Monday, April 16, 2012

Stark accuses challenger of accepting bribes, but has no evidence

Holy cow! My Rep. Stark has an actual Democrat running against him in the primary? I mean, a Democrat who isn't really a Republican trojan horse who just happened to register as a Democrat for that election? An honest to God Democrat?

Ok. So, now that he has a real challenger in the primary, what's Stark's reaction?

“Rep. Pete Stark, D-Fremont, leveled the accusation against fellow Democrat, Dublin councilman and Alameda County prosecutor Eric Swalwell during a candidates' forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of the Eden Area on Tuesday night at Hayward City Hall.

Stark, 80, said Swalwell, who was elected to the Dublin council in 2010, has taken "hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes" from the Lin family -- among the city's most prominent real estate developers -- in exchange for his votes on zoning issues. "If I were a lawyer, I would call that bribery, but I'm not a lawyer, so I'll let Mr. Swalwell define what he thinks taking all this money from people that he gave special zoning privileges to is. Maybe it's how he sees his role in government."


Swalwell released a statement Wednesday demanding that Stark produce evidence to support the "defamatory" claim within a day, or else issue a public apology. Alex Tourk, Stark's campaign strategist, later Wednesday issued a statement saying Stark "has been personally attacked by Eric Swalwell day in and day out for the past six months while focusing on the job at hand: defending universal health care, protecting Social Security and Medicare and jump starting our nation's economy. This is politics, not a pony ride."

But Tourk didn't return this newspaper's emails and calls Wednesday, Thursday or Friday requesting evidence to support Stark's claims.


Swalwell's 2010 and 2011 economic-interests disclosures showed no income from the Lin family or anyone associated with it. His campaign-finance report for the quarter ending Dec. 31 showed contributions of $2,500 from Mei-Chun Lin of Pleasanton, as well as $2,500 each from Charter Properties President James Tong and his wife, Jennifer, of Fremont. Charter Properties and the Lin family have worked together on Dublin developments.”

-- Mercury News article

So, a 40-year veteran being challenged in a primary immediately leaps to an unsubstantiated accusation of bribery? With no evidence at all? Seriously?

Now I plan on researching more about Swalwell's former statements as well as his history in local politics... however Stark has just done a fantastic job of giving me the benefit of the doubt when it comes to Swalwell.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

McCain was Super-Charismatic?

I'm reading Politico and I stumble on this nugget of wisdom:

“If you’re a super-charismatic candidate like George W. Bush or John McCain, they both ran without a real bold agenda,” the adviser continued. “They had other, more emotional-level, values-level ways to connect with voters. [Romney] just doesn’t have it. He has all the warmth of a Wall Street CEO.”

Seriously? John McCain was super-charismatic? I can't even wrap my mind around that sentence.

I might disagree with the politics of George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, but they certainly had charisma. Romney is clearly in the mold of Dole and McCain, which tends to be the "Elder statesman Republican establishment candidate who has finally endured losing enough primaries/elections until it was finally his turn to step up to bat." Bush Sr. would have fit that mold of boring elder technocrat, except as the VP, he got to run with the mantle of a charismatic outgoing president (Reagan) and against another boring elder technocrat for the Democrats (Dukakis). When Bush Sr. ran up against a charismatic Democrat (Clinton), he was clobbered.

Anyway, I don't want to suggest that charisma defines political elections, but I was certainly boggled by any description of McCain as super-charismatic. I mean, that is crazy speak, IMO. ;)