CONGRESS 15 | For Chris Pareja, it’s better the devil you know than the devil you don’t. The conservative-leaning former 15th Congressional District candidate, who impressed many with his strong primary performance June 5, says his former opponent, Eric Swalwell, “lacks ethics and maturity to represent the district,” and urged his supporters not to vote for Swalwell in November.
“I cannot in good conscience recommend that anyone who voted for me support Eric in his campaign for the House of Representatives,” Pareja said in a statement released Thursday.
Although he did not endorse Rep. Pete Stark, Pareja did not exactly praise the long-time East Bay congressman. “I may not agree with Congressman Stark on most issues–but his service to the community and the country should be respected,” said Pareja.
“I believe Eric lacks the life experience and character to effectively represent this district. I also wonder whether he has a firm grasp of the proper role of the federal government or where the money will come from to implement the promises he is already beginning to make.”
Pareja, in fact, said in an interview Thursday afternoon that he believes in some ways Stark is more conservative than Swalwell and lamented the new open primary system that produced two like-minded candidates in November. “These are two choice that I don’t like,” Pareja said, “but I feel Eric has no ethics and lacks maturity. His whole thing is being anti-Pete and that Pete is out of step. Well, I think Eric is out of step with reality.”
While admitting some in the media may find his announcement outside the narrative of anti-incumbent fervor often presented, Pareja says his first-hand experience watching Swalwell has raised troubling questions for his group of supporters, some of which tend to enjoy sips from the cup of the Tea Party. Many of his conservative supporters are naturally skeptical of government overreach and especially find Swalwell’s stances on property rights disconcerting, he says “He’s on the wrong side,” said Pareja, who noted Swalwell’s past support for land developers during his time on the Dublin planning commission and city council.
Pareja’s rise earlier this month is one of the least reported stories of the local primary season. The nearly 22 percent of the vote he received represents an astonishing performance accomplished with little name-recognition and built upon only a few thousand dollars. Pareja now has political cache among East Bay conservatives and appears willing to use it in a race where a larger presidential voter turnout and a disaffected voting bloc–which he represents–will likely be deciding factors.
Vote Eric Swalwell for Congress, we all know we need new leadership
Congressman Stark has brought home the bacon over these last 40 years, allowing us the opportunity to make infrastructure improvements, and creating jobs, that otherwise would not have taken place. Allowing the Congressman to serve another year and half will give all of the voters in the 15th Congressional real choices in representation in 2014. Swalwell should be focused on being the best councilmember he can in the City of Dublin. Instead, he is arrogantly, and with zero experience, representing himself as a leader for the 15th in Congress. Nothing could be further from the truth. If he wins, he will be banished to a broom closet, with no appointments, which by the way, does us no good. If the Congressman is re-elected, we have a chance to bring home more dollars for the projects that mean the most to us, and we have a host of great candidates to choose from in 2014! It's a no brainer. Keep the Congressman in office.
Vote for a real man, Eric Swalwell. He's a man who will have the guts to do what is right.
It's right to take away Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from future generations. Hell, if enough of us vote for Eric, he can get right to destroying those filthy, filthy “entitlements” for this generation.
It's right to give more money to rich people. It will be easier to give money to the real “job creators” if we take away food stamps from poor people, whether they have full-time jobs or not. Free food just encourages children to think they won't have to work for a living. More hunger will motivate them and their parents to work harder.
I'm glad Eric knows this, and I'm glad he's a Democrat who opposes a lot of the California Democratic Party platform. Those stupid Central Committee members act as if that platform is something that should be supported by candidates seeking their endorsement.
Those power-hungry fools on the Committee should just relax and let Party candidates destroy the government investments Democrats fought to start and preserve which pulled us out of the Depression, won a World War, rebuilt Europe and moved the GI Bill, built the labor movement to grow the middle class, fed and educated children and walked on the moon, provided health care and income security to the elderly and disabled, worked to create equal rights and family planning for women, and so many other things.
