"PRINTING THE NEWS AND RAISING HELL" - S.F. BAY GUARDIAN (1966-2014)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Media's Effort To Turn Stark's Plain-Spoken Bluntness Into A Negative

ELECTION'S 12//CONGRESS 15/ANALYSIS | Rep. Pete Stark sat firmly in his seat at Hayward’s City Hall last April as the audience began ambling out the room following the first forum with his young Democratic challenger, Eric Swalwell. Earlier in the hour-long discussion, the irascible Stark had called the well-coiffed, somewhat squat first-term councilman both a “pipsqueak” and a “bush leaguer.” He had also quite infamously charged Swalwell with bribery and failing to vote in California. Both allegations were false, yet rooted in far more truth than certain media personalities would have you believe. Swalwell rose from his seat and offered his hand to the seated Stark, who accepted. From afar, the conversations appeared odd and less-than-cordial. Swalwell quickly and ungracefully wrenched his hand away from Stark and stepped back. His expression registered an odd combination of incredulous fear one might expect from a paddling surfer the moment after a Great White Shark has sunk its teeth into his thigh. A mic, still live before Stark, caught him mid-sentence saying, “…you’re a crook…” Later, witnesses reported Stark called Swalwell, “a fucking crook.”

Eric Swalwell
Seemingly everything Stark now says is labeled a gaffe by a small group of media members in the East Bay who, themselves, possess a noticeably thin skin. When did politics become the stuff of little girl tea parties and exercises in who can be the nicest candidate? This is a campaign for the House of Representatives, not a seat on the San Lorenzo school board, for crissakes! The hidden meaning here is rooted in a very simple observation, particularly in the race for the 15th Congressional District. In a campaign between Stark, an 80-year-old congressman who walks with the aid of a cane and hardly fills out his collared dress shirts and Swalwell, a perfectly fit 31-year-old deputy district attorney, is that the old guy is easily the most manly of candidates--in not just this race, but the entire Bay Area.

How did we get this way? A few weeks before Hayward City Hall forum, Swalwell appeared dazed and intimidated by a group of Hayward Democrats during a similar forum. Without the home-field advantage of the Tri Valley, he was timid and at one point forcefully told the audience he would draw up legislation to micro-tax financial trades. It sounded good, but as Stark pointed out, the legislation already existed and was much ballyhooed in the press. In fact, it was Stark’s bill. Afterwards, Swalwell bolted out the building as he did following a speech a month later at Cal State East Bay.

If Stark is a bully, then Swalwell is the nerdy kid quietly plotting an elaborate scheme for revenge, replete with schematics and neatly planned guidebooks to execute the adventure. Did Swalwell stage the latest blast against Stark’s alleged poor behavior written by the San Francisco Chronicle’s Carla Marinucci, as Stark’s campaign is asserting? According to other media reports, Former Assemblyman Alberto Torrico offered his endorsement to Swalwell. Out of honor, Torrico says he would call Stark to inform him of the bad news. Torrico’s version of the event as told to the Chronicle, indeed, give more than a hint to what he was up to. In turn, according to KGO-TV, Swalwell turned tattle-tale and alerted the media.
Alberto Torrico

It's no surprise that Stark took a taunting stance and trash-talked Torrico. Marinucci, though, mischaracterized the incident and spun it to appear Stark had “threatened” Torrico’s family. Read the quotes. Telling someone they are crazy and facetiously offering to call help to protect their children is hardly threatening. Of course, unless the subtext of this conversation is, in fact, Torrico has a mental illness he’s not talking about, then it is not threatening, it’s funny. It’s trash talk and it’s what Stark does. Democrats in the East Bay have never complained when he reserves his best rejoinders for House Republicans and President George W. Bush. In fact, complaints of Stark’s alleged abhorrent behavior is a wholly Republican and Tea Party creation.

In the end, the real reason Torrico and a small band of local officials have bolted to endorse Swalwell is really the most interesting story in all of this. Torrico’s righteous indignation, probably brought on by his epiphany in Jesus Christ, is born from the fact he, like Swalwell’s other supporters are in some way or another dissidents recently ostracized from the Democratic Party in the East Bay. In Swalwell, they see the possibility of a path back. If Torrico was in good standing with the party, it is likely he would have applied for the appointment to Nadia Lockyer’s seat on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors. He didn’t since it was well-known Richard Valle has now gained the party’s imprimatur, instead. Others in the East Bay, however, cynically discounted Torrico’s interest on the basis of his well-known predilection towards making money over public service, at least, since the end of his run in the Assembly. Working in the private sector still makes Torrico more than $140,000-a-year working tirelessly on Oak Street.

Stephen Cassidy
Another Swalwell supporter, San Leandro’s Mayor Stephen Cassidy, a vehement enemy of working people in his city, is another case where Mr. Persona Non Grata sees a chance at redemption through Swalwell. Last week, Swalwell said he was proud to have the support of Cassidy on a thread on Facebook initially asserting Cassidy is a closeted Republican. It seemed to be an odd time back up your friend when, in fact, many are beginning to suspect conservative tendencies from Swalwell, as well. Then, of course, there's former Alameda County Sheriff Charlie Plummer
In the meantime, the East Bay continues to rest in this bizarre bubble of weirdness, graft and arrogance. A brief moment in time when all that has ailed Alameda County has rushed through the body politic all at one in a mad dash through the pores of its skin. The ooze is visible and the stench is sickening. Yet, when it comes to choosing a congressman from this district, those issues do not pertain. Instead, conservative elements want you to talk about the perceived lack of comity from the swashbuckling, elderly man who metaphorically swings his cane as strongly as he did 40 years ago. When Stark, yet again criticized by the thin-skinned media, charged them in Fremont with asking “stupid questions,” he was right. I have yet heard a question from them wondering how either candidate is going to put people back to work.

S.S. Swalwell last month
But, guess what? While most of the 15th Congressional District still languishes in double-digit unemployment, one candidate thought it was wise last month to campaign in one of the symbols of the One Percent—a yacht bobbing in McCovey Cove during a recent San Francisco Giants game. Maybe that plays well in Dublin, but when regular people struggling in Hayward see that, it’s likely they will sound a lot like Stark and say out loud, “That’s fucking horseshit!”

