Swalwell tweeted this photo Tuesday
from Hayward’s Eden Landing.

HAYWARD | ENVIRONMENT | The Eden Landing ecological reserve on the Hayward shoreline is just miles south from the polluting Calpine Russell City Energy Center. During this primary season, Hayward mayoral candidates and Assemblymember Bill Quirk have been harangued by the deeply unpopular natural gas-fired power plant that was found earlier this year to be polluting the area with 10 times the amount of allowable water particulate.

Some candidates have resorted to hyperbole to describe the potential damage to the ecosystem, but others like Quirk have been saddled with criticism over their support for the plant and the thousands of dollars in campaign contributions they received from Calpine and its executives.

So, on this Earth Day, it was a bit ballsy for another local official to pose like he was helping rehabilitate the San Francisco Bay’s marshlands when, he too, counts Calpine as one of his largest campaign donors. On Tuesday, Rep. Eric Swalwell tweeted a photo of himself at Eden Landing getting his hands dirty, both literally and figuratively.

Meanwhile, campaign finance reports from the last two election cycles show Swalwell padded his coffers with $20,350 in contributions from Calpine’s political action committee and a number of its executives. The financial ties to the polluting power plant may present a weak spot for Swalwell’s primary opponents to manipulate. Ties to Calpine have already tripped up two of the candidates for Hayward mayor.

In Hayward’s 20th Assembly District race, Quirk’s two challengers each sought to heavily exploit the issue during a candidate’s forum earlier this month. Quirk has accepted over $14,000 from Calpine and its executives since 2012, according to finance recrods. But, potentially worse, he has registered support for the plant almost since its infancy while a member of the Hayward City Council. However, while Swalwell will say he supports the environment, don’t expect him to call the plant “quite healthy” as Quirk did three weeks ago.