<![CDATA[NBC Bay Area - The Interview With Raj]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbcbayarea.com/feature/the-interview-with-raj http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/nbc_bayarea_blue.png NBC Bay Area http://www.nbcbayarea.com en-us Fri, 25 Apr 2014 02:12:04 -0700 Fri, 25 Apr 2014 02:12:04 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[The Interview: Barry Bonds]]> Fri, 14 Mar 2014 07:38:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/03-13-2014-bonds-interview.jpg

When it comes to Barry Bonds, there is no orange and black.

It's simply gray. He's a polarizing superstar who's still villainized by many because of his role in the steroids era of baseball.

Even now, years removed from the spotlight, Bonds says he feels like he was unfairly targeted.

"It doesn't take one person to cause too many problems. I think it takes two, three, four, five," Bonds said. "It’s time to start over and start something different."

Starting over is hard to do, not just for Bonds, but for the game he cheated and the countless people he alienated.

Back in 2005, during the height of the steroid scandal, he lashed out at the media.

"All of you lied. All of you have said something wrong. All of you have dirt. When your closet's clean, then clean somebody else's," he yelled during a press conference.

Those explosive days are over. The soon-to-be 50 year old is fresh off his second divorce. He's looks noticeably slimmer and sounds more engaging and humble.

"I was going through a lot in my life in that time, and like I said no one is above trials and tribulations and I went through them and  it was good," Bonds said during an exclusive one-on-one interview. "It was a time I don’t want to think about, but you know I got through it and it’s time to move forward in and you always have to move forward in life. You can’t always sit back and think about the past so, I’m ready to go forward."

With time to reflect on his days playing for the Giants, he sees himself as two people.

"I had two personalities," Bonds recalled. "I needed that one guy to play. That was the one character that was always over here."

The crazy character is still there Bonds admits.

"He’s still crazy, he just toned it down, but he can come out every once in a while if he has to, but it’s only in competitive things."

Even now, Bonds doesn't apologize for his attitude on the field. He saw it as part of his job as one of the best hitters in baseball. Now he just wants to help the Giants any way he can.

For now, that means spending a week in spring training as a hitting coach.

"I’m here to help these guys," Bonds said.

As far as the impact he's had on the game of baseball, Bonds took his role very seriously.

"I wanted the person who sat up in the upper deck to enjoy himself. I wanted that person two hours or three hours into the game to be awake and excited. I felt like that’s what we owed. To perform that was our job, that was our duty and I wanted to perform and that’s what I wanted to do," Bonds said.

Perform he did, but while many question whether he deserves to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his mind there's only one answer.

"Without a doubt," Bonds said. "Without a doubt."

<![CDATA[The Interview: Dr. Paul Kalanithi]]> Fri, 21 Feb 2014 20:47:47 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/212*120/022114-Kalanithi.jpg

Dr. Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon at Stanford Medical Center, is used to looking at CT scans of countless patients. What he's not used to, is looking at his own, but that's what he did 8 months ago. His CT scan showed that at age 36 and never having smoked a day in his life, he had stage four lung cancer. "When I first saw my scan, I thought I didn't have very long for this world," Dr. Kalanithi said.

As a neurosurgeon, he's acutely aware of dealing with life and death, but now he's dealing with his own life and death. A few weeks ago, Dr. Kalanithi wrote a powerful and personal essay, called "How long Have I Got Left," which was published in The New York Times. While he couldn't answer that question, Dr. Kalanithi had a clear idea of his next steps."Prepare to die. Cry. Tell my wife that she should remarry." Dr. Kalanithi wrote in his essay. When asked about those words he said, "That was my initial reaction, word for word. One of the differences about being a doctor and patient simultaneously was I could see the CT scan and I wasn't having anyone break the news to me."

Since his essay was published last month, Dr. Kalanithi has received thousands of emails from around the world. "There was a period of time I was getting literally a new email every two minutes, and I was trying to write back to them, and you'd see my little Gmail counter going up as I was typing," Dr. Kalanithi said. In one email, one person wrote, "Your mantra of 'I can't go on, I will go on' perfectly describes my daily choice. Thank you so very much for sharing your living experiences."

Another person emailed him writing, "While I don't face anything remotely mortal like you, as a deeply depressed person, your words hit far closer to home than I expected."

Eight months since his diagnosis, Dr. Kalanithi continues to 'go on.' He has responded well to treatment, and has returned to work and the operating room doing what he loves to do. "I'm fortunate enough that I've had such a good response to therapy that it seems very plausible that I'll be doing it for the next X number of years."

To watch the full interview with Dr. Kalanithi, click on the video player at the top of the page.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Kristi Yamaguchi]]> Wed, 19 Feb 2014 21:21:40 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/raj_kristi.JPG

Her dazzling spins and jumps on the ice in 1992 catapulted Kristi Yamaguchi into stardom.  Now, 22 years later, the Olympic gold medalist dazzled her daughters by decorating her East Bay home with life sized cutouts of Harry Potter characters for a recent birthday party. It's proof that when Yamaguchi sets her mind to something, be it figure skating or planning a kids birthday party, she does it 100%. What she didn't plan however, was falling in love and marrying retired hockey star, Bret Hedican. "I never knew who I would marry, probably skater wasn't high on my list," Yamaguchi said. "Definitely hockey player was very low on the list."

From skating to dancing and everything in between, the 42-year old Fremont native is very honest about the Olympic lifestyle. "I wouldn't say it's easy, it's never an easy road," Yamaguchi said. "I think there are adjustments and there are things you have to be ready for in life, but I was lucky to be surrounded by a lot of great people."

Knowing the good and bad of competing at an elite level gives Yamaguchi a unique perspective when helping her daughters decide what's right for them. "If my daughters decide to skate, and actually the younger one does skate recreationally now, I'd be like o.k. lets try it," Yamaguchi said. "If she really wanted to be competitive I would sit her down and tell her this is what it takes. I'm certainly not going to push either one of them in that direction because I want them to find their own path."

As sweet and geunine as Yamaguchi is, she says she can get mad. Click on the video link at the top to see Raj's full interview with Kristi and what can set her off.


<![CDATA[The Interview: Michael Bauer]]> Fri, 14 Feb 2014 20:25:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/021414-bauer.jpg NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai goes behind the scenes with the San Francisco Chronicle's food critic, Michael Bauer.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Brian Boitano]]> Fri, 07 Feb 2014 21:13:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/02-06-2014-interview-boitano.jpg

Brian Boitano was thrust into the public spotlight 26 years ago when he won the gold medal in figure skating at the Calgary Winter Olympics.

It's a moment he'll never forget.

"There's no better feeling than you're literally looking back at what you just did and saying, 'I did it' and it was the most important night of my life," Boitano said.

Striking gold in 1988 allowed him to build the Boitano brand, which includes a professional skating and a TV career on the Food Network and HGTV.

While he travels around the world much of the year, when Boitano is at his San Francisco home, he likes his privacy.

But Boitano's private side was made public when President Barack Obama named him to the U.S. delegation for the Sochi Olympic games. He told NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai he wasn't planning on coming out as gay, but now looks at it as an opportunity.

"It's literally our president sending a message of tolerance and diversity to another country, and basically saying we as Americans are moving forward and if you don't keep up with us, we're going to move forward without you," Boitano said.

Boitano said he didn't have much time to think about what being named to the U.S. delegation would mean: five hours to be exact. He now hopes, with this side of him being revealed, people won't simply see him as a gay Olympian.

"I've seen a lot of people that are so accomplished come out, and the first thing people classify them as is as a gay individual, and I think people want all of their accomplishments and all the different parts of their life to be valued, and it is," Boitano said. "It's a great part of my life, but it is one part of my life. I am so many things."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: SF D.A. George Gascon]]> Fri, 17 Jan 2014 20:59:52 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/0118-GeorgeGascon.jpg

He's a high school dropout who's been elected to one of the most high profile and powerful positions in the state.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon is one of the most interesting Bay Area public figures, and he doesn't hold back speaking out about his convictions and defending his stance on controversial issues.

Gascon says it comes from his background, as a Cuban immigrant who didn't speak any English when fled from his homeland in 1967, and moved to Southern California.

He dropped out of high school and was on a very different path until he enlisted in the military.

"I went on to get a GED and got into the military and it was in the military that I got my high school diploma and started going to college," Gascon said. "My mentors were superior officers that saw in me probably something I wasn't seeing anymore."

Gascon also is the very first police chief in the country to become an elected district attorney and while some people may see that as a conflict of interest, Gascon sees it as a benefit.

"I was probably one of the harshest critics of bad police practices even when I was inside policing. For those who knew me well, they saw it as a really good thing," Gascon said.

Other detractors criticize him for never trying a case. "My answer to that is there are airlines that are run by people who have never flown a commercial jet, but they're good business people that know how to run large organizations. There is a distinction between being able to do some work at the ground level and being able to run a large organization."

Like any good politician, Gascon can be self deprecating, even about one of his most talked about features, his hair. "My mother would try to control my hair, Vaseline and hair spray and all that stuff," Gascon said. "I'm not going to say that I'm not using any products, then I'd be lying to you. My hair is just very unruly by nature."

Photo Credit: Liza Meak]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Trevor Traina]]> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 20:41:36 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/traina.JPG

Trevor Traina made millions in technology, but in his case, he had big money before he even graduated from elementary school.

Traina was born into one of San Francisco's oldest old-money families. He's the son of the late John Traina and Dede Wilsey and former stepson of novelist Danielle Steele.

"I'm actually a fifth-generation San Franciscan," Traina said. "My family came here during the gold rush and for me it's just home." 

While his home may be among the most expensive in San Francisco, the 45-year old San Francisco native is spending lots of time at his latest start-up, IfOnly.com.

"If Only is really my fifth company, all based here in San Francisco," Traina said. "I'd sold my last company and I was really looking for something interesting and meaningful to do, and I do a lot of philanthropy, and I like to live experientially and I thought what if I could pull that together, create a store and offer experiences with the world's top talents and a meaningful percentage of every transaction would go to charity."

To be clear, this is a for-profit business, but Traina said that on average 70 cents on the dollar goes to charity. It also allows Traina to use his connections to help connect celebrities to everyday people.  

"Let's pick a band you've always loved. If you have $30, we can have them sign a pick for you. If you have $100, they'll sign the set list. If you have a few hundred dollars, you can meet them after the concert," Traina explained.

To critics who complain that Traina got handed his successes, he says just look at his resume, not his pedigree. "There might be a few photos of me at black tie dinners floating around, but the reality is that I've founded five companies now, sold four companies, created literally hundreds of jobs and that's my day job and I've always had a day job."

<![CDATA[The Interview: Jimmy Fallon]]> Mon, 17 Feb 2014 16:44:23 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/fallonspotlight.jpg

The Tonight Show is a dream job for any comedian, but as a computer science major in college, Jimmy Fallon never considered it a possibility.

"My dream job was to work at IBM," Fallon said, semi-seriously. "That was my actual dream job." 

Fate had other plans, and next February, he'll be taking the reins from Jay Leno.

"I've been friends with Jay since before I was doing the talk show," Fallon said.

"When he was ready, he called me up and said this is going to be my year, so I said OK, and then of course everyone started calling from NBC and I'm calling Jay saying what do I do, asking for advice."

As much as he's asking for advice, he's embracing his role in television history.

"Someone said to me the other day that more people have walked on the moon than have hosted the Tonight Show, so I said in my case I've done both."

Fallon was born and raised in New York, but his wife grew up in Marin County. "She talks about Marin all the time, whenever she sees anything on TV, a movie she recognizes, she says 'I used to go there,' Fallon said.

The couple welcomed a baby girl, Winnie Rose, to their family five months ago, and like any new father, Fallon couldn't help but show off photos and videos of her from his iPhone.

"This is her passport photo," Fallon bragged. "She's like I don't want to leave this country. Leave me alone, I don't want to leave my crib." 

Photo Credit: Rory Campbell]]>
<![CDATA[INTERVIEW: Judge Walker Reflects on Historic Prop 8 Case]]> Fri, 22 Nov 2013 20:03:35 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/112213-judge-vaughn-walker2.jpg

Retired Judge Vaughn Walker may no longer be on the federal bench, but with his signature baritone voice, he still commands attention.

Now in private practice, he looks back at his time as a judge for the Federal District Court with pride, particularly for one of his last cases, Prop 8. "There was an 'Oh blank' moment," Walker said. "I knew it was going to be a hot potato, it would draw a lot of attention. In addition, I had made up my mind that I was going to leave the bench." When the Prop 8 case came up, he decided to put off retiring until after ruling on the case.

