Stark not concerned about town hall meetings

Congressman Pete Stark, D-Fremont, does not plan to cancel or change the format of three upcoming town hall meetings in light of demonstrations at similar forums nationwide in protest of Obama’s proposed health care reform. (Over the past week, other congressional leaders have received threats, called off their town hall meetings or switched to teleconferencing with their constituents to avoid a potential showdown.)

Stark chairs the Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee and helped draft major portions of Obama’s plan, which, he acknowledged, could make him a target for protesters. A staff member in his Fremont office said she expects that there will be security at the town hall meetings, even though neither Stark nor his office have received threats.

Saturday’s meetings are scheduled for the following times/locations:

* 9-10 a.m.: Fremont Senior Center, 40086 Paseo Padre Parkway, Fremont.

* 10:30-11:30 a.m.: San Leandro City Hall, 835 E. 14th St., San Leandro

* Noon-1 p.m.: Alameda City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave., Alameda

“If all (the demonstrators) do is come and scream, what can I do? There’s no law against it. You just have to be patient and hope that everybody can be polite and maybe they’ll get some questions answered. Or maybe they can make a point about their belief of how the bill should be written,” said Stark, who has erupted into impassioned speech himself during public meetings.

Read more comments from the congressman in Thursday’s Argus.

Linh Tat