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About this blog: In January 2002 I started writing my own online "newspaper" titled "The San Ramon Observer." I reported on City Council meetings and other happenings in San Ramon. I tried to be objective in my coverage of meetings and events, and...  (More)

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Swalwell's Town Hall call?

Uploaded: Feb 27, 2014
On February 25th I received an email from Congressman Eric Swalwell. At least it was an email with his name on it. Here's the text of the email.

"Dear Friend,

Please join me for a Telephone Town Hall on Thursday, February 27 at 10 AM PST. I will answer your questions about the issues affecting you and your family, and provide an update on what is going on in Congress.
Please sign up for my free telephone town hall here.

The telephone town hall lasts approximately one hour, and you are welcome to stay on the line and listen for as long as you can. Instructions will be given to callers who would like to ask a question, and I do my best to take as many questions as possible.
Federal communication laws only permit us to call constituents who have signed up with a land line phone number, so please remember to sign up using a land line.

As always, it is an honor to represent you in the U.S. Congress. To stay in touch, please connect with me on Twitter @RepSwalwell and on Facebook. If you have not done so already, please SIGN UP to continue receiving my e-newsletter.

Eric Swalwell
Member of Congress"

I clicked the link above and signed up for the "Free Town Hall." I'm not sure why it said "Free." Do other Congress persons charge for Town Hall phone calls to constituents, or only deep pocket supporters?

Anyway I signed up for it because I wanted to know what he was going to talk about. I have already been critical of some of his mailers, which looked a lot like political puff pieces paid for by our tax money. One of them even has a photo from iStockphoto. I couldn't find an exact match to the photo in Swalwell's latest mailer, but I think this is the same guy.

At least the photos with Swalwell talking to people in the District include real constituents.

I have questions and serious concerns about Social Security and Medicare. I don't want my Medicare Advantage plan that I like very much to be taken away or increased in cost with reduced benefits. I wanted to know what he and fellow Democrats are doing about that.

So I woke up early on Wednesday to be up and ready for the phone call. For me anything before 10 am is early. I tend to stay up late at night working on my computer, either answering students' questions or writing my blogs. Often I don't go to bed before 2 am. Since I don't need to be at an office by 8 am, I don't need to wake up earlier than 10.

No call came, so I checked the original invitation, which was sent to my Embarcadero Publishing email address. Swalwell's Press Relations person had that address from my last, not-so-friendly blog on Swalwell. I had the day wrong. It was Thursday, today, at 10 am. OK, I goofed.

So I set my alarm for 9:20 again this morning. At 9:45 I was getting coffee, so I would be reasonably alert when the call came at 10. I went into my office to prepare for Swalwell's call and NO CALL.

I checked my email again and there was a message from Eric Swalwell on the Mytrainingdept email, which was the one I registered with. It was received at 9:43 am with the Subject "Time Change."

"Dear Friend,

Due to a change in the Congressional vote schedule, my telephone town hall will begin today at 9:45 AM PST. You will receive a call at that time asking you to participate. I hope you can join.


Eric Swalwell
Member of Congress"

When I saw the message it was a little after 9:45 am. There was a phone number on my caller ID at 9:43 am with a 478 area code and the name "INS BENEFITS." That's one of the typical junk calls I get and don't answer. Either Swalwell's call came in at the same time and received a busy signal, or the call will be rescheduled again.

Who changes a phone call to an earlier time two minutes before it is going to be made, and 15 minutes before it was originally scheduled? Eric Swalwell I guess.

I have not been a fan of Eric Swalwell since he was elected. I was hoping to give him a chance to answer questions and do his job for constituents, of which I am one. So I'm writing this right after either missing his rescheduled Town Hall phone call, or him not being able to reach me at that time, or possibly not holding the Town Hall at all.

Does anyone know? Did anyone reading this get the call? What did he talk about? Was it useful or just more of Swalwell 's self-inflation. How do you feel about the time change and how this was done? And please, trolls are not welcome here. I'm mad enough as it is, and I'm not going to put up with any juvenile nonsense.

This is our Representative in Congress. I wanted to give Congressman Swalwell a second chance to prove he deserves to be there. Unless there really was a Town Hall phone call and someone reading this blog thought it was worthwhile, I'm done with Swalwell for good now.
Local Journalism.
What is it worth to you?


Posted by PW Reader, a resident of Birdland,
on Feb 27, 2014 at 5:27 pm


Your comment, "Who changes a phone call to an earlier time two minutes before it is going to be made, and 15 minutes before it was originally scheduled? Eric Swalwell I guess" seems a little unfair. Congressional voting schedules are not fixed in stone, so I would give him a little leeway there. I, too, was expecting a phone call (which seems backwards from any other phone conference I\'ve attended) regarding the telephone town hall, but it never occurred. In talking to Congressman Swalwell\'s Pleasanton office today, they apologized and said the vendor for the phone calls apparently had problems connecting with constituents.

I was looking forward to the phone call, however, I can forgive the lapse. Mr. Swalwell\'s website has a lot of information on it. He also helped a local non-profit that I volunteer for with an IRS issue, so I can give him the benefit of the doubt. I\'ve signed up for his email newsletter and have received several informative pieces from his office. When sending him a petition, I get an acknowledgement. Today\'s hiccup does not make me believe that he does not "deserve" to be there.