Go Swalwell! I got mine, and Eric will help everyone else fight to the death for theirs! That's LIBERTY!
The United Democratic Campaign and their leaders John Smith and Robin Torello don't even spend money for Stark because they think he is such a show in. They won't put up signs for ALL Democrats running just the ones endorsed by the Democratic Central Committee and they act like a gustopo, who gets endorsed, and even who should run, and they try to control everything, they think their opinions matter more than whats best for the district. People please vote for Swalwell we need change so bad in this area. A vote for Stark is a vote for the machine, a vote for Swalwell is a vote for change. Vote change. Oh and Paraja is an idiot that knows nothing and is just upset he didn't win, don't listen to him!
why is this reporter still reporting on news? I told him he needs to stick to things he knows like underwater basket weaving rather than reporting on politics after his joke article about Greg Jones. He is a smut reporter that knows nothing about politics.
Now on to the issue at hand. I have worked for Stark, I have worked for the local Dems. and they all think the seat is Stark's not the people's. Stark is a joke, he has been for years, I have been a Stark fan and I am not anymore because he hasn't done anything in Congress and in his last two years he won't do anything. Fact is we need new leadership, and the sad part is people like Trisha Tahmasbi, John Smith and others will not admit Eric is the best choice for the district, and that toting the party line just dosn't work anymore. Robin Torrello might as well get used to loosing since she supports Stark and Quirk, both loosers in a few months.
I suppose that quoting anyone could be considered news, but is he said, she said any reason to make a decision as important as our representative in congress. Steven, what happened to investigative reporting? If we've lost that, we might lose our democracy.
Pareja is not engaging in future political calculations. He really dislikes Swalwell. It isn't complicated.
Pareja will have no chance in this District no matter who the incumbent is in 2014.
How does Swalwell get to 50%+1 in 2012? Counting on Stark to make more mistakes does not seem like a winning strategy for November. How does Eric get Tea Party votes (he'll need them, and they don't like moderates) without deeply alienating the dominant Democratic voting bloc?
Chris Pareja is just like Jennifer Ong. Both know nothing and sound terrible on their policies. Both have never been elected to anything.
The only difference in Pareja and Ong is that Pareja has very little supporters and no money for campaigning. (note his 20% votes were not for him but instead for a non-democrat. It would have been interesting to put a republican in that race to actually see pareja crash hand burn)
Pareja sees the writing on the wall. If Swallwell is elected there goes his chance to ever having any little hope to be in congress. A young incumbent Eric will be very extremely difficult to unseat for 2014.
Politico is a spouter of mainstream inside-the-beltway groupthink. It is most definitely not an advocate for liberal policies. Their priorities are chronicling of “gaffes” and their wish to ensure that this will be a close Presidential election. If that means amplifying Republican talking points and refusing to chronicle the many outright lies that Romney makes in his stump speeches, it's all good until Mitt catches up to Obama in the polls, then maybe they'll start calling it a little straighter.
Stark doesn't have the power he would have had if he hadn't tossed the liberal red meat that he has over the years. His health certainly has deteriorated. Neither of these mean that Swalwell would be a better Representative for this District. Nor do they rebut the facts brought up in earlier posts, none of which have been responded to.
Well, don't bother with what I say, why not look at what Politico said.
“Officially, Stark stepped aside to keep the gavel of the panel's health subcommittee. But lawmakers and aides said Stark faced a rebellion within the committee and the caucus over his sometimes bizarre behavior and penchant for making offensive comments”
Politico isn't Fox News.
Look I'm sure some members respect Pete for his past years of service. Its just that now, he's treated like the old foggy they have to put up with, antics and all. He is hardly at the top of his game as was seen in all the interviews that were released.
Having young family members doing his research, and not being quick enough to realize the blunders contained.
Many speculate he isn't well..
Certainly he's not the man he was even 5 years ago.
Perhaps he's on medication.
I note that you have zero, ZERO, answers to the quite reasonable, fact-based “diversions” that I've brought up.
