Trump Son-in-Law Kushner to Lead a White House SWAT Team to Fix Government With Business Ideas

0

By Ashley Parker and Philip Rucker, The Washington Post

President Trump plans to unveil a new White House office on Monday with sweeping authority to overhaul the federal bureaucracy and fulfill key campaign promises — such as reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction — by harvesting ideas from the business world and, potentially, privatizing some government functions.

The White House Office of American Innovation, to be led by Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, will operate as its own nimble power center within the West Wing and will report directly to Trump. Viewed internally as a SWAT team of strategic consultants, the office will be staffed by former business executives and is designed to infuse fresh thinking into Washington, float above the daily political grind and create a lasting legacy for a president still searching for signature achievements.

“All Americans, regardless of their political views, can recognize that government stagnation has hindered our ability to properly function, often creating widespread congestion and leading to cost overruns and delays,” Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post. “I promised the American people I would produce results, and apply my ‘ahead of schedule, under budget’ mentality to the government.”

In a White House riven at times by disorder and competing factions, the innovation office represents an expansion of Kushner’s already far-reaching influence. The 36-year-old former real estate and media executive will continue to wear many hats, driving foreign and domestic policy as well as decisions on presidential personnel. He also is a shadow diplomat, serving as Trump’s lead adviser on relations with China, Mexico, Canada and the Middle East.

The work of White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon has drawn considerable attention, especially after his call for the “deconstruction of the administrative state.” But Bannon will have no formal role in the innovation office, which Trump advisers described as an incubator of sleek transformation as opposed to deconstruction.

The announcement of the new office comes at a humbling moment for the president, following Friday’s collapse of his first major legislative push — an overhaul of the health-care system, which Trump had championed as a candidate.

Kushner is positioning the new office as “an offensive team” — an aggressive, nonideological ideas factory capable of attracting top talent from both inside and outside of government, and serving as a conduit with the business, philanthropic and academic communities.

“We should have excellence in government,” Kushner said Sunday in an interview in his West Wing office. “The government should be run like a great American company. Our hope is that we can achieve successes and efficiencies for our customers, who are the citizens.”

The innovation office has a particular focus on technology and data, and it is working with such titans as Apple chief executive Tim Cook, Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Salesforce chief executive Marc Benioff and Tesla founder and chief executive Elon Musk. The group has already hosted sessions with more than 100 such leaders and government officials.

“There is a need to figure out what policies are adding friction to the system without accompanying it with significant benefits,” said Stephen A. Schwarzman, chief executive of the investment firm Blackstone Group. “It’s easy for the private sector to at least see where the friction is, and to do that very quickly and succinctly.”

Some of the executives involved have criticized some of Trump’s policies, such as his travel ban, but said they are eager to help the administration address chronic problems.

President Trump, center, talks with IBM chief executive Ginni Rometty, left, and senior adviser Jared Kushner, right, before speaking to business leaders at the White House on Feb. 3. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)

“Obviously it has to be done with corresponding values and principles. We don’t agree on everything,” said Benioff, a Silicon Valley billionaire who raised money for Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

But, Benioff added, “I’m hopeful that Jared will be collaborative with our industry in moving this forward. When I talk to him, he does remind me of a lot of the young, scrappy entrepreneurs that I invest in in their 30s.”

Kushner’s ambitions for what the new office can achieve are grand. At least to start, the team plans to focus its attention on reimagining Veterans Affairs; modernizing the technology and data infrastructure of every federal department and agency; remodeling workforce-training programs; and developing “transformative projects” under the banner of Trump’s $1 trillion infrastructure plan, such as providing broadband Internet service to every American.

In some cases, the office could direct that government functions be privatized, or that existing contracts be awarded to new bidders.
The office will also focus on combating opioid abuse, a regular emphasis for Trump on the campaign trail. The president later this week plans to announce an official drug commission devoted to the problem that will be chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R). He has been working informally on the issue for several weeks with Kushner, despite reported tension between the two.

Under President Barack Obama, Trump advisers said scornfully, some business leaders privately dismissed their White House interactions as “NATO” meetings — “No action, talk only” — in which they were “lectured,” without much follow-up.

