Stark to discuss war accountability at local meetings

pete-stark.jpgHot on the heels of unreeling some scathing rhetoric as Congress failed to override the Preisdent’s veto of the original SCHIP bill, Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, is preparing to bring some cutting commentary back to the district at a series of town meetings this Saturday, Nov. 3, and again on Saturday, Dec. 1.

In a flier that went out to consituents recently, Stark noted companies “such as Blackwater and Halliburton that contract to provide services to our troops in war zones ought to be accountable under U.S. law. If they violate human rights, kill innocent civilians, or overcharge taxpayers, they should be prosecuted and punished.” Current law doesn’t do so, he said, and so the House this month passed H.R. 2740, the Holding Security Contractors in War Zones Accountable Act.

Similarly, Stark wrote, there is no federal statute aimed at preventing contracting fraud during times of war, even as Halliburton stnads accused of billing more than $2.5 billion in unsupported costs relating to Iraq reconstruction and troop-support contracts, about a quarter of the total suspected fraud. To fill this gap, the House recently passed H.R. 400, the War Profiteering Prevention Act.

As both bills pend in the Senate, Stark invites constituents to discuss military contracting and other subjects at his upcoming town halls. This Saturday, they’ll be 9 to 10 a.m. in Union City’s city council chambers, 34009 Alvarado-Niles Road; 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the San Lorenzo Adult School auditorium, 820 Bockman Road; and noon to 1 p.m. in Earhart Elementary School, 400 Packet Landing Road on Alameda’s Bay Farm Island. The Dec. 1 meetings will be from 9 to 10 a.m. in the Fremont Senior Center, 40086 Paseo Padre Parkway; 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. in the San Leandro Library’s Estudillo Room, 300 Estudillo Ave.; and noon to 1 p.m. in Alameda’s city council chambers, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.

Stark’s 13th Congressional District includes all of Alameda, Fremont, Hayward, Newark, San Leandro, San Lorenzo and Union City, and parts of Cherryland, Sunol and Pleasanton.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.