Second Event of Leon Panetta 2015 Lecture Series Features Ben Jealous, Ray Kelly and Ken Salazar in a Discussion on Race Relations

Ken_Salazar, photo

Ken Salazar


Ray Kelly

Ben Jealous

Ben Jealous

The second event in the 2015 season of the Leon Panetta Lecture Series took place on April 20, a forum on Race Relations, featuring knowledgeable experts on civil rights, law enforcement and the criminal justice system.

Now in its eighteenth year, the lecture series is moderated by Secretary Leon Panetta and features nationally known speakers who focus on potential solutions, areas for compromise and ideas to move the country forward.

The forum on Race Relations featured Ben Jealous, former president and CEO of the NAACP; Ray Kelly, former commissioner of the New York City Police Department and Ken Salazar, former Colorado attorney general and U.S. Secretary of the Interior.

“Recent events in Ferguson, New York City and South Carolina raise serious questions about the state of race relations in America,” said Secretary Panetta. “What kind of changes in police procedures might help prevent such situations in the future? What role do education, family and jobs play in providing opportunity and hope to our youth? Can society ever achieve equal justice under the law?”

Upcoming lectures will focus on the economy (May 11) and cyber (June 1.)

Speakers appear before a live theater audience in Monterey, and the events are also broadcast live on television throughout California. For a broadcast schedule, click here.

In addition to the evening programs, Secretary Panetta and the distinguished speakers also meet with students from Central Coast, Santa Clara Valley and North Bay Area high schools, community colleges, universities and military institutions as part of the Lecture Series Afternoon Student Program. Thanks to the Leon Panetta Lecture Series sponsors, more than 700 students participated in the program last year.

Channel locations have changed from past years in Santa Cruz County.  Households in Santa Cruz County can watch or listen to the lectures live on the following media outlets: on Comcast, Channels 104 (Comcast Hometown Network), 108 ( California Channel) and 190 (KQED-DT World); on Charter, Channel 177 (California Channel); on AT&T U-verse, Channel 99 (Public Education Access — Select Monterey County Education Channel – MCAET from the drop-down menu). For more information call the Panetta Institute at 831-582-4200.

Secretary Panetta on CNN Describes Partisan Divide in Washington as a Threat to the Nation’s Security

Secretary Leon E. Panetta appeared on CNN’s “State of the Union” news program on February 15 to discuss the many global challenges facing security of the  United States today.

Speaking from The Panetta Institute for Public Policy, Secretary Panetta discussed with CNN anchor Jim Costa the need to confront terrorism abroad, but added: “You want to know what the biggest national security threat is to this country right now? It’s the total dysfunction in Washington, the fact that so little can be done by the Congress. They can’t even resolve the issue of Homeland Security. They can’t deal with budgets. They can’t deal with immigration reform. They can’t deal with infrastructure. They can’t deal with other issues.”

Secretary Panetta also commented on the need for America’s leadership globally. “If we stand aside, if we don’t get involved, if we don’t provide leadership, unfortunately, nobody else will, he said. “That’s why it’s important for us to take a leadership position here, both in Syria, as well as in Iraq, as well as elsewhere in confronting terrorism.”


Panetta Institute Honors United States Senator Ron Wyden, Representative Mike Rogers and CNN Correspondent Barbara Starr at Annual Jefferson-Lincoln Awards

Secretary Panetta with dinner honorees Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), CNN correspondent Barbara Starr and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

Secretary Panetta with dinner honorees former Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI), CNN correspondent Barbara Starr and Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR).

The fifteenth annual Jefferson-Lincoln Awards: An Evening to Honor Lives of Public Service was held November 8, 2014  at The Inn at Spanish Bay at Pebble Beach. This year’s honorees were United States Senator Ron Wyden, former United States Representative Mike Rogers and CNN Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr.

Commenting on the honorees, Institute Chairman and Co-Founder Leon E. Panetta said, “with growing unrest throughout the Middle East, the crisis in Ukraine, the threat posed by the Islamic state, those in elected offices owe it to our men and women in uniform to reach across party lines and to lead in the best interest of our nation. Senator Wyden and Representative Rogers understand their role as public servants and have shown time and time again their commitment to country above party. CNN’s Barbara Starr has dedicated her career to ensuring the Americans are properly informed about our nation’s defense. During these perilous times, their contributions are more essential than ever.”

The annual event honors policy makers and journalists whose work best exemplifies dedicated effort on behalf of the public good. The event is the Institute’s major fundraiser for the year, with monies raised going to support the Institute’s mission to inspire men and women to lives of public service.

Jefferson-Lincoln honorees are selected by a special committee consisting of former United States Senator Nancy Kassebaum Baker, former United States Representative Lee Hamilton, Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Panetta Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta.

Secretary Panetta Joins News Anchor Judy Woodruff on PBS World News Tonight

pbs-PANETTASecretary Leon Panetta, along with former National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, appeared on PBS World News Tonight on January 23 to discuss the latest developments in the Middle East with news anchor Judy Woodruff.

“I worry a great deal about the crisis that we’re seeing in the Middle East,” Secretary Panetta said. “There are just too many flash points that are going on all at the same time.”

Ms. Woodruff and Mr. Hadley both have been participants at Panetta Institute programs in Monterey. Ms. Woodruff has appeared as both a guest and moderator at the Leon Panetta Lecture Series, and was the recipient of the annual Jefferson-Lincoln Award honoring public service in 2007.  Mr. Hadley, who served in the George W. Bush administration, appeared on a Lecture Series panel in 2011.

