This is a sampling from Bay Area News Group's Political Blotter blog. Read more and post comments at www.ibabuzz.com/politics.

March 24

Rep. Mike Honda will not take part in a televised debate with his 17th Congressional District rivals that would double as the San Francisco Chronicle's pre-endorsement interview, a campaign spokesman said Monday.

"Congressman Mike Honda will be at the May 3 debate organized by the nonpartisan, community-based League of Women Voters," spokesman Vivek Kembaiyan said Monday. "This televised debate, which has been in the works for months, and which all of the CA-17 candidates have been invited to, is the only debate Congressman Honda will be participating in before the June 3 primary election."

The three League of Women Voters chapters sponsoring the May 3 event in Fremont are calling it a forum, not a debate; candidates there will not have any opportunity to question or respond to each other directly.

That sits poorly with Honda's Democratic challenger, Ro Khanna, who for months has been urging Honda to take part in debates.

Khanna said he has accepted an invitation to take part in a debate hosted by the San Francisco Chronicle, KPIX-TV and KCBS radio. Khanna spokesman Tyler Law said the debate will be conducted at KPIX's studios in San Francisco either on April 16, April 17 or April 23; the format will include opening and closing statements from the candidates as well as questions from local media panelists, voters and the candidates themselves.


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"Residents of the 17th District will benefit from an open debate, moderated by members of the local media, about who is the best candidate to address the unique challenges and opportunities facing our community," Khanna said in a statement issued Monday. "Voters are tired of old-style politics and campaigns that consist of little more than sloganeering and demagoguery. With the challenges our nation faces today, the people deserve better."

Republican candidate Dr. Vanila Singh of Fremont, who entered the race at the start of this year, still has not yet decided whether to take part in the May 3 League of Women Voters event or the Chronicle/KPIX/KCBS event, campaign manager Scott Luginbill said Monday.

Republican candidate Joel Vanlandingham of San Jose, who entered the race earlier this month, said he intends to take part in the League of Women Voters event but has not yet been invited to the Chronicle/KPIX/KCBS event.

UPDATE @ 2:23 P.M.: Kembaiyan notes Honda is scheduled to meet with the Bay Area News Group's editorial board in April, and campaign manager Doug Greven is talking with the Chronicle about seeking its endorsement, too.

March 27

A FoodCorps member helping Oakland public school students learn about healthy food will join first lady Michelle Obama to help plant the sixth consecutive White House Kitchen Garden.

Sarah Ting is one of six FoodCorps members taking part next Wednesday, April 2. Ting works with the Oakland Unified School District, where she teaches and collaborates with the Farm-to-School Supervisor on district level procurement for the National School Meal Program.

FoodCorps is part of the AmeriCorps Service Network. This nationwide program is dedicated to teaching children about healthy food, how it grows, and where it comes from, and ensuring they have access to these foods each and every day. Serving under the direction of state and community partners, FoodCorps members across the country dedicate a year of public service to help children grow up in healthy school food environments.

FoodCorps founders and students from Washington, D.C.'s Bancroft Elementary School and Tubman Elementary School, who have been active participants in the White House Kitchen Garden, also will take part in Wednesday's event.