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Stark and Swalwell lay it out for Dem lawyers

By Josh Richman
Thursday, September 6th, 2012 at 3:57 pm in 2012 Congressional Election, Pete Stark, U.S. House.

Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, and his Democratic challenger, Alameda County prosecutor and Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell, have written to seek a local Democratic club’s support, and their requests very neatly encapsulate what their respective campaigns are all about.

Pete Stark (photo by Aric Crabb)The Alameda County Democratic Lawyers Club meets Friday in Oakland to decide its endorsements. Stark’s letter to club, dated Tuesday, notes he has “enjoyed a long and beneficial relationship with the legal community in Alameda County and worked with you to protect consumers, homeowners and tenants, patients, children with special educational needs, workers, women, and our environment.”

After rattling off some names from his list of endorsements, Stark, 80, noted he “worked with the Obama Administration to craft the Affordable Care Act, and with prior Administrations to create COBRA and ensure care is not denied at emergency rooms. As we fight increasingly deceptive attacks against Medicare and Social Security, I am committed to using my experience and seniority to protect benefits people have paid for, and prevent insurance companies and Wall Street from taking over Medicare and Social Security.”

Swalwell, 31, received the club’s primary-election endorsement, and in seeking it again today he played up his prosecution of hundreds of cases with the Alameda County District Attorney’s office.

Eric Swalwell“Congress is a mess. And, we have a Congressman representing us who does not live here – he lives in Maryland – and does not vote there, in Washington, DC – he has one of the worst career voting records of any Member of Congress. I think you deserve better. And, so do the voters,” Swalwell wrote. “In Congress, I promise to bring new energy to Congress and show up to work every day. I will fight for our Democratic principles and will never take my constituents for granted.”

UPDATE @ 12:10 P.M. SATURDAY: Though it had endorsed Swalwell before the June primary, the club chose Friday to endorse neither candidate now. Only Swalwell had attended the club’s endorsement meeting in May; both Stark and Swalwell attended Friday’s meeting.

Read the two letters in their entireties, after the jump…

Dear Democratic Lawyers Club Member:

I am honored to have the endorsement of President Barack Obama, and I hope to earn yours. When the Democratic Lawyers Club convenes at noon on Friday, September 7 at Everett & Jones, 126 Broadway, Oakland, I will respectfully request your support.

I have enjoyed a long and beneficial relationship with the legal community in Alameda County and worked with you to protect consumers, homeowners and tenants, patients, children with special educational needs, workers, women, and our environment.

Because of my support for Democratic causes, I am the only candidate in the 15th Congressional District endorsed by grassroots Democrats in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties as well as our California Democratic Party. In addition, I am honored to carry the endorsement of:

• Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer
• AFL-CIO, Alameda Labor Council and California Labor Federation, Teachers, Nurses and Firefighters
• Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus of Alameda County, Castro Valley Democratic Club
East Bay Young Democrats, GLOBE (Gays and Lesbians Organized for Betterment and Equality),
Hayward DEMOS, Tri-City Democratic Forum
• Livermore Independent
• Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, California League of Conservation Voters
• Planned Parenthood Action Fund
• Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett

I worked with the Obama Administration to craft the Affordable Care Act, and with prior Administrations to create COBRA and ensure care is not denied at emergency rooms. As we fight increasingly deceptive attacks against Medicare and Social Security, I am committed to using my experience and seniority to protect benefits people have paid for, and prevent insurance companies and Wall Street from taking over Medicare and Social Security.

Your endorsement is important to me, and I hope that my work in Congress has earned it. I look forward to seeing you on Sept. 7.

Be well,

Pete Stark

…and…

Dear Democratic Lawyers Club Member,

I am honored to have earned your endorsement in the primary election for Congress in the 15th District. I hope to earn it again for the general election at tomorrow’s endorsement meeting.

As you know, I am an Alameda County prosecutor. In that capacity I was assigned lead prosecutor on hate crimes, earned an award from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), and I have successfully prosecuted hundreds of cases, protecting victims and the most vulnerable in our society. In 2001, I successfully prosecuted three first-degree murder trials. I am also a Dublin city councilmember where I have worked to balance our budget without cuts or layoffs.