84 comments :

No reason to celebrate a bully. Eric has alot of support among electeds in Tri-Valley (I think they count too) and the entire Union City City Council. Rude behavior helped get Stark passed over for Ways and Means chair- nothing to highlight.

vote for me cuz im on a boat! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R7yfISlGLNU

torrico is a machine wimp like the entire machine candidates

The owners and management teams of the Chron and the BANG (Oak Trib, Daily Review, Tri-Valley Herald, etc.) want Swalwell to win. It would be a big reassurance to them that their papers have power. The voter's rejection of many of their candidate endorsements and thematic coverages make it apparent that their newspapers have lost public power in recent years. So, they're going all in to try to take out a 19-term Congressman. It would provide metaphorical Viagra for their shriveling influences.

A real journalistic study, one which meant to inform rather than demagogue, would talk about the titanic, consequential disagreements taking place in Congress right now. This discussion would frame the upcoming choice as one for the voters of the 15th CD, one of the most liberal electorates in the entire United States. Who is willing to "work across the aisle in bipartisanship" to cut Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, unemployment insurance, nutritional and educational programs for children, and so many other programs which have strengthened the lower and middle classes in this country? What are the candidates' views on civil and worker rights? Does Marinucci care to find out the answers to these questions through tough questioning of the candidates? It is apparent she does not. Nor do Singleton's crew at BANG.

Those who want to work with Boehner, Cantor, the Romney/Ryan ticket, and other members of the Republican Congressional caucus and subject us to the feudalistic policies of the 19th Century would not gain traction among voters of this Congressional District if their views were well known. Therefore, count on all questions from all major media journalists to these candidates between now and Election Day to focus on things like the scheduling of debates and the opportunistic endorsements made by various people of small and moderate political influence.

The people who own the major print, television and online media outlets are extremely wealthy. They want to become richer. They employ editors and reporters who are fired at a moment's notice if they do not do the owner's bidding. The owners smell blood in the water in this race, and they want to drag Stark onto the boat and fillet him. Who do these owners think will help the interests of their class (the rich/getting richer) at the expense of the shrinking middle class?

What do you think?

I think the man who wrote the very well said comment on the local media's attempt at maintaining influence is by far the best analysis of the Congressional race thus far from ANY person who has commented on EBcitizen.

I'm sorry, but a moribund, sclerotic, local Democratic party, suddenly being outraged that anyone outside their "chosen ones" would dare to run against their octogenarian prince is the stuff which strikes the people of the district as proof positive that the local party has lost its way.

We only need look back to 2010, to see the last time the party "insiders" told us what to do...
Here is your candidate, Nadia Lockyer, elect her, we know whats best.

And should any of their chosen ones falter or make fools of themselves, don't expect to party insiders to ever whisper even a doubt.
No, you can even commit felony grand theft, and be convicted and you won't hear a peep from the local Democratic Party leadership.

You doubt that? Please point out local Democratic party leaders, or office holders, city council members, legislators, school board members, central committee members who have spoken out about our local embarassment, our Assembly-member, who is on 30 months probation after being arrested for felony shoplifting.

No, they line up, put their arms around her, and smile for the camera.

So don't come here now, with frightening stories, and tell us we must vote for the chosen one, yet again.
He was elected when I was a senior a Cal-State Hayward. If elected again, I will hit my 65th birthday before the term ends.

THAT is NOT democracy. That is the stuff of the old Soviet Politburo, where "the party" always told everyone who to vote for.
But for the change in voting rules, to the top-two, we'd still be told who we were going to elect.

A old, tired, sclerotic, local Democratic Party.
A embarassment along with a candidate to match.

I'm sick and tired of their little dance.

I really love and agree with this article, especially adding the digruntled Democats angle to an explination of why print media are pushing Swallwell, (I had thought it was just to make 'news.') Beyond that, having spent the last few months in DC has shown me just how badly we need outspoken progressives like Stark on the hill. But when I posted this article to FB the text that shows in my post is the first line of the first comment, not the first line of the article. Please fix this, because I think we all need to start pushing your work out on social media.

Goodness, all these folks, suddenly coming out of the woodwork, saying we need Pete to save the nation.
Where were you guys when other qualified candidates were scared off from running because we needed to "show respect" and reverence for Pete, regardless of how arrogant or embarassing he has become.

The old "fall into line" crowd is now going to try to scare the folks into toeing the line, voting for Pete, to show loyalty. We're told to wait a few more years, and then those in the know, will offer us a suitable candidate that meets the "insiders" criteria.

You may be able to fool some of the folks with that line, but many of us lifelong Democrats have had it with your scary warnings. AS though the Republic will nosedive without the bold Stark to guide us.

Isn't it too bad that his antics kept him from being in a real position of power as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee. Now he is nothing but a minor back bench player wherein even his own party members largely count him as done, just filling out his lifestyle preferences by hanging around for another couple years in office.
(Of course, no one ever expects him to move back to the district he represents, because he is a full fledged Marylander)

1:06 and 2:52 pm are totally uninterested in knowing what the candidates would do while in office. If the Democratic Party is supportive of Stark, that's enough; they oppose him. What would the candidates do about the extremely pressing issues of the day? These commenters don't care. That's why I reject their screeds. They fiddle while our country burns.

I do agree with their sentiment that our federal government is not functioning well. I place the largest blame on a disgraceful Republican Party caucus, whose leaders declared publicly upon the election of our President that their number 1 priority would not be to repair the damage their policies caused during the long nightmare that was the Bush years, but to make Obama a one-term President. With anti-American attitudes like this, no amount of comity from Swalwell will get the Republicans to move toward budgeting and lawmaking the House Democratic Caucus supports. The Republicans aren't opposing better policies because Pete hurt their tender feelings, they're demonizing Democrats because they want America to return us to the Gilded Age.

Who do these commenters hold responsible for the economic crash and the current sluggish recovery? If these commenters are "lifelong Democrats" and they fail to hold Republicans responsible for their lion's share of the blame, they must admire the fake "Democratic Party" pundits on Fox News.

3:37, Listen my friend, I am one of those lifelong Democrats you are speaking about.
Your opinion is as follows, "If the Democratic Party is supportive of Stark, thats enough, they oppose him."

