http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/06/01/primarys-tuesday-but-does-anybody-care


Pleasanton Weekly

Column - June 1, 2012

Primary's Tuesday, but does anybody care?

by Jeb Bing

In years past, incumbent Congressman Pete Stark and challenger Eric Swalwell would have been fighting desperately by now to knock each other out in the newly formed 15th Congressional District that will serve all of Pleasanton, with the winner of next Tuesday's primary all but guaranteed a general election victory over token Republican opposition. But under California's new open primary format, the June 5 election is a mere sparring session ahead of the main event. Barring a major upset, the two Democrats will emerge from a field of three candidates to form one of the most compelling tests of the system, in which the top two vote-getters move on to the November election, regardless of party affiliation.

The race for the newly redrawn 15th District, where registered Democrats outnumber Republicans, pits a moderate Dublin City Councilman and Alameda County prosecutor, Swalwell, against a liberal, seasoned Democratic Party loyalist who's been serving in Congress since 1973. The field is rounded out by a lesser-known candidate, Christopher Pareja, an Independent Party candidate with no previous public service experience.

Paul Mitchell, president of Redistricting Partners, a Sacramento consulting firm that has been tracking the realignment of California's political districts that resulted from voters' approval of Proposition 20 two years ago, says that it's campaigns such as the one here in the 15th that should serve as an intriguing early case study of the open primary. The conventional wisdom is that the system, by empowering the minority party, will benefit centrist candidates in districts that lean heavily Democratic or Republican.

That may be the case in other districts, but the 15th is an example of what goes wrong in a one-party system. If there were still party choices on the primary ballot, as we'll see Tuesday in the primary vote for president, it's likely a Republican would have tried to unseat Stark. But with another popular Democrat vying for the congressional seat on the open primary ballot, there was little incentive to give it a shot. Because you have two Democrats, both credentialed, both known in the 15th District, it's almost certain these same two will also compete again in the Nov. 6 General Election. Although Swalwell is campaigning vigorously, Stark has met with his constituents in smaller receptions, like the one he had two weeks ago that was hosted by Pleasanton Mayor Jennifer Hosterman. Stark boasts of President Obama's endorsement; Swalwell can count on Dubliners and County Supervisor Scott Haggerty.

Of course, there's more to Tuesday's primary than the congressional race, no matter how you vote, if you do. Obama is already the handpicked nominee for reelection by the Democrats; Mitt Romney has also garnered all the delegates he needs to win the Republican nomination. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, first elected in 1992, is considered an easy winner in Tuesday's primary against a long list of wannabee senators, including Feinstein's strongest challenger Elizabeth Emken.

Even the local race for supervisor for the Alameda County Board's District 4, now held by Nate Miley, appears to be a no-brainer. Miley has made frequent appearances in recent months before Pleasanton business, civic and real estate groups, gaining wider recognition and loud applause. His lone opponent is Tojo Thomas, a virtual unknown in Pleasanton until he launched an aggressive promotion and advertising campaign. He faces a tough fight over the next four days.

The polls are open 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday, but check your sample ballot and voter information pamphlet. With a small turnout projected, your regular polling place may have been consolidated with another.

Comments

Posted by registered user, Stacey, a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:57 am

"The conventional wisdom is that the system, by empowering the minority party, will benefit centrist candidates in districts that lean heavily Democratic or Republican. That may be the case in other districts..."

I think that's the case in the 15th as well.


Posted by registered user, San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 1, 2012 at 12:24 pm

Anyone who does care can listen to my Blogtalkradio interviews of Eric Swalwell Web Link

and Chris Pareja. Web Link

If Pareja is correct about his chances of beating Swalwell, it would be a major upset you heard here first.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:07 pm

San Ramon Observer,
Any plan to interview Pete Stark. Or is he "just not available"?


Posted by Tim, a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm

In responding to God's call for me to follow closely local politics, I must tell you that the Book of Revelations prophesizes that there will be change in the future. I personally will do what God calls upon me to do. This upcoming election is certainly a case in point. And, please, Casanova Frankenstein, no smart remarks from you, okay?


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 7:17 pm

Roz, I listened to your interview with Chris Pareja and was impressed with the candidate. You seem to have enjoyed the dialogue as well. What are your thoughts regarding Chris Pareja now that you've interviewed him?

Does it change your may 13th position:

"For example our new 15th Congressional District Representative, Pete Stark, could be the poster boy for term limits. Stark, who is 80, has been in Congress for almost 40 years.

He's challenged by two newcomers, Dublin City Councilman Eric Swalwell and businessman Chris Pareja. Swalwell is running as a Democrat, as is Stark. Pareja claims to be non-partisan, but his positions on most issues are conservative Republican.