Law Students in Research Fellows Program for 2015 Meet With an Array of Public Officials as a Key Element of Their Studies

Five law-school students from the Santa Clara University School of Law have completed their semester of study in the Panetta Institute’s spring 2015 Policy Research Fellows Program.

liebertIn addition to working on site at the Panetta Institute gaining first-hand experience and instruction in policy research and assisting the Institute with research and analysis on issues relevant to its work and mission, the law students met in special seminars with visiting experts for discussions about issues currently facing public officials regionally, statewide and nationally.

Institute Chairman Secretary Leon Panetta was among those meeting with the students, as well as other experts, including John Laird, California Secretary for Natural Resources; State Senator Bill Monning; Drew Liebert, Chief Counsel, California Assembly Judiciary Committee; Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz County supervisor; Steve Isenberg, former publisher of New York Newsday, a university professor and former chief of staff to New York City Mayor John Lindsay; and Fred Keeley, former state Assemblyman.

The Policy Research Fellows Program, instituted in 2006, was originally organized for three to four students. For the 2014-15 academic year, however, nine exceptional candidates applied for the program. “Rather than deny a qualified candidate of this important opportunity,” said Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta, “we made room for one more student and accommodated ourselves to the increased popularity of this fellowship.” Four students had completed fellowships in the fall of 2014.

Fellows also conducted research in support of the Leon Panetta Lecture Series and assisted in the creation of academic materials for use by the schools that participate in the Lecture Series Afternoon Student Program

Fellows work under the direction of Panetta Institute staff and attorneys. Following completion of the program, fellows receive academic credit for their work. Working with them were Bill Daniels, a local attorney, Dr. Richard Kezirian, the Institute’s professor and senior program coordinator and Ellen Wilson, program coordinator.

One of the research fellows from 2014 said she appreciated the selected subject matter. “When I was younger I wanted to work for the government but then felt disenchanted growing up. But my experience here has reignited my interest in public policy and government work.”

The Policy Research Fellows Program started in 2006, and since then, fifty-six students have completed their semester of service, receiving academic credit from their host schools.

Applications for the 2015-2016 program are due this spring to Santa Clara University School of Law.

Secretary Panetta’s Worthy Fights Remains a Best-Seller as Community Members Attend Book-Signing at Casa Munras Hotel

worthySecretary Leon E. Panetta’s best-selling memoir, Worthy Fights, remains on the best-seller list, and local community members were invited to a special book-signing at the Casa Munras Hotel and Spa in Monterey, on Tuesday, November 11, 2014.

Worthy Fights is an account of Secretary’s Panetta’s varied career, from his days as an aide to California Senator Tom Kuchel through his service ultimately as director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense for President Barack Obama. The memoir is one of the most-discussed books of 2014.

Secretary Panetta chronicles his early years growing up on the Monterey Peninsula and progresses through his career in public service, a journey that began as an army intelligence officer and continued all the way to his service as the nation’s twenty-third Secretary of Defense.

The 472-page memoir reflects on the Secretary’s varied career, as a Republican aide in President Richard Nixon’s Health Education and Welfare Department, a sixteen-year Democratic party leader in Congress, director of the Office of Management and Budget, White House Chief of Staff and as well as as director of the CIA and Secretary of Defense.

Worthy Fights is an overview of Secretary Panetta’s values, which he describes at length. He makes the case that political leadership should be more about serving the public than it is about partisan battles, and how he learned the principles of integrity early in his career.

The memoir also details how Secretary Panetta and his wife Sylvia founded the Panetta Institute for Public Policy as part of their ongoing belief in the value of public service. In addition to being a reflection on his fifty-year career, Worthy Fights is a blueprint for effective leadership in the public arena, with real-world examples of how a public servant can be a successful advocate without losing his or her commitment to the principles of plain-spoken values and integrity.

Secretary Panetta Receives Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award

Secretary Leon E. Panetta received the Ronald Reagan Peace Through Strength Award at a special ceremony following the second annual National Defense Forum November 15, 2014 at the Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley. Participants in the day-long forum included then-Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates. Army General Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, delivered the keynote address.

Others who spoke included Admiral James Winnefeld, Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; General Joseph Dunford, Commandant, United States Marine Corps; Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations; Deborah Lee James, Secretary of the Air Force and Jeh Johnson, Secretary of Homeland Security.

Secretary Panetta and United States Senator John McCain were honored for their exemplary dedication and service in the defense of the United States and its people. The award is presented byThe Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation, a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the legacy of Ronald Reagan and his principles of individual liberty, economic opportunity, global democracy, and national pride.

Secretary Leon E. Panetta Honored With Distinguished William J. Donovan Award

11Secretary Leon E. Panetta received one of the nation’s highest honors, the William J. Donovan Award, which was presented in October, 2014 at the annual dinner of The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society in Washington, D.C.

The OSS Society celebrates the historical accomplishments of World War II’s OSS — the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency and United States Special Operations Forces — and educates the American public about the importance of strategic intelligence to our national security.

The William J. Donovan Award is named after the founder of the OSS, Major General William “Wild Bill” Donovan. General Donovan is the only American to have received our nation’s four highest awards, including the Medal of Honor. He served as an assistant United States Attorney General, the United States Attorney for the Western District of New York, a personal advisor to President Roosevelt before and during World War II, and an assistant to the chief prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials.

The William J. Donovan Award is given each year to an individual who has rendered distinguished service in the interests of the democratic process, the cause of freedom and has exemplified General Donovan’s tradition of public service.