Sorry pal, what some of us Democrats don't accept as marching orders is "when the local Democratic insiders choose Stark" then we are suppose to salute and march to the polls with our instructions.
In case you hadn't noticed it, there are two Democrats on the November ballot.

I suppose you support whoever the local party leaders say is their choice.
Again, take us back to 2010, and I guess your marching orders were to vote for Nadia Lockyer. After all she had a near clean sweep of the local party insiders when they made the "party" endorsement.

Your efforts to characterize anyone who doesn't support Stark, as being some kind of closet Republican is transparent. You must be part of the Stark campaign staff.
Lots of us lifelong Alameda County Democrats won't be intimidated by your attempts.

I'll bet I've walked more precincts for Pete Stark in the past than you ever have. I earned the right to NOT support him this time if I so choose, without having some hack like you tell me what is the "correct" position.

Let's cut the B.S., and drop the condescention and insults.

I have no idea why you oppose Stark now, other than your steaming, well-expressed resentments of local Democratic Party leaders and their endorsement of Pete. You have not expressed yourself at all regarding what policy positions Stark has taken which have caused you to drop your support for him. Nor have you expressed the positions Swalwell is taking regarding Federal issues which are causing you to publicly support him.

Read your posts. We can tell you're PISSED at local Democrats. Otherwise, you haven't allowed us to understand your rationale at all. You can choose to make your voting decisions this way; we'd just like to know if that's all you've got.

One last thing: In way of understanding your views better, perhaps you could answer the question about the people and events you view as responsible for the economic crash and sluggish recovery. Let's have a real discussion about our futures, instead of personal attacks.

I'm concerned about a comment made on another post regarding this race. This person cheers Swalwell, but seems to be under the impression he is going to lower his taxes when he gets to Washington. Does he assume Swalwell is a Republican because he doesn't know the system has changed to allow two Dems to run or Swalwell is telling people this in the Tri Valley?

Second, this idea the party is making these decision as to whom to vote is paranoid and a bit too simplistic. You need a coalition to be effective and the party is the apparatus that sorts out the loony candidates and the ones who will serve the interests of the voters.

You can bring up Nadia Lockyer but that was more a lapse on the part of your local newspapers. They didn't pay attention to her obvious problems, but I did and when she imploded last Feb. you rewarded me with your time and support for this endeavor.

nobody thought my boat comment was funny. :(

Tavares, here you go again.

You don't know Torrico. The only thing you are acurate about is the fact Alberto endorsed Eric. You don't know politics man. Stay out of reporting it ok?

Stark needs to go. It is time for a change, vote Swalwell

Marshall

Tell me something Tavaris,

Why do you have such a heart on for the elected machine? Get on your knees for them did you?

I mean shoot everything they do you like, and every time someone challenges them you sabotage them. Alberto is a great man and you know nothing about him, you should be ashamed of yourself for suggesting he has a mental illness if it went that way.

Your such a looser.

"You can bring up Nadia Lockyer but that was more a lapse on the part of your local newspapers."

True, you eventually brought out the info about Lockyer that the newspapers failed to uncover. That was excellent. That is why we read here.

However, I don't think the local Alameda County Democratic Party Central Committee was unaware of how inappropriate Nadia Lockyer was back in 2010.
Yet when they voted to endorse, Liz Figueroa received two votes, Kevin Dowling received none, and Lockyer got all the rest of the 40 or so members in attendance who voted

But for Mary Hayashi being termed-out, I'm thinking she'd still be getting the Central Committee endorsement despite her arrest and conviction.

Its healthy to question and even oppose some incumbent candidates EVEN if they vote "correctly" on most of the issues. Pete's time is over, the party should have encouraged others to run.
Corbett, Ro, etc. But they sat on their hands, even discouraged the prospect.
Now they accuse those who are tired of waiting of being disloyal or closet Republicans.
The people will vote. They will finally have a choice unlike all the other elections where essentially it was Pete or some chiropractor with a R after his name.
.

"Mary HO-yashi here. I'm asking for your vote so that I can land a cushy gig on the A.C. Board of Supervisors where I won't have to do much of anything--just like serving in Sacramento. My ideal job is to continue suckling on the public tit so I can get rich at taxpayers' expense. Status quo for this ho!"

I wish that everyone would stop trashing Mary. Just because she's always done labor's bidding, well that makes her....We all make mistakes! Mary's was just being caught. Sheesh!!

9:13 and 9:15, Your "Mary HO-yashi" is really getting boring. Reminds me of some junior-high locker room banter. Even those of us who don't like Mary are tired of it.

"Its healthy to question and even oppose some incumbent candidates EVEN if they vote "correctly" on most of the issues."

Pete has faced opposition in his 19 previous elections. What is completely absent from your critique is WHY we should toss out an experienced Congressman who you appear to concede does his constituents' bidding.

"But for Mary Hayashi being termed-out, I'm thinking she'd still be getting the Central Committee endorsement despite her arrest and conviction."

I have to laugh at this presumption. Wasn't it this very same blog which reported recently that Hayashi understands she has almost no chance of getting the Central Committee endorsement for her current Supervisor run? The commenter doth protest too much, methinks.

So Stark has to go, but then what? Is the pipsqueak going to do any better with no ideas or qualifications in congress. Who is Swalwell and why doesn't he have a girlfriend???

Alberto Torrico is a great man. Signed, Alberto Torrico

9:26

I was indicating that IF Mary Hayashi was NOT termed out, and was running as the incumbent, in the new District 20, then I have every reason she would be getting the endorsement of the committee.

That she is not getting a endorsement as she now runs for a entirely new job, is a entirely different matter.
I do find it interesting that until this very day, you won't find any local Democratic party people or elected leaders saying anything negative about her arrest and conviction.
Please feel free to quote a few. I must have missed their negative reactions and outrage.

As to "Pete has faced opposition in his 19 previous elections."

One wonders what planet you live on, or perhaps what your age is. There is not one chance in 1,000 that a Republican would ever win in Pete's district. That is why the Republicans put up no-name place holders every time. I mentioned a "chiropractor" because they ran him 2 or 3 times.
And in the primary, which up until now, was the real election, Peter never has opposition.

Your statement about Pete having had opposition is essentially absurd.
How long have you lived in the area?

9:27 "Who is Swalwell and why doesn't he have a girlfriend???"

Meaning what?

