THE SUNDAY COLUMN | Eventually young Rep. Eric Swalwell was going to have to face the fact more than half of the 15th Congressional District is far more liberal than his hometown in the Tri Valley. When the issue gun control became the taste of the month among national and local public officials, Swalwell went with the tide—a noticeably blue tide. What are conservatives and friends of the Tea Party suppose to think when the candidate they deemed better than Pete Stark took their votes and turned his back sharply against one of their core beliefs, the Second Amendment?

I’ll take two of these, says Alameda County
Sheriff Gregory Ahern.
PHOTO/Shane Bond

The issue, however, as it is framed was a no-brainer for Swalwell. The Tri Valley that solidly backed Swalwell last November is not sufficiently wrong-headed on gun control. Since the current issue was framed in the shadow of the Newtown, Conn. shootings, for the Tri Valley, slightly conservative as it is it would never turn its back on protecting school children.

But, now here comes a tough one. What to do about Alameda County Sheriff Gregory Ahern’s plan to purchase two drones? Here’s where the peculiar conservative pragmatism of the Tri Valley becomes so vexing. Libertarians naturally become worried about the potential of drones flying overhead taking pictures of their backyard and snooping on their privacy, but the flavor is different in places like Dublin, Pleasanton and Livermore. In those relatively safe, white communities, those beliefs go out the window when it comes to your privacy, not theirs. Instead, you routinely get the backwards police state rhetoric of “if you don’t want drones flying over your backyard, then don’t break any laws.”

This is the lunacy Swalwell must face when he tries to thread the needle between placating those voices shopping at Nordstrom’s in Stoneridge Mall, while fruitlessly convincing liberals in Hayward and Fremont that he’s a younger alternative to progressives like Rep. Barbara Lee and Stark.

It was quite predictable that Swalwell would attempt to tip-toe to the side of Ahern’s drone scheme. Swalwell is, of course, a former Alameda County assistant district attorney, with a father and brother in law enforcement, along with another sibling seemingly hidden away like Billy Carter and Roger Clinton.

Swalwell told The Citizen last week that he hopes the use of local drones will be within constitutional boundaries but voiced no opposition to their use. Such framing is a red herring since nobody can question its constitutionality, as of yet, since Ahern has not even purchased the drones nor put them in action. Yet, shouldn’t we assume an elected official will always conduct the business of their office in defense of the Constitution? Let’s not play games with this. Eric Swalwell, a congressman representing the liberal East Bay, supports domestic drones in Alameda County. Think awhile about what that means.

“Some people when they see a pretty girl walking down the street think she’s a prostitute. Yeah, some of the girls walking down the street are prostitutes, but not every girl is a prostitute. We are not the kind of organization that they are talking about. We do not do the things they are saying in here.”
Ron Doyle, owner of a Hayward Internet sweepstakes business, Feb. 19, on why he’s establishment is being singled out by the City of Hayward..

The Week That Was

The Citizen led the way this week in stoking anxiety and attention of Oakland A’s fans this week with accusations made by Oakland City Administrator Deanna Santana that A’s owner Lew Wolff neglected to send a well-publicized letter asking for a five-year extension of their Coliseum lease. However, egg was on Santana’s face on Wednesday we she admitted a mistake and had indeed received the letter last December. Problems still exist with the Coliseum City proposal, chief among them that Wolff will absolutely not talk to the city. This escapade surely won’t help on that front.

In Oakland, the City Council allocated more money to help law enforcement tamp down chronic violence on its streets in cooperation with the California Highway Patrol.

A local pastor in San Leandro urged his flock to “flood” City Hall with a form letter opposing a proposed ordinance allowing medical cannabis dispensaries. During a sermon Feb. 3, according to recordings obtained by The Citizen, the pastor said the matter of eradicating pot from San Leandro is in the Lord’s hands.

Hayward became the latest city to block Internet sweepstakes cafes from growing. City leaders placed a 45-day moratorium on granting business licenses for such establishments.

In a major and hugely symbolic victory, union workers at Pleasanton’s Castlewood Country Club agreed to a new three-year contract just 12 days shy of the anniversary of a nearly three-year lockout by a zealous anti-union general manager at the club. Instead of paying monthly health care costs of $956 for $12-$14-per-hour wage earners, union members agreed to pay $225. It’s the same concession the union says it made at the beginning of the labor dustup.

In Dublin, Abe Gupta was appointed to replace Rep. Eric Swalwell on the Dublin City Council, while Pleasanton gears up for a $250,000 write-in ballot special election slated for May to fill new Mayor Jerry Thorne’s seat on the council. The Tri Valley city better known to most in the county as the home of Stoneridge Mall has recently become a curious stronghold for Republican city leaders.

Tweet of the Week

Leland Yee

“@eastbaycitizen Certainly could! Tragic loss that should have been avoided.”
State Sen. Leland Yee (@LelandYee, Feb. 19) in response to this tweet from The Citizen:

“If someone asked Sen. Leland Yee about the suicide of Mindy McCready, I’m 100% certain he would pontificate.” Last week, Yee criticized Cal officials for not suspended basketball coach Mike Montgomery for shoving a player during a game last week.

Best Reads
>>>Steven Malanga take a lengthy look inside the California Public Employees Retirement System. (City Journal, Winter 2013).

>>>Fremont’s Ro Khanna is becoming the go-to-guy around various Op-Ed pages when it comes to the future of manufacturing in America. Here’s another piece involving five my myths about manufacturing jobs. (Washington Post, Feb. 13).

>>>With the California Republicans set to gather next Friday in Sacramento for their annual state convention, this year featuring Karl Rove, here’s on primer on the party’s dim road ahead. (The New York Times Magazine, Feb. 17)