Andrew Liveris, chairman and chief executive of Dow Chemical, who has had meetings with the two previous administrations, said the environment under Trump is markedly different.

After he left a recent meeting of manufacturing chief executives with Trump, Liveris said, “Rather than entering a vacuum, I’m getting emails from the president’s team, if not every day, then every other day — ‘Here’s what we’re working on.’ ‘We need another meeting.’ ‘Can you get us more input on this?’ ”

Kushner proudly notes that most of the members of his team have little-to-no political experience, hailing instead from the world of business. They include Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council; Chris Liddell, assistant to the president for strategic initiatives; Reed Cordish, assistant to the president for intergovernmental and technology initiatives; Dina Powell, senior counselor to the president for economic initiatives and deputy national security adviser; and Andrew Bremberg, director of the Domestic Policy Council.

Ivanka Trump, the president’s elder daughter and Kushner’s wife, who now does her advocacy work from a West Wing office, will collaborate with the innovation office on issues such as workforce development but will not have an official role, aides said.

Powell, a former Goldman Sachs executive who spent a decade at the firm managing public-private partnerships, also boasts a government pedigree as a veteran in George W. Bush’s White House and State Department. Bremberg also worked in the Bush administration. But others are political neophytes.

Liddell, who speaks with an accent from his native New Zealand, served as chief financial officer for General Motors, Microsoft and International Paper, as well as in Hollywood for William Morris Endeavor.

“We are part of the White House team, connected with everyone here, but we are not subject to the day-to-day issues, so we can take a more strategic approach to projects,” Liddell said.

Like Kushner, Cordish is the scion of a real estate family — a Baltimore-based conglomerate known for developing casinos and shopping malls. And Cohn, a Democrat who has recently amassed significant clout in the White House, is the hard-charging former president of Goldman Sachs.

Trump’s White House is closely scrutinized for its always-evolving power matrix, and the innovation office represents a victory for Wall Street figures such as Cohn who have sought to moderate Trump’s agenda and project a friendly front to businesses, sometimes in conflict with the more hard-line conservatism championed by Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus.

The innovation group has been meeting twice a week in Kushner’s office, just a few feet from the Oval Office, largely barren but for a black-and-white photo of his paternal grandparents — both Holocaust survivors — and a marked-up whiteboard more typical of tech start-ups. Kushner takes projects and decisions directly to the president for sign-off, though Trump also directly suggests areas of personal interest.

There could be friction as the group interacts with myriad federal agencies, though the advisers said they did not see themselves as an imperious force dictating changes but rather as a “service organization” offering solutions.

Kushner’s team is being formalized just as the Trump administration is proposing sweeping budget cuts across many departments, and members said they would help find efficiencies.

“The president’s doing what is necessary to have a prudent budget, and that makes an office like this even more vital as we need to get more out of less dollars by doing things smarter, doing things better, and by leaning on the private sector,” Cordish said.

Ginni Rometty, the chairman and chief executive of IBM, said she is encouraged: “Jared is reaching out and listening to leaders from across the business community — not just on day-to-day issues, but on long-term challenges like how to train a modern workforce and how to apply the latest innovations to government operations.”

Trump sees the innovation office as a way to institutionalize what he sometimes did in business, such as helping New York City’s government renovate the floundering Wollman Rink in Central Park, said Hope Hicks, the president’s longtime spokeswoman.

“He recognized where the government has struggled with certain projects and he was someone in the private sector who was able to come in and bring the resources and creativity needed and ultimately execute in an efficient, cost-effective, way,” Hicks said. “In some respects, this is an extension of some of the highlights of the president’s career

Your Editor Wonders: How far will Trump dare to go? 

GolTV Goes to Portugal

0

FocusOn Sports

20141215Pg7GolTV

GolTV, the bilingual soccer network, has secured broadcast rights to all home matches of Benfica, current league champions of Portugal’s top Primeira Liga.  GolTV also has signed a new deal to broadcast Everton TV, featuring matches of the English Premier League.

In the two-year Benfica agreement, GolTV will broadcast matches played at Estadio da Luz stadium in Lisbon, Portugal. With the addition of Benfica to the GolTV schedule, the network will now be broadcasting matches from four of the top ten countries in the FIFA rankings (Portugal, Brazil, Germany and Uruguay).