Perhaps he only dates women 36 years younger than himself, and she hasn't been born yet.

That's right, completely ignore the central question: Pete is voting and advocating policies which are in line with what his constituents want. With that concession of yours, why do you want to replace him?

From your posts, your hatred of local Democratic Party leaders and activists appears to be the only reason. With this Republican Party trying to destroy everything Democrats like yourself have built over our lifetimes, this is a dangerous game you're playing. If you don't care to defend the important legislative accomplishments of your political Party, just come clean and say so. We know Pete will defend them; we have little assurance that Swalwell will.

Alberto Torrico is a great man. Signed, Alberto Torrico. lol

Pussy cry baby

10:14, Please, what hyperbole...."your hatred of local Democratic Party leaders"... sheesh

And your "with that concession of yours"...

No, I don't agree with all of Pete Stark's policies.
Pete Stark is a tired old man with a declining ability to conduct a public life. It is not by chance that his fellow Democrats broke with long standing congressional tradition, threw out seniority, and chose someone else to Chair the Ways and Means Committee.
Why? Please spin that one for the readers.

He is going now or later. You know it, everyone knows it. He has to have "handlers" at events.
They hover around him, so he won't go off his rails, even physically trying to herd him to the awaiting rescue car before the press can ask him questions.

He is a campaign manager's nightmare. You never know what he'll say next.

I only wish he had announced his retirement in January, allowing a full field of candidates to assemble.
But he did not. He demanded "loyalty" and the others dropped their plans. Now we have a choice of two Democrats. The people of the entire district will choose. Pete has a HUGE financial advantage. By all rights, as a incumbent, he should win in a cake-walk.

Why are you so worried. Is it the voters decision you are uneasy about?

I'm not worried much- I believe Stark will win. Swalwell needs the Tea Partiers' votes to win this District. If Eric doesn't promise to repeal the Affordable Care Act and gut the New Deal and Great Society programs which you almost certainly supported if you were a "lifelong Democrat", he won't get enough of their votes. If he does dabble in those promises, he'll lose the liberal votes he'll need. Unless the press attacks and Koch Brothers money take a tremendous toll, I don't see how Swalwell's campaign threads this needle.

You conceded that Stark's votes are generally correct, and are unable to name even one of Stark's positions with which you disagree. You also fail to mount an argument that Swalwell can be counted on to defend the programs and priorities your party supports. It's apparent to me that you don't care to defend against Republican attacks on these priorities. Heavens, I wish you cared, but you can't be made to do so.

Of course Pete's at the end of his career. He's been saying immoderate things for decades; it's a more major issue now because, as mentioned earlier, the press has it in for Stark this time 'round.

Based on your last post, your opposition to his campaign now centers on your insistence that he should have been made to retire in 2012 rather than 2014. That's awfully shallow, isn't it? You're not dealing with the political reality that there's going to be some extraordinarily consequential votes taking place in the House in 2013 and 2014. I would trust Stark with those votes much more than Swalwell.

1:06 AM are you a Stark staffer? If you are not Pete better hire you. I have never seen such blind loyalty in my life. I am a life long Democrat when being a Democrat could easily be defined. As some of you have stated in other posts it's the "machine" politics that I don't agree with. Despite what some of you "loyalist" think the present local Democratic party is a closed system. Yes, they will take your money and pat you on the back but if you want to run for any political office you must first receive their blessing. If the process isn't opened up you will see many more converts to another party.

You seem to propose that the Democratic Party should have no meaningful leadership structure at all, or that the leadership that does exist should not provide guidance and advice to Party members. I'm sorry, but that's absurd, and would be a dereliction of duty.

Particularly in Alameda County, where there are frequently multiple Democratic Party candidates running for each office, experienced Party activists have a legitimate role to play in letting fellow Party members know which candidate is most viable, supports the Party platform and has the ability to do the work the office requires. Anyone can register as a member of the Democratic Party, but very few are the best candidates. The voters will have the final say, but it is reasonable to provide guidance.

Again, you name no quarrel with Stark's positions. You concern yourself with Stark's lack of power, but you wish to support a candidate who is still in his very first term on the Dublin City Council. He would be the definition of a green, powerless backbencher. Do you see why it appears your hatred of Party leaders is the animator of your opposition to Pete?

By the way, do we detect from your last sentence that you have left the Democratic Party? That is completely legitimate, but it goes against your claims of being a lifelong Democrat.

10:21, First of all, you should realize that you are responding to more than one poster.
You keep thinking only one person is saying these things. I have not written all of the above posts.

Second, you seem to be either very young, very uniformed, or very naive.
Previously you kept speaking about Pete's many elections where he had opposition. Perhaps you can point out the last time he had other than a token no-name Republican "slot holder". Please give us the year.

Next you say "Particularly in Alameda County, where there are frequently multiple Democratic Party candidates running for each office"

Now, going back in history, please name for me the last time a incumbent Democratic office holder in Alameda County had opposition from a Democrat wherein the party insiders, or even a portion of them, supported the challenger.
The year and office if you will.

Or are the unofficial party rules...
1. Never challenge or speak ill of any incumbent (not even after they are arrested for a felony)
2. Never support anyone who challenges the incumbent.
3. Follow the elders, for they are the annointed ones. (Especially if they have large campaign war chests)

(obviously it goes without saying that this all happens, as everyone knows, in a environment were there is never going to be a viable Republican challenger, such that the ruse that there is any election after the primary, is only a figleaf to suggest to the voter there is a true choice.)

To 9:25, I'll take credit for what was written at 9:13, but that's it. If others feel as I do, 9:15, more power to them. As for 'locker room' banter, if the truth disturbs you, well too bad. Finally, don't presume to speak for the masses; the truth is hardly ever boring. I suggest you tune out if this is not your cup of tea.

12:33, Here is what I object to.

"Mary HO-yashi"

The use of "HO" in her name. I think we all know what the "HO" stands for.

When used in connection with a female political figure I think it is unacceptable.
Simple as that. If you actually oppose or dislike Mary Hayashi, as I certainly do, I think it detracts from your points and position.

Its beneath even the minimal levels of discourse.
Its really "junior high boy" chatter.

Keep it up and Mary will only benefit from your use of the unacceptable term.

12:33, it's a free world--for now.