Posted by tim, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School,
on Feb 27, 2014 at 6:00 pm

mr swalwell is a younger pete stark.

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Feb 27, 2014 at 6:20 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Thank you, PW Reader. I really wanted to give Rep. Swalwell an opportunity to change my mind about him.

Congressional schedules may change and if that happened he should have rescheduled to another day, instead of starting earlier than originally scheduled. That just demonstrates a complete lack of contingency planning and consideration for the people who expected the phone Town Hall to start at 10 am.

So far Swalwell has disappointed me in several areas, but the election is still 9 months away. I'll be waiting for the Phone Town Hall to see if there's more to him than campaigning.


Posted by Mr. Pajamas, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 27, 2014 at 8:40 pm

I awoke at 11:30 today and had a wonderful cup of English tea and boysenberry jam on a whole wheat English muffin. I checked my answering machine and it told me that my cousin called last night from Orono Maine. I'll keep you all apprised. Stay tuned.

Posted by Pro-Law, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Feb 28, 2014 at 1:54 am

I think having to go to the levels of using stock photos really says it all. I just wish politicians would stop being so fake - on both sides of the isle.

Posted by Ms. bunny, a resident of San Ramon,
on Feb 28, 2014 at 8:28 am

Well Roz, I'm not in favor of this type of campaigning whatsoever - you're far more patient than I in this regard. I hope this type of thing "goes by the wayside" as a less than worthy manner in which to communicate during election(s) Not to mention, robocalls as well. Truly pointless, useless and annoying. I think we all realize? Medicare benefits WILL undoubtedly be reduced in future years due to the huge growing demographic of the aging population. For instance, right now I hear they are pretty generous with the allocation for cataract removal, though I fully expect that allowance to be reduced down the line along with other types of generic benefits. It is inevitable if they wish to sustain care a reasonable level of care for all? -That we'll be paying more "out of the pocket" expenses for such surgeries.

Posted by Pololo Mololo, a resident of Livermore,
on Feb 28, 2014 at 2:04 pm

Pajamas = Web Link

yum yum plenty!

i mean it!

Posted by Roz Rogoff, the San Ramon Observer,
on Mar 1, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Roz Rogoff is a registered user.

Ms. Bunny,

I posted this link on my Obamacare vs. Medicare blog, but it fits your comments here too. Web Link

Are Conservatives now so anti-Obama that they prefer "Socialist Medicare" to Conservative-originated Obamacare? Seems so.


Posted by Ben, a resident of Birdland,
on Mar 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm

As usual the dems/progressive spout off half truths or lies.

First off, yes, 25 years ago a person at the Heritage Foundation wrote a piece about individual mandate regarding health insurance, but....

1) It wasn't his or the foundations idea. They did not invent the individual mandate.
2) They later withdrew support and changed their position on the individual mandate because of health research and advances in economic analysis.
3) Their mandate wasn't for routine health care, but rather was for catastrophic coverage, emphasising on protecting society from the heavy medical costs of free riders, akin to auto damage liability insurance, so hospitals and taxpayers would not have to foot the bill for the expensive illness or accident of someone who did not buy insurance ? the low cost policies that Obamacare outlaws.
4) The Obama government never bothered obtaining the consent of its citizens before imposing the ObamaCare compact. The Dems, all 100% of them, never read the bill, instead kowtowed to The Obama White House to vote yes on it. Your favorite bay area congresswoman stated they needed to pass the bill to see what was in it. What? Really?

But most importantly, before the bill was passed, the President and democratic leaders LIED to the American people about the bill. (You know what I'm talking about.) And to this day have never acknowledged the lies. And you still believe in these people?

Keep living in your insulated bubble, unfortunately my kids (and their kids) will be paying for your progressive ideas long after your gone.

Posted by San Ramon Observer, a resident of San Ramon,
on Mar 5, 2014 at 1:56 pm

San Ramon Observer is a registered user.


Now that you are done with your rant, who said I believed Obama or that I'm a Democrat?

You want the truth, neither of those things are true. I'm still a registered Republican, not that you need to know that, and I'm still an intelligent pragmatist, which means I support whatever works regardless of which party thought it up.

So far Obamacare doesn't appear to work very well. I've been on Medicare for six years now and it works well for me. I'm hoping Obamacare doesn't mess up what works about Medicare, or that Obamacare can be fixed so that it will work better than it has so far.

And since when does Nancy Pelosi represent the Tri-Valley. This blog is about the guy who does and I don't like him much so far.


Posted by Cletus, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Mar 6, 2014 at 10:38 am

These phone town halls are a sham. It is a concept dreamed up by Nancy Pelosi's staff to ensure that Democrat Congresspersons don't have to take the heat for their constituents. Congressman McNerney started doing these phone town hall meetings after he experienced significant heat in some real town hall meetings. The reason they are a sham is they resort to skullduggery to ensure there are very few people on the call that aren't their supporters. So they do things like changing the time of the call at the last meeting and not calling people they don't want on the call. An example of the latter is once you have registered to be on the town hall call, they check voter registration. If you are a registered Republican, you almost certainly will not be connected to the town hall. As lousy, heinous, and crazy as Pete Stark was, he did at least have the guts to have real town hall meetings.

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