Swalwell knows the Tri-Valley, so he's a better choice for us than Stark. Stark doesn't pay much attention to his current constituents and there's less chance he'd bother with us."

Has your opinion changed now that you've interviewed Pareja? I'm not sure how anyone can vote for, let alone endoorse, Pete Stark.

The pareja interview: Web Link


Posted by Tim, a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Just to follow up on Arnold's trenchant questions, Roz, do you now dislike Stark a really really lot, or a really really REALLY lot? And Pareja. Do you like him like a whole lot, a whole whole lot, or like really really like a whole bunch a lot? We both know of course that Swalwell is a doofus. The question is: Is he simply a doofus or really really a doofus? Thanks for your objective response to my objective questions. Nontransparently yours, Tim


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 8:38 pm

Thanks, Tim.

You bring up the important issue of transparency. Nothing more transparent than Mayor Hosterman holding a fundraiser for Pete Stark, and endorsing him. While I do respect my elders I'm drawing the line when it comes to the politicians that represent me. Pete Stark is as clueless as they come and it appears the years have affected his judgment to the point he isn't fit for political office. The fact that Hosterman is supporting a person that probably should have gracefully retired years ago, for everyone's sake, is just more evidence that Hosterman puts her own political aspirations before everything else.

Pete Stark needs to go!


Posted by Tim, a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 9:25 pm

You're welcome, Arnold. And knowing what a staunch, indefatigable supporter of all Democrats, young and old, you are, it warms my heart to hear that you are against Stark. My earlier post of course pointed to your, um, honesty. Your response - shifting from your own, um, objectivity - to Hosterman indicates you may be incapable of critical self-reflection but, alas, only transparent, imbecilic political garbage throwing. In short, you're quite a dish, and that's why all the lefty trolls always appreciate your, um, prescient remarks. Keep up the good work! And in case you're wondering, God has called on me to commend you and all that belongs to superficial, uneducated hackdom.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 10:03 pm

"You're welcome, Arnold. And knowing what a staunch, indefatigable supporter of all Democrats, young and old, you are, it warms my heart to hear that you are against Stark."

Good. Then you agree he is out of touch and unfit to represent the 15th district. Why do you suppose Jennifer Hosterman would endorse Stark? Why wouldn't she endorse Swalwell? Does it have something to do with Stark promising to endorse her for the position after his next term (hope not) concludes. I bet Hosterman has nightmares about Swalwell winning.

The best candidate, IMO, is Chris Pareja. The November vote should be between Pareja & Swalwell. Pete Stark has nothing left to offer which leads me to believe that his handlers are running the show. That would also explain why he's ducking both debates and interviews after his failed attempts at both endorsements from Media Editorial Boards and his embarrassing performance at The League of Women Voters debate.

As Pete said, every union in the state has endorsed him. He doesn't seem to understand that many voters consider public employee unions part of the problem. For him it is "Business As Usual". I'm not even sure he knows what an unfunded pension liability is.

This State is in way too much trouble to support cronyism, which is exactly what Mayor Hosterman is doing.


Posted by Tim, a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 10:08 pm

Sorry, Arnie, but the only thing we agree on is that you're incapable of engaging in any form of honest self reflection. As such, your immature political mudslinging has no validity. But it does provide a chuckle or two.


Posted by Arnold, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 1, 2012 at 10:31 pm

Tim(from castlewood - you wouldn't be trying to project Tim Hunt, would you?),

Tim, sorry if you're upset but I am engaged in this topic and consider it very important. Chuckle all you want but Pete Stark still needs to go!




Posted by Tim, a resident of Castlewood
on Jun 2, 2012 at 7:17 am

Yes, after much consultation with my prophetic oracle, I agree that the singlemost important issue in the upcoming election is public employee salaries/pensions. After all, how much of a burden must the wealthiest 10% of the population be expected to carry? They own over 80% of the wealth. Surely they should not be expected to pay higher taxes than they already do. Our Godsend Republican candidate is a case in point. Why, think of it, he was made to pay 13% in annual taxes recently. This is clearly a hideously onerous imposition on the wealthy. Arnie is right. We need fewer teachers, we need to pay them less, and the poor must expect to pay higher taxes in order to alleviate the excessive impositions the Stalinist state currently places upon our overburdened and overtaxed wealthy. And Hosterman is a crook. And so is Stark. Any objective, God fearing citizen should admit these irrefutable facts. And Hippie Hosterman needs a makeover. God bless America. Sorry to have upset you. Stark is bad. Really really bad. He consistently has voted to support the socialist Democrat Party agenda. He's out of touch with the clearly predominant Republican majority in the district.