Secretary Panetta joins a list of notable national figures who are past recipients, including Presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush; Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher; and CIA Directors Allen Dulles, Richard Helms, William Colby, William Casey and William Webster; and Nobel Prize laureate and diplomat Ralph Bunche.

At the dinner, the OSS Society presented the following video account of Secretary Panetta’s long and honorable career:

Panetta Institute Calls for More Community Volunteers in Literacy Initiative

The Panetta Institute is reaching out to the business community for its help in volunteering for the Panetta Institute’s longest-running program, Monterey County Reads.

“By committing to just one hour a week, volunteers can achieve life-changing benefits for children – the same people that will be serving their communities in just a very few years,” said Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta.

rhonda_reading_to_boyResearch shows that raising the reading level for children by the end of third grade can permanently improve their learning skills, as well as make a difference in achieving success as adults.

“That’s why the business community has become an enthusiastic partner in our efforts,” added Mrs. Panetta. “They understand that by offering help at this early stage of a child’s development they’re helping a child develop strong roots in their community. Our goal at the Institute is to prepare young people for public service, and by helping children at this basic level, the community is helping to provide the building blocks for the next generation of leaders.”

Employees from Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital are among those from the business world who have joined in volunteering for Monterey County Reads, participating along with high-school and college students, military personnel, retirees, parents and members of religious and service organizations.

“The need is now — more than ever before,” said Mrs. Panetta. “The mark of a successful program is that we continue to need new volunteers.”

Many volunteers return year-after-year, taking note of the differences they’re making in young people’s lives. Monterey County Reads continues to serve more schools every year. Many of those schools say they need more volunteers to accommodate the needs of the children who need help the most.

Now in its eighteenth year, Monterey County Reads organizes regular one-to-one reading sessions with specially selected children in the early elementary grades. Since the program’s inception, more than 2,800 volunteers have read with 14,000 children for nearly 112,000 hours.

One volunteer reacted to his experience this way: “It’s exciting to watch a child have a new world open up to him just by simply reading a story. It’s the most rewarding project I’ve ever been involved in.”

In April 2013, Monterey County Reads, along with the Leon Panetta Lecture Series student program, was selected to receive the Excellence in Education Award by the Monterey County School Boards Association. The program was recognized by the association to have a significant, transformative impact on students’ education and/or well being, and exceeding expectations in pursuit of addressing unmet student needs.

For more information about volunteering or helping the program through a donation, please call the Panetta Institute

Click here to learn more about this program and how you can help.

Secretary and Mrs. Panetta Honored at 98th Annual Italian Community Services Celebration

Secretary Leon E. Panetta and Mrs. Sylvia Panetta were honored with the Distinguished Service Award by the Italian Community Services (ICS) organization at the group’s ninety-eighth anniversary dinner on November 2, 2014 in San Francisco.

ICS President Luigi E. Pinotti said Secretary and Mrs. Panetta were honored as founders of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, “for their contribution to the community and for promoting the traditions of excellence that Italians and Italian Americans have based their successes on.”

Founded in 1916 by leading members of the San Francisco Italian community, such as A.P. Giannini, Marco Fontana and Andrea Sbarboro, the agency’s services help Bay Area Italian-American men and women by offering a variety of health and social services. Through educational and cultural programs, ICS also works to preserve the Bay Area’s strong Italian traditions, language and culture to ensure they remain a source of strength and identity for this and future generations.

Panetta Interns Complete Assignments in Congressional Offices

2014 Congressional interns with Secretary Panetta on the Capitol steps.

2014 Congressional interns with Secretary Panetta on the steps of the United States Capitol.

Participants in the sixteenth annual Congressional Internship Program have returned home from Washington D.C., after their eleven-week assignments in Congressional offices. While in the nation’s capital, interns also attended weekly seminars with a variety of government officials and other experts from a variety of disciplines.

Interns were enthusiastic in their response to what some called a life-changing experience. “My work in the nation’s capital taught me about how legislation is crafted and it imparted to me a new appreciation of public service,” said one student.

“We are proud that our program has earned the reputation of being one of the finest internship programs in the nation,” says Secretary Panetta.

To earn that reputation, the Institute prepares interns from twenty three CSU campuses, as well as Dominican University of California, Saint Mary’s College of California and Santa Clara University, by conducting extensive educational programs at the Institute in August. Each intern is then assigned to work for two and one-half months in a Capitol Hill office of a member of the California congressional delegation. During their eleven-week service as congressional interns, participants also attend weekly seminars led by a variety of government experts.


Vice President Dan Quayle was among the speakers to the interns.

Among those conducting the seminars for the class of 2014 were Pat Griffin, former assistant to the president for legislative affairs and a partner at GriffinWilliams, LLC; Alice Rivlin, former director of the White House Office of Management and Budget and senior fellow of the Brookings Institution; Tom Daschle, former United States senator from South Dakota and chair of the Center for American Progress Board of Directors; Norman Ornstein, resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute; Michèle Flournoy, chief executive officer of the Center for a New American Security and former undersecretary of defense; and Bill Lowery, former congressman from California and principal, Innovative Federal Strategies, LLC.

Secretary Panetta met with interns both in Washington and at the two-week preparation session at the Institute in August.

Secretary Panetta advised the interns on the importance of making decisions and being willing to take a risk — both in governance and in one’s personal life. “When you are afraid to make a decision or to take a risk,” he said, “that’s when you fail — and that’s when you fail to get things done.”

Former Vice President Dan Quayle was among the many government and political leaders who also met with participants at the Institute.

