Press Clips: It’s (Way Past) Time for Pete Stark to Go


All right-thinking people agree that Debra Saunders, the Chronicle’s token house conservative columnist, is woefully misguided on a vast number of political and policy issues. One thing she is not, however, is lacking in integrity.

So when U.S. Rep. Pete Stark this week falsely and recklessly accused her – in front of her boss — of violating the most basic standards of ethical journalism, it closed the case once and for all of just what a doddering old fool he’s become.

The 20-term East Bay congressman is now an utter embarrassment to himself and his constituents, and if he has a shred of dignity left, he should immediately withdraw from his re-election race, before his self-imposed humiliation gets even worse.

In the ugliest ed board meeting since Clint Reilly was carried out on a stretcher from the old Examiner, Stark a) mendaciously accused Saunders of donating money to primary opponent Eric Swalwell’s campaign; b) haplessly confused Solyndra, the scandal-wracked solar energy company, and Tesla, the electric car manufacturer, both in his district; c) continued backfilling on his earlier unscrupulous charge that Swalwell has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in “bribes.” Video of the whole thing is here.

Of course, this represents just the latest in a decades-long pattern of outrageous behavior by Stark, ranging from his threat to throw a journalist out of a window to his browbeating exchange with a constituent in which he spoke of urinating on the man’s leg and his ad hominem attack on a colleague whom he called a “cocksucker.”

Never mind the episodes in which he gallantly referred to a female House member as a “whore” or described an African-American cabinet member as a “disgrace to his race,” among other classy outbursts.

To their everlasting discredit, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic colleagues have long enabled and tolerated the thuggish behavior of the “dean” of the Congressional delegation. Enough already.

Great fares to Dallas! It won’t be long before the afflict-the-afflicted, union-busting crowd starts waving around the latest issue of “Chief Executive” magazine pronouncing California the “worst” state in which to do business and heaping praise on the oh-so-enlightened policies in Texas.

This plaintive caterwauling doubtless will quickly be followed by thunderous denunciations of greedy public employees and onerous “job-killing” regulations like those intended to, you know, reduce levels of air pollution, toxic sludge in the soil and oil befouling beaches.

A smidgen of perspective on this one: we were shocked – shocked! – to find that the top 10 “business-friendly” states all happen to be run by Republican governors. Not to mention that the kind of one-percenter CEOs who cast their votes in the survey have many hundreds of millions of personal reasons to prefer the exploitation ethos of the Lone Star state; a new Economic Policy Institute study finds that CEO salaries spiked 725 percent in the three decades between 1978 and 2011, while the wages of average workers increased, um, 5.7 percent. This easy-to-read chart tells the story.

Yippie ki-yay!

Read of the week: Amid the MSM’s endless self-referential and self-congratulatory gushing over the White House Correspondents Dinner, we find ourselves agreeing with the National Review’s Jonah Goldberg, who nails the reverse snobbery of Beltway geniuses who love to label the event the “nerd prom.”

 Suddenly, we’re supposed to call the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner the “nerd prom.” Hundreds of media outlets have recycled that description.

 And, frankly, I find it offensive. George Clooney doesn’t go to “nerd proms.” Nor do Kim Kardashian and Lindsay Lohan. I’ve been to a half dozen correspondents’ dinners, and nerds were far less well represented than rent-seeking K Street sleazeballs, social-climbing poseurs, and power-hungry pols of all parties.

Not to put too fine a point on it.

Press Clips: Speaking of media hypocrisy, how about those big time tribunes of the First Amendment battling the FCC’s effort to require details of political ad spending at MSM outlets to be posted online? We demand transparency! Except for ourselves.

Amid the latest depressing data about print advertising dug out by our old friend Alan Mutter over at Reflections of a Newsosaur, Calbuzz was surprised and even briefly cheered at news that J-school types are still finding work. Fortunately, we quickly descended back into our default mood of grumpy geezer gloom.

How the White House put the kibosh on news of Obama’s trip to Afghanistan. (Hint: they lied).

Headline of the week: “Dinosaurs were Drained of blood by Gigantic Horror Fleas.”



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There are 18 comments for this post

  1. avatar Chuck DeVore says:

    Sure am enjoying here in “enlightened” Texas. You may bash chief executives, but they do tend to hire a few more people than CalBuzz–and, for eight years in a row now, they’ve ranked California dead last and Texas first in their rankings.