As with all federal cases, Prop 8 was randomly assigned to Walker and he took what some people saw as an unusual step of conducting a trial. "In retrospect, the decision to conduct a trial was the right decision because it brought forth issues and brought forth facts in a way that never could have been in an appellate type proceeding," Walker said.

The issue of Prop 8, which banned same-sex marriage in California got personal for Walker, who is gay and in a long-term relationship. "It was quite widely known and indeed publicized during the trial itself and the proponents of Prop 8 said they were not going to raise the issue," Walker recalled. "Well, I figured that was their public position and they would stick to it, but when the judgment went against them, they decided to change their mind and raise it."

Looking back now, Walker sees it as what he called a bit of a Hail Mary. "It's never a good thing to try and disqualify a judge after you've lost." He says he never gave serious thought to recusing himself. "I didn't want to leave the impression that a gay judge couldn't decide on an issue touching on gay rights impartially in the same way that an African American judge cannot be required to recuse himself or herself on the issues of race or a female judge from a gender case." 

Walker wanted to have the trial televised as part of a pilot project the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals approved, but the Supreme Court pulled the plug. As a result, screenwriter Lance Black wrote a play based on the trial transcripts.

"In L.A., Brad Pitt played the judge and the irony of this is that undoubtedly far more people saw that play, which was taken directly from the transcript of the trial than would have ever sat through all three weeks of the trial itself," Walker said. "That was an unintended and somewhat surprising benefit of the Supreme Court decision not to allow video transmission of the Prop 8 trial."


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: UC Regent Sadia Saifuddin]]> Mon, 18 Nov 2013 06:37:14 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/sadia.JPG

The UC system is known for its student diversity, but when 21-year-old Sadia Saifuddin was nominated as the newest UC Student Regent, she came under intense criticism.

As the first Muslim student regent she knew there would be controversy.

"I definitely knew there would be some people who were uncomfortable because of the way that I look, or my identity, or my politics," Saifuddin said. "I never knew it would be an outright defamation smear campaign in the media. I didn't expect people would be writing letters against my nomination."

MORE: Despite Criticism, UC Regents OKs Muslim Student

Her politics include co-sponsoring a UC student senate resolution, which called on the UC system to divest money from companies that do business in Israel.

"I am not anti-semitic," Saifuddin said. "I have a large number of Jewish friends I work with on a day-to-day basis. I'm on great terms with the rabbi at Hillel at Berkeley, and I know these are just things that people are going to say, and they're just trying to defame my character and who I am because they are uncomfortable with what the new face of leadership looks like."

Saifuddin isn't the only new face on the UC Board of Regents. UC President Janet Napalitono has big ideas, and so far Saifuddin is impressed.

"She has made some big moves, including the tuition freeze, that cannot be overlooked. Her allocation of $10 million dollars to graduate student support and $5 million dollars for undocumented student support is a step in the right direction," Saifuddin said, but she acknowledges not all students feel the same way she does. "I really appreciate that she's coming from a place where students are feeling a little uncomfortable about her background, but she's willing to do what she can to alleviate the tension and really figure out solutions to the request that they're making."

Saifuddin won't become a voting member of the board until June of 2014.

<![CDATA[The Interview: Randi Zuckerberg]]> Fri, 08 Nov 2013 21:35:26 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/1108-randi.jpeg

When Randi Zuckerberg meets you for the first time she greets you with a wide grin and firm handshake. She is completely at ease with who she is, even though she may be best known as Mark Zuckerberg's big sister. After leaving Facebook two years ago, she launched a media company and has now written two books, one for adults and one for kids, both aimed at preventing your life from becoming what she calls dot complicated.

Critics of Zuckerberg's adult book, "Dot Complicated: Untangling Your Wired Life," have said she's telling people to get off Facebook, but she insists that's not true. "Facebook is a huge part of my life. I think it's an incredible tool to connect via family, friends all over the world. It's amazing," Zuckerberg said. "What I am a proponent of though is using tech meaningfully and thoughtfully. I think tech provides great opportunity when we use it thoughtfully, but it can also veer us a little far off the end if we just use it as a habit."

While at Facebook, the 31-year old managed huge marketing projects, including a town hall meeting with President Obama. It was immediately after that event Zuckerberg dropped a bombshell on her brother. "I just sort of blurted it out that I thought I was ready to leave," Zuckerberg said.  "It's just one of those moments where you say something and you're like 'Oh words go back in, go back in!' It had clearly been in my mind for a long time in my heart. I'm so grateful to have the experience that I had at Facebook. I'm so grateful for my brother for including me on this amazing journey, but it was also really important to me to make a name for myself too. That's something you'll read in the book is a lot of my own struggles with loving Facebook, but not wanting to always be Mark Zuckerberg's sister." You'll also read a lot about how to navigate through this modern online world. 

The two books were released this week. 


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: BlogHer Co-founders]]> Sat, 02 Nov 2013 20:49:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/11-2-2013-blogher.jpg

At a time when so much is being said and written about the lack of  women in tech, three Bay Area executives are breaking stereotypes.

Lisa Stone, Elisa Camahort Page, and Jory Des Jardins realized the power women possessed online and harnessed it into BlogHer, one of the most popular websites in the country.

"It's amazing," said Stone, BlogHer's CEO. "We started out trying to answer the question, Where are the women who blog? And now in the past five years, we've paid out $25 million to 5,000 women, and some men, who write their own great stories, blog, and have their own following from social media."

BlogHer is not just a website. The three co-founders realized women need a place to be able to network, and now their annual BlogHer conference is a big part of their company. Last year, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg was the keynote speaker, and in 2012 President Obama addressed the conference via satellite.

"We covered the Republican and Democratic national conventions in 2012, like we always do," Stone said. "And to have the president come and speak at our conference, at a time when we are very upfront that we are a very nonpartisan content organization because our bloggers are so partisan, is a validation of how important the woman's vote is."

As the three top executives at a successful tech company, these women credit their own hard work with helping them make it to the top.

"We bootstrapped for two years before we went out for funding, and that means we had revenue streams," said Elisa Camahort Page, BlogHer's COO. "We had an operating plan that was based on reality, so we walked in the door with a lot more leverage, a lot more power for the conversation."

Just as rare as women leading big businesses is three women who have led it together for nearly a decade and still get along.

"It's like a marriage," said Jory Des Jardins, the company's President of Strategic Alliances.

They also never lose site of their company's mission.

"There is a shared desire to see women reach their potential online. We know that they're there and we all three believe in it, because that's what we were doing before we started the company," Des Jardins said. "We all are just as geeky as the rest of the community we serve."

And that community will be coming to San Jose this summer for the BlogHer '14 conference.

For Camahort Page, it's a fitting way to celebrate the company's 10th anniversary.

"We're super excited to come home and really celebrate what this community has accomplished in 10 years, and they've accomplished getting their words out there, creating a whole new livelihood, creating a whole new way of actually contributing to your income, and contributing to your family's income. It's a brave new world for individuals who want to not have to go through those gatekeepers to craft a life that works for them."

<![CDATA[Sen. Dianne Feinstein Reacts to Govt. Shutdown]]> Wed, 16 Oct 2013 19:45:33 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/Sen+Dianne+Feinstein.jpg

Though the Tea Party is getting most of the blame, one of the most powerful politicians in the country is saying that all the political parties should be ashamed tonight.

Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein is not mincing words. She spoke on the senate floor earlier today about the financial impact the government shutdown has had on so many workers who live paycheck to paycheck.

NBC Bay Area asked Sen. Feinstein if she agreed with Sen. John McCain who called the shutdown shameful.

"Well, yeah I do because it's all needless. I mean keeping the government running and paying our bills, ought to be pretty simple direct things to do," she said.

You can watch the rest of her exclusive interview with Raj Mathai above.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Reza Aslan]]> Sat, 12 Oct 2013 16:29:16 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/Reza1.JPG

Reza Aslan may be Muslim, but he knows a lot about Jesus. The Santa Clara University alum has several degrees and decades of research to prove it, so it made sense to write a book about Jesus. When "Zealot, The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth" was published in July it sold well,  but when a Fox News interview he did went viral, it shot up to No. 1 on the best seller lists. Anchor Lauren Green asked him how a Muslim could write a book about Christianity. He answered with calm composure saying, "Well to be clear I'm a religious scholar with four degrees, including one in the New Testament and fluency in Biblical Greek, who has been studying the origins of Christianity for two decades who also just happens to be a Muslim."

Looking back at the interview Aslan said he wasn't surprised about the line of questioning, but was surprised that it went on for 10 minutes. "So about halfway into the interview it started to get a little surreal, but I didn't think anything of it honestly," Aslan explained. "The interview was finished and I thought well that was odd and I went about my day, but it never occurred to me it would become such a lightning rod in this country."

In his book, Aslan writes about Jesus the man, not the Christ figure. "What I'm trying to do is dig through those layers of dogma and myth and get to the man who lived 2000 years ago. It's not an easy enterprise. It's one that scholars have been doing for 200 years," Aslan said. "I mean for a scholar to say that Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem, you know it's obvious. To a lay reader if you say Jesus wasn't born in Bethlehem, well their heads explode."

Aslan's interest in Jesus started long ago while growing up in San Jose. In high school, he went to an Evangelical Christian camp, which he says transformed him. "I spent the next 4 to 5 years being an Evangelical Christian, and then when I went to Santa Clara University to begin studying the New Testament, in an academic environment, I discovered what a lot of people in my situation discover which is most of what I thought I knew about Jesus was incomplete at best, and that the historical Jesus was so much more interesting, so much more appealing to me," Aslan said.

Decades after graduating from Santa Clara University, Aslan still credits the University with helping him shape the person he is today. "It was the Jesuits who taught me how to understand who Jesus was. It was the Jesuits who encouraged me to go back to Islam. It was the Jesuits who taught me the core principal of Social Justice," Aslan said.

The 41-year old author now lives in Southern California and teaches at UC Riverside, but he doesn't rule out moving back to the Bay Area. "If someone at Cal is watching this, or at Stanford and you've got an opening, I could be lured back here. I love it here."

Aslan's book, Zealot is available online and at bookstores everywhere.

<![CDATA[The Interview: Philanthropist Tad Taube]]> Fri, 04 Oct 2013 19:28:48 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/9-18-2013-interview.jpg

Tad Taube may not be a household name, but you've likely seen his name on lots of buildings. The 82-year-old millionaire is one of the most prolific philanthropists in the Bay Area. 

As president of the Koret Foundation, and chairman of Taube Philanthropies, he's been responsible for donating hundreds of millions of dollars to countless causes locally and around the world.

Taube has been especially generous to his alma mater, Stanford University, with his name on no less than three buildings, including the Taube Tennis Center and the Taube Hillel House. 

"I don't think I would have settled on having it being a focus of my philanthropy if I hadn't been an alum," Taube said. "Stanford has given me an opportunity to be creative in a sense that we have contributed things to Stanford that wouldn't be there if it weren't for my philanthropy. For example, Stanford has arguably the most prestigious center for Jewish studies in the world, bar none, and I like to think that center might not be there if it weren't for our gifts."

While Taube's Jewish heritage also motivates a lot of his giving, he says he doesn't necessarily see himself as a leader in the Bay Area Jewish community because of his political views.

"The Jewish community is very liberal in the Bay Area, and I'm not a liberal, so I've got to operate at a slight deficit when it comes to that evaluation," Taube said.

It's not his politics, but his business background that keeps him from focusing on social welfare programs.

"Social service usually defines some sort of social ill, you know hunger or poverty," Taube said. "We refer to them more or less as bottomless-pit challenges. I don't think anybody has enough money to make a serious dent."

Taube made most of his money in real estate, and says he lost millions when he was the owner of the long defunct USFL team, the Oakland Invaders.

"I feel that I've paid my dues. I did what I did and it was very expensive and it was very enlightening," Taube recalled. "I mean, you can't really imagine what it's like to be the central figure in a sports team until you do it, and I've done it and I didn't really feel like I wanted to be engaged at that level again."

While he vows he'll never own a professional sports team again, he is very involved with the charitable arm of the San Francisco 49ers, partnering with them to create the Touchdown for Kids program.

<![CDATA[John McAfee Launches New Business]]> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:55:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/mcAfee4.jpg

Is he crazy or just smart?

One of the most controversial and polarizing figures in the history of Silicon Valley is back in town.

Software security pioneer John McAfee is launching a new company called 'Future Tense.'