During their internship, interns worked full-time in the Congressional offices of the California delegation, for members of both parties. Their daily tasks ranged from answering constituent phone calls and opening mail to conducting tours of the Capitol and attending hearings to take notes.

“These are tomorrow’s leaders,” said Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia M. Panetta. “The program helps prepare them right now to find ways to contribute to the public good.”

Panetta Institute Survey Cited in Report on ‘Civility in Politics’ Conference

A recent conference at University of California, San Diego explored the issue of civility in American political discourse, and a writer covering the event cited a Panetta Institute survey revealing that college students may be turning away from political news even while they remain interested in getting involved in public service.

Writing for the website Independent Voter Network (IVN) about the Conference on Ethics, Transparency and Civility held on October 16, UC San Diego graduate Nancy Phung described a panel discussion about the news media’s focus on conflict and the impact it has on young voters.

She cited the Panetta Institute 2014 Survey of America’s College Students that showed “that only 25 percent of college students say they are paying ‘very’ or ‘fairly close’ attention to news about the 2014 elections.” She also quoted the report’s conclusion that “gridlock between the political parties” concerns more than fifty percent of students.

Her coverage of the conference is in line with the Institute’s survey showing that despite the disenchantment with media coverage of politics, students are actually more inclined than in the past to consider running for public office themselves, particularly at the state or local level.

In Ms. Phung’s article, Todd Gloria, San Diego City Council president, said:  “I speak to a lot of young people and it is very interesting to me that by and large they don’t have a great deal of respect or interest in politics because they think it is a dirty business. … And yet, they are deeply involved in their communities in community service and engagement.”

The Independent Voter Network (IVN) is a website that provides a platform for unfiltered political news and policy analysis from independent-minded authors.

The Panetta Institute conducts a periodic Youth Civic Engagement Survey, a nationwide poll gauging young people’s interest in politics and civic involvement.

Secretary Panetta Tells ‘60 Minutes’ That Battle Against Terrorists Will Be a Long-Term Commitment

Former Defense Secretary Panetta said that arming moderate Syrian rebels "would have helped."

Former Defense Secretary Panetta said that arming moderate Syrian rebels “would have helped.”

Former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta appeared on CBS News’ “60 Minutes” on September 21, 2014 to explain that the United States’ battle against the extremist group ISIS will not be finished anytime soon.

CBS News Anchor Scott Pelley asked Secretary Panetta how long it might take to destroy ISIS. Secretary Panetta said, “I think it’s going to take a long time. And, I think the American people need to know it’s going to take a long time.”

The interview with Secretary Panetta was one segment of an in-depth look at some of the recent territorial gains made by ISIS, as well as graphic scenes depicting the horrors that have been inflicted on the people of Iraq and Syria.

The 60 Minutes interview also gave a glimpse into Secretary Panetta’s book, Worthy Fights, in which the Secretary writes that he, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CIA Director David H. Petraeus and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey all urged President Barack Obama to arm moderate Syrians who had started a revolution against dictator Bashar al-Assad.

“The real key was how could we develop a leadership group among the opposition that would be able to take control,” said Secretary Panetta. “And my view was, to have leverage to do that, we would have to provide the weapons and the training in order for them to really be willing to work with us in that effort.”

imagesSecretary Panetta discussed the president’s decision not to intervene, saying: “I think the president’s concern, and I understand it, was that he had a fear that if we started providing weapons, we wouldn’t know where those weapons would wind up. My view was: You have to begin somewhere.”

Asked whether arming rebels would have been effective, Secretary Panetta said: “I think that would have helped. And I think in part, we paid the price for not doing that in what we see happening with ISIS.”

In the interview, Mr. Pelley also asked Secretary Panetta about unrest in Iraq and the pullout of American troops in 2011. “It’s a tragic story,” he said. Rather than leaving Iraq, “I really thought that it was important for us to maintain a presence in Iraq. The decision was that we ought to at least try to maintain 8,000 to 10,000 U.S. troops there, plus keeping some of our intelligence personnel in place, to be able to continue the momentum in the right direction. And frankly, having those troops there, I think would’ve given us greater leverage on (former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki) to try to force him to do the right thing as well.”

Prime Minister Maliki, Secretary Panetta said, “had the opportunity to kind of hold all of this together. (But he) just turned on the Sunnis, fed into the historical sectarian divisions that have marred that country for centuries. And basically undercut and undermined the security force in Iraq and created, I think, the very ingredients that led to what we see today in Iraq.”

Secretary Panetta concluded: “We gave (Iraq) a chance. I mean, you know, nobody can guarantee that Iraq would be able to go in the right direction. But we gave them a chance. We gave them the tools. But instead, he turned to vengeance. And vengeance never pays off.”

Secretary Panetta Emphasizes the Role of Reading in Helping Young People Achieve the American Dream

Secretary Leon E. Panetta was the keynote speaker at the Volunteer and School Recognition Ceremony for Monterey County Reads on Friday, September 12, 2014 as 180 volunteers were honored for their dedication in helping children achieve grade level literacy skills.

Secretary Panetta talks with a volunteer about reading

Secretary Panetta talks with a volunteer about reading

Secretary Panetta looked back on his own education on the Monterey Peninsula and told the honorees, “The key to success in America is opportunity for all. But the key to success is a good education, and the key to a good education is the ability to read. And all of that is the American dream.”

Secretary Panetta recalled going to Catholic school and going to the old Monterey Library, where there was a program in which adults read books to children. He still recalls his favorites — a book series called the Dave Dawson series along with books by John Steinbeck and Jack London.