GolTV’s new Everton TV contract features a three-hour programming time-block that includes a pre-game segment, a match featuring Everton FC, one of the English Premier League’s top-ranking teams, and a post-game show.  Based in Liverpool,  Everton FC holds the EPL record of 110 seasons in the first division, and has earned nine Champions Leagues titles.

Both Benfica and Everton TV properties will be part of GolTV regularly scheduled matches.

Got Your Game Face On For Copa América Centenario?

0
Dieste is a leader in multicultural marketing and diversity in the workplace – and we have the faces to prove it!

 

Dieste gears up for Copa
Dieste gears up for Copa América Centenario*

Employees at Dieste, like the teams soon to vie over the Copa América Centenario, come from many places. Diversity is one of the things that make Dieste unique, with a variety of faces representing the U.S. as a whole. We thought it’d be exciting (and we’re not the only ones) to show off some of the countries we have a personal connection to by showcasing our pretty mugs wearing some of the participating national colors.

CopaCentenarioPhoto credit: Copa América Centenario

True, it’d be awesome if we have someone from every of the 16 countries playing (we’re looking at you Jamaica, Haiti, Paraguay, Bolivia and Panama) and we have many more people at our offices whose country won’t be at Copa América Centenario, but the point is: If you’re looking for a team deeply knowledgeable and committed to a multicultural audience, then look no further and visit us at dieste.com.

copa2

Why Should Marketers Care about Copa América Centenario?

  • It is the oldest international continental fútbol competition, celebrating its 100th anniversary
  • This is the first time the Copa is played outside of South America
  • The projected per game audience on Univision will be larger than the 2014 FIFA World Cup (the World Cup final set a U.S. record with 26.5 million viewers)
  • Virtually every major team of interest to U.S. Hispanics is represented
  • Star power – think Messi, Neymar, James, Chicharito, Dempsey. The top 10 players in Copa América have a combined 750 million follower fan base in social media
  • 32 games will be played in 10 of the largest U.S. cities in stadiums with 50K+ capacity

Don’t forget, Copa América Centenario kicks off this Friday with the U.S. playing Colombia. games will be played in 10 of the largest U.S. cities in stadiums with 50K+ capacity

Former world boxing champion vying to become Sacramento’s next mayor

0
Tony “The Tiger” López

Former world boxing champion vying to become Sacramento’s next mayor

Tony “The Tiger” López announced his candidacy for mayor in December

Understands he is going up against the political establishment

Wants to court the Latino community and become the second Latino mayor

It was the summer of 1993 when then world boxing champion Tony “The Tiger” López was in Africa for a month training for an upcoming bout with South African boxer Dingaan Thobela who held the WBA Lightweight Title belt.

López was staying at a hotel that made him feel like a tourist on an African safari. Lions, zebras and elephants grazed across an open terrain from the view of his hotel window. It was hot and humid and despite the long and arduous training sessions that ensued day in and day out, López’s mind often wandered outside the hotel gym and into his hometown of Sacramento, California.

On one of those occasions, he shared a surprising thought with his close friend-turned- Campaign Manager, Chris Collins.

He wanted to be Sacramento’s next mayor.

“He talked about it so many times after the first time he said it. It was a realization that he came to on his own terms. I got the sense that he wanted to do something great; something more for his community. As the years went by, I always asked him, ‘When is it going to be Tony? When are you going to do it?” said Collins.

López did not have a response.

“You get busy. Life goes on and you think about it and you say you are going to do it and then don’t do anything about it because you get busy again. I might have waited too long to run, but the idea never really left my mind so I finally thought, this is my chance,” said López.

In a surprise move last December, López, who has been a life-long Sacramento resident, a polished athlete, volunteer, investor, entrepreneur and quite arguably, one of the best boxers in the world having won the IBF junior lightweight title twice and the WBA lightweight title once, announced his candidacy for mayor of Sacramento.

“It is a defining moment for me,” said López in front of supporters at Vallejo’s Restaurant on 11th and O Street in Sacramento in December.