He says it’s a place where you can exchange information that cannot be accessed by the NSA or anyone else.

McAfee is scheduled to announce his new product this weekend at a conference in San Jose.

He was short on details in his exclusive interview with NBC Bay Area.

“Um, I can tell you that I think the first local network is a solution to our problems of privacy and hackability that's completely in flux,” McAfee said.

McAfee said although he doesn’t have an office in the Bay Area yet, he will get one.

He said Future Tense currently has seven people, adding one of them in currently in jail. He wouldn’t give any names but said he is a very famous hacker.

When asked why he’s back in the tech game, he said because it’s part of his DNA. "I'm no more crazy than I ever was.

My perception of being off the wall is quite a bit stronger now. I just need them to pay close enough attention that they will hear what they have to say.

What they think of me afterwards is well, that's their issue,” McAfee said.

As he launches his new company, the Silicon Valley pioneer took a swipe at Google, comparing it's culture to the Chinese.

You can watch that portion of our conversation below:

<![CDATA[The Interview: Carly Fiorina]]> Fri, 13 Sep 2013 21:34:19 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/193*120/photo+3-4.jpg

Carly Fiorina's been out of the spotlight for nearly three years, after losing a hard-fought U.S. Senate race to longtime Democratic incumbent Barbara Boxer.

So what's the former Hewlett-Packard CEO doing these days?

"I'm not doing any one thing full-time, and that's the biggest difference," Fiorina said. "I remain engaged politically, but I'm at the stage in my life now where I choose the things I can do and that's a wonderful place to be."

These days, Fiorina splits her time between Sausalito and Virginia. But don't mistake that for a life of leisure. She's chairman of the non-profit organization Good360.

"We are the largest product donation marketplace in the world," Fiorina said. "We help companies take excess inventory and then distribute that excess inventory to 37,000 vetted charities around this country."

As the first female CEO of a Fortune 20 company, she says, even all these years later, female business leaders like Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook Executive Sheryl Sandberg still don't always get a fair shake.

"Despite all the progress we've made, it's still true that only 16 percent of board members are women. That number hasn't budged in 20 years," Fiorina said. "We have a long way to go, and yes, it is true that for women it's still different. The criticism is different. The scrutiny is different. The commentary is different, and so if you're a woman in leadership, it's still difficult."

While she looks back on her days as HP CEO with pride, it's clear she feels her ouster from Hewlett Packard was undeserved.

"The board of Hewlett Packard was completely led by two board members who subsequently were fired and was completely dysfunctional. The board sadly remains dysfunctional all these many years later," Fiorina said. "I'm sad when I see HP struggle or when I see the board continue in its dysfunction, but for me it was a great privilege and I think the results under my tenure speak for themselves." 

Fiorina says she talked to current Hewlett Packard CEO Meg Whitman.

"I told her she's been dealt a tough hand, and you know, sometimes companies run out of time no matter how strong the motivation," Fiorina said. "I mean, you watch companies, once great companies, Kodak, BlackBerry, Ericsson, Nokia, these are great companies that have run out of time, and I hope that doesn't happen to Hewlett Packard."

To watch the Carly Fiorina interview, click on the player at the top of the screen.

<![CDATA[The Interview: Drakes Bay Oyster Farmer Kevin Lunny]]> Wed, 04 Sep 2013 05:23:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/drakesbay.jpg

The days of family run run oyster farm may be numbered. Today, the 9th Circuit Court of appeals upheld a lower court ruling, to allow the permit for commercial oyster farming at the Drakes Bay Oyster Company to expire. This means the farm's owner, Kevin Lunny, will very likely have to shut down his company, paving the way for the farm to become a marine wilderness.

"We care deeply about the environment, yet we are attacked" Kevin Lunny said in an interview last month. "We have been called just the reverse. We have been made out to be environmental criminals and nothing could be further from the truth."

Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar ordered the Lunny family to cease operations last November. In a 7-page memorandum, he wrote that his decision was based on matters of "law and policy." Lunny, not surprisingly, disagreed with the memo. "If you continue to read the decision, he also said that the science informed his decision. There is something we know very clearly about the science and that is that the Park Service science is wrong," Lunny said.

When Lunny purchased the farm at the end of 2004, he knew this was a possibility, but never actually thought the federal government let the lease expire. "When we took over in 2004, well in the top of 2005, our hopes were that the renewal clause would be respected and would be offered a lease," Lunny said. "The one thing my dad said early on in this debate is never fight the federal government. I should've listened to him."

When contacted today about the Court's decision, Lunny said he was disappointed. Right now, his lawyers are reviewing the ruling and won't make any decision about their next step until Friday.

To watch the entire video, click on the video player on the top of the screen.

<![CDATA[Candid Conversation with Transgender Activist]]> Fri, 09 Aug 2013 18:59:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/216*120/sparks3.jpg

In the 16 years that 64-year-old Theresa Sparks has called San Francisco home, she has become arguably the most high-profile transgender activist.

She came to San Francisco thinking it would be more open to all types of people but found that wasn't necessarily the case.

"Sometimes, we believe our own press," Sparks said. "We have a progressive, liberal kind of reputation ,and I think there are a lot of progressives, liberal people here trying to to the right thing, but to say they are welcoming everybody? We see a lot of communities that aren't necessarily welcomed in this community."

Sparks has spent her time here trying to change that, first as an activist, then holding prominent positions like president of the San Francisco Police Commission and most recently as the Human Rights Commission executive director. 

Sparks grew up in Kansas, served in the Navy, got married and became a father of three.

She was a self-described macho man, a cigar smoking CEO who rode a Harley and coached his kids' sports teams.

During that time, Sparks admits she knew she wasn't being true to herself or her family.

"It wasn't like I was gay or I was feminine or anything else. It was exactly the opposite," Sparks said. "That's what people have a hard time understanding."

When she did transition, in 1997, she lost everything: her business associates, her fortune and her family.

"My family didn't talk to me, my kids didn't talk to me for seven, eight years," Sparks said.

These days, Sparks said her relationship with her three kids is better than ever.

"I talk to my youngest son every night. The funny thing is, once we got over the transition, they kind of mourned their father dying as they saw this new person arising. They came to the conclusion that it is really the same person. We talk about the same stuff. We just don't talk about cosmetics or high heels," Sparks said with a laugh.

Sparks is optimistic about the transgender community. She said she sees a movement and momentum that wasn't there when she transitioned in 1997.

"When I transitioned, and I think a lot of transgender people feel this way, I was ashamed. I felt guilty," Sparks said. "I would've never thought 10 years ago that at some point I would be sitting here and saying I'm really blessed to be a transgender."

<![CDATA[The Interview: Real Argo Character Ken Taylor]]> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 20:18:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/realargoperson.jpg It's not often that Hollywood intersects with Berkeley, but it happened with the movie Argo. The Oscar winning film tells a story about a couple from Cal who helped save American hostages. Raj Mathai sits down with the real Canadian ambassador Ken Taylor.]]> <![CDATA[The Face of the NTSB: Deborah Hersman]]> Fri, 12 Jul 2013 12:59:07 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/hersman1.jpg

In the week since Asiana Flight 214 crash landed at San Francisco International Airport, the on-scene face of the government has been National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman, a blunt-talking investigator known for her poise and orderliness.

She doesn't fly planes, but she's the daughter of a Vietnam War fighter pilot and surrounds herself with expert airmen. She has a motorcycle license, but doesn't ride, because, as a 43-year-old mother of three boys, "I try to minimize the risks," she told NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai.

Her job requires her to show up at the sites of major air, rail and motor vehicle accidents. So seeing her in town often means something has gone wrong. But "I don't want people to think I'm associated with disasters," Hersman said.

There is an uplifting part of her job, she said: getting to see people respond to catastrophe in heroic and selfless ways -- San Franciscans included.

"Sometimes we see the very best of communities, the very best of people in these difficult circumstances, and I can tell you that I've certainly seen some of that here," she said.

Hersman has been an unmistakable force at the NTSB since she first arrived as a 39-year-old in 2004, a West Virginia-born Democrat nominated to the post by Republican President George W. Bush. President Barack Obama, a Democrat, reappointed her to a five-year term and named her chairman. During her tenure, she has overseen investigations of several major accidents, including the 2009 collision of two Metro trains in Washington, D.C., the fire inside a Boeing 787 Dreamliner in Boston and the 2009 crash of a Colgan Air commuter plane near Buffalo. In each instance, she has showed a fearlessness in facing down the transportation industry and rival government agencies. She has irritated critics for her outspoken critique of safety lapses, and for the details she releases to the press.

The aggrieved include the Air Lines Pilots Association, which said this week it was "stunned by the amount of detailed operational data from on-board recorders" from Flight 214 released by the board "so soon into the investigation."

Hersman is unapologetic, but she also says she's looking for ways to do her job better. She says she listens to those around her.

"I learn from people who have more knowledge than I do," she said.

Hersman's background is on Capitol Hill, where she served as a senior aide to West Virginia Rep. Bob Wise and as a senior adviser to the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. That's where she sharpened her skills as a bureaucrat, but also as a safety advocate, helping draft legislation overseeing the operation of motor carriers, pipelines and Amtrak.

Although she's known for her openness, Hersman stressed that it's too early to talk about what caused the July 6 crash in San Francisco.

"I know it feel like a long time for people, but we want to make sure we have a really full picture of what happened here before we reach any conclusions," she said.

That could take as long as a year.

But she added that if any safety issues arise before then, she and the board will be quick to issue recommendations on how to avoid similar accidents.

"This is obviously a high priority for us and we're going to be focusing a lot of resources on it and to get it done as quickly as possible," Hersman said.

Photo Credit: Liza Meak]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Nancy Pelosi]]> Tue, 02 Jul 2013 19:10:11 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/7-2-2013+nancy+pelosi+interview.jpg

Rep. Nancy Pelosi trailblazed quite a path in her nearly 30 years in Congress. She was the first female Democratic Leader for the House of Representatives and the first female Speaker of the House.

In an exclusive interview with Raj Mathai, the House Minority leader admits she didn't envision following her father's career path as a member of Congress.

"I had absolutely no interest in having a leading role in politics. I was raised to believe that public service was a noble calling," Pelosi said. 

Now, she embraces her role as a role model.

"It goes to show my message to women as be ready, know your own power and what you can do because you never know where the opportunity might be. We need many more women, minorities, young people taking responsibility, taking the risk."

When it comes to the inaction in Congress these days, Pelosi is quick to blame to GOP leaders.

"They have the majority and they are obstructing the president," Pelosi said. "We didn't obstruct President Bush when he was president. We disagreed and contested him on the issue of privatizing Social Security and the war in Iraq, but we didn't say 'nothing you present will ever be approved in Congress.' In fact, we did many good things with President Bush."

When asked if she could hash out her differences with Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Pelosi didn't think that was likely, saying, "Let me just say, I don't think it is a useful use of time to see what Mr. Boehner will do inside the room."

Looking ahead to the 2016 presidential election, Rep. Pelosi thinks Hillary Clinton would make a great president.

"If she decides to run, and I hope she does, she'll be the best prepared person to go into the White House in decades," Pelosi said.

The entire interview with Rep. Pelosi is posted at the top of this page.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Alice Waters]]> Mon, 24 Jun 2013 10:10:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0621-waters.jpg

She is petite and soft-spoken, but Alice Waters is a force of nature. She opened her famed restaurant Chez Panisse more than 40 years ago, and now she's preparing to reopen it, nearly four months after a fire caused serious damage.

NBC Bay Area visited Waters at Chez Panisse just days before the reopening. Instead of being filled with customers, the restaurant was crowded with carpenters and contractors.

Sitting down for an exclusive interview amid wood, jackhammers and miter saws, Waters was emotional remembering getting an early morning call about the fire.

"My general manager Jennifer woke me up at about 5 in the morning and she said don't panic, but there has been a fire at the restuarant and I think you should come over now," Waters recalled. "I got up and I was kind of stunned, and it took me a little moment to realize that I needed to run, get in a car, and come over to the restaurant."

Since the restaurant was damaged but not destroyed, longtime carpenter and contractor friends worked at a fevered pace to rebuild Chez Panisse.

"It's still unimaginable that we could be opening up in 11 days," Waters said. "There's no windows, and there are 25 people hammering and nailing, and you just see all the equipment. Nothing is in the restaurant — no dishes, chairs, or tables. It's all gone." 

Waters was convinced weeks ago that it would be ready on June 21. 