    Meanwhile, California lost a net of 2 million people to domestic out migration from 2000 to 2010, according to the U.S. Census, while Texas gained almost 800,000.

    Further, with a cost of living some 42% less than California, Texas’ cost-of-living adjusted poverty rate is about 6% lower than California’s and its effective minimum wage is actually far higher.

  2. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    You’re actually making a comparison in hiring between a political website and a company CEO? Do you really think that proves your point? It’s about as valid as the rest of your post, which equates braggadocio with merit. For instance, I’ll bet the cost of living in Bangladesh is ‘way lower than California. You’re leaving out some other factors, Chuck.

  3. avatar tonyseton says:

    It’s ironic to find Pete Stark and Chuck DeVore on the same page. One seems to have lost his mind — perhaps we should show pity for him rather than oppropbrium — and the other seems not to use his, for whatever reasons.

  4. avatar Chuck DeVore says:

    I always enjoy it when I cite facts from the U.S. Census Bureau and I get insults or adjectives in return.

    Yes, things are different between California and Texas. The California State Legislature commissioned a study in 2006 that showed that the average cost to small business of complying with California’s myriad regulations was more than $130,000 per year. This, and high taxes, contributes to the fact that food, clothing, gasoline, health car, and housing costs, on average, 42% more in California than in Texas.

    This has a big impact on the lives of real people. Yet, I constantly hear the same people who discount this fact pointing out that Texas supposedly has a higher poverty rate than California — ignoring the fact that the Federal government sets the poverty line the same for every state, regardless of its cost-of-living.

    • avatar chrisfinnie says:

      Speaking as a small business owner myself, I don’t find California state regulations onerous at all. Of course I’m not in the business of polluting the air or water. So maybe that’s the reason.

      I was also a small business owner in Oregon. And, though the taxes were different there, I actually found it cheaper to file in California when I still could. I keep reading California taxes are so much higher. But when my tax accountant actually added up, it just wasn’t true.

      I’ve been to Texas. And, frankly, you can keep it. I’ll pay more to live in California. I suspect the fact that a lot of people agree with me accounts for much of the higher cost of living. Because I’ll just bet you the majority of that 42% is for higher housing costs.

      As far as poverty rates in Texas, the federal government averages how much it costs to live in various regions. If you live in a high-cost state like New York or California, the figures will be somewhat off. The same goes for a low-cost one like Mississippi. That doesn’t change the fact that more children in Texas lack health insurance than anywhere else in the country. That homeless shelters there report that more than half their “residents” have jobs, but don’t earn enough for housing. Or that, using the averaged government figures, Texas has a relatively high poverty rate. If you’re going to insist that others respect government figures, then you’re going to have to accept them yourself.

      By the way, don’t hyphenate “cost of living” unless you follow it with another word modified by that phrase. It makes you look uneducated.

    • avatar ReilleyFam says:

      Your comments are typical of a numbers-only person who has no ability to appreciate the intanibles of life like weather, culture, proximity to family & others. It is beyond your ability to understand that the life CA provides to us is worth the higher cost of living and the other statistics you cite.

      Basically you are GOP political loser who could not succeed in CA so you bail to Texas and criticize CA – like a jilted lover who has to bash your ex. Your credibility is zero. Stay in Texas.

    • avatar pjhackenflack says:

      Chuck – I can’t believe you’re bashing the job creators at Calbuzz…

  5. avatar sqrjn says:

    I am reading this right from Marinucci’s piece it says the 80 year old congressman has a 16 year old son, so he had the kid when he was 64? Now that’s impressive.

  6. avatar Ernie Konnyu says:

    With California’s unemployment hovering at 1 out of 10 adults CalBuzz and the Liberal freight train continue to bash coporations and their CEO’s. Who can create the jobs for those same unemployed? The same corporations and their CEOs. Economic insanity on the Left or, perhaps better defined, Marxian neanderthalianism.

    • avatar chrisfinnie says:

      Who’s bashing corporations and their CEOs? I own a corporation and so am the president, which is equivalent to a CEO in my company. All I’m saying is that what the Republican Party says about small businesses in California bears absolutely no resemblance to my own experience of several decades of doing business in this state.