When used in connection with either male or female it is perfectly proper. There are both male and female ho's in the world. No apologies necessary. That is the reality of today's world, whether you like it or not. I have no doubt that that is the proper name of both her and her crooked husband. Finally, Mary will benefit, but from the labor ho's, both male and female. As old Bill Clinton said "It is what it is!"

Forgot to mention, 12:33, that I'm a grammar school student, so I'm actually ahead of the curve!!

11:39,

I'm middle aged and grew to voting age in the Tri-Valley at a time when Stark represented the region, when one or more Legislative of Congressional seats were held by Republicans. Pete's been serving his constituents well; that's why he wasn't facing anything other than token opposition in his primaries.

I'll repeat: you have not articulated a single issue or vote where you've disagreed with Stark. Why do you think that Democratic Party leaders should have been supporting any of his primary challengers through the years? Hell, other than your concerns about his decorum and power and your personal opinion about when you think he should have retired, I don't know why YOU'RE supporting Stark's Democratic challenger NOW. I'll repeat, that's shallow reasoning at a time when we're in deep water.

Pete "Stark-Raving-Mad" needs to go! Plain and simple.

I am a Republican and I will be supporting Pete Stark because he was working very hard with Bush on immigrant reform at that time.

Stark does work with the Republicans when needed. Tavares is right Stark is a very assertive man painted as a mad man by the competition.

Republicans for Stark. I sense a groundswell.

What's next, Pipsqueaks-for-Pete?

9:29

Your a dumbass, why would Torrico beat on this nothing site? I come here for entertainment.

Stark is a whore for the unions and ultra-liberals. He hates Israel and wants to five amnesty to the illegals.

Swalwell is in with the developer whores, big business, gay marriage and the illegals.

I have no use for either of them. They cancel each other out as far as I'm concerned!

wow! one of steve's best-keep up the commenting-they are fun to read-want good reading-read Willie Brown's comment on Torrico-if you can't, here it is: "To me the incident just showed that Torrico is not ready for prime time." Also ,who took Cassidy's picture-not flattering at all-guess who!

By MW:

While it is certainly very possible that none of the candidates for rhe seat are, or at least at this time, any good, however furthermore the elderly Stark's performance and mental faculties seem in a state of rapid decline. In other words he is already not only way past his prime, but also rapidly declining still more. And while on the other hand those who are a few decades younger than Stark might improve and get wiser and better.

In other words even if you do not Swalwell, I would still give some credence to the Bill Walsh theory that if you have to decide between two players and which one to cut and which one to keep, unless the older one who is already declining or probably about to start declining is regardless still a much better than the younger guy, it is probably a good idea to go with the younger guy if he probably has some upside and has enough years left in him that he is likely to improve and get better.

And let's face it, Stark's performance has been in a state of decline for at least several years and in the next few years he almost certainly will decline still more. In other words, Stark should have retired years ago.

And finally, unless a guy is truly the greatest of superstars I think we should also take the attitude that more than twelve years in any one elected office is too long. In other words, we should periodically "THROW THE RASCALS OUT."

well MW...given your reasoning it's a good thing the only place you get to spill your nonsense is here.

quite possibly one of the finest examples of your idiotic logic. go away.

Agreed: astonishingly poor reasoning by MW.

Congress does not honor the same skill set as professional football, to start. MW's logic doesn't get any better from there.

Among the implied concessions in this logic failure is that Swalwell is green and would need to improve to be a good Representative. Well, guess what: it is extremely likely that there will be extremely consequential votes in the very first month of the next Congress. I don't know that a first-term Dublin Councilmember will be up to the challenge right away. I am confident that Stark will. The future of Medicare and Medicaid and other important programs are likely to be on the line. Who do we want to make that vote?

As an elected official Pete Stark deserves all the criticism he has gotten. After 40 years, he should know better. All he had to tell Torrico was that "I'm sorry you feel this way" and move on. If anyone is being a pussy, it is Stark for crying like a baby and overreacting. I'm looking forward to a Swalwell victory after seeing Stark's antics. As a past Pete supporter, I am getting rather tired of his misbehavior. He just 'ought to know better.
Alberto Torrico has served Alameda County with distinction and should be commended for his contributions.

Torrico is the bully. He knew exactly what he was doing when he called Stark, he set him up and as soon as Torrico got the reaction he wanted from Stark he called the Chron reporter. If you watched the KGO story they interviewed Torrico and he smirked and laughed throughout the interview.

To the commenter at 8:40am, I'm curious what has Torrico done for Alameda County? I can't think of a single thing. I do know he took a walk instead of voting on issues of importance to Democrats, but I can't think of anything he was able to get through that he introduced.

Hey MW (me again...) I have an analogy for you. Not to say that you need one or don't get common sense - but maybe this will help.

***warning, football analogy***

Swalwell is Tim Tebow. (this is the much hyped, much ballyhooed, new QB of the year)

Tebow had four carries for 34 yds in the game the other night. that's comes out to what - 7.5 yards per carry? (it does, i'm just doing the math for you)

So, that's all well and good but wtf, he was hired to be a quarterback not a running back...

So Eric Swalwell was "hired" to be a city councilman and now thinks he should be hired as a Member of Congress?

Why?

If you can show me something other than the completely ambiguous NEW IDEAS and NEW ENERGY balloon that they keep pumping full of hot air I'm willing to hear it. My guess - you can't think of one thing this kid will do differently than ol' Pete.

oh 8:40am - Torrico has served Alameda County with distinction and should be commended for his contributions?

without mentioning names - or circumstances - that's probably the most ironic/funniest thing i've heard all year.

10:45 AM, Hard to top MW's logic, but you seem to have found a way.
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"Tebow had four carries for 34 yds in the game the other night. that's comes out to what - 7.5 yards per carry? (it does, i'm just doing the math for you)"
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PS... Thanks for doing the math for all of us who couldn't figure it out. Pete could hire you as a budget analyst. Don't worry, he doesn't look too closely at details either.
See the video of Pete working with details

http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2012/05/01/hes-at-it-again-ca-rep-pete-stark-levels-bizarre-charge-at-sfchron-columnist-debra-j-saunders-video/

obviously the swalwell camp has nothing better to do than troll the blogs and reinforce negatives rather than clarify what it is eric stands for...

oh, wait...sorry, I didn't mean to give you guys an impossible task.