That's when Chez Panisse reopens with a benefit for The Edible Schoolyard, a non-profit that started 17 years ago as a small garden at Martin Luther King Middle School, just three blocks from the restaurant.

"I call this edible education, where food is connected to the curriculum of every subject," Waters said.

Chez Panisse opens to the public on Monday.

You can watch the full interview with Raj Mathai at the top of this page.

[VIDEO] WEB EXTRA: Alice Waters Talks About Overwhelming Public Support

VIDEO:  Waters Set to Reopen Chez Panisse

View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview With Temple Grandin]]> Sat, 15 Jun 2013 13:56:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/178*120/103719793.jpg

Temple Grandin describes herself as a professor of animal science at Colorado State University.

But she is more than that.

Grandin, who recently had a Hollywood movie made about her life, also happens to be the most well-known woman in the country with autism.

"Autism is a very important part of who I am, but it's not primary," she said.

What is primary is her mind, her imaging and visual way of solving problems, which helped her revolutionize the cattle industry.

But perhaps her biggest gift to society is revolutionizing how we approach autism.

You can watch The Interview with Raj Mathai at the top of this page.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Venture Capitalist Tim Draper Talks Draper University]]> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 16:37:21 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/timdraper1.jpg

He helped fund some of the most famous Bay Area companies. Now Tim Draper is putting his name on a new venture -- Draper University of Heroes.

Students from around the world are shelling out about $10,000 for an eight-week crash course at Draper University. Among other things, they learn from Draper how to become the next big thing. He should know. He's a third generation VC who helped launch Hotmail, Skype, and most recently Tesla.

Despite his success, what he preaches at Draper U is failure and how to learn from it. When asked about his biggest failures, he talks about companies he failed to fund. "We were outbid for Yahoo, we were in a bidding war for Facebook and we lost that," Draper said.

While he still funds companies, Draper is focusing on his university and explained how it's very different from a traditional four year ivy league school.

"We take a lot of chances with the students, but those students come out much stronger, much better for it. It's a great experience all the way around," Draper said.

"Is this just a fun little session that's not really doing much?" Raj Mathai asked. "People always told me that you can't train entrepreneurship and you can't teach entrepreneurship and whenever anybody says you can't I always think well how would you?

How you would create an entrepreneur from a ball of clay? And I thought, well there is a way," Draper answered.

You can watch the full interview at the top of this page.

<![CDATA[The Interview: Eric Swalwell Goes to Washington]]> Mon, 20 May 2013 06:25:55 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/swalwell_8085186_722x406_13634627796.jpg

Leading up to the most recent elections this past fall, a small-time Dublin prosecutor in his early 30s, named Eric Swalwell made national headlines as he waged an aggressive battle to unseat a once-beloved 20-term member of Congress, Pete Stark.

Come Nov. 6, 2012, Swalwell was successful - the young upstart beat the outspoken and aging liberal Stark, who had overseen the Fremont area for 40 years from the Hill.

Fast forward to today and Congressman Swalwell is now making his way as a freshman member of Congress.

He feels he has finally landed.

“Well, 11 years ago I was just an intern on Capitol Hill,” said Swalwell, as he described how the tables have turned.

“For me, I still go to the elevators that say ‘Members Only’ and I look at them and wonder, ‘Am I allowed to get on that?’ – You kind of slap yourself and say, ‘Yeah, you’re here now, you belong.’”

While Swalwell long dreamed that he was going to be a professional soccer player when he grew up, that ended after he sustained an injury in college.

As he explains in an interview with Raj Mathai at the top of this article, Swalwell then turned his attention to politics.

He interned in Congress a decade ago. Now, he is a member of Congress at the age of 32, representing East Bay communities like Dublin, Fremont and Hayward.

<![CDATA[The Interview: Vivek Ranadive]]> Sat, 11 May 2013 20:25:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/050313-vivek-ranadive.jpg

Billionaire Vivek Ranadive may not be a household name, but just about everyone is talking about one of his business ventures, the Golden State Warriors.

As the Warriors compete in the second round of the NBA playoffs, now may not seem like the best time to think about selling his stake, but that's what he's doing.


Ranadive wants to buy another California NBA team, the Sacramento Kings.

It's Ranadive's software that powers everything from e-tickets to FedEx shipments.

"Every now and then you get the opportunity to participate in something that's bigger than yourself," said Ranadive, CEO and founder of TIBCO in Palo Alto. "The state of California means everything to me and I felt that if I could be a part of keeping the Kings in Sacramento, that was something I needed to do."

As tough as it may be to sell his portion of the Warriors, it makes good business sense to Ranadive.

"I believe that the value has gone up dramatically," Ranadive said. "We sold more season tickets in the last few months than had ever been sold by anyone. I have no doubt there will be a lot of people wanting to buy that stake."

Last week the NBA voted against the Kings moving to Seattle. Later this month, the league is expected to approve the sale of the Kings to Ranadive and he will keep it in Sacramento.

It isn't a done deal yet though, a competing group of investors increased their bid for the King's to $625 million.

You can watch the full report at the video player on the top of this page.

<![CDATA[The Interview: David Kessler]]> Fri, 12 Apr 2013 19:25:05 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/kessler.jpg He fought big tobacco and now David Kessler, the former head of the FDA, is turning his attention to food. What he says the industry is doing to what you eat and why if you're fat, it might not be your fault. Raj Mathai reports.]]> <![CDATA[Rick Welts on Being Gay in the NBA]]> Sun, 24 Mar 2013 19:05:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/rickwelts.jpg

Two years ago, before coming to the Bay Area as president of the Golden State Warriors, Rick Welts made one of the most difficult announcements of his career.

He came out as gay.

"One of the things that kept me from doing it as long as I did was I think that nobody in a position like mine had ever taken that step," Welts said. "As a result, I really couldn't see how that was going to turn out."

Welts' public disclosure about his homosexuality turned out to be one of the best experiences of his life.

"I can tell you at a personal level its been spectacular. I've really been able to communicate to literally thousands of people," Welts said.

Now he's determined to help resurrect the Warriors into a winning NBA team.

"It can't happen overnight, but I know that success is something that will happen and something fans can be really proud of," Welts said with a smile.

You can watch the full interview at the top of this article.

<![CDATA[The Interview: Leon Panetta]]> Thu, 07 Mar 2013 20:18:38 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/160774810.jpg

Washington, D.C., may be where former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta worked for the last 50 years, but if you ask him, that's not his home.

"This is where I was born and raised," Leon Panetta said referring to the Monterey Peninsula. "This has been home from the very beginning and it always has been and it's always nice to come home."

Now that he's back home,  Panetta is spending much more time at the Panetta Institute on the Cal State Monterey Campus. The walls at the Institute, which he founded with his wife, Sylvia, in 1997, give snapshot after snapshot of his illustrious career in public service. "That wall is all of my past history," Panetta said. "Now I have to put up the Obama certificates as well," Panetta said with a laugh while looking down at piles of frames propped up against another wall.

In a recent interview, Panetta, who is one of the most respected men in politics, talked about what kept him in the game for so long.

"You know in public service, you don't make much money, you don't get an awful lot of visibility at times, but if you can do something to help protect people, if you can do something to make people's lives a little better, that's the greatest reward you can get in this job," Panetta said.

That's not to say he didn't have more than his fair share of challenges, most recently as CIA Director and Defense Secretary.

When asked about the handling of the Benghazi attack, Panetta defended the military actions, but admitted he learned important lessons.

"The reality is that we did everything we could to deal with that situation," Panetta said. "From a military point of view there was no way based on where our troops were located there was simply not enough time to be able to get them there in time, and that is an important lesson we've learned. Today, there are things I ordered that we locate our special forces in key bases, but reduce their time for being able to get on a plane and get someplace."

Panetta also reflected on one of his biggest successes, the capturing and killing of Osama Bin Laden while he was CIA Director.

"It was a very tense situation, that whole operation because we never knew for sure that Bin Laden was located there, and yet I always felt in my gut that it was the right thing to do," Panetta recalled. "It was a tremendous risk and I give the President a lot of credit to make the decision in the end to go, but when we finally got the word Geronimo, that they had finally got Bin Laden, I have to tell you, it wasn't like we were throwing things in the air, it was like one big sigh of relief that the operation was successful in the mission that we were performing. I think it was probably one of the best sensations I've ever had with regards to an operation."

In one of the conference rooms at the Institute, Panetta showed off a photo that holds a special meaning. "This is the moment actually when the helicopters came back from Pakistan and landed in Afghanistan and we knew then that everyone was safe," Panetta said. The photo shows him arm in arm with an aide at  CIA headquarters in Langley. It's in essence his version of the now iconic photograph in the situation room at the White House.

One thing Panetta won't miss is how partisan Washington has become. "I've never seen Washington as mean and dysfunctional as it is today," Panetta said. "I think what really depresses me most is for whatever reason, people in Washington are willing to stand aside, not govern, not resolve these issues and do harm to innocent Americans who don't bear any blame for what's happened here, they just happen to be victims."

Now back home, Panetta plans to spend much more time on his walnut farm. "I owe it to my father, it's his legacy to keep it up, so I'll keep driving the tractor out there, keep working the orchard, but I've still got public service in my blood and I'll continue to do whatever I can do to improve our society."


Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: John Wood]]> Mon, 04 Mar 2013 11:48:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6PJOHNWOODINTERVIEWPKG_8476263_722x406_20310595572.jpg

He's one man who literally turned  the page on global literacy.

We're talking about John Wood, who lived the high life as a high-tech executive, but gave it all up to do something bigger.

He is on a personal mission to give every child access to books.

A big challenge, no doubt, but after founding the non-profit, Room to Read, he's well on his way to achieving that goal.

The facts are impressive:

  • 15,000 libraries
  • 1,600 schools built all over Africa and southeast Asia
  • 12 million books distributed

Now, in The Interview with Raj, John Wood talks about why Room to Read is headquartered in San Francisco, how integral Silicon Valley has been to the success of his non-profit, and why he has no plans to ever jump back into the corporate world. His new book, Creating Room to Read, was released last month.

You can watch the interview at the top of this article.

We also have a web extra with Wood with his answer to a question that came from a Facebook fan.  You can see that below.


View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

<![CDATA[The Interview: Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence]]> Sat, 23 Feb 2013 00:08:44 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/220*120/celebritychefforraj.jpg

One of the Bay Area’s most successful entrepreneurs isn’t making apps and tablets in Silicon Valley, he’s frying chicken in San Francisco. 

And he’s built an empire around food, wine, design and publishing - and of course, fried chicken. 

You might have already guessed - we’re talking about Celebrity Chef Tyler Florence.

The Interview with Raj Mathai takes you inside Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco to speak with Tyler.

He reveals what his greatest fear was when he threw open the doors of his new restaurant.

And he talks about what it’s like cooking for President Obama and the role the secret service played in the operation. 

Tyler also divulges how he feels about people who don’t eat fried chicken.

Watch the video above.


Below is raw video of Tyler frying up some of his famous chicken. 


View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.

<![CDATA[Author Po Bronson on "Warriors" and "Worriers"]]> Tue, 19 Feb 2013 09:40:00 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/pobronsonforraj.jpg

Bay Area author Po Bronson is used to having his works skyrocket to the top of best selling lists. Given the early buzz, his latest book, Top Dog, co-written with Ashley Merryman, could very well end up there, too.

Bronson recently sat down with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai to talk about what research says about the science of winning and losing. As a coach for his son's soccer team, Bronson saw firsthand the different ways kids handle the pressure of competition.

"We had put together all these really talented third graders and they started playing in fourth grade and a lot of them had been the best before and now they're playing the other best teams in Northern California and not all the kids handled it the same," Bronson said. "Some of the kids could really respond to that pressure, and other kids could not handle that sense of having to compete at all. I was curious why. What was going on in their psychology, how were they raised, their physiology? I wanted to try and understand these differences in performances in competitions."

Bronson categorized these types of people as "worriers" and "warriors" and DNA dictates whether you're one or the other. "There's a genetic element which affects how dopamine is cleared in the frontal cortex of your brain. If you have the worrier gene, when you're not stressed, in normal everyday life, just going about your life, getting your work done, you have a significant cognitive advantage," Bronson said. "It works out to about ten IQ points, as long as there's no stress."

As we all know life can be stressful, and that's where warriors thrive. "You see the warriors' brains work optimally and the worriers brains don't work as well," Bronson said.

