The revolving door

This article represents a lapse of taste in a newspaper that is usually smarter than the ones that surround it in the northern San Joaquin Valley.

It's about the happy little, well, not quite so little, Cardoza family of Anapolis MD. Father Cardoza quit his seat as the region's representative in the House last summer. Gathered around the fire at Yuletide watcdhed CSPAN, Dr. Mama Cardoza asks the Great Man, "Aren't you glad you're not there?"

It's a touching little scene, just like they teach you in features class, I guess. 'Remember,' the instructor/editor says, 'tell me a story.'

OK. But how about it being the right story? Or at least not completely backwards?

Cardoza is still there. He quit last summer not to join the Los Angeles-based law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LL but the lobbying firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LL. If choosing the correct word and brevity still means anything at all in journalism he is not "a nonlawyer consultant for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which has a client base in health care, finance, technology, energy and transportation, among other fields."

He is a Washington lobbyist. The only photo that could tell this story would be the one of Cardoza the Shrimp Slayer/Pimlico Kid's ample posterior disappearing through a revolving door shere such animals go to graze behind closed doors after they've done their damage in the public's name.

No one did more than Cardoza in his capacities as a state assemblyman and US representative to create the public-private/ win-win/ anchor tenant for the suicidal residential construction growth in the north San Joaquin Valley, the siting of UC Merced, than Cardoza. We don't blame him personally. He would not have stayed in office long if he hadn't because -- at least it seemed that way at the time -- a significant force of the entire finance, insurance and real estate conglomeration of special interests was focused on his district.

CArdoza's view of his public trust did not extend to voicing any suspicions about the global fraud taking place. People in office who do that do not end up as "nonlawyer consultant(s) for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which has a client base in health care, finance, technology, energy and transportation, among other fields."

AS a result, we had to listen to several years of completely ineffective whining from his mouth as the three county seats in his district vied month after month for highest foreclosure per capita rates in the nation, now feature nationally recognized high unemployment rates and one of them has declared bankruptcy and the other two are perhaps not so far behind.

All that and thousands of empty homes not getting any younger.

Dennis cardoza's former congressional district is going to be an economic basketcase for the next 30 years.

The only thing that might have limited the damage somewhat would have been if he had not led the fight against compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act from early on, consistently, to the ruin of the land and of the economy. But Dennis's personal agenda involved getting back to Maryland, buying racehorses and cashing on being a bought-and-sold congressman for 10 years.
Now we will have three ex-congressmen meddling in the region's affairs: Cuelho, Condit and Cardoza. Nothing good for more than the usual suspects will come out of that.  Buying a member of Congress is an investment that just keeps on giving.

Badlands Journal editorial board


Stockton Record
Life away from Congress suits Cardoza just fine…Kevin Parrish
clip_image002Former congressman Dennis Cardoza retired last summer.CLIFFORD OTO/Record File 2012

The holiday season in the Cardoza household was merrier this past December.

A dusting of snow the day after Christmas, time off for both parents, an idyllic setting in rural Maryland and no late-night phone calls from the congressional leadership.

"My wife must have said to me 50 times, while she was watching my former colleagues on TV as they dealt with the fiscal cliff, 'Aren't you glad you're not there?' "

Highs and lows

Former Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Atwater, spent a decade in Congress representing the 18th Congressional District, which included Lathrop and areas of south and central Stockton. He will be remembered for helping establish the University of California, Merced. He regrets he couldn't do more to help ease the foreclosure crisis.

• Foreclosures: His efforts to get more attention from President Obama and the White House were ignored as was a proposal for a universal, 4-percent loan reduction. "That would have had a dramatic effect on the American economy. I know more now that I'm out of office about the forces that were arrayed against me on Wall Street. But the people of the Valley are still suffering."

• UC Merced: He was praised by colleagues in Washington, D.C., and Sacramento for being the strongest legislative advocate for the new campus. He was in California last week to be honored by the university for his efforts. "That's why I got into public service. That's what drove me."

The answer was always "yes" for Dennis Cardoza, the former Democratic congressman from Atwater who last summer walked away from California's 18th District seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

"Nothing was getting done. I knew about the fiscal cliff. I knew the farm bill wasn't going to get done," Cardoza said during a recent visit to the Valley. "It was not an easy decision, but my wife and I were facing challenges with our children."

A new, higher-paying position with the Los Angeles-based law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LL, has helped him meet those challenges. Cardoza is managing director in the government relations department and he is based in Washington, less than 25 miles from his home in Lothian, Md.

Cardoza and his wife, Kathleen McLoughlin, still own their home in Atwater. Both are 53.

McLoughlin is a physician and practices family medicine at the University of Maryland Medical Center.

"Kathy misses California," Cardoza said. "She's a great wife but not political. She tolerated what I did."

She left what Cardoza called a "Cadillac practice" in Merced to be closer to him.

"The reason we moved back East was for me," Cardoza said. "I used to fly home every Friday night and fly back every Sunday night. One weekend, she looked at me and said, 'You can't keep doing this. It's going to kill you.' "

These days, the family of five is together more and, more important, their time is less interrupted. While serving in Congress, particularly in the leadership positions Cardoza had earned, there was reason to worry about every phone call. "You never knew when you were going to be called back in the middle of the night."

Life is closer to normal now. Cardoza drives himself to work, regulates his workload and "couldn't be more happy." He describes the law firm as the best he could have chosen. He is a nonlawyer consultant for Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, which has a client base in health care, finance, technology, energy and transportation, among other fields.

The only thing missing, he said, are the constituents and connections he grew to love in the old 18th Congressional District.

"I love the folks in Stockton. The people couldn't have been nicer," Cardoza said. "I think about them every day."

He doesn't miss campaigning.