“Those were great books that opened up a world to a young boy. And that’s what reading is all about. The whole purpose of reading,” he said, “is to develop the whole mind of our children.”

He observed that today’s high-tech world has many gadgets, however, “I just want to remind all of us that those are tools. They don’t replace the brain.”

What Monterey County Reads is all about, he said, “is to give young people a chance.” The result, he said, will be “that we always have a democracy that is of the people, by the people and for the people.”

Volunteers, School Officials Honored for the Continuing Success of Monterey County Reads

The Panetta Institute honored 180 volunteers in the Monterey County Reads program at its Volunteer and School Recognition Ceremony on Friday, September 12, 2014. The Institute also paid tribute to the forty elementary schools who welcome volunteers into their classrooms and whose teachers and administrators help make the program possible.

Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Kotowski discusses reading as Mrs. Panetta looks on.

Monterey County Superintendent of Schools Nancy Kotowski discusses reading as Mrs. Panetta looks on.

This Volunteer and School Recognition Ceremony, held at the Monterey Peninsula College Marina Education Center, was in honor of those whose outstanding work helps local elementary school children improve their reading skills. Volunteers received certificates of recognition along with special pins, while participating schools also received a certificate honoring their important participation and support.

Following the keynote address by Secretary Leon E. Panetta, the master of ceremonies for the event, Panetta Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta, told the audience, “Monterey County Reads is a tremendous example of the power of partnerships to improve our communities and protect the well being of our children. This program brings together members of the community from diverse backgrounds with schools and struggling young readers in order to give our youth the gift of literacy. We salute their commitment and hard work and recognize their service and accomplishment.”

The ceremony also featured remarks from a reading volunteer, a school site-coordinator and the Monterey County Superintendent of Schools.

Mrs. Panetta honors Patricia Zuniga, Santa Rita School site coordinator

Mrs. Panetta honors Patricia Zuniga, Santa Rita School literacy coach.

Now in its eighteenth year, Monterey County Reads volunteers continue to work with children throughout Monterey County. These volunteers include parents, business owners, members of religious and service organizations as well as high school, college, university and military students, to name some. Volunteers receive training from literacy specialists, followed by on-site orientations before beginning regular one-to-one reading sessions with specially selected children in the early elementary grades. Since the program’s inception, more than 2,800 volunteers have read with 14,000 children for nearly 112,000 hours.

The Volunteer and School Recognition Ceremony is sponsored by the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, the Monterey County Office of Education and the Monterey County Reading Association.

Department of Interior Aide Recalls How Congressional Internship Program Led to His Career in Washington

Steven Avila and President Obama

Steven Avila and President Obama

Steven Avila, a former participant in the Panetta Institute’s Congressional Internship Program, is now a special assistant in the Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs at the United States Department of the Interior. And he credits both the Panetta Institute and California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) for giving him this “incredible opportunity.”

Writing for the online website CSU Voices and Views, Mr. Avila tells how as a new student at CSUMB, he received information in his student mailbox about the Institute’s Congressional Internship Program that “changed my life forever.”

Every year, the program sends one student from each of the twenty three CSU campuses, as well as Dominican University of California, Saint Mary’s College of California and Santa Clara University to Washington D.C. to intern with a member of Congress from the California delegation.

“I remember thinking, ‘Wow, this is an unbelievable opportunity, too bad I don’t have a chance’,” Mr. Avila recalled.

“But one application, several group interviews, and some essays later, I was selected to represent CSUMB in the 2010 Panetta Internship class,” he continued. “It was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. Working on Capitol Hill, living in Washington and being surrounded by the most dedicated, hard-working people I had ever met confirmed to me that I had to dedicate my life to public service.”

After returning to CSUMB his senior year, he applied to the White House Internship Program. After graduation, he was offered a job within the Obama administration as a senior analyst in the Office of Presidential Correspondence. After two years at the White House, he was hired at the Department of the Interior.

“Despite all its dysfunction, Washington is a wonderful place to meet brilliant people attempting to do some pretty amazing things,” said Mr. Avila. “We are all driven by different interests, but by working together on behalf of our fellow citizens, we can truly make this country the best that it can be.”

He added: “I never would have been on this path had it not been for my internships and the education I received while at CSUMB. I’m grateful for the opportunities I have had, and I will never forget them, but I am even more excited to see what is in store for the future.”

Secretary Panetta Honored by Santa Cruz County Red Cross

Secretary Panetta accepts award from Red Cross Board Chair Rick Martinez

Secretary Panetta accepts award from Red Cross Board Chair Rick Martinez

Secretary Leon E. Panetta was presented the Humanitarian of the Year award by the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Red Cross at its annual “Celebrate the Red” gala on September 27, 2014 in Santa Cruz.

Secretary Panetta was honored for his determination to help the citizens of the Central Coast region following the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. Looking back at the extensive loss of life and property, the Red Cross took the opportunity, on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the disaster, to recognize Secretary Panetta for his work in securing immediate relief aid as well as long-term assistance during the long aftermath of the 6.9-magnitude quake. Red Cross officials recalled that then-Congressman Panetta was instrumental in working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), along with about ten other local, state and federal agencies, to obtain disaster funding and direct assistance to help communities receive the resources they needed to begin the recovery process.

In accepting his award, Secretary Panetta recalled the extensive damage across the region and how the Red Cross was quick to respond. He said that time and again the Red Cross has come to the aid of the people of the Central Coast, which he is “proud to call home.” He also acknowledged other Red Cross programs within the United States and abroad, including disaster relief, safety training and “serving in something particularly close to me, military families, military forces and our veterans.”

