Throw This Blue Dog A Drone: Swalwell Blows Up His Liberal Cred

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)

8 thoughts on “Throw This Blue Dog A Drone: Swalwell Blows Up His Liberal Cred

  1. Functional Definition of “Moderate”
    1. Singlehandedly killed the transportation tax, thwarting the will of the 8 western Alameda County jurisdictions where it passed.
    2. killed the zoo tax.
    3. killed the community college measure
    4. voted against every local Democrat on the ballot
    5. voted against the County and State Democratic endorsements on regional office.

    If this is moderate, I'd hate to see conservative


  2. 2/24 11:43,

    You are very wrong when you claim that “flying surveillance cameras” intended to observe domestic populations are “nothing new”. They are very new, as a matter of fact, and widely opposed by the public. That is why the Sheriff is having to approach carefully his request to the Supervisors for the budget and authority to run these drones; they're unpopular, and their legality is questionable. Which is why the Supervisors, and the citizens of the County, need to have answers about the Sheriff's proposal.


  3. Luckily Corbett is one of the smallest thinkers we've ever had in our Legislature. She will have nothing to run on despite being in office her entire adult life.


  4. Drones are fine. They're simply flying surveillance cameras. Let them fly. We have stationary surveillance cameras now, which are always reviewed to get the criminals. Case in point–criminal Chris Dorner. This is nothing new.

    Assholes who don't understand this should get a job and a life. Life does go on! Eric will be fine. Key to his re-election is the composition of the new district. He's another McNerney; here for the long haul and doing just fine, thank you very much!


  5. he is being chased down by corbett, so he will have to tow line or he is toast in 2014-short termer-tony santos


  6. BTW; Pleasanton has always been a moderate voting bloc that leans right or left on an issue by issue case. It's way too suburban for my taste, but long tern natives and East Bay natives know that town for being the home of the Alameda County Fair and the other events it hosts like the hot rod festivals, Scottish games etc. I doubt most East Bay folks are even slightly aware of Stoneridge.


  7. I feel the same way you do about using drones, but most of my neighbors in East Oakland and where I work in San Lorenzo are all for it. Even after I state the case for privacy, they are adamant about using anything to bring down the crime rate. I have been a victim to the thugs around here too, so I understand their emotional response, even if the drones would be useless. My fear is, even if there was a vote, the use of drones would pass easily. We need to emphasize education on this subject and perhaps, start acknowledging that folks are being terrorizes by criminal thugs and gang warfare. The perception out there is that the Left and East Bay progressives are out of touch with reality when it comes to crime. And as an East Bay native, I tend to agree more often then I want to admit.


Leave a Reply

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

You are commenting using your 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