Posted by: R. Emmett O'Ryan | March 8, 2012

Silicon Valley – in the Political Limelight

Now that Super Tuesday is over, it looks like we’ll be seeing more politicos traipsing through the Golden State and specifically here in Silicon Valley where California’s 172 GOP delegates mean a great deal in a GOP race that is far from decided.  In a recent article in the SJ Mercury, they point out how “California Suddenly Matters…”  The California primary is June 5 and coincides with primary elections in four other states.

So, is all this attention a good thing for us in the Valley?  I’m not quite sure.  If it is a short term “drive-by” where the politicos are in and out with new cash in their pockets from the nouveau riche and off to spend it elsewhere… well, I for one am keeping my hand on my wallet as the Great Recession is NOT over.

Now for those politico operatives who may happen to read this post, here’s a clue on the issues guys:  it’s all about JOBS, JOBS, JOBS and keeping Congress from getting in the way of the innovative and economic juggernaut that the Silicon Valley is known for.

One other item of important note is the redistricting of Congressional, State Assembly, and State Senate districts in California.   After all the gerrymandering or redistricting is complete – which many believe it is unless there are more law suits – California will still have 53 Congressional Districts but there will be some very subtle but important changes that will impact future California Congressional Delegations.

Congressman Mike Honda will represent the newly constituted California 17th Congressional District spanning the heart of the Silicon Valley up to and including parts of Fremont.  News of this by-product of Redistricting has many in the Fremont area dancing with joy as they will no longer hang their heads in shame and have to tolerant the abusive Congressman “Pete” Stark.  So for those in the northern part of Fremont, they will still have to endure Stark – at least for now.

So what is the stark truth on Congressman “Pete” Stark?  According to Esquire magazine, in 2008 “Pete” Stark made the dubious dishonor of making Esquire’s list of the 10 worst lawmakers on Capitol Hill. “Stark gives bumbling, dyspeptic old fools who say stupid things a bad name,” Esquire explained.

“Pete” Stark, currently the Congressman from the California 13th District, and long time resident of the state of Maryland will be getting serious opposition in the Primary election as he will now be asked to “represent” the redistricted area now known as the newly constituted California 15th Congressional District.  As the California 15th District extends from northern Fremont-Union City-Hayward into the Pleasanton-Dublin-Livermore area, there is a larger electorate that does not tolerate absentee representatives  – especially those who take in over $200K a year from the insurance, pharmaceutical, and medical industries (according to the non-profit, non-partisan public resource Open Congress) – yet craft the Healthcare laws for the country.

But then who can blame the top Democrat on the Health Subcommittee of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee from making a little extra on the side.  As he has stated previously in public, the Congressional retirement benefits aren’t that great and he is having to put two kids through college.  After all, how often do you see this absentee Congressman and resident of the great state of Maryland in the Fremont area or really listening to its residents (check out the videos on YouTube of Pete Stark… way too funny)?

What, you did not know?  Why yes Virginia, as a matter of public record Stark and his wife, in an attempt to take advantage of the state of Maryland’s Homestead Tax Credit claimed/declared their fashionable Harwood, Maryland home (in Anne Arundel County) as their Primary residence.   So yes, Stark has no interest in the 13th District (soon to be 15th District) other than the votes that he can influence from the extra money he gets from his “other” employers.

This election for the new California 15th Congressional District should also be very interesting with the rumored involvement of the new Super PAC called the Campaign for Primary Accountability.   According to a recent NY Times article on the Campaign for Primary Accountability this new political action committee “is taking aim at incumbents in districts where one party has the definitive advantage.”  Bottom line, I expect that Stark’s money from his “other” employers may not go as far especially with this Super PAC willing to help even the playing field.


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