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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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An upset 40 years in the making

Uploaded: Nov 8, 2012
Turnabout took 40 years, but it's refreshing to see upstart Eric Swalwell take down the ancient Rep. Pete Stark, a 20-term incumbent in Congress in a manner similar to Stark's campaign back in 1972 against a older representative.
Stark had the backing of the entire Democratic Party apparatus and sent out mailers with endorsements from President Obama, Sen. Dianne Feinstein and other party luminaries.
That's despite his record, which is devoid of achievement and loud of mouth. Democrats were so concerned about Stark that they refused to let him chair the House Ways and Means Committee, despite his seniority, after Charlie Rangel had to resign because of ethics violations.
Stark has been out-of-touch, living in Maryland, for two decades. His district was so safe for Democrats that he would have held it until he retired or died, but for the voter-approved change that allowed the top two vote-getters in the primary (regardless of party) to advance to the general election.
Swalwell got within six points in the primary and then worked hard for Tuesday's election with a good door-to-door campaign and received the endorsement of the newspapers across the board, notably both the San Francisco Chronicle and the Contra Costa Times, who clearly saw Stark for what he was. Notably, the recommendations for newspapers closely paralleled any Democrat slate card.
Congrats to Eric and batten down your helmet. Standing in the wings were the party loyalists who sat this one out—state Sen. Ellen Corbett, Pleasanton termed-out Mayor Jennifer Hosterman and Silicon Valley lawyer and former Obama Commerce Dept. official Ro Khanna. All are queued up for 2014.
Barring some tectonic shift, the seat will remain Democrat for decades so it will always be an intra-party squabble.
I'M THANKFUL this morning for the two-thirds requirement on taxes that saw both the ill-advised forever extension of Alameda County's transportation sales tax go down as well as the parcel tax gift to the Oakland zoo that was simply horrible public policy.
That requirement also saw the $28 parcel tax for Las Positas and Chabot colleges fail. All received more than 60 percent of the vote, but failed to reach the two-thirds level.
In a county dominated by Democrats that rarely sees a tax that it doesn't embrace, it is a significant series of results. Personally, I think the argument for local support for the community colleges was a good one—the bloated bond issue coupled with a project labor agreement to pay off construction workers unions was not—even though it had made a significant difference at Las Positas.
That said, the politicians who put together the transportation measure reached way too far—not only did they want to double the sales tax to one-cent, but they wanted to make it permanent. I have advocated for every county sales tax measure, all of which had sunsets—therefore accountability to the people paying the bills. The measure would have given the county the highest sales tax in the state because we're also paying extra for BART and the mismanaged county hospital system.
People will pay if it's a reasonable measure.
As for the zoo, it was bad policy pure and simple—let the backers and the board raise the money to operate.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by liberalism is a disease, a resident of Birdland,
on Nov 8, 2012 at 9:10 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

Good riddance to the old fossil, who long ago outlived his usefulness. Back to Maryland with you, you arrogant old fart.

Posted by Casanova_Frankenstein, a resident of Old Towne,
on Nov 11, 2012 at 9:42 am

Casanova_Frankenstein is a registered user.

"In a county dominated by Democrats that rarely sees a tax that it doesn?t embrace.."

You make selflessness and generosity sound like a bad thing. I think you've said a lot more about Tim Hunt than you have about liberals here.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School,
on Nov 11, 2012 at 10:08 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Casanova, is it selflessness and generosity when it's other people's money you are trying to donate? Certainly nothing prevents you, or anyone else, from being selfless or generous with your own money for those things you wish to support.

Posted by Casanova_Frankenstein, a resident of Old Towne,
on Nov 11, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Casanova_Frankenstein is a registered user.

We have this thing in this country called democracy, Kathleen. I know it's inconvenient when you hold extremist minority views, but you could always make a Unibomber-style shack for yourself and pretend you're not a part of the human race if you want to. Still gotta pay taxes, though. You're a big girl now; I'm sure that once you acclimatize to reality, you'll be able to see the bigger picture.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School,
on Nov 11, 2012 at 3:20 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

We always pay our taxes. I do not, however, think that continually throwing money at a problem solves the problem. How about real solutions? Why is there no reassessment of what we pay for; what we don't need; what we pay too much for; what we can do better for less?

Posted by Casanova_Frankenstein, a resident of Old Towne,
on Nov 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Casanova_Frankenstein is a registered user.

There is. I know that you don't see it, but you're so obsessed with spamming up the Pleasanton Weekly forum that you've lost the real-world perspective. You can't see much if all you're looking at is a computer monitor.

Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School,
on Nov 12, 2012 at 7:10 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Casanova, I am happy to read whatever you think I've missed if you post some links. My concern is that many of the changes have been necessary because of the economy, not because anyone in government has permanently changed their spending habits. And that's both sides of the aisle.

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