2012 Quote Of The Year: ‘I Would Call That Bribery..,’ Stark Accuses Swalwell

“As someone who has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from the Lin family for giving them special zoning privileges–if I we’re a lawyer–I would call that bribery, but I’m not a lawyer, so I’ll let Mr. Swalwell define what he thinks taking all this money from people he gave special zoning privileges is. Maybe, this is how he sees his role in government.” –Pete Stark

Pete Stark’s now infamous screed accusing Eric Swalwell of bribery last April is not the year’s most memorable quote in East Bay politics because it is particularly clever or well-delivered, but because it represents a very rare moment when history, or in this case, the end of Stark’s 40-year reign in Congress, can be precisely located in both time and place.

Hindsight now tells us his utterance that April night in Hayward was his downfall. Not roughly criticizing President George W. Bush or bullying those dirty Republicans in Congress, but an ill-timed assertion, that eventually rang with some truth, of scandal against his opponent whose only fault was that the allegation was not yet fully cooked.

You couldn’t rightfully place the tag of graft on Swalwell or the Lin family in April. The whiff of impropriety, though, was certainly there and, c’mon, name a Tri Valley politician who doesn’t have their hands in the pockets of rich developers. The Lin’s, however, were good at evasion, but when I started investigation a similar occurrence with Amador Valley Industries, a garbage company in Dublin, starting in July, the missing parts of Swalwell’s dirty DNA became clear.

When the story came out in October basically vindicating for Stark what the local corporate media deemed his mad-ravings, it was way too late. The ugly cast of a blowhard, out-of-touch, four-decade incumbent had long hardened. For Swalwell, all he had to do is show up and run out the clock while the San Francisco Chronicle handed him the keys to the East Bay’s coveted congressional seat without ever pondering whether he knew how to drive.

Past Winners
2011 – Ken Pratt. “I nominate her [Jean Quan] the queen of residential blight.”
2010 – Bill Lockyer. “I’m just a volunteer.”
2009 – Pete Stark. “Well, I wouldn’t dignify you by peeing on your leg. It wouldn’t be worth wasting the urine.”

Categories: congress, Eric Swalwell, Pete Stark, quotes, San Francisco Chronicle

3 replies

  1. Re– “For Swalwell, all he had to do is show up and run out the clock while the San Francisco Chronicle handed him the keys to the East Bay’s coveted congressional seat”

    I wonder how many people in the 15CD read the Chronicle, either online (SFGate) or the hard copy.
    Such that they would have read the repeated articles by Carla Marinucci and the others?

    10% or 25% or what? WE read it, but what about the average East Bay voter?
    Say, compared to the Hayward Daily Review, Tri-Vally Herald, the Argus and the rest of the group.
    Who BTW were not nearly as scathing and presistant as the Chronicle.

    I don't have a good grasp of the numbers.
    Granted, the BANG group did come out with a Swalwell endorsement.
    Also, lets not forget the memorable appearances Pete made on ABC7…such as at the Tri-City recycling center in Union City.

    Gosh, that little episode was huge confirmation about everything that preceded it. In fact, his campaign manager “pulled” him from that point forward.


    That “interview” took place July 3rd, and cemented the theme of the election for the next 4 months.

    I don't believe Pete ever appeared in public again where he could be videotaped. Perhaps there was another instance, but I don't recall it.

    Then everyone was reminded of all the prior gaffes over and over. They had 9 lives.


    Swalwell could never have purchased such wonderful ads, not even with a extra $500,000.

    Pete Stark to the reporter–
    “we'd only get stupid questions like you're asking that have nothing to do with issues.”

    Way to charm the press…


  2. Here's a dirty secret about the media nowadays. The Chronicle is the top of the food chain. We they get it wrong, everybody follows. People might not read the articles, but the lackeys at the tv stations and radio stations do and repeat it.


  3. By MW:

    In regard to Steven Tavares's comment of 11:18PM.

    I was hoping Pete Stark would lose his election battle with Eric Swalwell. And Stark did, and probably largely due to the fact that the Chronicle wrote some very unflattering things about Stark, however in fact unflattering things about Stark that I felt were very justified.

    In other words, I felt this was one of the few times the Chronicle, and which is usually a purveyor of lies and garbage, was actually correct.

    But I do agree with Tavares that there is a tendency for the “great independent thinkers” in the Bay area to follow and automatically go along with whatever the Chronicle says, and even when the Chronicle's positions and “facts” are nothing but lies, nonsense, and garbage.

    But than the Bay area is loaded to the gills, and in fact far more than any other major metropolitan area that I am aware of, with “great independent thinkers” who will almost always swallow and fall in line for any garbage and nonsense that any charlatan, demagogue, or con man feeds them, and regardless of whether the purveyor of lies and garbage is Willie Brown, Jim Jones, Nancy Pelosi, or the SF Chronicle.

    In fact in virtually any area that was primarily populated by “stupid,” uneducated, and “unsophisticated” high school dropouts, most of the population would have quickly realized that Jim Jones was nothing but a fraud, phony, demagogue, charlatan, con man, and pathological liar. However Bay area people, and who “know” that they themselves are “intelligent,” “educated,” and “sophisticated,” were the perfect pawns and puppets on a string for Jim Jones, and just as they are also are for Willie Brown.

    And in fact while Jim Jones was still in the Bay area, the SF Chronicle was one of his biggest, strongest, and most vehement backers and supporters. And that was because the highest ranking members of the Chronicle “knew” that: one, Jim Jones was wonderful; and two, his detractors were “crazy,” “stupid,” and “misinformed.”

    And some day I will tell you about the two multi million dollar fires that the jokers at the Chronicle “knew” were caused by bad luck, and even though anybody with an IQ higher than his shoe size would have realized they were almost certainly caused by arson.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: