Senate confirms Piedmont judge to federal bench

The U.S. Senate voted 89-6 this morning to confirm Alameda County Superior Court Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers as Northern California’s first Latina U.S. District Judge.

Yvonne Gonzalez RogersPresident Barack Obama had nominated Rogers, 46, of Piedmont in May and the Senate Judiciary Committee held a confirmation hearing in July, at which U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., had praised her as an “intelligent, balanced, reasonable” attorney; lauded her “extraordinary record” of community service; and described her as “an outstanding Superior Court judge, handling substantial criminal and civil caseloads” who would “be a fine addition to the federal bench.”

Rogers has served as a state judge since her July 2008 appointment by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. She also served as a pro tem judge from 2007 to 2008 and a member of the civil grand jury from 2005 to 2007, serving as forewoman from 2006 to 2007.

Earlier, she was in private practice at the law firm of Cooley Godward LLP in San Francisco from 1991 to 2003, where she was an equity partner from 1999 to 2001. She earned her bachelor’s degree with honors in 1987 from Princeton University and her law degree in 1991 from the University of Texas School of Law. The San Antonio, Texas native is registered to vote as a Democrat.

Her husband, Matt Rogers, served on Obama’s transition team when he was elected and later was a senior adviser to U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu where he helped manage more than $36 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act economic stimulus funds, including the loan guarantee to now-bankrupt solar manufacturer Solyndra of Fremont; he left the Obama administration in September 2010. The couple has three children.

She is expected to receive her commission shortly and will fill a judgeship
vacant since Feb. 28, when Chief District Judge Vaughn R. Walker retired. Federal trial court judges earn an annual salary of $174,000 — a pay cut from her superior court judge’s salary of $178,789.


Ex Oakland official nominated as U.S. Treasurer

President Barack Obama today nominated Rosa “Rosie” Gumataotao Rios, a former economic development official for Oakland, Fremont, San Leandro and Union City, to serve as U.S. Treasurer.

The Treasurer advises the Secretary of the Treasury on matters relating to coinage, currency and the production of other instruments by the federal government. The Treasurer’s signature, as well as the Treasury Secretary’s, must appear on paper money before it can become legal tender.

The Treasurer also serves as one of the Treasury Department’s principal advisors and spokespeople in the area of financial literacy and education. If confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Rios will be the third consecutive California Latina to hold the post, following Rosario Marin and Anna Escobedo Cabral.

Rios most recently has been Managing Director of Investments for MacFarlane Partners, a real estate investment management firm with more than $11 billion in assets under management. After working to mobilize the Latino vote in Virginia during last year’s presidential campaign, Rios took a leave of absence from MacFarlane Partners to serve as a member of the incoming Obama Administration’s Treasury/Federal Reserve Transition Team.

Before joining MacFarlane Partners, she was a principal with Red River Associates, a consulting firm specializing in providing development, project management and executive management services for municipalities.

And before that, Rios from 2001 through 2003 was Oakland’s Economic Development & Redevelopment director, managing a staff of nearly 100 tasked with facilitating business opportunities in the city and revitalizing its downtown and neighborhood corridors. She’d been hired by then City Manager Robert Bobb, and was fired by Mayor Jerry Brown after Bobb’s ouster.

Rios also has served as Director of Economic Development for Fremont; Development Specialist for San Leandro; manager of the Union City’s Redevelopment Agency. She still serves as a trustee of the Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association and is a board member of the California Association of Local Economic Development and of Oakland’s Unity Council. Rios holds a Bachelor’s degree in sociology and romance languages and literature from Harvard University.

UPDATE @ 2:18 P.M.: “I’m so very pleased that my constituent Rosie Gumataotao Rios, who I enthusiastically supported, has been chosen to serve as our new U.S. Treasurer,” says Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, adding Rios “brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position. …She will be a wonderful addition to the Department of Treasury.”

President Obama also Friday nominated Daniel M. Tangherlini as Assistant Treasury Secretary for Management and Chief Financial Officer; Tangherlini will also serve as the Chief Performance Officer of the Treasury.

“I am grateful to have these two distinguished individuals joining my administration at this critical time for our nation,” Obama said in a news release. “Under the leadership of Secretary Geithner, I am confident that they will serve the American people well as we work to right our economy and put our nation on a path to prosperity.”

UPDATE @ 3:13 P.M.: Former Oakland City Manager Robert Bobb said Friday he served as one of Rios’ references and they “had several conversations as she was going through the vetting process.”

“I’m really happy for Rosie, this is phenomenal … a well-deserved appointment,” he said, adding that in her Oakland post she “stood her ground in the midst of some pretty controversial issues, but nobody could question her work ethic or her ethics.”

Unity Council CEO Gilda Gonzales said Friday she’s “ecstatic” about Rios’ nomination: “The president made an excellent choice, and I believe she will serve the president and the country in an honorable manner.”

Rios is finely attuned to “the challenges all of us face, from unemployment to foreclosure,” Gonzales said, carrying work experience that ties her to Wall Street as well as life experience that ties her to Main Street. “She’s one of us, that’s what’s very great about it.”


Bay Area econ experts advise Obama today

President-elect Barack Obama meets today in Chicago with his Transition Economic Advisory Board, tasked with helping the incoming Administration develop policies to respond to the economic crisis. At the table will be three Bay Area figures:

    former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich, now a professor the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley;

Cal prof in contention for Obama economic post?

As Cal’s Boalt Hall School of Law Dean Christopher Edley advises president-elect Barack Obama’s transition team, at least one other East Bay figure could be in contention for an Obama Administration post.

The New York Times reports today that Laura D’Andrea Tyson is among names “being circulated for top economic posts in the Obama administration.” Tyson, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, was chairwoman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisors during the Clinton Administration.

I sent her an e-mail a short while ago inviting her to speculate on the speculation; her assistant just sent a reply saying that “(u)nfortunately, Prof. Tyson’s schedule doesn’t allow for any interviews at this time.”

Meanwhile, if we’re indulging in speculation, why not go all the way: Politico.com last week said House Education and Labor Committee Chairman George Miller, D-Martinez, might be in contention for appointment as U.S. Secretary of Education…


Cal law dean to advise Obama transition team

University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall School of Law Dean Christopher F. Edley Jr. — who was among Barack Obama’s Harvard Law professors between his stints in the Carter and Clinton administrations, and who had advised this year’s campaign — is among a dozen people named today as an advisory board to president-elect Obama’s transition team.

“I’ve done two tours of duty in the White House and this is my third transition effort,” Edley told me moments ago. “My joyfulness about the election is tempered by a very deep appreciation of how extraordinarily difficult the president’s to-do list will be. The team has been working for a couple of months, but this will still be the most complex transition in our lifetime. The sleeves are already rolled up and the adrenaline is already at flood levels.”