Now, take a look at your ring and index fingers. It may sound hard to believe, but researchers found that most successful entrepreneurs had ring fingers 10 to 20 percent longer than their index fingers. "It means you're more prone to risk taking, you respond to competition, you're comfortable being aggressive, and it also means you have spacial ability" Bronson said. "Now the question is why?"

It all comes down to science. Researchers say testosterone lengthens the fetal fingers while estrogen stops their growth and it's a marker of hormone response.  "When we are challenged, when we have to compete, we get a surge of hormones in our bodies." Bronson said. "So you have a permanent lifelong responsiveness to challenge." Knowing this no doubt will make you check people's fingers. Bronson does.

So, when Bronson meets a CEO, does he look at their hands?

"I saw Gavin Newsom, the former mayor of San Francisco and he's a friend, and I shook his hand, I handed him a copy of the my book, and I said let me see your hand,  and he said what are you doing?" Bronson recalled laughing.

"If you look at pictures of President Obama's hand, Mark Zuckerberg's hand, you can look for it yourself, it's amazing," Bronson said.

The book, Top Dog, goes on sale Tuesday.

Watch our full report in the video player at the top of this page.

Web Extras: Watch exclusive bonus clips below:

How Po Bronson got his name:


 Po Bronson on competition.


View more videos at: http://nbcbayarea.com.


<![CDATA[The Interview: One on One With John McAfee]]> Sat, 26 Jan 2013 17:16:31 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/N6PMCAFEEPKG_8228961_722x406_15989827696.jpg

His early days in the Silicon Valley were fueled by cocaine and alcohol. Nowadays, it's a new set of problems. Police say John McAfee might be connected to a neighbor's murder in Belize.

He fled that small Central American country, leaving behind a trail of teenage girls and guns. He's now in Portland, Ore., thousands of miles away from Belize, and that's where NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai caught up him.

"So what would you tell the Belizean Government if you had any role in his murder?" Raj asked McAfee. "Absolutely none," McAfee replied. "They know this, they know I'm not involved in the murder, they haven't questioned anybody else."

McAfee knows people question whether he's lost his mind, but insists it doesn't bother him. "Much of the press has been very negative. I'm a mad man. Perhaps I am, I don't think I am," McAfee told Raj adding: "People on the street all give me the high five sign. Keep going!"

McAfee's personal life, is one that sounds right out of Hollywood. In fact, he's already sold the rights to a movie. "I do have teenage girlfriends and many at a time," McAfee told Raj. "Nothing illegal, they're well beyond the age of consent. I see nothing wrong with it."

His life now is very different from decades ago when he started McAfee. He admits money changed him. "Suddenly you have all this power and all this money. You can buy whatever you want and I did," McAfee said.

"You know I bought stuff I didn't need. At one point I had houses in every part of the world. Yeah, that's being a jerk."

Watch our full report in the video player at the top of this page.

Web Extras: Watch exclusive bonus video clips below:

Web Extra: McAfee on Jobs, Gates and Zuckerberg

Web Extra: Viggo Mortensen as McAfee?


<![CDATA[The Interview: Robert Reich]]> Mon, 21 Jan 2013 14:24:18 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/rajreisch.jpg Many people believe the political climate in this country continues to get worse. So how much should Pres. Obama be blamed? One of the Bay Area's most accomplished Washington insiders is speaking out about the president. Raj Mathai sits down with the former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich.]]> <![CDATA[The Interview: Joel Hyatt on Sale of Current TV]]> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 22:20:08 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/rajjoel.JPG

There's a good chance you've never seen or heard of Joel Hyatt.  Until now.

The unassuming multi-millionaire has pulled off a deal, along with his business partner, former Vice President Al Gore, that has shocked the media world.

Gone is San Francisco-based Current TV, a ground-breaking network that never really got off the ground. But Hyatt and Gore soared, selling Current TV for a reported $500 million to Al Jazeera, which will most likely keep a prescence in San Francisco. A TV Network that's financed by the oil rich country of Qatar.

“We studied very hard around the world to make sure we’d be comfortable with it,"  Hyatt said. "And you know Al Jazeera is carried on Israel’s satellite system, and if the Israeli public is comfortable with learning what can be learned from Al Jazeera then I think the American public is going to be able to as well.”

In his first interview since the controversial deal was announced, Hyatt is proud, reflective and a little agitated.

Here is a Q&A with Raj Mathai and Hyatt:

Hyatt: “We studied very hard around the world to make sure we’d be comfortable with it. And you know Al Jazeera is carried on Israel’s satellite system, and if the Israeli public is comfortable with learning what can be learned from Al Jazeera then I think the American public is going to be able to as well.”

Hyatt: "While some of the press in being negative I would say is highly hypocritical which has basically been Fox News and the Wall Street Journal both of which are owned by Newscorp, and Newscorp second largest owner is the Saudi Royal Family. So this idea that they’re criticizing what Al Gore and I would do business is really quite remarkable when they don’t even disclose that their company is owned by significant part by Arabs.”

Mathai: “Is it ironic for you or disingenuous as your critics would say for  you and your friend and partner Al Gore to sell to a company a broadcast network that is funded basically by oil?"

Hyatt: "Not at all. Look, again, I get that, this sort of easy shot."

Mathai: "But do you see where people are coming from?"

Hyatt: "Of course, but here’s what I know. Both Al and I…more Al, have had extensive conversations with Al Jazeera about the issue of climate change, and we believe Al Jazeera is going to be a very good job of covering it, in a way that US press does not."

Mathai: “And Joel, you’ve been around the block. You knew the public perception here in the United States about Al Jazeera is negative. Were you prepared for any criticism you guys would have taken?"

Hyatt: "I evaluated that very carefully, Raj, and at the end of the day what I believed was… it was clear those who know are very impressed with Al Jazeera and the high quality professional journalism they do. Those who don’t know have a biased based on their lack of knowledge. But think about that, ignorance breeds, biased breeds all kinds of problems in the world, and the whole point of journalism is to provide information to the people who don’t know so they become people who do, and Al and I didn’t want to base a decision  on those who don’t know and uniformed biases they may have.”

Mathai: "You had an all hands meeting with the current bosses at Current, at least a few of them. How did that go? Transitions can be difficult."

Hyatt: “I think it went very well, and frankly I think the new leadership is responsible for that. I gave a talk and turned the floor over but the fact is… the staff was really eager what the new leadership had to say, and they were very, very good.''

Mathai: "Any disappointments at Current?"

Hyatt: "Sure. You always have disappointments.  I have disappointments about things we would like to achieve but didn’t. We were never able to bring the large scale resources necessary to compete. This is real lesson to me, the media industry requires large scale resources.  We believe there’s a real problem on why it's so consolidated. It's extremely difficult to be an independent standalone cable network not able to spend the same resources. That’s a frustration, that’s a disappointment."

Mathai: "Will Al Jazeera be able to succeed?''
Hyatt: "Absolutely. they’re gonna be able to do the marketing we couldn’t afford to do. It will make a big difference.”

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA["The Interview" Web Extra: Joel Hyatt Talks Current TV, HP]]> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 08:36:34 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/HYATTWEBEXTRA_8140315_722x406_14515779641.jpg Raj Mathai asks Joel Hyatt what was more difficult, the Current TV deal or his time on the Board of HP.]]> <![CDATA[The Interview: One-on-One With Ignacio De La Fuente]]> Wed, 19 Dec 2012 23:03:03 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/121912ignaciodelafuente.jpg He's been a power player in Bay Area politics for years. But now he's out of power and hosting a reception marking his final night in office. He tells NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai about his new plan to help save Oakland from the outside in.]]> <![CDATA[The Interview: California Attorney General Kamala Harris]]> Mon, 03 Dec 2012 21:50:41 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*160/rajkamala.jpg

California Attorney General Kamala Harris is becoming more than just a household name in the Golden State. But while her star power may be rising on a national stage, the Bay Area native has a unique perspective on her future, and what keeps her feet on the ground.

We've seen the 48-year old Oakland native rewrite the history books as she climbed the ladder. Nationally, Washington insiders say it's only a matter of time before she heads to the capitol.
"Is it flattering to hear your name possibly to the Supreme Court?" Raj asked Harris. "The U.S. Attorney General? Is it flattering?"

"I am so superstitious," Harris answered with a laugh. "I am truly focused on what I am doing. So many people who are focused on that thing over there that they trip over the thing over here. It's not worth it."

"It seems like you have a dynamic relationship with President Obama," Raj said to Harris. "Tell me about your relationship."
"First and foremost it's a relationship built on profound mutual respect," Harris said. "You know there's a whole group of really I think dynamic elected leaders, who are finding each other and feeding off each other, and working with each other."
"Is it a friendship?" Raj asked. "It's a friendship, it's a friendship, it's a friendship," Harris answered.

"If there are critics, they say maybe you're overly ambitious. She's on Oprah, the Today Show, Fair criticism or unfair?" Raj asked Harris.
"I certainly do believe that life is short enough that you should get things done. I love my work. I love my work. I feel challenged by it," Harris said. "I feel it is important work. I have seen through the course of my professional life that if you focus on it in a certain way, you can get things done, you can make a huge impact on the lives of other people.  People you'll never meet by the way. People who will not necessarily ever know your name and that drives me. That certainly drives me."

She also knows how to drive the headlines, sometimes being accused of grandstanding. Earlier this year she targeted big banks, in the highly publicized $26 billion dollar settlement stemming from foreclosure abuses. And just last month she outlined her battle against human trafficking.
"I wanted to see the tunnels that connected California to Mexico and see the tunnels through which there has been an incredible amount of trafficking of guns, and drugs, and human beings," Harris said. "I heard stories of children as young as  5-years old being trafficked through those tunnels. It became clear obviously that it is about people making a great deal of money off of trafficking of human beings and they're doing it in a way that is trafficking for the purpose of sex work and forced labor."

Raj then changed topics to what she's like when not on the job. "Behind the scenes, without the cameras here, what's your ideal Saturday?"
"Oh I usually have events on Saturday. Ask me about a Sunday," Harris said. "OK," Raj said.  "Tell me about your ideal Sunday?
"It depends," Harris said. "I love to cook. I love to cook. That's my ideal day. Recently and I hope we get it in San Francisco,  have you ever tried soul cycle?"
"No tell me," Raj Said. "Oh it's fabulous!" Harris said. "It's this thing that came out of New York and it's in LA, and I did it when I was in LA for the meetings we were having there, and it's fabulous! It's like a bunch of stationary bikes in a room. I'm much too old to go to the club right?" Harris said laughing. "But it's like being in a club and it's kind of dark and they're playing this throbbing hip hop. and you just cycle. I did that recently at it was really fun."

<![CDATA[The Interview: Sal Khan]]> Sat, 29 Sep 2012 19:54:02 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/salkhan.JPG

Read Raj Mathai's full interview with Khan Academy founder Sal Khan. His book, "The One World School House," comes out next week.

Raj: "Has it snowballed or is it just slow snowball, the success and the exposure?"
Sal  “Back when it was just me operating in a closet in 2006, it was already beginning to snowball, you know the user traffic was growing 30 percent a month but it was going from 10 to 13 people, but you keep doing that and it goes from 10,000 to 13,000 or 100,000 to 130,000 now it’s at millions, but yeah it’s been crazy."

Raj  “Aside from the education part of it, aside from the politics, the praise, the controversy, whatever, are you surprised at the success that you’re having."
Sal  “Yes, I’m definitely surprised at the speed at which all this has happened. I think when a lot of people anyone when you’re working on a project, it takes awhile for traction to happen, even for me, when I was in my closet, I was like a lot of people seem to be getting value from this but the world hasn't’t really noticed, and then all of a sudden, it happened, and once it started to happen, it started to happen really really fast .  We’ve been shocked at just the number of users worldwide using it, the number of teachers worldwide that are using it, kind of our ability to at least be part of the conversation of even what a classroom should be."

Raj: “What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid?"
Sal:  “When I was a kid depending at what stage a kid I was, I wanted to be an animator at one point, an architect, and them um, and then later and I think for all students whenever you get a lot of positive feed back, I started thinking of maybe an engineer or physicist, and then computer science came into existence. I was always fascinated with making things."

Raj:  "Bill Gates I love this story in the book, the first meeting with Bill how was it? Describe it."
Sal  “Bill Gates is like an icon, especially for me, and so for the first time even his team invited me to come visit with him. Just the first time I caught wind that he was using the site was a surreal experience, because I joke those videos were for Nadia not for Bill Gates and so it just elevated what was going on, the whole world seemed to be connected in some way. Then when they asked if I could fly up, if I had some free time, you know my calendar was completely blank so I said sure I can come up for that. Meeting him was the kind of the memory in my life that will always be burned in my brain. I think for me it’s meeting an icon, meeting a hero, and then on top of that one of the most intelligent people on the planet.  When I was meeting him, 20 percent of my brain was engaged in the conversation and then the other 80 percent was saying you’re talking to Bill Gates right now. You realize that’s Bill Gates right across the table?  I kind of had to keep suppressing that part.”