I am a proud Democrat and was chairperson of the Tri-Valley United Democratic Campaign office in the 2008 election cycle.

Congress is a mess. And, we have a Congressman representing us who does not live here – he lives in Maryland – and does not vote there, in Washington, DC – he has one of the worst career voting records of any Member of Congress. I think you deserve better. And, so do the voters.

More than 80 local elected officials and community leaders have endorsed my campaign for Congress, including all of the Police Officers Associations in the District, the Deputy Sheriffs Associations, Alameda County Sheriff Greg Ahern, and Sheriff Emeritus Charlie Plummer. I was also endorsed by the Bay Area News Group and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Most importantly, we came within under 6 points of a 40-year incumbent during the Primary, the lowest percentage in his career, with a third-party candidate receiving 22%. Since our strong showing, we have knocked on 25,000 doors since the primary and more people have jumped on board our campaign including former Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher, former CA Senate President Pro-Tem Don Perata, former CA Assembly Majority Leader Alberto Torrico, and CA Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson.

Our momentum continues to grow. In Congress, I promise to bring new energy to Congress and show up to work every day. I will fight for our Democratic principles and will never take my constituents for granted. I respectfully ask that you stick with me and this campaign and endorse me for the November election.

Eric

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  • RR senile columnist

    Pete was too humble to mention his ringing endorsement by President Wilson and William Jennings Bryan

  • moderatevoter

    I noticed at the Democratic convention delegates were trumpeting Barak O’Bama’s successful “bailout” of the US auto industry. The delegates had a lively demonstration waving signs and so forth. I would agree, this was something to trumpet, O’Bama saved 1.2 million US jobs and these car companies paid back the money they borrowed from the US treasury -in full – pretty quickly. Sales of US cars has been one of the bright spots in this economy, so this “bailout” really worked.
    According to the Swalwell campaign Stark didn’t vote for O’Bama’s plan to “save” the US Auto industry! Geez, is there a better example of Pete Stark being out of touch with the hopes and dreams of US workers than this. These were blue collar jobs – good paying blue collar jobs – in an a major US industry, yet Stark wasn’t inclined to do anything to keep these workers from getting pink slips.
    I think Pete Stark deserves a pink slip, he’s been in Congress 40 years, he’s clearly out of touch with regular working people, he has no feel for what it’s like to try and make it now in the workforce as companies downsize and move jobs overseas. Stark lives in the past, and he supports policies rooted in the past.
    I like this candidate Eric Swalwell, here’s a candidate for Congress who is open to innovative new ideas on how to put people back to work, and how to keep them working as well. The old ideas aren’t working – we all can see that – so we need new leadership in Congress that’s willing to try new things. Pete Stark is an aging hack – he deserves a pink slip.

  • JohnW

    Foregone conclusion the group will endorse Swalwell again. Hint: two words — Lawyers and Club.

    I’m eager for the election to see if anybody besides me and Pete’s family votes for him.

  • GV Haste

    The bottom line on this campaign is that if Pete Stark is unwilling or incapable of appearing in a public forum, or debate, then he is no longer capable of representing me, regardless of whether he has laundry list of “important” people supporting him.

    The truth is that 98% of those on his list of endorsements, wished he had retired. But now they are just marching with the team, and the team has decided to give the declining Stark one last term.
    Some sort of “honor the old guy” theme.

    I’m sorry, but I walked precincts for Pete in my senior year in college. I am now eligible for Social Security,,, good gosh almighty, its time for him to go. NOW! not in two years. He has become a embarassment.
    That he is no longer willing to appear in public to discuss the issues says EVERYTHING about is current mental abilities. He has NO seniority any more.
    Bypassed for chairmanship of the Ways and Means, even his own party members no longer honor his seniority.

  • JohnW

    Re: #2 and 4

    Agree with everything said about Stark. Just can’t wrap my head around voting for a junior-ranking prosecutor in the DA office who hasn’t even served a single full term on the city council. So, I won’t (vote for Swalwell, that is).

  • Elwood

    Any 25 year old with no experience whatsoever would be better than Stark.

  • JohnW

    #6

    “Any 25 year old with no experience whatsoever would be better than Stark.”

    Ah, but I’m actually in the district and get to make that judgement at the ballot box.

