Is Pete Stark in a new tub of hot water?

It seems Rep. Pete Stark can’t even make apologies without offending someone else.

Stark, D-Fremont, during a Bay Area News Group editorial board meeting in Pleasanton, eventually apologized for unfounded accusations he made in recent weeks about his Democratic challenger, Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell, and about a San Francisco Chronicle columnist. But even moments before that final apology was offered, he spent some time at the meeting trying unsuccessfully to shore up his April 18 claim that Swalwell has taken contributions from shady development interests. (Watch the video here.)

About half an hour ago, I received an e-mail from Castro Valley developer and municipal advisory council member Marc Crawford containing this open letter to Stark:

Dear Congressman Stark,

I writing today to make a formal demand upon you regarding the defamatory comments that you made about me yesterday.

You met yesterday in a Q&A session with the staff of the Contra Costa Times Newspaper. That session (or at least some of it), was posted and available to the entire world via www.insidebayarea.com. You identified me by name and said “Crawford was in trouble in Castro Valley for supposedly being in trouble with people he was involved with, somebody said ripped off.”

I have worked for three decades in real estate in Alameda County with an exemplary record. As a public official I serve my community as the Vice-Chair of the Castro Valley Municipal Advisory Council. Your unwarranted attack on a fellow public servant is disturbing. I am essentially an innocent bystander in a disturbingly typical drive-by character assassination by an out-of-touch politician. My good name is vitally important to me, my wife, children and my community.

Your statement is false and defamatory. I hereby demand a formal written apology from you within the next 48 hours…the apology is to be emailed as well as posted into the world wide web to the same manner and extent as your original false statements about me.

I realize that you are in a difficult re-election campaign. I find your behavior to be offensive and beneath the office that you hold and trust placed in you by the voters of this district. I suggest that you pull back from the abyss that you are creating for yourself. The time has come for you to restore the honor that your own family deserves. These continual lapses from reality are unnecessarily damaging a lengthy career.

So I challenge you either to identify who said that I had ripped off anyone, or else retract your statement and apologize to me. I demand your response in the next 48 hours. Please also be aware that if you have any public campaign meetings where questions are permitted I will try to attend, and again challenge you on this. I’m not looking to play any “gotcha” in this. I want you to have all the opportunity that you need to do the right thing, either back up your statement or else back away from your bad habit of casually defaming people by retracting and apologizing to me. Can you do the right thing, Congressman Stark?

Marc Crawford

Crawford sent the letter to Stark at his campaign e-mail address; I’ve forwarded it to Alex Tourk, Stark’s campaign consultant. I’ll update this item if/when I receive a reply.

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.

  • JAFO

    “Pete Stark in a new tub of hot water?” No doubt. Pull the plug, please.

  • Truthclubber

    @1 —

    Oh, wow, I am so amazed!

    So insightful, and yet how deep!

    “No doubt. Pull the plug, please.”

    How many long, grueling hours of painful, agonizing emotional toil and turmoil did it take you to come up with those six extra words of spot-on, pithy insight?

    Lots, I’m quite sure, and yet…

  • JohnW

    I didn’t realize that Stark was the author of the COBRA insurance legislation. No excuse for his naughty behavior, but that was a pretty significant thing for millions of people who suddenly find themselves cut off from employer-based insurance with no immediate way to replace it.