Secretary Panetta also remembered how those most affected by the quake and its aftershocks grew increasingly frustrated with the red tape resulting from the bureaucracy created by the different agencies involved in the recovery. He said he met weekly with the representatives of “all those agencies in one room” so that they could work cooperatively with one another. “We had those meetings every Saturday for a number of months.”

He also reiterated his commitment to the greater Monterey Bay region and said that his “proudest achievement” was his role in establishing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Below is a video of Secretary Panetta’s speech:


In Memoriam: Bob Antle, Panetta Institute Vice Chair

AntleBob Antle, vice chair of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy Board of Directors, died on Sunday, August 3, 2014, with his family at his side. He was 78.

“Bob was a lifelong friend and supporter of the Panetta Institute,” said Chairman Leon E. Panetta. “He was a great force for good in agriculture and in the community. The success of the Panetta Institute is in large measure due to his leadership, loyalty and generosity.”

“Bob Antle was a key member of our board for so many years,” said Panetta Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta. “As a board member and chair of the nominating committee he gave us hour upon hour of his time, contributing his expertise in helping us to meet our goal of encouraging and preparing young people to enter into public service.”

More than 1,000 members of the community paid tribute to Mr. Antle at a memorial service on August 10 at the World Theater at California State University, Monterey Bay.

Secretary Panetta spoke about Mr. Antle in a deeply personal tribute at his memorial service by saying: “Bob had the compassion of a Democrat, the business sense of a Republican and the heart of a patriot.” He added: “He had big arms, a big smile and a big heart used to embrace life itself — his family, his community and his fellow human beings.” For the complete text of his remarks, click here.

Mr. Antle was co-chair of Tanimura & Antle, the Salinas-based grower and shipper company and was well known for his philanthropy in the Monterey Bay area.

A native of Watsonville, Mr. Antle graduated from Stanford University and shortly thereafter began working in his family’s lettuce business with his father, Bud, and his grandfather, Lester, in 1949. In 1966, he moved to the East Coast to establish the House of Bud, a fruit and vegetable wholesaler.

After the death of his father in 1972, Mr. Antle became chief executive officer of the Bud Antle companies. Six years later, those companies merged with Castle & Cooke, now Dole Food Co.

In 1982, Mr. Antle and his sons, Mike and Rick, formed Tanimura & Antle with George Tanimura and other Tanimura family members. The partnership joined the Antles’ packing and shipping expertise with the Tanimuras’ growing experience.

Mr. Antle was the recent recipient of the Grower-Shipper Association’s E.E. (Gene) Harden Award for “lifetime achievement in Central Coast agriculture.” This honor was given for his lasting and significant contributions to agriculture as well as his extensive and longtime generosity to many philanthropic and educational institutions and endeavors throughout the Monterey County community.

In 2009, Mr. Antle was awarded the Ben Heller Award by the Center for Community Advocacy for his courage and leadership in supporting farm workers.  In 2013, the Silicon Valley Monterey Bay Council of the Boy Scouts honored him with The Growing of Future Leaders Award.

Mr. Antle was also president of Southern Arizona Ranch Co. LLC,; president of Pinnacalitos Chalone LP; past president of the President’s Council at California State University, Monterey Bay; and founding president of Central Coast Water Quality Preservation, Inc. He also actively supported the University of Arizona. In March 2005, he was appointed to the California State Senate Commission of Agricultural Worker Housing & Health. He was a recipient of an honorary doctorate degree from California State University, Monterey Bay, and the Community Foundation for Monterey County honored both Mr. Antle and his wife, Sue, with the 2010 Distinguished Trustee Award.

Mr. Antle is credited with several industry innovations, including the introduction of field-wrapped fresh vegetables in 1960; the development of distribution centers for wrapped lettuce and other source-packaged fruits and vegetables in 1965; and the production of crop transplants in 1970.

Mr. Antle is survived by his wife, Sue; two sons, Rick and Mike; two daughters, Kathy Della-Rose and Karen Hebl; a brother, Kenneth; and 21 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Services were August 11 at the World Theater, California State University, Monterey Bay. Contributions are preferred to the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, 100 Campus Center, Building 86E, CSUMB, Seaside, California, 93955; the Bob Antle Scholarship Fund, c/o CSUMB 100 Campus Center, Seaside, California, 93955 or The Salvation Army of Monterey, 1491 Contra Costa Street, Seaside, California, 93955.

Secretary Panetta Throws Out First Pitch at AT&T Park Prior to Giants-Dodgers Faceoff

mlbf_36246087_th_2Secretary Leon E. Panetta, a longtime San Francisco Giants fan, took the mound at San Francisco’s AT&T Park and threw out the first pitch before the  September 13, 2014  battle between the Giants and longtime rival, the Los Angeles Dodgers.

After first donning his orange and black Giants hat and being introduced to a cheering crowd of more than 42,000 fans, Secretary Panetta strode out to the perfectly groomed mound and tossed his pitch to the plate. The Giants didn’t respond that night to Secretary Panetta’s right-handed delivery, as the Dodgers prevailed, but things turned around shortly thereafter, as the orange-and-black made it all the way to win the World Series over the Kansas City Royals.

Panetta Institute Survey Shows Students Increasingly Disenchanted With National Leaders; Turning Inward From World Yet Interested in Elective Office

A new national survey for the Panetta Institute for Public Policy shows United States college students turning away from international issues and entanglements and increasingly dissatisfied with the country’s political leadership, yet more inclined than in the past to consider running for public office themselves, particularly at the state or local level.