I'll answer yours, you answer mine: Pete has said a number of immoderate things that can be demagogued. I don't blame the Caucus for wanting to avoid having to deal with Fox News and its hourly recycling of those incendiary statements, particularly since they know Pete can still help his Committees through his knowledge, experience and relationships without holding the gavel.
Have they booted him from his Committees? Can you provide any other evidence that he wields no influence within the Caucus?
I'd also concede that Stark would have had a difficult time as the Chair working collegially with the GOP leader in Ways and Means because of some of the bitter exchange that have take place between he and Republicans. Again, that does not mean he lacks power or influence.
I'd also leave you with the fact that Republican leaders make immoderate statements nearly every week that outdo Pete's angriest statements. I didn't hear Stark call W. Bush “un-American” or claim he “palled around with terrorists.” He didn't say something as outrageous as claiming the House Progressive Caucus are all Communists, as Rep. Allen West said recently.
4:14, We're still waiting.
Waiting for your explanation as to why congressional Democrats refused to vote for Pete Stark to take the Ways and Means committe chairmanship, something he had waited to do for 38 years.
So, stop dancing around with all your other diversions and tell us why they would NOT vote for Pete. Stick to the question at hand.
Also, if you are concerned about respect from the Democratic Caucus for the Representative of this District, what causes you to believe that Swalwell would have more respect from other Dems if he is elected?
Eric has already stated on national television that he will be fine with gaining support from Tea Party-linked SuperPAC's in one of the most liberal CD's in the country. (Frankly, he'll need a massive buy from those PAC's to have a realistic chance.) His own campaign will also have to go even harder negative than it has so far.
Do you believe that attacking a Democratic member of Congress with four decades of service will endear Swalwell to senior members of his Caucus?
Indeed, the Democratic caucus prevented Pete from gaining the gavel of Ways and Means. There is a world of difference between blocking a member of Congress from a chairmanship and that Member holding no respect or power, as you assert.
Stark and his staff members have deep expertise on the issues that come before his Committees. He has deep relationships with the people and organizations that advocate before his Committees. Swalwell would have none of that.
I am unsupportive of the idea that a member of Congress gets to keep their seat until they want to retire. For example, I join a whole bunch of Democrats who feel that Feinstein's policy positions have become much too conservative for a Senator representing California. Those sentiments have not inspired me and other Democrats to recruit and organize around a viable opponent to Dianne, but that's how opposing incumbency-until-retirement should work.
In the case of Pete, have his votes become out of step with the voters of CD 15? Would Swalwell's positions reflect the wishes of District voters more closely? If you believe these things, cite some of them specifically and we can discuss that.
3:18, In 2010 Pete didn't need a single Republican vote to make him chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
All he needed was for his fellow Democrats to follow the long established “seniority rules”.
Instead, his own Democratic party members refused to support him.
I would assume if they respected him as a congressman, they'd have followed long established seniority rules.
Tell me, why do you think they skipped over Pete and chose someone else with less seniority?
Please, give us your explanation.
The commenter above lacks empirical evidence. Which of Stark's colleagues have no respect for him? Or are you talking about his conservative colleagues? Those ones and the Chroncle have no respect for him and I'm happy with that since I know Republicans have no respect for me, either.
12:10, Oh yes, in theory Pete's seniority should give him lots of muscle.
Except his fellow members no longer respect him.
No, for Pete they make exceptions to the seniority rules.
As the NY Times put it…
“Last week, Mr. Stark’s colleagues in the Democratic Party declined to let him serve even temporarily as chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, a job that, under the House’s seniority system, normally would have fallen to him”
In recent years, Petes become not much more than a seat filler. Staying on because thats where he lives and thats what he likes to do.
Under your logic, we'd never replace him, because every new guy would be a back bencher.
Besides, its rather pathetic when the only reason you have to retain him is that he has seniority.
Compare him to someone almost his age, Diane Feinstein. She is still sharp and has the respect of her fellow senators.