@10:45 - great point. shame that the majority of folks don't care about details.

@11:21 - THANK YOU for just reinforcing the point of steve's article. wow, you're dumb.

2 days and still nobody thought my boat comment was funny...lighten up people!

I agree. Tebow IS Swalwell. Neither have girlfriends.

By MW:

Including related to the comments of such characters 8:08 and 8:38, the supporters of Stark are getting desperate. In other words, they are scared stiff by the distinct possibility that he might now finally lose an election, and after all those years of easy and automatic wins.

In fact the latest news is that now even Don Perata, and who for decades has been one of the most extreme examples of the Democratic Party's liberal Establishment, has come out in support of Swalwell.

QUESTION: So why on earth would Perata OPENLY do that, and especially since he and Stark for decades have been insider members of the same "club!!!"

ANSWER: Because Perata is deathly afraid that it would be extremely embarrassing to both the Democratic Party and also modern "liberalism" in general if the increasingly erratic, and probably also very senile, Pete Stark remains a member of Congress, and therefore continues to have a very public platform to spew his garbage and nonsense.

And that is also almost certainly the same reason that certain other prominent local liberals, and including Ellen Tauscher, Charlie Plummer, and Greg Ahern, are no longer even pretending to support Stark and no longer even pretending that they want him to win his battle for re-election.

Good God, MW's "facts" are, well, not factual. Perata and Tauscher were quite conservative Democrats, you know; both have also been out of office for many years. Plummer and Ahern are conservatives as well.

One last thing: is MW actually leaning on the extremely ethically challenged Perata as a paragon of good judgement? Don's exactly the sort of politician MW obsesses over as a big, fat crook. Real moral rigor MW's exhibiting there.

OK folks, how about a campaign theme song for each of the candidates.

A appropriate song for Pete
A appropriate song for Swalwell

A little levity to the proceedings if you will.

Don Perata doesn't care about the Democratic Party. Don cares about Don.

There's an oportunity for him to unexpectedly grab some power here, and Stark wil be gone soon. That is all.

"Swalwell's small band of political supporters have one thing in common. They're all exiles of the current East Bay Democratic Party structure."

Steve, you have no idea how right you are. I think it merits an article...

2:15, Yes, and hasn't the East Bay Democratic Party structure shown itself to be so wonderfully healthy over the past 12 months. Everyone agrees, the candidates they produce are stellar. The system works wonderfully.

Small band of exciles? You dont know anything. You cant "excile" anyone from a party. Its like people in fremont saying oh we kicked him out of the party. We dont have membership cards. Anyone can belong.

Just goes to show you how stupid Tavares is and how little he knows of politics.

we should be able to exile you for not being able to spell.

Golly gee almighty...

More bad news for Pete Stark.

Pete, who is a multi millionaire, is taking Social Security payments for his 3 minor children under the guise of being "retired"... or something.

He makes about $200K in salary.
His entire family gets top health benefits
His wife is fully employed and only about age 45.
He has a net worth in excess of $20 million.

All his kids are in expensive private schools.
Easily over $60,000 per year just for tuition.
He takes tax breaks for his huge house as a Maryland resident.

But now, he still takes more... Social Security payments for his children.

Time for this triple dipper to be dumped.
We don't need to be paying fully employed millionaire geezers for their school age children.

Eric Swalwell knocked on the door to my home and made himself available to discuss any issues I had in mind. Never saw Pete Stark do that. BTW, while Stark's family taking SSI is not at all illegal, it is right up there on the moral compass with how Romney plays the tax code to his advantage, taking deductions that you and I could only dream of. Both the tax code and SSI are in need of some serious revisions. Stark has had his day, time for some fresh blood.

I remember back in the early 90's when Pete held a town-hall meeting at Livermore HS, when Livermore was in the prior district bounndries.
So Pete is asked by a constituent why he takes $5,000 from the UAW in a campaign contribution, then looking at this expense report, spends exactly that same amount of money to lease a Mercedes Benz from a dealer, who BTW happened to be non-union. Back then no Mercedes were being built in the USA.

So Pete gets angry at the question and says he needs a big car and that its all legal. Acts like the question is a affront to his manhood.
After all, he's always had a Mercedes, just now, he was caught paying for it, essentially with the UAW money.
But of course, back then, Pete never had a real challenger, so he could act regal.

By MW:

In regard to the article that came out earlier today in the SF Chronicle stating that Stark, and who is evidently a multi millionaire, is collecting Social Security checks for his minor children, even if it is legal (I have no idea as to whether or not it is legal) it is still as sleazy as can be.

In other words as a multi millionaire, AND WHO FURTHERMORE AND IN ADDITION IS EVEN ALSO COLLECTING A LARGE SALARY AS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS, even if it is legal it would still be as sleazy as could be for him to try to play all the angles on something like that.

And also, he is a member of the Demagogue (and also Charlatan) Party, in other words the group whose leaders are always looking to raise taxes on ordinary Americans.

Since he is a member of the Demagogue Party, in other words the group that pretends to be on the side of the ordinary working people, as a member of that group he should basically be practicing socialism, and which certainly does not openly stand for the poor and the middle class subsidizing and supporting the rich, ALTHOUGH IN REALITY A LOT THE VERY SLEAZIEST PARASITES AND RIPOFF ARTITS DISCOVERED THAT THE MOST EFFECTIVE WAY TO PULL OFF THEIR SCAMS IS TO PRETEND TO BE LIBERALS AND TO BECOME HIGH RANKING AND POWERFUL MEMBERS OF THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY, AND SUCH AS DIANNE FEINSTEIN AND NANCY PELOSI DID.

Steve Tavares, I'm fairly disappointed with you my good friend. You have hit the mark every time, but with Stark, you fall short. I appreciate loyalty as much as the next guy, but you've got to move on. Stark is old news. He took out an incumbent as a young man, and he's now living that dream himself.

He's 80, Steve. 80. He can barely operate and function. If you talk to any local Democrat, even those that support him, they will tell you that they wished he hadn't run. It's unfortunate but true.

And you have done a huge disservice by going after Torrico. Mr.Torrico is a great man. In fact, he's supported Stark for over a decade. The notion that he was "exiled" is comical. He was not exiled from the Democratic Party. He helped create the Democratic Party. There was barely a club before he got elected to Newark Council and helped organize the local area.