      Plus, unemployment numbers in many states–California included–are dismal largely because of the loss of public-sector jobs. Because Republicans absolutely refuse to raise revenues, California and other states have laid off lots and lots of teachers, librarians, police, and firefighters. That has offset gains in private-sector hiring and kept unemployment stubbornly high. If you’d read the government statistics Mr. DeVore so gallantly recommends, you’d know that.

      Eventually these public layoffs will have an even more deleterious effect as companies relocate abroad in search of decent roads, safe communities, and college-educated workers. Because, I assure you that low taxes will only go so far without those essential elements of a successful, modern business. As Warren Buffet frequently points out, had he been born in an impoverished, third-world country without those essential services, he’d never become one of the world’s richest men.

      As Republicans continue to refuse to fund the elements of a modern economy, we will eventually cease to have one. It’s really just that simple.

  7. avatar chuckmcfadden says:

    Chuck, I’m glad you’re glad. But your comparisons between California and Texas are flawed. A very recent UCLA study shows, for instance, that when judged by income taxes — a key measure in business climate surveys — California is clearly more expensive than Texas, which has no state income tax. But — and here’s what you fail to grasp — Texas has higher taxes on consumption and housing to make up for that gap. The average real estate tax in Texas is $1,817 for every $100,000 compared to $477 in California, according to the latest figures from — yes — the U.S. Census Bureau.

    Here’s another fact, Chuck: California’s tax deductions mean the average business spends 4.7 percent of its output in taxes in California compared to 4.9 percent in Texas. Those figures are from the corporate-backed Council on State Taxation.

    There is also a sharp difference in the flow of venture capital funding. In the first nine months of 2010, California entrepreneurs attracted $8.6 billion in 832 venture capital deals, compared $833 million for 104 deals in Texas.

    Now, those are facts, Chuck.

  8. avatar hclark says:

    Please, please, please go to Texas. As one of the original thieves of this great state, I just wish you would all get the f out if you don’t like it here. I and my family have never had trouble finding work here since 1859. Also, I love the immigrants your dream states want to build walls to keep out. This whole Texas thing ‘chaps my hide’!

  9. avatar JohnF says:

    It sure looks nobody disagrees with the story about Pete Stark, He has gotten a little long in the tooth and it seems to be affecting his judgement. Everybody seems to be obsessed with comparing various numbers relating the quality of life between Texas and California. Forget about the numbers and just go with your gut instinct and California will win every time. I cannot believe I just said that, since I usually like a little empirical evidence to back things up. It is to early on Sunday morning to use Google, so who is Chuck DeVore?

    • avatar chrisfinnie says:

      According to Wikipedia, he served in DC in the Reagan administration, as a CA state assemblymember, and lost to iCarley in the Republican primary for the US Senate. ChuckDeVore.com says he’s now “a Senior Visiting Scholar for Fiscal Policy at the Texas Public Policy Foundation.” I guess that means he comes up with all those great starve-the-poor-to-gorge-the-rich policies he’s so fond of in Texas.

  10. avatar tegrat says:

    Yep, those record profits and stashes of cash the corporations are posting sure are doing a bang up job of job creatin’, you betcha! At some point, when our infrastructure (and that includes the education system) is completely defunded thanks to the efforts of the Republican obstructionists, the corporations may wake up and demand Keynesian remedies. Or just move overseas completely, like Apple.

  11. avatar JohnF says:

    Thank you Chris for the information on Chuck DeVoe. A typical republican, who always thinks that business is overburdened by just having to file taxes.

    • avatar chrisfinnie says:

      Any time. I’m never too busy to Google for a fellow Calbuzzer.

      While this doesn’t give any statistics about why people may be leaving California–though I did read some data that said they tended to be people at the low end of the income scale who’d been unemployed for a long time–it does speak to the general GOP argument that people will leave if you raise taxes. Interestingly, the author uses California as an example at the very end of the post.

      The author is Bruce Bartlett, who held senior policy roles in the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations and served on the staffs of Representatives Jack Kemp and Ron Paul.

      This noted liberal says, “The reality is that taxes are just one factor among many that determine where people choose to live. Factors including climate, proximity to those in similar businesses and the availability of amenities like the arts and cuisine play a much larger role.” You can read the rest at: http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/05/08/will-rich-people-desert-the-u-s-if-their-taxes-are-raised/?src=recg

  12. avatar keva58 says:

    I live in a newly annexed distrist and Pete Stark is now my Congressman. LOL I am looking forward to a lot of entertainment in the years he has left, left, left !!

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