Only 39 percent of students in the survey say they are satisfied with America’s political leadership while 60 percent are dissatisfied – a major shift from five years ago, at the start of the Obama administration, when 73 percent said they were satisfied with the country’s political leadership and 25 percent were dissatisfied.

At the same time, student interest in some day holding a federal elective office climbed to 29 percent in this year’s survey, up from 25 percent in 2012, and to 38 percent for running for state or local office, up from 30 percent two years ago.

The findings come from a study the Panetta Institute has commissioned in the spring since 1999, looking at U.S. college students’ views and attitudes on subjects ranging from their political preferences to their personal economic prospects to interest in public service, along with a variety of domestic and international policy issues.

“Like most Americans, college students appear to have grown weary of United States involvement in foreign conflicts and are reluctant to commit further resources to solving other countries’ problems,” says Institute Chairman Leon Panetta. “While they’re more interested in getting through school and finding a job, it’s important that they care about solving problems here and abroad.”

For more on the latest Panetta Institute for Public Policy’s National Survey, click here.

Institute Professor Honored With Monterey Peninsula College Foundation President’s Award

Dr. Kezirian, left, with MPC President Dr.Walter Trimbley

Dr. Kezirian, left, with MPC President Dr.Walter Trimbley

Dr. Richard Kezirian, senior program coordinator and professor at the Panetta Institute, has been named as the honoree of the Monterey Peninsula College Foundation President’s Award for 2014.

He was recognized May 16 at the eighth annual President’s Address to the Community. Dr. Walter Tribley, superintendent/president of Monterey Peninsula College, presented a “State of the College” address highlighting the college’s successes and future plans at the event.

The program included the presentation of the President’s Award to Dr. Kezirian, in honor of his contributions to the community, as well as helping the college’s mission of providing educational opportunities to all. The event was held at the Monterey Conference Center.

At the Institute, Dr. Kezirian teaches and moderates Institute classes and conducts research for courses. As part of the Leon Panetta Lecture Series, Dr. Kezirian leads mid-week seminars for selected students and presents lectures during the afternoon student program for high school and university students. He also helps coordinate the Congressional Internship Program and Leadership Seminar and serves as moderator for classes in these programs as well as teaching some of the individual seminars.

Dr. Kezirian began his teaching career at MPC in 1971. He has also taught at the Monterey Institute of International Studies and the Naval Postgraduate School. Now professor emeritus at Monterey Peninsula College, he is the author of American History: Major Controversies Reviewed, a textbook that has been used at numerous colleges and universities. He has also written op-ed articles for many California newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times, San Diego Union, Fresno Bee and Monterey County Herald.

He was the recipient of the 1986 Allen Griffin Award for Excellence in Teaching  awarded by the Community Foundation for Monterey County and a three-time winner of the Monterey Peninsula College Honor Society’s Teacher of the Year Award. Dr. Kezirian earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, all in the study of history, at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

The Monterey Peninsula College Foundation President’s Award was established in 2007 and awarded at the first annual President’s Address to the Community. From 2007 until 2013, seven awards have been given to outstanding individuals who are committed to education and have worked to further the interests of the college and the communities served by Monterey Peninsula College.

The selection committee is made up of recipients of the President’s Award, the executive director of the Monterey Peninsula College Foundation, and the superintendent/president.

Young Monterey County Reads Volunteer Honored With Jefferson Award

Gabriel Howard, a student at California State University Monterey Bay and a longtime volunteer with in the Panetta Institute’s Monterey County Reads program, has been honored with a Jefferson Award from television station KSBW for his work at area elementary schools.

Mr. Howard earned the award while still a student at Monterey High School and a member of the school’s Naval Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps (NJROTC).

“The idea is service above self,” said Paul Tanks, NJROTC commander at Monterey High, “and Gabe epitomizes that.”

As a volunteer with Monterey County Reads, Mr. Howard volunteers by reading with students at Ord Terrace Elementary School in Seaside.

Through the Monterey County Reads Program the Institute trains and places community volunteers throughout Monterey County. Volunteers receive training from literacy  specialists, followed by on-site orientations, before beginning regular one-to-one reading sessions with specifically selected children in first through third grades.

“Gabe was in the NJROTC for four years,” said Commander Tanks, “so I watched him progress from a little kid no bigger than the kids he’s reading to all the way to a mature young adult.”

In addition to his volunteer work with Monterey County Reads, Mr. Howard serves at his church and in the Boy Scouts. He also been an assistant basketball coach at San Carlos School in Monterey. “I can’t even begin to name off all the organizations for which Gabe has volunteered,” said Commander Tanks.

The Jefferson Awards is a nationwide program which has 110 media partners in approximately 70 communities across the country. KSBW is among major local newspapers, television and radio stations that honor local volunteers.  Six volunteers including Mr. Howard in the Monterey Bay area were selected by KSBW for the honor in 2014.

Sylvia Panetta Serves as Ship Sponsor as she Christens the USS Milwaukee; Command and Crew Hosted by Institute in Monterey

USS Milwaukee is launched

USS Milwaukee is launched

Panetta Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta recently christened the USS Milwaukee at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Wisconsin, marking an important milestone for the United States Navy’s littoral combat ship (LCS) program.

Then, in March, eight crew members from the ship visited Mrs. Panetta and the Institute, first attending the Leon Panetta Lecture Series at the Monterey Conference Center and then visiting the Institute itself on the California State University, Monterey Bay campus.