Any one of us should be able to call up Mr. Stark and tell him that we don't support him, or take objection to his views, without having to live through one of his psychotic episodes.

You are really starting to dumb down the nature of the conversation, Steve. Please don't do that. We already have low enough standards around here, as you have effectively pointed out with your reports. Please don't set the standard so low that we are now supposed to idolize wacky hair-brained old men who shoot from the hip and act like a maniac.

You may not like Swalwell, but he has every right to run and challenge a seated incumbent. He's smart, and he's resonating with voters.

Mr. Stark's service is appreciated, but his time has come and gone.

That being said, you should not be romanticizing Stark's nutty behavior, as if it's something we should all aspire to. Unfortunately, that's exactly what you've been doing.

Please don't lower the very standards you have set by defending Pete Stark's absurd and foolish behavior.

You are way better than that, Steve. Way better.

Swalwell "has every right to run and challenge a seated incombent." He also needs to be scrutinized just as Stark is. Pete obviously has a record of having ruffled feathers. He also has a record of having delivered effective policy advocacy, appropriate votes and good service for his constituents.

It is a dangerous game Stark haters are playing, with votes on the future of Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security and other important programs due to happen right away in the new Congress and a crazed Republican Party looking to steal the money from these beloved programs and hand it ALL over to Wall Street. Bipartisanship with these extremists? No, thanks!

We notice that no Swalwell supporters have come up with a policy reason why this very inexperienced leader would be a better representative of our region in Congress. No commendations for what he would be likely to do with his power.

I think there's something to be said for someone who says what's on his mind instead of saying what will make him look good. Someone who says what he believes instead of shilling for votes.

I haven't liked everything that Stark has said, but I know that everything he says, he means. And that's rare, especially in a politician. He seems more concerned with doing what he feels is right than looking good to reporters and getting on TV--something that can't be said for most people in politics, and certainly not his opponent.

I don't think Steve is trying to glorify the rude things he's said recently. Those aren't something to celebrate.

But whatever you have to say about Stark, he shoots straight and has a low tolerance for bullshit. That's rare these days, and I think it's sad. I think that's what Steve is trying to "glorify." I agree.

6:69 you hit the nail directly on the head. VERY VERY well said.

Ryan B

10:17 pm, nice try, but not quite.

There's a difference between being a "straight shooter" and an "idiotic maniac".

Stark has been in Congress for over 40 years.
That Institution rewards seniority. Stark has been passed over for key leadership positions, positions that were rightfully his. That means leadership and his own colleagues have no respect for him or his ability. He's seen as a loose cannon here and in DC. That's bad for business.

He should not have run. Plain and simple. Just because he made a critical error in judgement by deciding to run again, doesn't mean we all have to fall into line and support him.

Everyone keeps saying Swalwell has no experience. Well guess what, neither does Ro Khanna. But for some reason that prick thinks he's next in line for Stark's seat.

Let's hope Erik wins.

By MW:

Stark, and who is eighty years old, seems to be suffering from periodic bouts of extreme senility.

(NOTE: Those who suffer from senility do not always act senile all the time, but are sometimes very erratic and sometimes affected in the extreme by their environment. For instance, I knew one older person who whenever he sat at his kitchen table, and where there was plenty of light and where the shape of his chair basically forced him to sit up straight, was sharp as a tack. However, whenever he sat on the couch in his living room, and where the light was not very good, and in which the couch, and which had seen better days, sagged, and as a result his body slumped a bit, was far too stupid to comprehend anything. In fact whenever we visited with him in his house for a few hours or more, he displayed that phenomenon every single time whenever he would move from the living room and its couch to the kitchen and its chair - or go in the opposite direction, in other words from the kitchen and its chair to the living room and its couch.)

But getting back to Stark specifically, at this point probably the only things he is good for are: one, serving as a bad example, in other words to illustrate the type of conduct to avoid; and two, and due to the fact that he, and altho evidently he is a multi millionaire and also still receiving a large salary, is still collecting Social Security chaecks for his minor children, hopefully serving as stimulus for more investigative reporting that would also uncover more of the truth about some more of the hypocrites, windbags, phonies, and parasites in high ranking positions in government.

It's amusing and revealing that Swalwell supporters are unable to explain what he would do while in office, other than not be Pete. Pete, who has been a certain vote for policies his constituents want. With even more important and volatile votes than usual due to happen very early in the next Congress, I'm mad that people would mess with my future and the future of my country by failing to think this decision through.

A brief analogy: Elvis Costello is one of my favorite musical artists. He's had a long, rich, diverse career which reflects a deep maturation of his artistic knowledge and expression. Costello also has the reputation of being not very nice at all, a jerk at times. Why would I allow his behavior in private to be a major factor in whether I wish to continue to enjoy his music?

In this very liberal part of the country, I don't want people in Congress who are ready to get along with House Republicans who want to destroy the foundations of our middle class, and are having quite a bit of success doing so. I view these Tea Partiers as unpleasant, immoral people who mean to do me harm. They don't want bipartisanship, and neither do I.

The fight happening right now about the shape and scope of government, and how we will reduce and eliminate our Federal budget deficits as we did recently under a Democratic President, is a fight that needs to happen. My support for Swalwell and other Blue Dog Dems recedes as they display unwillingness to take on this fight.

9:18 Big difference between Elvis Costello and Pete Stark. Elvis is still willing to get up on stage in front of a audience. In other words, face the public.

Between now and November 6th, Elvis has 14 public events where he is going to be on stage with a public audience

Contrast that with Pete Stark.
Between now and November 6, Pete Stark has said he is unwilling to appear on stage in a public forum or debate.

When asked why, Pete yells at reporters, then jumps into the "get-a-way" car.

Elvis faces a self-selected audience of worshipful fans. If people came to a show and heckled Costello, they would be tossed out of the building and the press would agree with their treatment, writing little or nothing about it.

These days, if five people out of hundreds of thousands of District constituents were to show up at a Stark event and keep shrieking their factually incorrect nonsense, as Pete faced over and over again duing the opposition to federal health care reform, the press would write about how much trouble Stark was in.

