From the San Francisco Chronicle Editorial Board
Face-to-face debates between candidates are central to a healthy democracy. Politicians may want to avoid them - especially incumbents with big leads and hefty war chests - but voters deserve to see a side-by-side comparison between candidates who want to attain or retain key public offices.
Gov. Jerry Brown finally relented this week and agreed to a one-hour TV debate with Republican Neel Kashkari. The session is scheduled on Sept. 4, two months before election day and about three weeks before mail-in ballots go out. It's a bare minimum start in letting the public hear the views of the two contenders who want to lead California for the next four years.
FREMONT – The Ro for Congress campaign today announced the endorsement of the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. This is one of the Bay Area’s largest Chambers and they have been successfully advocating for local businesses since 1886. Their strong vote of confidence comes on the heels of the recent endorsement by popular Democratic Mayor of San Jose Chuck Reed. Congressman Honda did not even bother to participate in the Chamber's endorsement process -- further proof that his handlers are doubling down on their strategy of giving the Congressman as little exposure as possible. Between these two high-profile local endorsements, the support of every major newspaper in the Bay Area, and the Honda campaign's recent struggles, it’s clear that Ro Khanna has the momentum ahead of the November general election.
From the San Jose Mercury News
By Josh Richman
The San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce's political action committee endorsed Ro Khanna on Wednesdayin his bid to unseat Rep. Mike Honda, a fellow Democrat.
Although Honda didn't seek the chamber's blessing, it's still a significant endorsement for Khanna, a former Obama administration official from Fremont who has taken a "startup" approach to wooing voters in the heart of Silicon Valley, the only Asian-American majority House district outside Hawaii. The endorsement crystallizes the business community's support, already hinted at by the wide array of tech executives who have donated to Khanna's campaign.
From San Jose Inside
Congressman Mike Honda is no stranger to falling asleep in meetings and missing votes. During the 2013 legislative session, he failed to cast a yea or nay 9.2 percent of the time, placing him in the bottom 10th percentile of House reps, according to govtrack.com. But it appears that absenteeism has carried over to his re-election campaign. After pledging to do multiple debates with challenger Ro Khanna before the Nov. 4 election, Honda’s campaign backpedaled to doing just one debate. Fly has learned that Honda’s people are now refusing to even respond to attempts to iron out logistics for the single talkoff—where, when, format, etc. Former U.S. Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich, acting on behalf of Khanna’s camp, has sent three emails to Honda’s campaign manager, Doug Greven, since June. The response: “Total radio silence,” Bleich says. In the last email, dated Aug. 9, Bleich expressed exasperation, saying he would have no choice but to go to the media if ignored yet again. “Unless Rep. Honda was insincere about his promise to have multiple meaningful debates, there is no excuse for further failure on your part to set these dates,” he wrote. Greven was not made available for an interview with Fly and Honda’s press man, Vivek Kembaiyan, twice gave the same canned email response on the hold up. “Congressman Honda has committed to participating in a debate before the general election, and we have not finalized the details yet,” he wrote. The campaign also declined to make Honda available for an interview or share details on where he’ll be campaigning. Considering Honda is on August recess and a calendar provided by his office notes that he only has seven planned events between Aug. 21 and Sept. 4, it appears the congressman—not necessarily known as a master debater—has gone into hiding.
FREMONT – Congressman Honda today will be taking a victory lap on BART – yet another opportunity for him to take sole credit for a project that was carried through largely by the State of California and by the voters of Santa Clara County (who approved two separate tax increases to fund it). Yesterday, the San Jose Mercury News previewed today’s celebration and clarified that California’s allocation of funds was secured fourteen years ago, by Governor Gray Davis:
California Transportation Commission comes to town to dole out $39.6 million, the final allocation of $768 million it promised in state funds 14 years ago thanks to Gov. Gray Davis.
Santa Clara County voters later approved two sales taxes for BART, and the Federal Transit Administration chipped in $900 million.
From The New Yorker
By Andrew Marantz
A political campaign needs an underlying metaphor: morning in America; a bridge between centuries; a horse, not to be switched midstream. In 2000, John McCain traversed the nation on his metaphor, a bus called the Straight Talk Express.
Ro Khanna, an intellectual-property lawyer and an economics lecturer at Stanford, is running for Congress in California’s Seventeenth District. Because that district roughly overlaps with Silicon Valley, and because Khanna is a relative political novice running against a popular incumbent, his metaphor was predestined: a disruptive startup company. In this metaphor, Khanna, who is thirty-seven, is the hot-shot founder; his opponent, Mike Honda, who is seventy-three and has served in the House for fourteen years, is an out-of-touch grandpa.
FREMONT – Tonight, Ro Khanna is holding a town hall meeting with Jon Gundry, the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools, and Grace Mah, a trustee of the Santa Clara Board of Education. The event is open to the public. As has been reported, Congressman Honda has refused to organize a single town hall meeting with his constituents over his 5-week summer break and has shut the press out of his one telephone call with constituents.
From the San Francisco Chronicle
By Carla Marinucci
Jeffrey Bleich, the former U.S. Ambassador to Australia, says that as a diplomat, it’s been “easier getting recalcitrant regimes to the table” than getting the campaign of Rep. Mike Honda to talk about a debate with his Democratic challenger Ro Khanna.
“I’ve had no reponse..it’s been radio silence,” said Bleich, regarding his repeated outreach to Honda campaign manager Doug Greven on debates.
Bleich is a Democratic heavyweight — a former Special Counsel to President Obama who served simultaneously as chair of the California State Universities Board of Trustees and as head of the California state Bar Association.
FREMONT – Today, Ro Khanna issued the following statement on the troubling hypocrisy of Congressman Mike Honda and his supporters:
“My positions and record on defending marriage equality and the rights for all people is unequivocal. I believe that any laws discriminating against LGBT individuals are unconstitutional. Full stop. While I am proud of all the support this campaign has received, I find any discriminatory statements from my supporters – whether they be homophobic, racist, or sexist – to be completely unacceptable and not reflective of my or my campaign.”
FREMONT – Today, Ro Khanna invited Congressman Honda to participate in a town hall meeting tomorrow evening in Santa Clara. As has been reported, Congressman Honda has refused to organize a single town hall meeting with his constituents over his 5-week summer break and has shut the press out of his one telephone call with constituents. Conversely, Khanna has kept up a breakneck pace and has continued to hold community meet-and-greets and knock on doors throughout the 17th district. Tomorrow, Khanna will be joined by Jon Gundry, the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools, and Grace Mah, a trustee of the Santa Clara Board of Education, for a town hall discussion. The event is open to the public.
“Congressman Honda’s constituents are deeply disappointed that he is refusing to hold any town hall meetings over the 5 week summer recess – which is exactly what the break is intended for,” said Ro Khanna. “That’s why I am extending an invite for the Congressman to join me in discussing the unique challenges facing the 17th district and how we can promote economic and education policies in Congress to move our community forward.”