LISTEN! East Bay Citizen Podcast Special: CA17 June Primary Roundtable


EPISODE 25 | The 17th Congressional District primary race featuring Rep. Mike Honda and Ro Khanna is one of the most highly-anticipated House race in the country.

With six candidates hoping to grab a spot in the Top Two primary, supporters for Honda and Khanna duel it out in the East Bay Citizen Podcast’s first-time-ever three person show.

In the spirited podcast, Daily Kos citizen blogger Glen “The Plumber” Shaffer and former Tri City Democratic Forum chair Yogi Chugh debate some of the issues in the hyped House race. And it was, indeed, spirited.

In addition, don’t forget to vote on June 7!

Click below to subscribe and listen on iTunes, Stitcher or listen at Follow on Twitter @EBCShow.

Categories: CA17, congress, East Bay Citizen Podcast, Glen Shaffer, Glen the Plumber, House Ethics, June primary, Mike Honda, progressive, Ro Khanna, Yogi Chugh

12 replies

  1. Wow, Yogi is good. I bet you Glen the Plumber won't be debating him again. He demolished him. Not even close. Dumb call by the Honda campaign to have this forum. I am sure the Khanna campaign will be blasting this out like they usually do. Can't we get someone to talk about the real Honda. I can't stand the thought of this Khanna guy winning. But, with debates like these –wow –Mike's in trouble.


  2. Yogi I think did a superb job. Not just being a surrogate for RK, but by also giving an honest critique of BOTH the Democratic Party AND progressives (the Party loyalists who will stick with their own at all costs, and the burn the house down types we are seeing from Bernie Sanders supporters who are equally as toxic).

    It's not okay for progressives to judge candidates under a double standard, like what it appears Glen the Plumber is doing. He didn't win the debate because the crux of his argument is “yeah, I know my guy does X bad thing, but it's worse for your guy to do it just because I say so.” You can't take umbrage at Ro's donors and at the same time not call out Mike when he accepts money from the same interests Glen is worried about, albeit those donations are funneled through lobbyist contributions and corporate PACs. Just because you like Mike, that shouldn't give him a pass. Glen instead should instead be holding Mike accountable about his contributions and asking him to change his ways. He can do that privately if not publicly.

    We see this type of behavior from Sanders supporters who say Hillary is not progressive, but are largely silent as to Bernie's history supporting the NRA and opposing gun control. Why do they get to be the arbiter of labelling someone a progressive? Why do they get to decide what issues matter and which don't?

    Glen came off as a good, sincere person, who clearly cares very much about the community.

    I hope Steve can do more of these types of debates from campaign surrogates. It was very revealing. I got the impression that to Honda's supporters, the Honda campaign is really just about keeping a good enough guy there. And they are scared of the unknown guy. For Ro's supporters, Ro's campaign is about community empowerment and eschewing the get in line mentality that keeps minority communities from reaching leadership positions. If you really think about it, Alameda County is one of the most ethnically diverse areas anywhere in the country with a sizable AA (Oakland), AAPI (Fremont & Union City), Latino (Newark) & White populations (Tri Valley), with so many college campuses (age diversity) too. Why are there so few people of color in leadership positions? Why are our Assembly members, Congress members, Senators, Board of Supervisors mostly white? It's because emerging minorities have been effectively shut out of the political process. Ro's candidacy is about changing that.


  3. “People sometimes count the number of bills passed with your name on them to assess success. But, mostly, the Republican leadership will not permit votes on bills introduced by Democrats. And for most of his years in Congress, Mike has been a member of the Democratic minority in a House ruled by Republicans.

    A real measure of success is getting something done even when you are in the minority. Mike had an impressive success when he convinced Republican Science Committee Chairman Sherwood Boehlert to pass his Nanotechnology Research and Development Act. To Mike, it's more important to get something done than to fight over the credit. Since he sits on the Appropriations Committee he's been a driving force in delivering over $3.6 billion in nanotechnology research and development funding to implement the vision embodied in his bill.”

    Lofgren probably know more about how to be effective in Congress than Yogi Chugh


  4. Thank you Steven for having me on your podcast. Enjoyed meeting Yogi, a good and passionate man.

    FTR…I am not from the Honda campaign. I, my family and few others do organize to canvass for Honda. But I was not sent by the campaign to represent them, as the commenter above pointed out, they are smarter than that. :7)

    And to set the record straight, Steven asked me to do a podcast with him. When the Khanna campaign got wind they asked Steven if they could send a representative. If this roundtable had been the original ask, I probably would have declined. Actually probably would have never been asked because he would seek participants from the campaigns. Doubtful I'm on Honda's list of surrogates.