I think we'll see 100 posts on this thread without one Swalwell supporter explaining why we should trust Eric with our futures. How will he vote on the most important issues? What would his policy advocacies be? A look at his website tells us he wants to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits. That seems worthy of scrutiny at least as much as Pete's willingness to put himself before a press crew that no longer pretends to be impartial.

I disapprove of and am made concerned by some of the things Stark has done during this campaign. He has given himself self-inflicted wounds and made targets his enemies can shoot at. None of that overcomes the need to measure this choice carefully.

August 14, 2012 8:23 PM,

I haven't come up with my favorite songs to summarize the candidates in this Congressional race, but I just heard one which summarizes the Romney/Ryan ticket and those who support it pretty well:

"Tomorrow Belongs To Me", from Cabaret.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=29Mg6Gfh9Co

I have to say that the premise that Torrico "supported" Stark is hilarious...if anything you couldn't shake torrico's fat ass from Pete's coattails.

I can't think of anyone that would readily accept that losers endorsement. Torrico is a has been and his attempt at 15 minutes of fame by jumping on eric's ship of fools was nothing more than a temper tantrum.

I just took a look at eric's issues page - what a flipping idiot. Here's some free advice Eric, look at the average age of voters in the district then TRY to have an out of body experience and see life through their eyes. Cut Social Security and Medicare? Well...you just lost my vote, my wife's vote, and most of our neighbors.

Pathetic quote in the Chronicle today from Pete's campaign manager.

Keeps referring to Swalwell as "young Swalwell"..
She does it twice. Does she really think readers can't see what she is trying to do?

How about Pete Stark, back in 1972, when his opponent was 80 years old, also refering to "young Stark" in a dismissive tone.
One thinks that someone other than Pete is running the show, and that he is too out of touch to even know what the public is seeing.

I might also add that labor leaders like his current campaign manager Cornu, have had cake-walk campaigns for so long in Alameda County, that they are out of touch with the general public.
Regular folks in the public don't lap up hack slogans and start clapping every time you use such phrases.

I'd rank Pete's campaign up til now as a D- ... and not getting better.

11:01 am: you obviously have no fucking clue what you are talking about.

Pete Stark has "coat tails"? You would think so, after being a 40 year democratic incumbent Congressman. But he doesn't have shit. If he did, he wouldn't be in this mess.

The fact is, that old man never did anything to help anyone. Never lent a hand. Never helped get anyone elected. Never jumped in the ring to help any of his friends that were being challenged. Never even helped the Democratic Party.

Now he's in the fight of his life, and he's wondering why everyone is jumping ship. Even those that have "endorsed him" aren't doing a heavy lift, because they know he never lifted a finger for anyone.

No coat tails. No political capital. No chits left to cash in. That's usually how it goes for selfish, spineless cowards.

I have been a Pete Stark fan since he was one of the few Democrats to stand up to the hideous Ronald Reagan and his destructive policies in the 1980s. We need more members of Congress like Stark who aren't afraid to speak the truth.

Dear 7:59:

Your ego should be topped off after your tirade espousing your so-called "insider" knowledge. I might not be an insider but I pay attention and do my homework.

Go to FEC.GOV and, plain as day, in 2010 - EVERY SINGLE DISBURSEMENT from stark was to candidates or committees to HELP DEMOCRATS across the country. That's $80k in contributions which took me all of 4 minutes to find - maybe if you weren't so busy trying to pass yourself off as an expert and did some basic research you MIGHT learn something before proving to the rest of us that YOU'RE FULL OF HOT AIR.

Uhmmm….using the word "NEVER" is a tad overly dramatic. (but, you're a drama queen so i'll give you a pass)

Your second point about "everyone is jumping ship"…uhmmm…EVERY single elected Democrat with any CLOUT has endorsed him. Both federal senators, both state senators, the local state assemblymembers, all the members of congress from the bay area… please, stop me if I'm overstating here…

*cough*cough* who doesn't know what they're talking about?

between you and MW I don't know who is dumber or lazier. I know we accept all comers to the party but you two should be banished for your stupidity.

By MW:

To 9:32AM,

So Stark has managed to get some pro forma, lukewarm, and perfunctory endorsements from his fellow Democrats, and just as those two bit political hacks also pretended to believe that Nadia Lockyer was the best qualified candidate for the seat on the AC Board of Supervisors, and therefore they, and including both Willie Brown and Jerry Brown, endorsed her.

And let's not forget that when Jim Jones, and later of Jonestown infamy, was first starting to have his credibility attacked, he was able to get various old time political stooges, and such as for instance the liberals on the SF Board of Supervisors, to unanimously pass proclamations declaring him to be a wonderful person.

In fact, Harvey Milk even wrote to President Carter asking that Carter force people to stop making insulting remarks about Jim Jones, since it had been "proven" that Jim Jones was a wonderful, extremely honest, and totally trustworthy person, and including since the SF Board of Two Bit Jokers and Political Hacks had unanimously passed a resolution praising Jim Jones to the skies.

And prominent Democrats, and including Dianne Feisntein, "knew" beyond a shadow of a doubt that such sleazy crooks, embezzlers, and money launderers as Duane Garrett and Kindee Durkee were extremely honest and totally trustworthy, and until a few years ago they probably also "knew" beyond a shadow of a doubt that Bernard Madoff was the epitome of honesty and integrity.

In fact in such sources as Wikipedia look up M. Larry Lawrence, in other words the guy who was dug up out of Arlington National Cemetery, and who was also referred to by such names as M. L. Lawrence and sometimes just as Larry Lawrence. His primary sponsor for the position of US Ambassador to Switzerland was Dianne Feisntein, and since she "knew" that Lawrence was a person of great integrity.

In fact when they first started to discuss appointing Lawrence to be the US Ambassador to Switzerland, I then phoned such agencies as the FBI to inform them that Lawrence was a sleazeball (and I gave specific examples of Lawrence's sleaziness), and that caused Lawrence's main SF lawyer to make threats against me, and including since he "knew" that I was engaging in illegal conduct by making disparaging remarks about as fine and honest a person as Lawrence.

In other words, Lawrence's SF lawyer believed in the liberals "improved" version of "free speech," and just as Harvey Milk also did.

that made absolutely NO sense. I think you win the contest for being the dumbest. the other guy wins for laziest.

hahaha. you need help. seriously.

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