The complete opposite of Pete Stark's situation.
Stark holds senior positions on a number of House committees, and does lots of valuable work from these committees on behalf of the citizens of his District, the State, and our nation.
Swalwell would be a backbencher with little power for many years. He would also very likely make votes and advocate for policies which would be much more conservative than Stark. On balance, that would not reflect the views of the majority of citizens of the Congressional District.
CD 15 is one of the most liberal Districts in the country; 49% of its voters are registered with the Democratic Party, with only 24% registered as Republicans. In the 2010 gubenatorial election, Brown defeated Whitman in this District 59%-35%. In 2008, Obama beat McCain here 67%-30%.
I concede that the average Democrat in this newly drawn District is slightly more moderate than those in the District Stark represented for the last decade. However, in his decades of service Stark has often represented the Tri-Valley at times when the region was more conservative than it is now.
By the way, the party registration percentages mentioned above places Pareja's performance in real perspective. He may have listed himself as having no pary preference, but he was clearly running a campaign meant to capture Republican Party voters. Even with the more conservative group of voters who typically turn out for June elections, Pareja was unable to capture the District's percentage of Republican voters, with only two Democrats contesting him for those votes.
Put in this perspective, Pareja's performance was poor. He may have excited Tea Partiers during the campaign by spouting the nonsense that bloc of voters likes to hear, but he did not persuade the District as a whole.
A vote for Swallwell is a vote for a needed change. Stark has been doing nothing for us for a long time.
To have people like Pareja with no experience in politics or in the workplace question Swallwell's experience is a farce.
The reason why Pareja was never brought up in the campaign is because he was never considered a threat. The only reason of Pareja's percentage vote was due to the voters not wanting to choose a democrat. It was that simple on the vote numbers.
It is funny that Pareja questions Swallwell's credentials but now that we want to see Parejas..now it is not to be discussed.
Swallell is the better man. But now I will join the posters above.
Pareja has never held any office and I too believe he has no credentials as a business owner.
Funny Swalwell never once questioned Pareja's credentials during the campaign when pandering to the Tea Party.
Chris Pareja is a joke gone wild. I agree with 7:34am on questioning the credentials of Pareja. I had read earlier read posts similar to the quoted post and I too want to see his business resume.
“At least Swallwell is prosecutor and city council man. What does Chris Pareja have? Chris Pareja has phony business websites.
http://www.b2bpowerexchange.com/ and http://www.leadgenaires.com/
according to google traffic they hardly get any hits. They are phony web front businesses with no activity in income.
Perhaps Pareja needs to compare his tax return against my candidate Swallwell to determine where their income comes from. My hunch Pareja has no job or business. Show us your tax returns Pareja. Prove your claims of a real business owner”
and there is another
“Pareja is nothing compared to Swallwell. I cannot believe I voted for Pareja to later discover I was lied to that he own a business. Liar Liar Pareja.
Those websites of Chris Pareja are a fabrication for a fallacy of business ownership. Liar Pareja, he is not a business owner.”
So the people have spoken Chris Pareja and they have found you not qualified and grossly exaggerated as a viable candidate.
I tell you what about Pete Stark.
If he had been caught shoplifting and said it was just a “absentminded error”, I'd believe him.
This may be news. However, we need to guard against overemphasizing the importance of Pareja's showing. He was the only one on the ballot who is not a Democrat. The Republican and TP Independents needed to put their vote somewhere. I'm terribly interested to see how this plays out in November. We couldn't devise a better test case to see if top two produces more moderate representatives.
Yes, this news. Pareja is not Lou Filipovich and his nearly quarter chunk of the electorate is important in determining who wins the November election. BTW, I hope Lou is doing well. I haven't seen him in awhile.
Ditto to june 15 7:34 AM .. this is Pareja's peak. he'll never pass 22%. His only hope is Stark wins and retires in 2014. Then Corbett, Khanna, Hayashi, Swalwell and maybe a few others (Klehs, Torrico) run for the open seat. then perhaps all the Dems cut up the pie so small that he can squeak in. Fat chance. But Pareja's only long shot hope. I got a better chance of winning the lottery.