  • GV Haste

    JohnW, well, OK vote for him, but just admit you’re only voting for a “vote” because at this point, Pete Stark is incapable of doing much more than that.
    Just a “not-so-nice” old guy the others put up with.

    You won’t vote for a young guy, and yet Pete Stark himself supported another young guy for the Alameda County Board of Supervisors back in the 90′s.
    Yes another Deputy District Attorney, who didn’t even have a few years on a city council.
    And he even paid that young candidates campaign debt off with his own congressional PAC money. Effectively taking tens of thousands of dollars from PAC and giving it to that new, totally inexperienced, young candidate.

    But JohnW, as you’ve said before, you haven’t lived here that long, so you don’t remember Pete doing that.

    Oh, that very young candidate back then, Why it was Pete Stark’s own son, at the time a young deputy DA

    I guess you just haven’t had to live with Pete being your own often embarassing mouthpiece since you were in college, until now when you are eligible for Soc. Security. What a Democracy, 40 years and this is my 2nd, truely competitive election for congress.
    For me, my democratic experience in electing a member of congress has been very similar to the old Soviet Union, where there is only one candidate.

    Perhaps the above lets you know why some of us are NOT willing to wait two more years for the party insiders to hand pick the next candidate for us.

    If he could at least speak in public, but you watch, they’re going to hide him for the next 9 weeks.
    And you want to elect a guy who has to be hidden from the public eye out of fear of what he will say?

    Says alot about your choice. Needs to be hidden because even his own campaign staff don’t trust him to speak about the issues before the electorate.
    Good gosh almighty, if that isn’t sign of inability to deal with the world, then I don’t know what you need, perhaps a doctor’s diagnosis of the obvious.
    Sounds like children who just can’t get the keys away from their elderly parents, so they let them keep driving, but won’t ride with them out of fear.

  • JohnW

    GV Haste,

    I’d vote for a corpse or before voting for Swalwell — and Pete comes pretty close to fitting that description. For me, it is a matter of principle. We shouldn’t be in this position of having somebody with Swawell’s empty suit background as our only alternative. And, yes, I blame the party establishment for the predicament.

    “You won’t vote for a young guy.” Are you kidding me? I voted for 33-year old Kit Bond for Governor of Missouri in 1972. He a Republican, me a McGovern Democrat. He was a very good governor — not such a good U.S. Senator. I’d vote for a 25-year-old, if I thought she had something to offer.

    I’m fully aware that people will overwhelmingly vote against Stark (underscore “against Stark,” not “for Swalwell”). And I completely understand why and empathize. If you follow politics, you don’t have to be a fourth-generation Californian to know all about Pete.

  • X

    Interesting to see that the club revoked their endorsement of Swalwell. Bandwagon seems to be slowing down as people realize the driver doesn’t quite know where he’s going.

  • JohnW

    Re: #10 X Says “Interesting to see that the club revoked their endorsement of Swalwell.”

    They did? Where did you see that? I’d be shocked.

  • Truthclubber

    @11 –

    They (the aforementioned “club”) endorsed him (Swalwell) back during the primary season that ended in June. Now they (again, the aforementioned “club”) decided NOT to endorse him (Swalwell) for the general election that ends in November.

    They (the aforementioned “club”) also decided not to endorse someone (Stark) for the general that they had decided not to endorse for the primary, but that’s not the “point” or the “change from status quo” that we are talking about here.

    Smells very strongly like a revocation of endorsement for Swalwell to moi…

  • JohnW

    That’s interesting. Wonder what the story is. I just assumed the legal types would stick together, especially given the endorsement they already gave for the primary. I’m not voting for Swalwell, but I’m unaware that he has done anything that would cause his fellow attorneys to shift from “endorse” to “neutral.”

    Anybody know the real background on this — not just speculation?

  • James B.

