Labor VIP to manage Pete Stark’s campaign

A union heavyweight has signed on to manage Rep. Pete Stark’s re-election campaign as part of a post-primary staffing shakeup.

Sharon CornuSharon Cornu said Monday she has signed onto the effort to help Stark, D-Fremont, win a 21st term in Congress in the newly drawn 15th Congressional District. Stark is challenged by Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell, also a Democrat.

Cornu, 53, of Oakland, served as executive secretary-treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council for almost eight years, with a leave of absence for seven months in 2010 to work as national field director for the AFL-CIO in Washington, D.C. She went to work for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in January 2011 as a senior policy advisor and in April 2011 as deputy mayor, but resigned from Quan’s administration in November.

Also joining Team Stark is Michael Terris of San Francisco, who will serve as a general consultant. Cornu said Terris got his start in politics as an intern in Stark’s office in 1982, researching Social Security, Medicare and education issues.

Alex Tourk, who had run Stark’s primary campaign, is out of the picture. “Alex Tourk and the congressman made a mutual decision, and the congressman is very grateful for Alex’s help in the primary,” Cornu said Monday.

Stark hasn’t had any problems winning re-election in recent decades, but Swalwell came into the race counting on redistricting – which is forcing Stark to campaign on the east side of the East Bay hills, Swalwell’s home turf – and the top-two primary to buoy his challenge. Stark himself went a long way toward boosting Swalwell’s campaign by making a series of erratic, unfounded allegations this spring against Swalwell and others.

UPDATE @ 3:16 P.M.: Another sign of the increased labor focus of Stark’s re-election effort might be tomorrow’s news conference at Tri-CED Community Recycling in Union City, where Stark will be joined by current Alameda Labor Council Executive Secretary-Treasurer Josie Camacho; Tri-CED CEO and newly appointed Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle; and local workers. Stark will be highlighting the Bring Jobs Home Act, HR 5542, for which he’s among 36 co-sponsors; the event is part of the AFL-CIO’s Bring Jobs Home campaign. Supporters say the bill would eliminate tax incentives for businesses that send jobs overseas and reward companies that bring jobs back to the U.S.

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.

  • GV Haste

    Way to go Pete.
    Bring on a new campaign manager with a proven record.

    “She went to work for Oakland Mayor Jean Quan in January 2011 as a senior policy advisor and in April 2011 as deputy mayor, but resigned from Quan’s administration in November.”

    Right there advising Jean Quan about her wonderful “100-block” block focus on crime.
    And at her side during Occupy Oakland.
    “Senior policy advisor and deputy mayor”.
    Yes, during Jean Quan’s finest hours, right by her side.

    Alex Tourk gets the hook and for what? For not putting tape over Pete’s mouth at every public appearance. Every single blunder in Pete’s primary campaign came directly from his own mouth.
    What can Cornu do, place a gag on him, or never let him go to even one unscripted appearance?

    Watch, minimal appearances. No open forums. Instead just sticking to rah-rah rallies and glossy mailers with everyone from A to Z telling the voters that Pete is as sharp as ever.

    From the new campaign managers Tweets
    June 24th
    Sharon Cornu‏@sharon_cornu

    ” @BorensteinDan snarks against public workers”

    I guess anyone who questions the out of control public pensions is “snarking” againsts public workers.

    I suppose that would include 70% of the voters in San Jose who see a financil cliff down the road.
    Are they “snarking”? Would you rather have them bury their heads in the sand until they become Stockton?

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    Sharon Cornu is described on her website as a “recovering political strategist.” What the hay does that mean?

  • Elwood

    Maybe after working for Quan, Cornu has experience as an animal handler. At least she had the good sense to quit that gig.

    Her job will be to keep old Starkers muzzled and on a short leash.

  • Truthclubber

    I know these folks — Sharon (of Alameda County Labor Council), and Michael (of Terris, Barnes and Walters) and they are NOT to be F**KED with, politically, within the local Democratic Party hierarchy reaching all the way to Pelosi herself — so “Smellwell” has a real fight on his hands, both BEFORE and AFTER the election results this November.

    Ro Khanna is calling in favors, BIG time…

  • GV Haste

    Well of course Ro Khanna is calling in favors, BIG time. The guy totally blundered when he allowed all the local hacks to scare him off from running against Pete.
    Had Ro run in the primary, it would be him, not Swalwell who would be facing Pete. And in that contest, Ro would have beaten Pete just as easily as Pete beat the old tired incumbent in his first race in 1972.

