ELECTION ‘12//CONGRESS 15 NOTES | During the same infamous forum where Rep. Pete Stark charged Dublin Councilman Eric Swalwell with accepting bribes from a Tri Valley developer, he also lobbed biting rejoinders such as calling his opponent a “pipsqueak” and “bush leaguer.”
Those remarks appear to be the basis for one of the most hilarious political mailers of this entire campaign season. The mailer sent last week to district voters, features a young boy swinging harmlessly at a batting tee with two adults in catcher’s gear and an umpire in the background. “You have to prove yourself as rookie,” the front of the large mailer reads, “before you’re ready for the Big Leagues.”
Inside features a photo of Swalwell as depicted on a rookie baseball card with a blue custom-made Swalwell cap Photoshopped atop his head. “When we need him most in Washington, when the stakes are high, Eric Swalwell will strike out,” says the mailer.
The piece highlights the most glaring difference between Stark, a 40-year congressman and Swalwell, who has spent less than two years in elected office. The Stark mailer claims Swalwell has no accomplishments to speak of while serving on the Dublin City Council and that is quite possibly true. Other than formulating a local Tri Valley wine commission, Swalwell’s record is in many ways thinner than many people running for school boards this November in the East Bay.
But, what this mailer shows, in addition to another recently piece charging Swalwell with aiming to end Social Security “as we know it,” is Stark’s fundraising advantage may begin to show real teeth in the last month of this race.
By most estimations, Swalwell’s underdog campaign, highlighted by door-to-door retail politicking, will begin to lose strength with every large-scale mailer Stark’s campaign sends to voter’s mailboxes. Regular voters still know absolutely nothing about Swalwell and every mailer portraying him as rookie works more efficiently than sending a small fleet of volunteers to tell your own story.
Like my Little League coach once told me long ago, don’t try to outrun the base runner, throw the ball to the base to get them out. You can always throw the ball faster than you can by chasing after them.
TRI VALLEY PAPER ENDORSES STARK While the area’s conservative-leaning editorial boards have used this election as a chance to harpoon one of the East Bay’s biggest progressive whales; the Livermore Independent last week endorsed Rep. Pete Stark over Dublin’s Eric Swalwell. In the editorial last Thursday, the paper, circulated in Livermore, Pleasanton and Sunol, summed up the choice for voter’s this fall in this way: “Listening to the rhetoric, one might conclude that the options come down to an experienced curmudgeon or an opportunistic newcomer.”
In addition, the editorial notably delves into background surrounding Swalwell’s ties with local developers and campaign fundraising. “Even though many of his donations come from developers,” they note, “he says he is not influenced by campaign donations. However, his actions speak louder than his words. One example is Swalwell’s vote to conduct a study to rezone the KB Home and Charter Properties Promenade shopping center into higher density homes despite the protests from hundreds of Dublin residents. While not voting for a proposal to build housing in Doolan Canyon, Swalwell supported moving ahead with an environmental study.
“In our experience, we have found that Swalwell makes statements, then when questioned later regarding their truth, denies that he has made them.”
What is interesting about this editorial is it shows a completely different picture of what may have occurred between Swalwell and Charter Properties than the one sidestepped by other papers. The firm was infamously reference by Stark last April as the “Lin Family,” in which he claimed Swalwell accepted “hundreds of thousands of dollars” from in exchange for rezoning the property.
The Bay Area News Group’s Josh Richman, for one, wrote there was no bribery going down, therefore, case closed. Whether there was bribery or not, there was, in fact, evidence of a quid pro quo. Aside from that, Richman’s knee- jerk declaration of nothing improper, apparently came from an until then unknown section of the Federal Election Commission’s disclosure forms labeled “Bribes,” which was understandably left blank.