Raj  “After you met with him, what was that first phone call or the email or the text  to say hey thumbs up we’re going to give you millions of dollars?"
Sal  “I first heard in the summer of 2010 that Bill Gates did this as a conference at the Aspen ideas festival. I had never had any idea, in front of everybody he just starts talking about how he uses Khan Academy himself, how he uses it with his kids, and the next two weeks were a bit awkward for me because I didn’t know what to do, do I call him up? What’s the protocol?  I suspected he wasn’t listed. Then they reached out shortly afterward, and this was the phone call where they asked if I’d like to fly up and talk to Bill about how we could work together. By the time I flew up, there was a strong indication that something was likely to happen. At the end of the meeting,  Bill and the rest of the team from the Foundation said well where do you see this going? I said, look, I want to keep doing this, I want to translate this into the world languages, I want to turn this into a true virtual school where you can have exercises, where you can have feedback, there’s software, and in that meeting, we talked about what that would take, and at the time I said a 5 person team and some office space. So there was some indication that something was going to happen. By October of 2010 we sort of had the green light, and we were up and running and that’s when we got this space.”

Raj  “You’re a non-profit, you could make a lot of money doing what you do, knowing what you know. Why not make it a for profit, like so many people around you in the Silicon Valley make a bunch of money?"
Sal  “There’s nothing wrong with a for-profit. I come from a very for-profit industry. But when I started with Khan Academy, I started it as a hobby, and I would get all these letters from people, and 'wow this really helped me' or 'this really helped my children,' or 'this helped me go to back to college,' or 'this helped me pass Algebra or stay in high school,' and I was getting all this psychic reward, emotional reward from all these letters, and so when it became clear that this was a real thing, and it could be a real entity of some kind, there was a lot temptation of some kind. I lived in the middle of Silicon Valley and some VC’s were talking to me about funding it and we can still give the content away for free, and figure out some way eventually to monetize it, there was an appeal to that. But then I started thinking about how many people it could reach, and not only how much it could reach right now but, how many people it could reach over time, maybe over the next 10, 50, 100 years, and when I thought about it that way, there were very few, in fact there were no for-profit  companies that kind of get that institutional status over that a large period of time can continue to deliver on their mission. The only entities that have done this is institutions like Stanford or Berkeley. They transcend any one owner. Their mission is always first, and for me the thought experiment was well and keep in mind I was literally operating out of a closet so it was delusional either way but if I were to be very successful as a for-profit, sure grow fast, get a lot of revenue, maybe we IPO, you know I can become fairly well off, buy some new clothing, and that would be nice. There’s nothing wrong with that. That’s great. But then the other option especially for this organization was well maybe we could reach a billion people  in my lifetime, and maybe after I’m gone if this organization keeps doing this mission, we can make education like clean drinking water electricity, something people just expect to have. We could reach tens of billions of people over the next 200, (I read a lot of science fiction) or 500 years. So for me when I thought I’m 80 years old or 90 years old and looking back on my life, the later is what I would want to do and so that’s why I set it up as not for profit.”

Raj:  “Do you consider yourself as someone who is revolutionizing education in a modern way?"
Sal: “I try and stay away from any hyperbole. I mean you see from well basically from looking at me, and where we are, that things are still in their humble beginnings. I’m excited about the potential. Raj "But you are changing things you do know that?" 

Sal:  "Yeah, I’m excited. The conversation has changed and I don’t know if we’re kind of growing at the right time, and kind of capturing people’s imagination, or maybe we are the catalyst. I don’t know the answer to that but the reality is there is a change in the conversation as to what is the role of technology, how can it be used to supercharge classrooms, should teachers be giving lectures anymore? Can we move to a model where students move at their own pace as opposed to you know one piece fits all? In that way hopefully we’ve already moved the dial, but I don’t think we’re no where near our potential. I stay up at night fearing that in two, three, four years, oh that Khan Academy thing was a good idea. Whatever happened, I don’t want that and I hope in 10 years we’re doing another interview and we look back at 2012 and we say oh that was just the beginning.

Raj:  “Are you surprised by the controversy that you’ve elicited in terms of you’re changing the way education is in a dangerous direction?"
Sal:  “Yeah you know the controversy I mean there’s different kinds of tacts on the controversy. I think most of the controversy comes from people misperceiving what we are. You know when people see any kind of online tool, they imagine it as it’s going to be Amazon vs. Barnes and Noble. It’s going to be virtual vs. physical. The one thing I’ve always been clear and everyone on our team has always been clear about, it’s not an either or proposition. We think it’s about both. We think it’s about using tools like the Khan Academy to supercharge a classroom, we think it’s about making classtime more active, more human. I have a 3 ½ year old and a 14 month old, and I want both of them to go to very interactive physical experiences. And I want them to have amazing teachers and amazing peers around them for most of the day and so in that reality we see khan academy as just supercharging the teacher and empowering them. I think viewed that way it addresses some of the fears out there.”

Raj: "You said you don’t really know what you’re going to say before a video. If you need to refresh you’ll Google for a couple of minutes. You said that but I think you insulted a lot of teachers by saying that. Do you regret it?"
Sal:   “I think I’m learning things can be interpreted in multiple ways. When I say I don’t script videos, when I say yeah, I’ve used Wikipedia, I’m not saying I look at Wikipedia for two seconds and then make a video. What I’m saying is yeah, that’s my starting point, and when I say I don’t script videos, I’m saying I think deeply about what I want to do, so I am prepared in that sense, but I don’t read a script. A lot of the great teachers I talk to say that’s their methodology too. They don’t read their lecture notes. They internalize the information, so it gives them more of a chance to be real time, but by no means is there the intent to offend anybody, or to make anything look easy or anything like that. The other thing I want to emphasize is I don’t view myself, I mean people can call me anything they want, whether it’s a virtual tutor or a web teacher or anything, but people should not equate me with the in the trenches kind of work real teachers have to do. You know it’s very easy for me to sit and record a lesson. I do prepare a lot for them, and I do a lot of research, but I still don’t have to you know. That’s only a small fraction of the work a teacher has to do. A teacher has to deal with the human element. What’s going on in the student’s mind? What’s going on in their life? How do we connect them?  What I’m hoping the tools at Khan Academy to do is taking that one piece you know here’s a small explanation, here’s some exercises you can do, it frees the teacher to focus on the higher value things."

Raj  "Are you learning now though that whatever you say because you’re such a high profile person is that whatever you do say teachers are listening and even little soundbites can be taken in the wrong way?"

Sal: "Oh yeah, oh yeah, I completely appreciate now and what I emphasize now is the intention was never to downplay the art of giving lessons or whatever else, it’s really a conversation human to human, that’s why I said some of that stuff.”

Raj : “At some point, do you need to have a virtual town hall with teachers? And just say hey this is what I’m all about because there’s probably a lot of misunderstanding out there."
Sal  “Yeah there is a lot of misunderstanding. That’s one of the things I hope this book helps solve. The book is all about empowering teachers. And the other thing is we and I don’t think there’s enough about this is that a lot of the work we’re doing is with teachers. You know we started famously in Los Altos. It was those teachers who spaced out a lot of what Khan Academy is and then we started working with all the teachers in the district, and now there’s 14,000, 15,000 teachers nationwide that are using Khan Academy. A lot of the places where I speak the audiences are teachers and I think the teachers who understand what we’re doing and understand our mission, they’re fully supportive especially the ones that have used us. I think it’s sometimes and you learn, upon coming out of the closet, you learn there’s this broader world out there and people will misinterpret or view things with a certain lens but I do agree we do have to get the message out better.”

Raj: “Your dream scenario, let’s talk locally here even though you act globally abut your dream scenario for a local situation is about a kid in a certain school district, tell me about it. The kid who isn’t getting the proper instruction and how can he get it?"
Sal:  “Any student here in the Bay Area has a free tutor. It’s Khan Academy, and they have exercises and get feedback, and they can use it tomorrow. That’s a minimum case. The next layer is ok, you’re in a classroom, um how do we make that classroom more interactive, and that’s where we’re seeing a lot of these pilots, all over the Bay Area where they’re saying let’s take a lecture out of class time, let’s do more interactive things, so it can be one-on-one time with the teacher, it can be peers teaching each other, and the next level I think that’s getting closer to your question, the dream is I imagine in the Bay Area and hopefully the rest of the world, schools of all sorts, public, private, charter, where students are allowed to work at their own pace, master concepts, before moving on. There’s no use having a C understanding of algebra, a C understanding of geometry, and the best you can do with calculus is get a D. We want you to get a very high level of mastery throughout. It will be all at your own pace, and then really pushing the envelope at what a classroom can be. There’s a school, Summit Prep, here in San Jose that is starting to experiment with some of these things, saying hey let’s break down these walls between classrooms, let’s have teachers teaching together, and let’s make it all interactive."

Raj:  “Ok, nuts and bolts, obviously your time is getting pulled in a lot of directions, and ways. How often are you in this office doing your videos?"
Sal:  “Depending on the week, but most days I’m here for essentially the entire morning, I’m here from 3 to 5 hours days making stuff."

Raj  "Garggle, tea, exercises, how do you keep your voice going?"

Sal: "You know I used to do more of that but now I don’t. I just come in, hot water. A lot of hot water." 

Raj:  "Will you ever make an on-camera appearance?"

Sal: “I’ve inadvertently made where we have these medal videos and stuff like that, but yeah most of the time I’m not there, and that’s good because I think my unibrow might be distracting. The form factor we use is you hear the voice and you see the writing, and that’s really good for a lot of the stuff we have right now, but there is a need I think for academic interviews. Let’s understand a neutron better, and maybe a face could be interesting there. I think there could be interesting things where we visit someplace but even there, even if I inadvertently show up, it’s all about focusing on the content. You might see faces, but our core idea is always be 100% focused on the content."

Raj: "You’re a kid at heart." Sal:  “I am a kid at heart, yes."

Raj: “You brought up it up. Where will we be in 10 years? I won’t be interviewing you, but where will you be?"

Sal: "Probably on our canes. You’re aging better than me. So In ten years, I hope the site is reaching hundreds of millions if not billions of people. The experience isn’t just videos. It isn’t just problem sets. It’s projects that work with the other 100 million or 200 million learners out there so you can learn from each other that you can teach each other. It’s ways to create portfolios to share creative work, it’s way to get credentials to show to employers all over the world, and they’ll take that seriously, and then on top of that, we hope it’s being used to supercharge what’s actually happening in the physical classroom. So in ten years I hope that we’ve somewhat reached a consensus that it makes no sense where one person gives a lecture to 30 people. It should be a time where we go deep with students, to form human connections, human bonds, for students to connect with each other. I kind of have to wear two hats, one I love making these videos. I love learning and teaching, and on the other side we have this organization where we’re growing, we’re raising money, we’re doing all these type of things, I hope in ten years some of the later stuff, is literally on auto-pilot but I feel like I can invest even more time on creating the content.”

Raj: "So you still love just doing the videos?"

Sal: “Oh yeah when I’m 60 years old, 70 years old, whenever, there’s a far more competent person than me that is doing, running the operations of Khan Academy, and there will be a whole team of people who are also making content, but I can just sort of sit on a hill someplace and make videos on quantum physics."

Raj:  “The most interesting or one of the most interesting calls you’ve received from some high profile people, out of the blue?"

Sal: "Out of the blue? Ah, we got a call from Lebron James that that... Raj: Do you play basketball? Can you help with his shot?" Sal: “Yeah despite my physic, you might be surprised that I don’t play basketball. Yeah he reached out because he’s a superstar, and this is pretty close to his exact words. He said, 'look, when I was a kid, if Michael Jordan told me to work more on my math, I’d work more on my math.' So now he’s in that same position, that same reach, and so he wanted to help us in some ways. So we’ve been doing some videos where he asks a question about why does sweat cool you down? or what muscles do I use when I use a jump shot and I answer them.”

Raj: "White house reach out to you?"

Sal: "We’ve had conversations with the dept. of ed, with we’ve had, I won’t go into all the depth, but yes, we’ve had interesting conversations." Raj "Maybe I should say, has the Oval Office reached out to you?"  Sal: "I Have not spoken to President Obama as of yet, but I wouldn’t mind. I’d pick up the phone if he were to call.”