    As I said, Yogi is a very passionate and good-hearted person. But he is also an experienced and polished politician. Me? Not so much. Listening to the discussion one thing really stands out, when Yogi mentions the campaign he uses the terms; we, us, and our. Not terms I use for either campaign.

    For those that complain that I don't mention from where Honda raises money, you obviously haven't read much of my stuff. It's a little hard to compare funding without …you know, having numbers with which to compare.

    My message is simple; voters should be aware of who is funding their politicians, they can make their own decisions based on that knowledge. This is about more than just this race, the wall street and investor-class money is pouring into our state …and our Democratic Party. These wealthy donors and the candidates that they are 'investing' in should be rejected by the working-class voters.



  5. Glen is too polite to the former Tri City Dem Forum Chair. The round table discussion is a mismatch in pitting an inexperienced yet well-informed supporter of one candidate against a polished insider for the other candidate. Steven, you have a responsibility to set this right.

    Yogi had an unfair advantage. He used his advantage and came off as condescending and patronizing. Glen handled this with grace and respect, something Yogi and Khanna could learn from. I cringed listening to Yogi drive the discussion that felt more like a debate. Yogi should listen to himself, the “huge” sacrifice Khanna made to go to Yale sounds completely disingenuous. If Khanna is in debt, perhaps he should get a full time job like the working class individuals who live in this district, as it appears he has done nothing but campaign for at least the past 3 years.

    Listen again to the discussion on teachers unions and charter schools. Are we to believe that simply because his mother was a teacher he is in favor of preserving public schools and advocating on their behalf? No, the fact is that charter school donors are pouring in money for pro charter school candidates in the California legislature like we have never seen before, and Khanna is a beneficiary of this. Actually, it does not seem obvious that Khanna is supportive of either public or charter schools, but more the support from these ultra wealthy donors is merely a path to collecting money for his campaign. If his personal feelings on this are different than what he shows by taking the pro charter money, then he is not running a campaign based on his values. If the link between him and his support of public schools is his mother as Yogi repeated, then he is a sell out to her as well. And Yogi refuted Glen’s claims by speaking about Khanna’s support of ‘universal pre-K,’ however, some of Khanna’s donors have spent millions to defeat public pre-K education in California to make way for their preferred “Universal Preschool “ that will funnel public money into their pockets. Do you not see the conflict?

    Glen’s purpose, as he stated in his comment here, is a worthy one. It is clear his intent is to advocate for progressive causes and candidates. Rep. Honda is an imperfect yet good example of this, but he is not the focus of his message.

    Glen’s message is the kind that real change can grow from. Contrast this with Yogi’s message that clearly had no other intention than to centerpiece his candidate with nuanced talking points aimed at eliciting an emotional response. For the record, I found those speeches nauseating, not just in content but in tone. Khanna’s ‘progressive’ positions comes off as inauthentic, merely talking in hopes to drum up the support he needs from the working class people, the very people he really doesn’t understand. For me, they further reinforce why Khanna is not the right fit for congress.


  6. Ro is a very strong supporter of public schools. He has called for more funding for K-12, criticized the privatization movement, pointed out that he went to public schools like 90 percent of Americans, and has an agenda to increase teacher pay and fund special needs, music, digital literacy, art, and STEM.

    He is more progressive than Honda as he opposed No child Left Behind that made standardized testing the norm. Honda voted for it. Ro also has criticized Arne Duncan and race to the top. Honda hosted Arne Duncan in the district and supported race to the top. So the facts are Khanna actually is progressive.

    Yes he is getting money from many sources because beating an incumbent is very very difficult. But his donors have also given to Nancy Pelosi, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Elizabeth warren (many common donors).

    Of course he is not as pure as Sanders. But he is in the mainstream of the party. And Honda himself has taken over $280k from Wall Street money.

    Saying Ro should be punished for going to Yale wreaks of the white male privilege that Glen acknowledged. The Indian American community has never had a representative who was proud of their faith and heritage. There is a reason that Obama went to Harvard. Minorities need to have credentials of validation. Ro has overcome discrimination that he doesn't speak about. He has encountered voters who will not vote for him because he's Hindu or mistake him for Muslim (he's not, but that shouldn't be a factor). At some point, the party needs to wake up and realize that the South Asian community also deserves a seat at the table and is progressive. The largely white Santa Clara county and alameda county dem parties are so out of touch and deserve to be challenged. The attacks on Ro as not progressive reek of white male privilege.