    Maybe the lawyers figured out that Stark isn’t perfect, but is preferable to Swalwell. Maybe it’s because Swalwell finally is showing his “true colors”. Swalwell is looking increasingly like “Joe Lieberman” in 2006, with a Republican base and the hope of peeling away enough independents and conservative Democrats to win. (Like Lieberman and his old boss Ellen Tauscher, Swalwell has sworn allegiance to AIPAC, that shady-but-extremely-powerful special interest group, as evidenced by a recent post by Swalwell for Congress on AIPAC’s Facebook page cheering on AIPAC’s anti-Iran campaign.) Someone ought to run a search on Swalwell in Lexis-Nexis and see what comes up pre-2010. Did he take a stand publicly on anything prior to running for Dublin city council? He worked for Congresswoman Tauscher in the run-up to her controversial vote to support George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq. Did he write anything under his own name supporting her position? Against her position? I find it scary to elect someone to Congress who hasn’t written a letter to the editor or op-ed about some controversial issue in the past 5-10 years. Even if it’s “I think basket weaving should be an Olympic sport,” it reveals something about the candidate. Usually the absence of such a record is strategic on the part of an aspiring politician — no “paper trail” that might offend a voter someday. I’m with John W. on this race — Stark in ’12 (reluctantly), someone new in ’14.

  • GV Haste

    James B, glad to see another ringing endorsement of Pete Stark.
    Interesting that Congress returned to day, after a 5 week recess.
    Lets see, Stark was off for five weeks in the middle of a tough battle to retain his seat.
    Exactly how many public appearances did his campaign team allow him to make during that 5 weeks?
    Did he attend even one event where he could be asked a question by the public in a open forum, or by the press in a interview?

    So you are uncertain about the challenger, but seem more than willing to re-elect a man who no longer can even be trusted to face the folks in public.
    And in the coming 9 weeks, he has stated that he is unwilling to speak in public in any event where he can be questioned in any normal campaign manner.

    Bottom Line— Pete Stark has gone into seclusion and will now hide from the voters for the next two months.

    Oh yeah, thats the man I walked precincts for back in 1972 as a college senior… NOT

    I suppose the next thing you guys will be telling me is that you’re supporting Mary Hayashi, because “she’s right on the issues”…

  • JohnW

    “I suppose the next thing you guys will be telling me is that you’re supporting Mary Hayashi…”

    Ever the contrarian, I’m tempted to make an argument on Hayashi’s behalf. No, guess not.

    I’m significantly more positive about Ellen Tauscher than Jim B. My problem with Swalwell is not on any particular issue. It’s that there is no evidence that, prior to running for Congress, he has ever given any thought to national issues. The stuff on his website is from the “So you’ve decided to run for Congress Boilerplate Issues for Dummies Handbook.” His proposal for Social Security is just to eliminate the cap on wages subject to the SS portion of the payroll tax, which would effectively be a 25% increase in federal taxes on all taxable income over $110,000. I’ll bet he hasn’t even thought about that, since his own taxable income is less than that.

  • Elwood

    James B. sounds like a paid hack for Stark to me.

  • Elwood

    @ James B. #14

    “Stark isn’t perfect”

    And congratulations to our winner, James B. for the Understatement of the Century!

  • Leslie P.

    James B. “#14″ makes a good point. So I used Lexis Nexis to search Eric Swalwell. I found this Letter to the Editor he wrote in 2002, standing up for gay rights when he was a college student: http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2002-09-02/news/0209020051_1_university-of-maryland-laramie-project-college-park

  • Elwood

    Holy Crap, Leslie P., what a find!

    That’ll win the election for Stark for sure!

    Ridiculous!

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    James B and Leslie: if you had dug a little deeper you woulld discover that the challenger has expressed interest in the Freemasons’ doings and once wrote a short letter concerning the shadowy Shriners and the secretive Salvation Army. Also, it is widely known he supports blood donation.

  • JohnW

    Yeah, that letter really rocks my world. A real game changer.

    “Standing up for gay rights when he was a college student.” And the point is? Am I supposed to think less of Swalwell because of the letter, or more of him? If I wanted to make something out of a letter that somebody wrote 10 years ago while in college, (which I don’t) it would be the fact that he really didn’t take a stand one way or the other about gay rights. He merely stood up for open debate. So, one thing hasn’t changed much. He still doesn’t take stands on issues.

  • Elwood

    Do you suppose the mighty dimmiecrat machine might have put pressure on the lawyers’ club to withhold their endorsement?

    Wouldn’t want to piss off the power structure, now would we?

  • JohnW

    Re: #23

    There’s got to be a juicy behind the scenes story on this. I’m waiting for some enterprising political reporter to tell us all about it.