López is deeply rooted in Sacramento. He was born and raised near Power Inn Road and 47th Avenue in what is now known as Oak Park in South Sacramento. He lived in a small home with three other siblings: 2 boys and 2 girls.

I am running as a Republican and I am proud to be a Republican. Tony ‘The Tiger’ López

His father, Salomon López, Sr. was born in Michoacán De Ocampo, México and came to the United States at the tender age of 6. He eventually made a name for himself as a professional boxer, returning to México only to fight in the ring against his challengers, but eventually retired and worked as a machinist at a molding mill to support his family. He met his wife Rachel who was born in Woodland with roots in México City on a casual weekend outing. When they married, she worked at a candy store.

From a very young age, López was the kind of kid who liked to get into trouble.

He attended Luther Burbank High School and took a few courses at Sacramento City College, but never quite earned a university degree. He didn’t feel he had much direction in his life, despite the incredible work ethic that was instilled in him from a very young age. Since the age of 14, he has worked various jobs in construction, as a custom car painter, and autopolstery on custom cars.

At 17-years-old, his father kicked him out of the house for being “a travieso” (troublemaker). He didn’t come home one weekend and it upset his family.

Boxing was a family affair that he didn’t understand all too well. At least not until his eldest brother Sal decided to throw him into it headfirst. It was a well-known path already taken by his father that could help steer him in the right direction.

“It taught me a lot discipline, I can tell you that. And many more things, but mostly discipline,” recalls López.

His first bout was in Reno, Nevada when he was 10-years-old. He had trained for only three days before his brother and his trainer asked him to take part in the Junior Olympics Tournament— basically a place where dozens of amateurs from across the state where scheduled to convene. He didn’t know a single thing about boxing, except what he was able to pick up during occasional neighborhood street brawls.

“I just knew that I had to defend myself and fight. That’s it. So I watched what all the boxers around me did and I did the same thing. But, looking back, I don’t know what I was doing,” said López.

He also didn’t know what to wear. His family came from humble beginnings and had little money to spend, so he wore what he could afford: a cheap pair of white Kmart shorts that wrapped too tightly across his lower body, so he strapped his protector cup right over them. He put on a pair of Kmart tennis shoes that hid his ankle socks and draped a towel around his neck.

When the buzzer went off, López fell flat on his face.

“I had forgotten to tie my shoes,” said López.

Nonetheless, it was that solitary experience that not only earned him a trophy that night and the title of the best new fighter at the tournament, but it led to a successful 16-year career.

López went on to become a three-time world boxing champion with a record of 50 wins (34 by knockout), 8 losses and 1 draw. He fought some of the biggest names in boxing history like Joey Gamache, John Molina, Jorge Paez, Brian Mitchell, Greg Haugen, Freddie Pendleton and México’s greatest boxer of all time, Julío César Chávez Sr.

In 1988 he sold out what was then known as the ARCO Arena in a bout that was hailed by Ring Magazine as the “The Fight of the Year.” He retired in 1999 and opened his own bail bonds company located on F Street in downtown Sacramento.

At 52, López still shares his fondest memories of how he got started in boxing, how it has shaped him, what it has taught him and what it has done for him.

During the 1980’s and 90’s, he was at the peek of his career and a celebrity of sorts in Sacramento. Though the allure of his golden boxing days have somewhat dimmed, he continues to be a household name and is determined to put up a fight, only in a completely different— and foreign—ring: politics.

“I will be the first to tell you that I am not a politician. I’ve never been one, nor do I want to be one. I see what’s going on in Sacramento. I am not stupid. I keep up with the news even though you can only believe half of what is really going on,” said López in a sit-down interview with Vida en el Valle.

A politician thinks inside a box. But, I like to think outside the box. Tony ‘The Tiger’ López said
When Mayor Kevin Johnson announced he would not be seeking re-election this year, López saw an opportunity. He faces Democrats— former California State Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Sacramento City Councilwoman Angelique Ashby—both of whom have already secured significant endorsements, as well as homeless-housing activist Russell Rawlings.

Steinberg has already amassed $1.4 million in campaign funds, much of which he raised while he was in state office.

Your Editor asks:

Should more athletes, especially boxers, go politics?

Block title