Lecture Series moderator Secretary Leon E. Panetta introduced the command and crew to enthusiastic applause at the March 10, 2014 lecture. The next day, they met at the Institute for a luncheon, followed by a tour of the Institute with Secretary and Mrs. Panetta.

Three officers from the ship returned to the Panetta Institute in June for the annual Leadership Seminar, a program for student body office-holders from the twenty-three campuses of the California State University system and three private universities. The three speakers, CDR. Michael Brasseur, commanding officer, CDRs. David Adams and Ken Bridgewater, executive officers, coached students on building and leading a high-quality team.

Mrs. Panetta at the christening

Mrs. Panetta at the christening

“After our warm reception at the christening and launch of the USS Milwaukee,” said Mrs. Panetta, “It was a pleasure to host these fine young men and women here in Monterey. It is a true privilege to serve as the sponsor for the USS Milwaukee as it begins its journey of service and commitment to our powerful fleet,” she added. “I am proud to support the ship and its crew over the course of service as this vessel leads with strength and protects our freedom.”

The ship is expected to be delivered to the Navy in 2015 following acceptance trials. At that time, Mrs. Panetta will participate in the ship’s formal commissioning ceremony, which will take place in Milwaukee.

2014 Student Leadership Program Continues its Focus on Ethics and Compromise

A celebrated program for student body presidents and other elected student body officers from the California State University system and three private universities concluded its fifteenth session at the Panetta Institute this June. The diverse group of student leaders spent eight days at the Institute for the comprehensive program on leadership from experts in a variety of fields. An impressive list of leaders shared their experiences and their strategies for success with participants in the program.

Entitled Education for Leadership in Public Service, the program features workshops on strategies for ethical compromise, putting leadership theory into practice, insiders’ tips on successful management and achieving goals, understanding modern media, and tips on policy-making.

“Today’s youth and their ability of engage in our democracy and give back to their communities will determine whether America experiences a new Renaissance or becomes a nation in decline,” explained Institute Chairman Secretary Leon E. Panetta. “The work of the Panetta Institute is to educate and inspire young men and women to lives of public service. This seminar provides a foundation for principled leadership that these motivated young people can take back to their campuses, share with their fellow students, and apply to their future participation in our democracy.”

This year’s program included a panel discussion on policymaking at the local level featuring leading Monterey Bay area city officials, including Mayor Jason Burnett of Carmel-by-the-Sea, Mayor Joe Gunter of Salinas and city councilwoman and former mayor Hilary Bryant of Santa Cruz.

Also participating in this year’s program were three commanding officers from the USS Milwaukee, a combat ship recently launched at the Marinette Marine Corporation shipyard in Wisconsin and christened by Panetta Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta earlier this year. The three officers coached students on building and leading a high-quality team.

Secretary Panetta spoke to the students about the key qualities of political leadership; how to put theoretical principles into practice and the lessons learned from his career in public service.

This special course was developed in 1999 by a blue-ribbon panel of public officials and academic leaders in response to the findings of the Institute’s national survey of college students, which showed alarmingly low levels of student interest in government and public service.

One student at the 2013 leadership program, Brianna Fennell of Dominican University, commented: “This week has expanded my knowledge, my speaking skills, my friendships and just changed me as a person. I will be forever grateful for this moment in my life.”

Former Monterey City Manager Fred Meurer Joins Institute to Head Development of New Panetta Institute Center

Fred Meurer

Fred Meurer

Former Monterey City Manager Fred Meurer has joined the Panetta Institute to direct an initiative to create a new center for the Institute. Mr. Meurer will also guide the development program to help fund its construction.

The center is planned to be built on the campus of California State University, Monterey Bay.

In announcing the appointment, Institute Chairman Leon E. Panetta said, “Fred Meurer was part of the initial concept development and fund raising effort that created California State University, Monterey Bay after the closure of Fort Ord. I believe that Fred can help Sylvia and me take the Institute to an expanded role in public service and policy development for the community and the nation.”

Institute Co-Chair and CEO Sylvia Panetta noted that she and Secretary Panetta recruited Mr. Meurer to join the Institute because of a long-standing working relationship.  “We have a very high level of trust and confidence in Fred’s technical, organizational and leadership abilities,” said Mrs. Panetta.  “In addition to the technical skills Fred possesses, he has been a guest instructor/presenter for classes at the Institute in strategic planning, leadership, municipal finance and public administration. His passion for public service, coupled with his curriculum and teaching experience, will be very helpful in developing a new center to respond to the future requirements of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy.”

Mr. Meurer recently retired from the City of Monterey after nearly twenty-eight years of service as the city’s public works director and city manager. While with the city, he was intimately involved with the planning and fund raising for the Monterey Sports Center and a later expansion of the Sports Center. He also managed the planning and execution of the construction of Window on the Bay Park, the Cannery Row garage, the recreation trail and a number of other projects in the city.

Prior to going to work for the City of Monterey, Mr. Meurer was the public works and housing director at Fort Ord.  During his time at Fort Ord, he was responsible for the planning, construction and operations of all of the facilities at Fort Ord, the Presidio of Monterey and Fort Hunter Liggett.

“I am very excited to be returning to my roots at Fort Ord,” he said, “and to have the opportunity to be part of the Panetta Institute, working with Leon and Sylvia Panetta who understand leadership and share an exciting vision for the future.”

Mr. Meurer graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1966. He graduated from Stanford University with masters degrees in construction management and in water resource planning in 1971.

Contact Us

The Panetta Institute for Public Policy
100 Campus Center, Building 86E
California State University, Monterey Bay
Seaside, California 93955

Phone 831-582-4200
Fax 831-582-4082

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