CHAPTER 11 | Over a decade ago, the specter of terrorism again striking our shores was used to great effect by President George W. Bush. It kept Americans pliant to any and every whim of the Bush’s administration. Fear works. This week, Rep. Eric Swalwell used his pulpit as a member of the House Homeland Security Committee to raise the terror alert in the Bay Area to red.
Swalwell offered the Al Qaeda-produced Inspire magazine showing a photograph of a people mover at San Francisco International Airport. The evil doers are lurking, he implied. There was no mention of San Francisco, or any geographical area related to the photo, but a somewhat vague, but threatening call to arms was included. “Assemble your bomb, ready for detonation,’ said the text.
Bush with Ellen Tauscher, Swalwell’s
mentor, in an infamous photo of the
president placing his hand on her knee.
During the meeting, Swalwell said he was “disturbed” by the graphic. Later he told the San Francisco Chronicle residents should go about their normal daily activities, but be vigilant. “I don’t believe that people should change their travel and commute patterns,” said Swalwell. “Be alert, note your surroundings, and appreciate that there are still people out there who wish to do us harm.”
The push-pull of telling the public to relax at the same time fostering anxiety is a tactic most of us lived through during the Bush presidency. In fact, it transformed a weak president into a brawny warrior overnight.
If Inspire magazine is the in-house apparatus of Al Qaeda, note who wrote the Chronicle story, Carla Marinucci, the reporter who never saw a flattering word she couldn’t waste on Swalwell. Is this a potential re-election story line in the making? Part of his strategery, if you will? Potentially. Who could resist voting for the candidate offering to protect your family from the baddies? Perhaps Swalwell has been watching too much of the Showtime drama, Homeland? He often tweets his fandom of the show.
The F.B.I., however, added there is no credible or specific threat to the Bay Area. But, that doesn’t matter. Americans, a decade ago, believed Bush protected us from drones sent by Saddam Hussein from Iraq to the U.S. and carrying dirty bombs. Mission accomplished.
|Wieckowski’s empty seat|
PEKING DUCKING Is Assemblymember Bob Wieckowski afraid to debate? After Wednesday’s no-show at a candidate’s forum hosted by the Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) for the 10th State Senate District, which he is a candidate, that made it two consecutive forums missed. While the Hayward Democratic forum three weeks ago may not have upset many, the people with APAPA appeared a bit insulted by Wieckowski, who only alerted the group of his absence about five hours before the event was to begin. When a member of APAPA was asked he they were upset over the late canceled, the member paused and simply said, “It was late.” Wieckowski has another chance to address the 10th District’s large Asian American community on Saturday at the Asian Pacific American Democratic Caucus endorsement meeting in Alameda. There may be a reason for Wieckowski to avoid these Asian American groups. There is a sense among Asian Americans of all political stripes Wieckowski did little to fight against the controversial constitutional amendment currently sitting in the Assembly effectively rolling back Proposition 209, the law passed by voters in 1996, ending affirmative action for enrollment at state universities.
|The ubiquitous Frank Chu|
LACABE’S 12 GALAXIES Why you didn’t see a story here on the Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) opening an investigation into the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee? At this point, it’s all about credibility and when the germ of the allegation begins with central committee member Margarita Lacabe, it’s best to wait until the FPPC formally releases a report, even though there might be something here. The San Leandro resident is very unpopular among her colleagues on the locally elected committee. Although the article in the Oakland Tribune this week slightly intimated Lacabe’s role on the committee may be that of a heroic rebel with a cause, it’s nowhere near the case. She constantly clashes with committee members over mundane issues and often grinds proceedings to a halt. One member, possibly the same person who spoke disparagingly against Lacabe on background to the Trib, once frustratingly joked she wanted to punch Lacabe out. To best describe how much a pain Lacabe can be, two years ago, during an endorsement meeting for November races in Alameda County, she pulled the names of nearly every candidate in a host of races for interviews at a later date. This was despite common agreement by the committee which candidates had majority consent for the party’s backing. The subsequent endorsement interviews lasted over seven hours one Saturday that September. For the FPPC to start an investigation based upon Lacabe’s political writings is like state Attorney General Kamala Harris opening an investigation into aliens based upon the advice of Frank Chu, pictured above, the guy seen all over the Bay Area holding a sign describing the “12 Galaxies” bent on doing harm to Earthlings.
|Assemblyman Rob Bonta in Alameda Magazine.|
HERE AND THERE A new member of Oakland Councilmember Libby Schaaf’s mayoral campaign once worked for former Rep.Pete Stark. Here’s the irony: whereas during their time with Stark this staffer was constantly on alert hoping, praying the boss wouldn’t utter another outlandish comment. Now, the tables are reversed. This same staffer is now pah-raying that the almost equally undisciplined Mayor Jean Quan is the candidate with leaky lips…Audie Bock’s performance at Wednesday’s 10th State Senate District forum in Fremont was the best so far this election season. As an independent, she didn’t pander, but made excellent arguments for each side, both lauding and skewering the left and right. Better yet, her comments were whip smart and justifiably biting, especially when she said the EPA is using Hayward residents as guinea pigs with the polluting Russell City Energy Center…Mary Hayashi’s performance was also notable simply by reminding lefties just how progressive her rhetoric and record matches up perfectly…Wieckowski is probably doing Rocky Fernandez, his Assembly district director, a disservice by having him take his place at candidate’s forums. Fernandez is running for the Hayward City Council. Talk about potentially confusing some voters in Hayward. “Isn’t that guy running for the State Senate?” a Hayward voter might say. “I saw him talk about it the other night?”…Last month’s edition of Alameda Magazine published a feature on Assemblymember Rob Bonta, including a photo of him jumping, arms-extended, mouth agape from a concrete structure. My initial thought: who allowed him to do this?