Raj:  "Final question for our Bollywood fans. Who’s the most famous Salman Khan in the world?"

Sal: “The most famous Salman Khan um is not me."  Raj: Just like him you reach a lot of people.  Sal:  “I reach a lot of people. So ok, I take it back, amongst non south Asians, I might be edging him out. Amongst south Asians, as long as he's still playing 18 year olds who’s helplessly in love, as long as he’s in those roles, yes I think he’s got a leg up on me."

<![CDATA[The Interview: 49ers CEO Jed York]]> Mon, 14 Jan 2013 10:38:57 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/215*120/9-14-2012+9-45-06+PM.jpg Jed York is making big changes. Not only building a billion dollar stadium, but says he's taking a different approach with the team than his father did.]]> <![CDATA[The Interview: Ross Mirkarimi Eliana Lopez]]> Wed, 22 Aug 2012 14:17:56 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/raj+and+mirk2.JPG

Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi is trying to rebuild his life at home following a New Year's Eve argument with his wife which ended with him bruising her arm and jeopardizing his career.

Mirkarimi and his wife, Eliana Lopez, agreed to their first joint interview since he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor false imprisonment.

Here is Raj Mathai's full exclusive interview with Ross Mirkarimi and Eliana Lopez.

Raj Mathai:  Your son has been back with you for about a week now.

Ross Mirkarimi: Oh yeah. I just Savor every moment. Oh my god.

Raj: What have you missed?

Ross:  His birthday. The fact that he has gone from speaking English as a two year old to now speaking fluent Spanish. He’s a toddler. He’s my little big boy. He’s big for three. We’re incredibly close and it  was really hard for us to be apart.

Raj: You smile now, obviously you have your family in tact now but what was the most difficult part?

Ross:  Being apart, everything fell apart. My life, our lives felt destroyed. I used to take great pride in my ability to provide for my family and being able to look forward to a future together that all  disappeared. I try to find resolve and resilience, and I feel inspired by our ability to reunite, which is one of the reasons why I've hung in there, we’ve hung in there.

Raj: Where does the blame go? Is this a political witch hunt?

Ross: It’s not an easy question to answer. I take full responsibility for everything that has occurred and I have taken responsibility, which is why as early as I possibly could, based on unfolding  of this process in the courts and then in the civil arena, every step of the way I wanted people to know that  Ross Mirkarimi is a husband father, and elected public servant. I wanted to be in front to explain as best as I could, as best as I was advised to, which was a very unfamiliar process to me being on this side of the criminal justice system as to how we need to move forward. But I never expected this level of severity, the way it has been personalized the dehumanizing of Eliana and my family in order for the mayor and allies to further their gain in order to oust me from office. That is where it segways into politics.

Raj: Can the sheriff do this job with this on his record?

Ross: Absolutely and it’s important to not fall prey to very old or conventional ways of thinking in the criminal justice system, which in many ways is counter-intuitive to be scarred and disqualified. I think the right example is by showing one can turn their lives around and still be able to be that elected official. It does not disqualify from me being Sheriff. That’s why I took the plea, to put the matter behind us.. so I could regroup and reunite with my family, so I could regroup with the people of San Francisco. We talk a good game about restorative justice. We talk a good game about rehab. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d become an example of this in this respect. I think it’s time that there is leadership that shows and delivers on what rehabilitation means.

Raj: Is there a difference in degree than a bruise on the arm or something of greater significance or bigger injury that you would be on this side explaining it as you are?

Ross: It could be a difference of degree, but I think that ‘s something that needs to be processed and analyzed and I think the city really is on the verge of a  constitutional crisis in the way they would undermine the voter’s  will.

Raj: Is there a grudge against you in City Hall.

Ross: I don’t know if there’s a grudge. All I know is I’ve been a public servant for 17 years, 7 years as the board of supervisors. I was extremely outspoken. When I think government hasn't worked as well for the people I haven't been shy about speaking to that reality and I think that's offended people along the way.

Raj: By your own admission you’re not that guy that shakes hands, hey lets go to lunch and had all these allies. Has that hurt you at city all what you’re going through right now? 

Ross: It’s not been my style. I’ve never been a click, cliquish kind of guy and I probably could have learned from that. I believe in local government. If anything if I’ve learned in all this madness is sometimes I’ve put the job first before my family. I didn’t always have my family in mind the way I should have. I Will never make that mistake again.

Raj: Would you describe yourself as abrasive sometimes in terms of politically speaking?

Ross: I could be. I think I could be but I think if anything I’m a sharpshooter. I mean I went right to what should have happened, I tried to be as inclusive as I possibly could. I’m a grassroots kind of a guy. I’m not a machine guy. I’m not  that kind of dude.

Raj: Eliana, what's been the most hurtful part for you?

Eliana Lopez: To see your son miss his dad so much, that is painful for me and that was wrong.

Raj Eliana, you were talking or have talked about divorce before this whole thing. Has this whole episode brought you together or has it torn apart your family even more?

Eliana: When we said we wee talking about divorce, it’s not like we were contemplating let’s divorce. Never had that happened. When I said that I said I needed to know as an immigrant, where we are. We were never at that point oh yes let’s divorce, no that never happened. One of the gifts we are stronger. I have no absolute doubts that we are a family. I think that’s a strong feeling inside me, and inside Ross, and inside Theo. So we are a family, and that’s why we have to be together and that’s why we are facing everything. This is wrong.

Raj: Your neighbor is here. Have you talked to her? What would you like to tell her?

Eliana: I don’t want to tell her anything to her. I think the message is the people in San Francisco. We are not perfect. He is not perfect.I’m not either. I’m not either. They say he doesn’t take responsibility. What do they want? They want to cut his hand off. When is going to be enough? I just can’t understand all this hate, against us. For what? He never tried to really hurt me. He made a mistake. Fine. Let’s move on. He is a great public servant. We are a family that wants to be together. That is my message. You think this is helping me? Or helping Theo?

Raj: As a sheriff, you work with domestic abuse victims. Is there irony in all of this. Are you part of the problem in all of this?

Ross: I like to believe I’m part of the solution and forward thinking. We should not fall prey to old counter-intuitive thinking of the old criminal justice system.

Raj: Excuse me it sounds more like a political sound bite. Just me and you straight forward. Is there irony in what you’re doing.?

Ross: I think there is a level of empathy that  I’m also enhanced by that would make me even more of an effective sheriff.

Raj: How effective will you be if you can get your job back?

Ross Extremely effective. Everybody that knows me knows  how hard  working I am.

Eliana Why are they putting all this power, just without pay? He’s not paid. We are just a family fighting a case that is more than a million dollars against us is the full power over the family. Why?

Ross: By removing an independent politically elected Sheriff from office, the second largest department in the city, the net effect is you consolidate power in a way that I think would be a horrible precedent for this city or any city.

Raj Tell me about the conversation with Mayor Lee in his office. Ross:  It was not much  of a conversation at all Raj: What would he tell me? Ross: Well I think he tried to explain during the ethics commission but a bomb scare interrupted some of that. He would have made the conversation sound like there was not much of a conversation. There wasn’t much of one in his mind quite frankly, and in my mind the conversation would have ended literally within 20 to 30 seconds if I hadn’t continued to ask him questions.

Raj: Are they coming after you in your with domestic violence or a political vendetta?

Ross: No I think they’re using the vehicle of what I pleaded to as to why we would have saved five months. The whole reason I took the plea, took responsibility so our family could regroup and move forward as a city, as a family, and as a department. How they’ve all come at this is vicious and mean spirited. Even though people just like to equate this is just politics of San Francisco, it’s a whole new level.

Eliana: As an actress, in America people always recognize me, but now in this situation, and after me personally how I feel like they’re trying to destroy me and dismiss me no she has battery syndrome, she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.

In two months are you going to have your job back?

Ross: We’ll see. I think it’s unfortunate that this level of pressure gets put on former colleagues of mine on the board of supervisors.  They are going to politicize it to the point were they’re going to be put in a very, very difficult position. I’ve always been very sensitive to that.

Raj: If you don’t get your job back, will you work again in San Francisco?

Ross: Plan B or Plan C is for another interview. Eliana: But we are a family, We love each other we have a beautiful son.

Raj: Are you worried a Plan B is right around the corner.

Ross: Oh naturally. Every single day I’ve been thinking about what is the prospect of not having my job. I mean we have been without income, myself, it’s easier for Eliana in Venezuela to gain work, to live with the reality that I can’t provide for my family, to cope every day its been a coping session on savings that have been evaporated by all this.

Eliana: But we are confident that justice will prevail and I think all the support we receive in the street, I think the supervisors will receive the same message and democracy will prevail and justice will prevail Ross is going to be a fantastic Sheriff.


<![CDATA[The Interview: British Ambassador to US]]> Fri, 31 Aug 2012 15:24:20 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/160*120/raj+and+british+ambassador.jpg

Raj Mathai: If the answer to this question is ‘no’ then we are in serious trouble (laughs), but is London ready for the Olympics?
Ambassador Peter Westmacott: London thinks it’s ready. We’ve done everything in good time. Everything’s built, everything’s finished. A little bit of landscaping here and there, some grass being cut. It is on budget and on time. We have done everything we possibly can to ensure that security, which is a big consideration, is also taken care of. So, fingers crossed, we are in great shape for the games.

Raj: Politically speaking is one thing, but just personally, how excited and proud are you to have the Olympics in London?

Ambassador Westmacott: I’m hugely proud that we have got the Olympics in London. I’m not going to say yet that I am proud about the Olympics being a huge success, because we have to wait and see how it’s going to be. But, there is every reason to believe that it’s going to be one of the greatest games ever. I am very excited that we have the Olympics for the third time, which is unheard of. London, being the country that invented the Paralympics back in 1948, has got the Paralympics up in lights alongside the main Olympics. What we have tried to do with this Olympics, in the UK, is ensure that it leaves a real legacy, that it’s sustainable, and that it’s going to be a worthwhile investment for the future. And we feel we’ve got that right. In other words, we’ve really used the money to regenerate parts of the east end of London that were in bad shape. 2 million tons of polluted earth have been recycled. There will be affordable housing for probably 12,000 people once the games are over from the facilities we have built. We have fantastic new infrastructure, transport, stadium, which are going to be used in the future, not standing there like rotting, white elephants. It’s a very sustainable approach, the way we’ve run it.  Those are the sorts of things we have tried to pay attention to, to ensure these are going to be good games, and really leave a lasting legacy.

Raj: You’ve talked about a lasting legacy, but critics are saying that London has spent billions of dollars, it’s far too much, and it’s not worth the price. What do you say to them?
Ambassador Westmacott: I would like to believe that the numbers will say that it is worth the price. Much of the money that is being spent is being spent on things that needed to be done anyway and are going to be of lasting value. So there is very little money, we hope, which will be going down the drain. We’d like to think that the Olympics itself will bring in a tremendous amount of other benefits. Perhaps the extra number of visitors who come to London, who wouldn’t have come otherwise; we’ve got to ensure that they have a wonderful experience. But, we’d like to think there will be knock-on effects to the economy, that the improved infrastructure we’ve created will have a lasting effect on the economy. And all of that is going to make it worthwhile. Plus, all of this is of continuing value for the British economy. It has created a lot of employment, and it’s going to be lasting employment. We believe it’s going to be money well spent, but we’ll have to see exactly how the games go, and what the returns are after the event.

Raj:  Let’s talk security, since you brought it up. There’s big money, a billion dollars in US money, involved, and British soldiers. It’s almost like it would be a warzone. It’s this something that is disheartening to you, or is this just the price of admission?
Ambassador Westmacott: It’s not just the price of admission for the Olympics; it’s the price of admission for any of these big events that you want to stage. Unfortunately, we have gotten to the stage where there are people who love the idea of taking a major, international event, and making it trouble. Sometimes it might be a hoax, sometimes it might be a real terrorist attack, sometimes it may be bad luck. We have no choice but to ensure that we’ve put in place all possible controls and checks, in case someone has the daft idea to fly an aircraft into the stadium, or into one of the other venues where the Olympics are taking place. It’s a pity to see those sorts of headlines in advance of the Olympics, but I hope anyone who has daft ideas will get the message that the Brits are serious about Olympic security, and will not try anything which would be so irresponsible and inhumane as disrupting the Olympic games with a terrorist event. But, I think we just have accept that’s what we are doing. There will probably be as many as 10,000 soldiers on duty, which will be available if things go wrong. But we obviously hope very much that they won’t be seen at all, and they won’t be needed. 

