon Diane von Fürstenberg; former New York Times Executive Editor Jill Abramson; artist and motivational speaker Candy Chang; and author and motivational speaker Brené Brown.

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Rep. Mike Honda calls on Fox to fire Bob Beckel

Rep. Mike Honda has joined the chorus of Asian-American politicians calling for the resignation or ouster of Fox commentator Bob Beckel following Beckel’s racially charged tirade last week.

Here’s the Beckel clip:

Honda, D-San Jose, issued this statement Monday:

honda.jpg“I am outraged and disgusted by Fox News commentator Bob Beckel’s use of the word ‘Chinamen’ and his other racist and xenophobic comments. I agree with State Senator Ted Lieu, Campbell CA Councilmember Evan Low, and everyone else who has called on Fox News to fire Beckel. The ignorance and hatred in his comments are repugnant. The fact that he has yet to apologize for these comments is inexcusable. As the founder of the Congressional Anti-Bullying Caucus, I know that words hurt, and slurs are used to intimidate. Fox News needs to do the right thing and fire Bob Beckel.”

State Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, who is currently a 33rd Congressional District candidate, issued his statement Saturday:

Ted Lieu“I am one of those ‘Chinamen’ with ‘Oriental’ eyes that immigrated to America and majored in computer science. I also served on active duty in the United States Air Force and continue to serve my country in the Reserves. And today, as an American and as a California State Senator, I call on Mr. Beckel to resign.

“America is great because anyone can be an American. Our country is the strongest in the world because of our diversity. Unfortunately, Fox News host Bob Beckel does not understand what it means to be an American.

“But Mr. Beckel’s comments are more than just racist and stupid. His ignorant views are dangerous because it is precisely those types of extreme xenophobic and racist views that caused our government to massively violate constitutional rights during World War II and force more than 100,000 Americans into internment camps.

“It is Mr. Beckel’s extreme racist and xenophobic views that are a threat to the American people and he should resign now.”

But Peter Kuo, the Santa Clara Republican now seeking the 10th State Senate District seat, took a more conciliatory tone Saturday:

Peter Kuo“Beckel’s remarks have invoked strong emotion and sadness among immigrants who call America their home. Having endured racist remarks growing up and hearing these comments from a major media figure is shocking and hurtful. Many have moved to the United States in search of the American Dream and found it through hard work, education and job opportunities. The United States is the home to the greatest technological and medical innovation in the world, in great part because of the diverse group of people that have made these fields their careers.

“Today, I observed public calls for Bob Beckel to be fired from Fox News. I completely understand those emotions and feelings as his actions are very insulting. However, I think we have an opportunity to rise above his insensitive comments and use this sad moment in time to grow as a nation. Calling for termination because my feelings are hurt would be easy, and likely very much understood by the media, the voters and most certainly the Chinese-American community. And that may just be the solution. But in the ever increasingly sensitive, racially charged environment we all seem to live in these days, why not take a step back and reflect and recognize that while regrettable, it is quite possible that Mr. Beckel made a mistake albeit a terrible one. Instead of rallying everyone to call for his termination, I prefer a different approach. I would ask Mr. Beckel to offer a formal apology on the air. If Mr. Beckel were to apologize, and those of us offended were to accept said apology, wouldn’t we have already accomplished so much more than the alternative? If I’m to ask the voters of Senate District 10 and California to trust my ability to make sound judgements, to listen to both sides of the aisle, to think my way through problems and controversy instead of always acting on pure emotion, as many issues like this are often handled, then it is important for me to treat this issue no differently.

“Mr. Beckel, I’m offended by your comments as is the Chinese-American community. Do what is right, apologize and move forward better aware of the repercussions of your actions. If this is done, I call on the Chinese-American community to accept his apology, and hope that Mr. Beckel will reach out to members of the Chinese-American community and offer a meeting or a conversation to discuss these events. I will gladly welcome him to my district to meet with Chinese-American community members if he is willing. Instead of dart throwing and mud slinging, let’s figure out a way to move forward so that we may be a more resilient, unified and a compassionate nation.”

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Longtime lawmaker John Vasconcellos is ailing

Longtime South Bay lawmaker John Vasconcellos is ailing, friends say.

Vasconcellos, 82, has been hospitalized at O’Connor Hospital in San Jose, but will probably be moved to his Santa Clara condo Friday or Saturday at his request for end-of-life hospice care. Relatives reportedly are planning a farewell celebration in which he can participate.

vasconcellos tweet

Vasconcellos, a Democrat, served in the Assembly from 1967 to 1996 and in the state Senate from 1996 to 2004, making him the longest-serving legislator in California’s history. His long chairmanship of the Assembly Ways and Means Committee – later renamed the Appropriations Committee – made him one of Sacramento’s foremost budget wonks, but he also championed causes such as voting rights for teenagers, medical marijuana and self-esteem.

In 2002 he founded the Vasconcellos Legacy Project “to counter the cynicism that was poisoning our political discourse. The VLP was dedicated to the proposition that positive political change is possible, especially because we human beings are innately inclined toward the good.” The project’s “Politics of Trust” initiative seeks to replace society’s partisan, gridlocked, dysfunctional politics with a new model “based on our highest aspirations and a new, healing vision.”