AstroTurf Or Not, Residents In Dublin Begin Nascent Recall Campaign Against Swalwell

ELECTION ’12//CONGRESS 15 | A long-rumored campaign to recall Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell now has a web site and a bully pulpit.

The unidentified site makes no mention to a specific group behind the recall campaign, but lays out a litany of charges against Swalwell, a Democrat, who is also running this November for Congress in the 15th District seat currently held Rep. Pete Stark, another Democrat.

Calling Swalwell a “quid pro quo politician,” the site makes numerous reference to the first-term councilman’s controversial ties to housing developers, some who are also large donors to Swalwell’s campaign. “Eric Swalwell will work hard for land developers, but not you,” it reads. As far back as last fall, there had been numerous references to localize dissatisfaction with Swalwell’s recent decisions in Dublin. Some home owners in Dublin have viewed the city’s coziness with developers as detrimental to their own financial interests. Swalwell, 31, was elected to the City Council in 2010.

Although it is not clear whether the recall campaign has a legitimate aim or merely an AstroTurf group hoping to sully Swalwell’s image as his campaign faces considerable pressure from Stark and the entrenched Democratic Party in Alameda County to thwart his efforts to beat the 40-year incumbent this November. However, many of the specific gripes are some of the same issued by AroundDublinBlog, a local web site that has long been a critic of Swalwell’s ties to land developers in the Tri-Valley area, including the controversial project known as “The Promenade.”

That particular project–highlighted on the Recall Swalwell site–was infamously referenced by Stark during a candidates forum last April in Hayward. Stark charged Swalwell with accepting campaign donations from Charter Properties, the land developer behind The Promenade project, in exchange for rezoning the property from commercial to medium to high density residential homes. Stark, however, characterized the alleged arrangement as a “bribe” to great outcry from his opponents

Just a day before announcing his run for Congress last September, Swalwell gained the considerable ire of over 200 Dublin residents at a Sept. 20, 2011 council meeting who opposed the rezoning deal for fear it would further diminishing their homes’ value with greater inventory at the housing project. Swalwell approved the rezoning deal despite the city’s mayor recusing himself from the council’s decision, but oddly appeared in chambers as a public speaker in opposition to the plan.

STARK TRAVELS TO THE BELLY OF THE BEAST With less than four months before the November 6 general election, Rep. Pete Stark is traveling to the eastern edge of his current 13th Congressional District (redistricting will recast the seat as the 15th next year).

Stark will hold his monthly town hall meeting this Saturday at the Pleasanton City Hall chambers at 9 a.m. The new 15th District will include more of the Tri-Valley, including Pleasanton, Dublin, Livermore and a portion of San Ramon in Contra Costa County. The hour-long town hall will surely be a test for the Stark, who has been hounded by some reporters more interested in whether he utters a curt sentence or two over the substance of his race against fellow Democrat Eric Swalwell.

Pleasanton may be Swalwell’s home base, but the meeting could become additionally raucous if typically aggressive Tea Party members join the fray. It’s definitely a combustible situation. However, those more interested in a sedate Saturday morning of government civics can catch Stark’s second meeting in Union City at 11 a.m. (For more info, click here.)

16 thoughts on “AstroTurf Or Not, Residents In Dublin Begin Nascent Recall Campaign Against Swalwell

  1. People don't like him because he is for gay marriage according to that recall site. Which makes me like him.

    I don't have the patience to read through these comments but does his ties with housing developers mean more affordable housing in Dublin?

    This kinda sounds like yuppy white people who don't want to see Dublin be a progressive city. Dublin is one of the few cities that is working towards providing more affordable housing which is a good thing. Don't know what his role has been in that, but if it's his progressive politics that are pissing people off… oh well.

    Basically, I haven't decided if this guy is good or bad yet… Or maybe I should say the lesser of two evils.


  2. : ) gotta love the anti stark folks here. they can barely spell which goes a long way in being able to assess their reasoning to support swalwell over stark.

    ex: your wrong…it's you're wrong / there of is thereof / so-signs should be co-signs / to long should be too long / timefor should be time for / soget should be so get. (i'm ignoring the litany of egregious grammar issues in your post)

    jesus christ, stop writing on blogs if you're only going to make yourself look like the idiot you are…

    ps. bills get authored and co-sponsored all the time only to be voted against by the same folks that introduced the original bill. Perhaps you'll come across some BASIC civics lessons while you're brushing up on your grammar.


  3. 4:43

    Your wrong. You want a real joke?

    Go take a look at Pete Stark and his record, or lack there of. Not authoring ANYTHING since 1994, then when he so-signs on the Fed Audit bill, he votes against it. How can you vote against something you helped author? Are you kidding? That is the REAL joke.

    The only douchebag is Stark. He is more than that,but the list is to long. It has been timefor a change for a long time, and now the change has come get used to it. I bet you work in the party machine that is why you are so afraid of Eric, well he is your next Congressman, soget used to it.


  4. the “we-swallow-well” folks sure do have a lot of pent up anger…

    not your fault steven for putting out the angles.

    personally, I don't know why folks aren't picking swallow-well apart. the guy was a joke in high school and can't seem to want to go back and show his fellow grads that he actually became something…which is a bigger douchebag than he was back then.