    Now, Ro, having missed his opportunity is trying his best to make sure he still gets his chance in 2014.
    That is, if Pete decides its time to give up HIS seat in congress. Emphasis on HIS seat.
    Clealy 2012 was the time for him to go, but he thinks the seat belongs to him. Arrogance.

    Too bad, but I’m not willing to wait for the party dance to tell me when I get to have a real vote and who to wait for in 2014.
    If Pete gets booted, well, then Ro can run against Swalwell in 2014.
    Why not, thats democracy. Not the “wait your turn” dance that the party insiders tell us is best.

    NO, they waited too long to tell Pete his time was up.
    Now the people will listen and decide this year.

    Question is, will Pete be willing to speak in public to the voters? In a venue where we can determine if he can still make sense without a script.
    That issue is what caused him to falter in the primary.

    BTW, I love it how you tell all of us mere voters, how tough and BIG time Petes new handlers are.
    Like we’re suppose to bow down before the “pros”..
    The “pros” are exactly what we’re sick and tired of.
    The same pros that have led to decades of Alameda County political stagnation.

    Sorry, but NO

  • JohnW

    I won’t be voting for Swalwell, but you have to give the guy credit for seeing that the new district, combined with the game changing open primary/Top 2 system and Stark’s self-inflicted wounds was a golden opportunity. He certainly outfoxed the pols.

  • Truthclubber

    @5 —

    I’m not telling you who to vote for, I’m just confirming that when push comes to shove, and it WILL, these people (who havde deep ties to the DCCC, as well as organized labor in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties) will find a way and have the financial means to make THIS particular and well documented local mud stick to “Mr. Smellwell”.

    It will come down to a choice of whether you want someone who is “past his due date” (and fought for the past 40 years for universal health care, often alone by himself, and wanted to be there to see it kick in on January 1st, 2014) or someone who can be counted on to “always have his own interests ahead of that of the general public”.

    Two words for Cornu & Co.’s strategy for victory in November: Voter suppression.

  • Elwood

    @ #7

    The anonymous crap sheet you link to forgot to mention that Swalwell is responsible for the ’89 earthquake, the ’91 fire, the Japanese tsunami and the Colorado wildfires.

  • JohnW

    I’ve seen that link before. Not exactly great journalism. It may be B.S., but I would be curious to know whether there is any truth to it. Has Swalwell been overly favorable to developers who have bundled contributions or not? The press has been so focussed on Stark’s shortcomings that it almost seems as though Swalwell has had a free ride — i.e., there has been little scrutiny of his record as a council member and planning commission member or of his readiness to hold a seat in Congress.

  • Truthclubber

    @8 —

    Crap sheet?

    @9 — BS?

    Watch for yourself and skip forward to minute 53 for the action described in said “crap sheet” by “Smellwell” — and then tell me whether this deserves more scrutiny.

    “The press has been so focussed (sic) on Stark’s shortcomings that it almost seems as though Swalwell has had a free ride…”

    That’s been the plan, Stan — but that free ride ends with Cornu & Co. and her friends at TBW…

  • Josh Richman

    @10 – I watched the video and I’m not sure I see the malfeasance here; it looks to me like Swalwell was among three councilmembers who voted to have city staffers study the issue some more at the developer’s expense.

    Swalwell’s comments start at about 2:08:00 in the video to which Truthclubber linked. If you don’t feel like watching the video, here’s a summary of Swalwell’s comments from that meeting’s official minutes:

    Cm. Swalwell stated there was no denying there was a parking issue there. He supported building the Promenade, but they could not force the developer to build it. What was being voted on tonight was not whether or not to approve a rezone. If he voted to approve this tonight, it in no way signaled that he approved this in the future. He was very skeptical of housing. This study, if approved, would require the developer to come up with something that would work. He did not see that a study was such a bad way for everyone to get involved now. This kept the conversation going and kept the heat on the developer to deliver a project that was going to allow the City the retail they were all promised. He was not voting to approve more housing tonight. He encouraged everyone to stay involved. If the study showed the developer that it was a rejection of what he wanted to do, then it was his money. He also asked that the process continue with civility.

  • Elwood

    Oh, that evil Swalwell!

    You can see from the minutes that he is in the developer’s pocket.


  • JohnW

    Thanks for the info. Doesn’t seem to be any smoke, let alone fire. But still interested in knowing whether there is anything to the suggestion that his contributions from individual developers don’t tell the story — i.e., that he received significant money indirectly from developers by means of those developers bundling money from friends and family. Not saying I believe that. Just that it would be nice to know one way or the other.