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 2, 2012 at 8:16 am

Many of the previous postings seem to miss the point. The real issue, if one really wants to take the time to examine the recent history on Pete Stark is simply, why would anybody want to have Pete Stark representing them? Look at his record, his outlandish remarks, his lack of leadership, his own party passing him over for the leadership of the powerful Ways and Means Committee despite his seniority, his unwillingness to participate in public debates since his debacle at the League of Women Voters debate. Both Eric Swalwell and Chris Pareja deserve to be running for the position. Pete Stark does not.


Posted by steven , a resident of Parkside
on Jun 2, 2012 at 8:28 am

Yes, pay no attention to how this terrible Democrat has voted in alinement with his party over the years. What is most important is that he has called his opponents names. Thats what counts. And that he is old. Stark is appauling. I voted for him last year and every single year before that, but I'll never vote for him again. He is a contemptuos human being.


Posted by registered user, San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 4, 2012 at 2:53 am

Dave,

I thought I posted an answer to your question about Stark. I saved my answer, but I don't see it posted here. Here's my saved answer.


Dave,

When I scheduled the interview with Eric Swalwell I invited both Rep. Stark and candidate Pareja to listen and phone in questions or schedule their own interview. I did not hear from Stark, but Mr. Pareja emailed me a thank you and asked to be interviewed; so I scheduled his interview for this week.

It is possible that my email to Rep. Stark was intercepted by one of his campaign workers. I probably should have phoned, but I didn't leave enough time before the primary to interview all three. If Stark is in the top two finishers, I shall extend another opportunity to him to be interviewed before the November election.

If he is bumped by Swalwell and Pareja, I would ask Stark if he wants to be interviewed on why he lost and which of the two candidates he supports. I'm small potatoes, so I doubt he would bother answering me, but who knows.

Roz

PS I hope this one stays posted this time. My answers to Tim and Arnold should follow this one.


Posted by registered user, San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon
on Jun 4, 2012 at 3:07 am

Answer to Arnold and Tim,

I like Chris Pareja personally, but I still believe that Swalwell has a better chance of being in the runoff with Stark.

Do I dislike Pete Stark? Not particularly, but I do believe he's out of touch and has been in Congress too long.

I watched the League of Women Voters' debate and Stark did not come off well. He attacked Swalwell with misinformation he got off the Around Dublin Blog, which is hardly a reliable source. He all but ignored Pareja.

His behavior wasn't quite as childish as Tim's silly message above, but maybe that's why Tim is so fond of Rep. Stark.

Roz


Posted by Joe, a resident of Siena
on Jun 4, 2012 at 6:41 am

How on earth can anyone vote for that psycho Pete Stark? The guy is a deranged mental patient! I can't believe how us idiot voters continue bringing back the same garbage: Stark, Boxer, Pelosi, etc. I wish people would wake up and get rid of this guy. Check out how he treats people in town hall meetings. He is an arrogant jerk!

Web Link


Posted by steven, a resident of Parkside
on Jun 4, 2012 at 7:44 am

Yes, Stark is a liberal nutcase just like Obama and Pelosi and the other loons. Citizens want the federal govt to build a 80 foot wall along our 3000 mile long border with the Mexicans and to deploy 125,000 troops to push back all the latters, and this Stark character is opposed. How braizen he is! I vote for a democrat every single year, but I'm not going to vote for Stark unless he agrees to expand our military and our federal border wall forces. Only Republicans can be trusted to expand our goverment the way its needed.


Posted by steven, a resident of Parkside
on Jun 4, 2012 at 8:57 am

And another thing. The Republicans will help expand freedom by giving vouchers to Minutemen organizations. Since they arm themselves and take it upon themselves to protect us from Mexican farm workers by shooting them, they shouldn't have to pay hard-earned tax money for a unionized public police force. The more guns people have, the less crime there is. And we can save money two. Get rid of the liberal loon Stark!!!


Posted by Dave, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 4, 2012 at 9:25 am


San Ramon Observer,
Roz, thank you for your reply on this posting. You had responded previously on a different posting, so you're still sane! I appreciate your replies that are coached in reasonable, respectable wording. I do get tired of the childish responses, comments that some people feel necessary to post. My desire would be for people to look closely at Pete Stark's record over the last few years and then make their decisions based upon facts and performance rather than merely spouting ridiculous statements


Posted by Kangaroo, a resident of another community
on Jun 5, 2012 at 10:50 am

I sure hope Stark wins. You deserve him.


Posted by Enzo, a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 21, 2012 at 12:22 am

Joe do you have a facebook? I seriously want to add you.


Posted by Enzo, a resident of California Reflections
on Aug 21, 2012 at 12:24 am

The problem is, most Republicans aren't true conservative anymore. The scary thought is we may never have a true conservative president for 50 years. Till the idiots pull their heads out of their a*ses, idiots will vote for the liberals that own them.