  5. Who wants to put money on Pete Stark being some how involved? This is stupid, can we just have a new Congressman aready? There is no substance to this…

    Why does this reporter continue to report on non-issues or stories? Get a real job, with a real news paper. Stark is going down.

    Want a story? Why dosn't he report on the truth in this area? Because he dosn't know how to be a real reporter or what a real story is.


  6. 12:12 PM, The publicity event at the Recycling Center was suppose to show Pete's ties and support from union labor as well as his caring about the environment.

    Well, NONE of that got into the news coverage. Instead, in the Chronicle article + video, and especially in the ABC7 coverage, all we saw was Pete losing his cool, supporting his previous gaffes from the primary.

    ABC7 ran the extended video at 6:00 PM right up front in the newscast.
    Even worse, at 11:00 PM they showed only the clipped version of the same video, including ONLY those parts where Pete was at his worst.

    (remember, only the worst seconds were use at 11:00 pm which made it appear even worse, no context)

    Then, just a few days ago, I think Monday, on CBS5, they led off the 6:00 PM newcast with coverage of this race, and towards the end of that segment, they included the Chronicles video of Pete getting angry and snapping at reporters.

    All terrible video, showing Stark looking bad and looking very old.
    Here is the SF Chronicle story and video

    NOTHING about the purpose of the event will stick in the viewer mind or memory. Only the old cranky congressman who doesn't like it when reporters ask questions.

    A PR disaster, handed to Swalwell.
    And the first put in place by Stark's new reorganized PR team.
    Watch them try to pull Pete away from the waiting “rescue” car.

    So yes, a “PR DISASTER”


  7. Interesting comment Tavares, you would think that if Stark and/or the Demo machine were behind it they would have put some money into it and make it look more professional.


  8. 5:32 PM I'm interested in your statement that the recycling get-to-gether was a PR disaster. I wasn't there so could you share your view of it.


  9. It's interesting that the Around Dublin blog is going after Swalwell. They have been doing this for over a year, and it was just a matter of time before this site popped up. I have heard that a couple other sites are also coming up. Swalwell has touched a nerve in Dublin about everything that wrong about politics. Frankly, we here would be pleased to have him in Congress and out of our backyard.


  10. Steve, yet again you show that you are the best journalist in the East Bay, scooping both the Chronicle and the Merc. I've gotten this site from 6 people in the past 2 days. It's taken a life of its own, and you can bet it's circulating in Dublin and Pleasanton. Sure, it makes Swalwell look bad. But, it also exposes these pay for play developers, and anyone running for office is going to be wary of taking their money.

    I first heard of the recall at the Women's Elected luncheon. The dirty secret that the Chronicle is not reporting is that many people in Dublin and the Tri Valley see Swalwell for the empty suit he is. This site exposes him.

    Thanks again for your fair and objective reporting, being harsh on all sides.


  11. Do not get played Steven. Your reporting is entertaining and well researched. No way to confirm that anybody in Dublin is involved in this amateurish site. Around Dublin blog is owned by a failed City County candidate. He has it in for literally every local elected official. View anything on that site skeptically.


  12. If this is indeed an AstroTurf outfit, you would think someone would throw some dough their way so they could at least get a Web site, not just a free one from WordPress.


  13. Well, Stark's Pleasanton “town-hall” should be quite entertaining. I wish it was live on-line so we all watch without having to drive.

    I look for the Tea Party crew to over-play their case and hand Pete some good video, possibly for some TV spots, making him look reasonable. They are so into their own agenda, they may give Pete the gift his campaign so dearly needs.

    The Swalwell troops should have their talking points well thought out and be disaplined.

    On the other hand, Pete could easily blow it again.
    Thus far he seems to take every opportunity to make himself the object of ridicule and bumbling.

    I hope someone other than the Tea Party posts some video.
    Also hope BANG or the Chronicle cover the event.
    Perhaps a television news crew will be there.
    If so, look to one person in the piece being a over-the-top Tea Party member, that almost no one wants to be associated with.

    I do say, I have to give it to Pete, he shows up.
    Compare that to Mary Hayashi going underground, except for hosting that Pet Clinic where no public, reportable, exchanges were even possible.

    This event will be a test to see if Pete can still pull it all together in public when the discourse is unscripted. His last event at the recycling center was a PR disaster.

    Oh, the Swalwell re-call campaign, a boomerang effect at best. Naked politics and the public will see that and react negatively to the cheap shot.


  14. I can say this about Swalwell…he sounds like a politician; he'll say anything to get your vote of confidence. He's a lawyer, he's the perfect political talker. Does that make him bad? No, he's no Pete Stark, a radical in Dem cloth. Swalwell IS slapping Dublin in the face though because its obvious he ran for City Council for one reason, to appeal to voters outside of Dublin; Dublin has known him for a short time and should serve another term. Is he ready for the job? Yes, he can handle it – he worked on the hill and knows it, he's smart, he's well spoken and educated. Should he have waited another term, YES. He should have served one full term and than ran against Stark in 2014 – assuming Stark lasts that long. He could have been a shoe-in. If he is defeated in 2012 (odds are he will), he better be prepared to face off against Stark again in 2014 or a long list of Dems wanting that job. While we could use ANYONE but Stark, its bad timing on his part.

    -A 27 Year Resident of Dublin


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