This is news? First, Pareja's only credential is finishing third in a three person primary. He has never won elected office and frankly hasn't demonstrated any business acumen (take a look at his lame franchisy business marketing web sites). Second, of course he wants Stark to win. If Swawell pulls it off in November the seat is likely locked up for a generation.
I don't get how Stark is more conservative than anybody, but I understand how this non-endorsement hurts Swalwell.
You know, whats sad about Swalwell. Almost anyone else could beat Pete. I so want to vote for change. I would have voted for almost a dozen candidates had they run. But, Swalwell is about the least qualified, and most unethical person. He's going to hand Pete another 2 years by default. It will be pathetic that he cant beat Pete –but voters just cant trust the guy. He's a joke and a lightweight.
But, Pete's done in 14. 6-8 more qualified candidates will jump in in 14.
Tony, you are the last one to throw stones at Swalwell. You might as well start getting used to being nice to him. He's going to be the Congressman from here for the next 20 years, and knowing him –and his toughness as a DA –he will remember and keep track who is with him and who is against him. He's the favorite, and it's time for those who want to have a promising political career in this county to join his bandwagon before its too late.
Yes Tony, wait, wait, wait.
Some of us got our first chance to vote in 1972 as college seniors. We voted for Pete, never realizing it would be 40 to 42 years before we'd have another choice.
Now you propose waiting another 2 years and hint we may need to wait 4 more years.
College to Social Security with only one guy.
And Tony, what if Pete wants to run in 2014, are you going to tell him to retire?
Or do we all just wait and wait until Pete decides he'll give up HIS seat.
I know a guy who graduated with me in 1972, the same year Pete first ran.
Two years later he joined the San Leandro police force.
He then served his entire 30 year career in SL.
Tony, he's been retired for 8 years.
And Pete Stark is running again for 2, or as you hint, 4 more years.
The system is sclerotic. Heck, even Banchero's knows when to give it up. But not Pete.
Pareja is a tea party tool! Eric is an impressive candidate who is a city councilmember, an attorney and a deputy DA. Sounds like good credentials to me!
Nice try. I'm sure Pareja would much rather run for an open seat than face Swalwell as an incumbent. Of course you don't bring that up in the article. Weak.
Hope he read my letter to the editor on this matter. I presume Stark is quite pleased! 2014 is going to be most interesting. Stark probably will not run again and as anonymous says wait till 2014. I will wait! Tony Santos
Thus far, 5 posts from people who were ALREADY for Pete Stark before June 5th, before Pareja said anything.
Once again, it's Pete's seat.
The party “pros” tell everyone to just wait until 2014, and then IF Pete decides to retire, then we'll give you our official approved candidate.
Of course, if Pete decides he can do 2 more years, then everyone rolls over and says wait til 2016.
Remember, its Pete's seat, not ours.
I've got to say I didn't see this one coming. Pareja said Stark's “…service to the community and the country should be respected”. He must personally dislike Swalwell to say something so rational.
There is obviously an issue with Swalwell's ethics given that Pareja is also saying this. The press needs to cover that. Why is this man taking developer money. What makes him think after a one year stint on city council that he is qualified to serve in Congress? How does he explain his arrogance and publicity stunts? Swalwell is an empty suit, with no ethics standards.
I don't like Stark. But, I will hold my nose and vote for him so that we can get some real choices in 14 such as Corbett, Khanna, Hosterman and Pareja.
Tavares, you are the only jouranlist who understands the dynamics and why Stark is going to win. You are going to make the SF Chronicle look like fools.
Pareja 2014! You had the guts to call Swalwell out. He's a 31 year old kid. He has no political future.
Game. Set. Match. Swalwell is a dead duck. Thanks Pareja for your courage. I am voting for you for Congress for true change in 2014. Swalwell is a total fraud, and you had the courage to call him on it!