  7. I'm going with Glen the Plumber on this one. Not sure why you chose to pit a citizen activist against a campaign operative, but it created a pretty telling contrast right off the bat: The guy representing the challenger comes across like an overconfident incumbent and the guy representing the incumbent like a scrappy but authentic underdog. Mr. Chugh sounds just a bit too polished and patronizing for my taste. I thought Glen the Plumber, though a bit rough around the edges, made his case more convincingly, because he brought in actual numbers and research, while Mr. Chugh kept trying to convince us that Ro Kanna really really has a heart of gold and we should trust him because he cares, his mother was a teacher and he went into debt to go to Yale. That may be the case, but as a voter I've found that the more personal stories you hear from politicians, the less relevant information you get about them in regards to what they would do in office. I'd rather take a look at the votes Mr. Kanna has taken on a City Council or State Assembly to verify his progressive bona fides…oh wait.


  8. I would understand this line of argument if Ro Khanna were running against a white guy, but against Mike Honda? I'm 100% in favor of having more minority representatives in position of power, but replacing one Asian American with another doesn't move us any closer to that goal, does it? Am I missing something here?


  9. The reply function on this page doesn't seem to work. My comment above was in response to this comment above:
    “Why are there so few people of color in leadership positions? Why are our Assembly members, Congress members, Senators, Board of Supervisors mostly white? It's because emerging minorities have been effectively shut out of the political process. Ro's candidacy is about changing that.”


  10. We really need to stop using terms like campaign operative in my view. It gives people the misimpression that there is some highly sophisticated thing going on behind the scenes.

    Really, it's not that complex. It's a marketing operation where the product is the candidate. People make some phone calls and hand out flyers. For real, even some well funded person like Khanna is not doing anything more than what a local pizza chain might do (seriously, Amici's pizza has a more sophisticated thought process and more delicious product I must say)

    it's not like people are pouring out of Google's campus and the Hindu temple to get Khanna elected…

    What is never going to happen is Tavares getting Honda to debate Khanna on this podcast. Tavares is just a freelancer trying to stir shit up and get scoops.

    The fact that this place is the only place where this is being covered speaks volumes. Nobody cares. Nobody even knows who these people are…seriously…

    It's a source of inefficiency for these campaigns bc they end up shadowboxing each other and in the process assume that anyone outside of the bubble is paying attention…


  11. Yogi Churgh interrupted Glen to repeat his attacks on Congressman Honda. By out shouting Glen and belittling his data, he drew attention away from the overwhelming data that Glen had suggesting that Wall Street and the Tech Industry executives are behind the Ro Khanna Campaign. One needs to realized how much help the Khanna Campaign has been in keeping the Ethics Issue in the Campaign. He makes the investigation with Trey Gowdy sound as if it is the Enron probe. Every other Khanna flier that lands in our Cupertino mailbox blasts Ethics investigation. Re the darkening of Ro's skin in an 20014 flier. In this area such a gesture makes no sense to the multi-shade Asians living in Cupertino. I have noted Ro's fliers have some pretty dark images of Ro. It is difficult to think of supporting the underrepresented workers here, because he did not last time. In the last campaign he was vocally for charter schools. The newspapers and city council that support him it is because they favor someone who is against labor. These endorsements were well orchestrated. Buying membership into the SCC Democratic club. Getting the membership list to invite possible pro tech people to endorse him. Ro Khanna cannot be trusted. He will say anything if a poll shows there is support for the cause.


  12. How sad. No discussion about:
    1) The federal government is bankrupt.
    2) Social Security, Medicare & Obamacare are Ponzi schemes.
    3) Illegal Immigration issues and Anchor Babies are killing our country.
    4) Education is a state and local issue. The federal government should not even be involved except in the most dire situations.
    5) Government does not solve problems, it creates them.
    6) We have to stay out of wars that are the request of Saudi Arabia (in THEIR best interest, not ours) and stop doing “regime change projects.”

    Nothing…no mention of these at all.

    Both Ro Khanna and Mike Honda will take their orders from Nancy Pelosi and vote, mostly on bills they have not even read.
    All the discussion was on minor side issues in a battle for the Democrat party that may be lead by not so honest, Hillary.

    Best of luck to the Dem party. When our economic bubble bursts and Social Security gets cut by 30%, you can look back on this podcast and remember that the issues discussed where nothing but drivel.

    Ron Cohen Republican Candidate for Congress CA#17


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