Raj: Are you confident that it will go off without a hitch?
Ambassador Westmacott: I don’t want to chance fortune, but I think we have done all we can in advance of the games to ensure that it will go off without a hitch. And that people who come and people who watch it around the world will have a wonderful experience. But, I will not be 100% confident until we have seen the evidence.

Raj: London is one of the most historical cities in the world. It needs no introduction to the world in terms of the Olympics. But what can the Olympics do for London in this day and age?
Ambassador Westmacott: I think that having the Olympics this year is a big boom for us. I feel lucky to have won the bid and to have them at this time. Despite the fact that London, the United Kingdom, and really the world economy is having a rough ride, the eyes of the world to some extent have been on the UK. We have been doing some of the things that we are good about; we are good at history, pageant, the monarchy, we had a royal wedding, the diamond jubilee, which not every country has a hugely respected and loved monarch on the throne for 60 years. And, there are other things this year that are happening besides the Olympics, such as the World Shakespeare festival, the 200th anniversary of Charles Dickens’ birth, and events that happen every summer, like Wimbledon. So, what we are also hoping is that all of these great events for 2012 that Britain is great place to learn, to study, to live and invest in. We are very much open to foreigners, visitors, foreign investment. We’ve always been a trading nation. We don’t really mind who is going to be the owner of the value, provided that they own their assets in a responsible fashion. I think the message is that Britain is more open for business than ever and is a business-friendly environment. Britain and the United States have the top 15 universities in the world, and we are delighted to welcome more and more foreign students. We welcome foreigners who want to live, work, settle, and study in our country. Plus, we would like to remind other countries that Britain still has contributions to make, whether it is national security, Parliament membership, the United Nations, our global reach, our global traditions. There are a lot of things we like to believe that the United Kingdom can do to make our world a safer and more prosperous place. And if 2012, the Olympics, and other events that are going on will help us convey that message, we will be thrilled.

Raj: You brought up the royal family. Prince William and Prince Harry really have increased their profile internationally. Obviously that is by design. How come?
Ambassador Westmacott: I think what the royal family has done, in a rather seamless way, is modernize itself. The reality is, the Queen herself was a great innovator, insisting that television cover her coronation, when the senior officials and administrators back in 1953 were saying that they weren’t sure if that was a good idea. The Queen herself has been at the forefront of this modernization and the adaptation of the monarchy to the needs of modern society.  There are 16 countries of which she is the head of state. So I think what you have been seeing is Her Majesty continuing her duty with so much professionalism, like she always has, but you’ve also seen the next generation being put to the fore. We saw the photographs of the Buckingham Palace balcony at the end of the Jubilee celebrations, I imagine it was no accident that you saw Her Majesty, you saw the next generation, the Prince of Wales and his wife, and the next generation after that, Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge.  That’s the core business of the monarchy for the generations to come. I think that the emphasis there is on continuity, tradition, longevity, but also here is youth, here is the next generation, and here is what we can offer for the future. To me, it seems to be a message that the British people have taken to heart.

Raj: In terms of the Olympics now, what are you looking forward to? What is your favorite event? What are you excited to see?
Ambassador Westmacott: I always get a buzz out of the track events, particularly the 100, 200, and 400m. I love watching the hurdles. I can’t quite understand how people can do that. I think some of the swimming events are amazing, the diving, some of the synchronized swimming.  But the Brits are strong at Equestrian events, boating events, sailing. I hope to see some of the rowing events, as well. So, there is plenty there.

Raj: Did you see the sand that they are bringing in?
Ambassador Westmacott: Yes, there is sand on the royal horse guard’s parade. There is beach volleyball occurring on the premises, which he is particularly pleased about. We are taking advantage of the assets that London has got, where we can do so. We’ve got that great, wonderful space... next door to the cabinet office... next door to St. James’ Park, which we are going to be using. We are using what is good about London already, but building what’s new and what we need to, particularly in areas that were in desperate need of renovation.

Raj: First Lady Michelle Obama will be attending the Opening Ceremony, which is very exciting. Were there any conversations about having President Obama come, and is there any disappointment that he hasn’t announced a visit?
 Ambassador Westmacott: I think we have got more than 100 heads of government and heads of state coming into the Opening Ceremony. Of course, it was always made very clear that we would be delighted to have the President. But from a very early stage, it has been almost certainly clear that he would not be able to come. But, the First Lady was able to confirm back in March that she would be there on his behalf, so we are delighted that she is coming. I don’t think that there is any particular disappointment. We would have been delighted, of course, but we are thrilled that the First Lady is coming.

Raj: Maybe the most important question: When I go back to London, which pub should I visit? What is your favorite?
Ambassador Westmacott: (Laughs) Maybe you should go to the Two Chairmen. It’s in Whittol  where I used to work. But, there are a lot of wonderful pubs and restaurants downtown.

<![CDATA[The Interview: General Colin Powell]]> Fri, 31 Aug 2012 15:21:45 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/colin_powell_raj_2.jpg

It's not uncommon that former Secretary of State Colin Powell is in the Bay Area. He usually slips in without any fanfare.

He's a consultant for the local venture capitol firm, Kleiner Perkins, but his most recent visit is different. General Powell is on his latest mission, to tell his side of the story in a controversial chapter in American History, the now infamous speech to the United Nations where he outlined the U.S. plan to attack Iraq.

His outline it turned was based on information that was wrong.

In his new book, "It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership," General Powell faces his critics head-on. In a one-on-one interview with Raj Mathai, he talks about what he calls one of his most momentous failures.

"How does the Secretary of State talk to the United Nations and be misled?" Raj asked the General. "I don't like the word misled because we didn't think we were being misled," Powell answered Raj. "I still don't think we were misled. We had bad information and wrong analysis."


Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Gavin Newsom]]> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:52:25 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/0003_gavin_newsom_raj.jpg

He went from the number one politician in San Francisco to number two in Sacramento, and now Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom is fired up, and isn't holding back. It's Gavin Newsom unfiltered in "The Interview with Raj."

The images are countless. In many ways, we've seen Gavin Newsom grow up right before our eyes. But perhaps his biggest growth has come away from the spotlight in the last year. Raj asked him, "Do you miss being relevant on a daily basis?"

"Partially and partially not," Lt. governor Newsom answered, and added, "People have an intense reaction to someone they see on T.V. especially someone who they pay their salary to." Raj then followed up by saying, "But knowing you, you thrive on that. I know you do," to which the Lt. Governor answered, "I do I enjoy that. I miss a bit of that, but at the same time I don't miss being booed when I walk into a movie theater and trust me there's plenty of that especially when you're with your kid and someone gives you the finger and you settle down, and now you have to worry about that."

This is Gavin Newsom 2.0, a little bit older, wiser, and not afraid to attack his boss, Governor Jerry Brown. "My great critique of this administration is its unprecedented cuts to higher education, and contrast that to Governor Schwarzenegger in 2010, a $19 billion dollar budget shortfall. Huge problems. He had every incentive to do the same. He added 750 million dollars to the UC and CSU system because he valued it, he prioritized it," Newsom Said.

Raj then asked, "When you tell Governor Brown what you just told me, what's his response?" Gavin answered, "You find me exactly where the money comes from. I used to say that as mayor. It's a quick response. With all due respect, I've been on the executive side. It's not good enough." Raj followed up by asking, "Where is Governor Brown putting this money in your opinion?" Lt. Governor Newsom answered, "Well he's trying to offset cuts in other places and good for him, and there's strong constituency. I'm just saying, my priority is this. I didn't just say this when I got here. I'm saying this 3, 4, 5, 10 years ago, I've been saying this for a number of years. I've been saying this when I was campaigning. this is my priority. If we lose our system of higher learning, we have truly lost the California dream."

"It sounds like you're setting yourself up to run for Governor in 2014. Would I be wrong to say that," Raj asked. "Yeah you would be," Lt. Governor Newsom answered. "Look, I ran for governor, momentarily against Jerry Brown and realized that I needed to pull back, so I think people know what my original intention was, that said I want to make real this job of Lt. Governor, and that’s why I’ve probably been a little more honest and forthright than a lot of other Lt. Governors while in office. I’m going to keep fighting I want to do more with this position.”

There's another side to Lt. Governor Newsom, that of father. "Tell me how fatherhood has changed you," Raj said to Newsom. "It’s the greatest. It’s the greatest. It’s beyond awesome. It’s beyond, it just knocks you on your feet, every single day," Compared to his days as mayor, as Lt. Governor, Newsom is home more on Saturdays, and that means it's all about family. "Saturdays in the morning, my daughter and I get bagels, and all she talks about  is bagel, bagel, bagel," Newsom said.

Newsom has as much admiration for his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom as he does for his children saying, "Why I'm the husband of Jen Siebel Newsom. She's got this film, 'Miss Representation' Oprah Winfrey just bought it, it was at Sundance. It just gets bigger and bigger. She's created a whole movement around this film and it's taking off."

With a wife and family, Lt. Governor Newsom is moving on from past scandals. "You survived a scandal in your own City Hall in 2007. It came out you had an affair with the wife of one of your staffers. What did you learn from that, and do you still apply those lessons today," Raj asked.

"Yeah, I mean everything that could be said has been said about that. you know I also learned that there's no reason to rehash it," Newsom answered. He went on to say, "Certain things you do in life you can never take back, you hurt people you care about and you learn from it because life is about learning from your mistakes and moving forward and I'm a much better person from learning from that experience."


<![CDATA[The Interview: Giada De Laurentiis]]> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 12:48:51 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/003_giadadelaurentiis.jpg It's not all smiles for celebrity chef Giada De Laurentiis. In this one-on-one interview with Raj Mathai, she describes how discrimination hampered her career.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[The Interview: Jean Quan]]> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:54:39 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/202*120/quan2.jpg NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai goes one-on-one with Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in a candid interview. The Mayor talks about Occupy Oakland, the recall effort and looking ahead.]]> <![CDATA[The Interview: Chef Gary Danko]]> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:53:28 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/180*120/italian+food.jpg

Maybe the only thing harder than getting a reservation at his prized restaurant is getting behind-the-scenes access to his kitchen, but NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai recently did just that with one of the most private and celebrated chefs in Bay Area History, Gary Danko.

A few things come with the territory, the cable cars, the beautiful bridge, and Gary Danko. "I'm a San Franciscan not by birth, but by choice, by love. It is my city," he told Raj.

Danko has been a celebrity chef before the term even existed and his restaurant has been rated number one in Zagat's Bay Area restaurant guide for most of the last decade.

"Does it register to you anymore?" Raj asked Danko.

"For my ego, I try to remain humble. I like to stay in the kitchen. I like to chop-chop behind the scenes," he answered.

And behind the scenes you do see the chaos, Danko style.

"It's called organized chaos basically," Danko admitted. "When it comes in it means automatically fire that first course. Bob coordinates it, sends it out, draws a line in it. Hangs it over in a neutral zone here."

"From an outsiders point of view, I have no idea of what you just said," Raj replied.

To be clear, it's not just food being created in Danko's kitchen. It's art, and that's what Danko believes keep customers coming back. "There's a huge gap between restaurants that really want to take care of you. Anyone can open a restaurant, but how long can you keep it there?"

Below the hustle bustle of the kitchen is one of the best wine cellars in Northern California. "Will you keep your personal wines here or at the house?" Raj asked Danko. "I have a ton of wine at the house," he answered with a laugh.

While Danko is known for his high-end gourmet cuisine, Raj asked him about some less than gourmet cuisine.

"Any guilty pleasures? Double Double?"

"I do the double-double, no cheese, of course the french fries. That's the guilty pleasure."

"Last meal?"

"Most people would say simple food, but I eat that everyday," Danko said. "If I went out, it would be caviar, signature buckwheat blini. And great wine of course."

<![CDATA[The Interview: Steve LaMar]]> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:55:42 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/STEVELAMARPKGFORTHEWEB_6259779_722x406_2219606267.jpg Steve Lamar, the father of missing 15-year-old Sierra Lamar, sits down with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai and discusses what the last few weeks were like for his family]]> <![CDATA[Newsom Chats About Mirkarimi Scandal]]> Fri, 08 Jun 2012 10:55:04 -0700 http://media.nbcbayarea.com/images/213*120/newsomweb_722x406_2222782572.jpg Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom talks about the Sheriff Ross Mirkirimi scandal in this web extra.]]>