From afar, Cardoza watched incumbent Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, battle it out with Republican challenger Ricky Gill of Lodi for California's newly drawn 9th Congressional District seat.

"I was glad I wasn't in it," he said. "Every campaign is about personal attack and not policy. I looked at a lot of campaigns and ads. Both parties have got to clean up their acts. It's disgusting and destructive."

What does he miss most about living in Northern California?

» "Valley nights when it cooled off. The Delta breezes."

» "Boating on the Delta. I had my boat in Stockton for a year - swimming and fishing with my kids. It was the best of times."

» Fresh fruit and vegetables. "If I buy a sweet potato in Maryland, I look for where it was grown in the Valley. If I buy asparagus, I think of Stockton."

Cardoza admits his wife wants to move back. It may not happen anytime soon, but in a decade or so the family discussion about retirement may begin.

"We might keep our home in Atwater. We may look for a place on the coast. We may be out of sight to folks, but we haven't forgotten - and we won't."

U.S. Representative Dennis Cardoza Joins Manatt   
Veteran California Congressman, former Blue-Dog Coalition Co-Chair, State Assemblyman Brings Decades of Legislative Experience to National Practice; Will Serve Firm Clients in D.C. and Sacramento

WASHINGTON, Aug. 14, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, today announced that U.S. Congressman Dennis Cardoza (D-CA) has joined the firm as a Managing Director in the firm's rapidly growing federal government affairs and public policy practice. Cardoza, a former co-chair of the moderate Blue-Dog Coalition, key member of the House Agriculture and Foreign Affairs Committees, and former California State Assemblyman, will utilize his extensive federal and state government experience to advise and strategize with clients on agriculture, energy, foreign affairs and other legislative and regulatory matters. Cardoza will be based in Washington, D.C. but will advise clients facing issues in California and Washington.

Earlier this year Cardoza announced his plan to retire from Congress, where he has represented the 18th District of California since 2002. Cardoza holds a well-deserved reputation as a hard-working moderate with an impressive background that includes service as Chairman of the House Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Horticulture and Organic Agriculture in the 110th and 111th Congresses, and as the ranking member of the Agriculture Committee's Subcommittee on Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry in the 112th Congress, where he led the charge to solve the crisis that has plagued dairy producers and the industry in recent years. Cardoza was also a key member of the House Rules Committee, where he was able to play a role in virtually every piece of legislation that went before the House of Representatives.

"A lot of firms were recruiting Dennis, so we are doubly thrilled he will call Manatt home," said James Bonham , chair of the firm's Federal Government Affairs and Public Policy Group. "His expertise with California issues, as well as his deep experience and insight into both federal and state affairs, makes him a terrific resource. Our vertically integrated approach to federal, state, and local government relations in combination with our California heritage made Manatt a natural fit for Congressman Cardoza."

"This is a wonderful fit," said George Kieffer , Chair of Manatt's Government & Regulatory Policy Division and prominent California civic leader. "Dennis is unusually creative and has a proven reputation for getting things done. He's just very special."

Cardoza joins an impressive and growing national government practice at Manatt, with professionals who develop, advocate, and implement integrated business, legal, and government strategies and activities in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, New York City, Sacramento, and Albany. Members of the practice have served in leadership positions as United States ambassadors; presidential appointees; senior career federal and state government officials; senior congressional staff; state legislators, leaders, and staff; as well as positions in city and county governments.

"The Manatt connection to government is well known," said Cardoza, "and the firm's high-level advocacy, eminent reputation and strategic client counseling make this transition into the private sector an exciting one. I am pleased to join such a talented team."

Cardoza's arrival follows a number of other high-profile additions to Manatt's Washington office over the past year, including Richard Janis , one of Washington's most well-known and highly regarded white collar criminal defense lawyers with deep experience in congressional investigations and representations; Joel Ario , former director of the Office of Health Insurance Exchanges at the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, where he was in charge of implementing the creation of the new health insurance exchanges under the Affordable Care Act; strategist and advocate James Bonham , chair of the firm's Federal Government Affairs and Public Policy Group and a former Executive Director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and Chief of Staff to Rep. Robert Matsui ; and Julie Minerva , who has been listed by Washingtonian Magazine as one of "40 under 40" emerging lobbyists in Washington.

"As we continue to build on our core capabilities and strategically expand our Washington presence, the expansion of Manatt's government bench is a top priority. With his breadth of legislative experience and contacts, Congressman Cardoza is a perfect fit for our thoughtful, bipartisan team. He will bring invaluable strategic counsel to his colleagues and our clients," noted Manatt's Chief Executive Officer and Managing Partner William T. Quicksilver, "and we are thrilled to have him at Manatt."

During his five terms in Congress, Cardoza established a reputation as an effective, fiscally responsible legislator who delivered results for the 18th Congressional District. A leading member of the Blue Dog Coalition, Cardoza is known as a coalition builder who deftly brings opposing sides of the issues to the table.

Prior to serving in Congress, Cardoza spent six years in the California State Assembly, where he chaired the Rules Committee and helped forge the Moderate Democratic Caucus. A broad group of organizations honored Cardoza as Legislator of the Year for his efforts to cut taxes, help family farms, and promote education and children's safety.

Cardoza earned a B.A. from the University of Maryland and sits on the University of Maryland College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Board of Visitors. He also is a recipient of the UC Merced Chancellor's Medal.

About Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP, is one of the nation's leading law firms, with offices strategically located in California (Los Angeles, Orange County, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Sacramento), New York (New York City and Albany) and Washington, D.C. The firm represents a sophisticated client base – including Fortune 500, middle-market and emerging companies – across a range of practice areas and industry sectors. For more information, visit

SOURCE Manatt, Phelps & Phillips, LLP

PR Newswire (