Local Democrats Censure Stone Over ‘Offensive’ Comment

Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone’s affinity for antiquated colloquialisms has turned into a hog-wild debacle after telling Fly that Gary Kremen, his as-yet-unannounced 2022 election opponent, is “sucking the tit of the union.”

In suggesting that Kremen, a Valley Water District board member and tech entrepreneur, obsequiously latches onto whatever political milk he could suckle from unions, he implied Kremen may piggyback off Stone’s recent conflicts with labor leaders around in-person work during the pandemic and the feasibility of Prop 15.

The Silicon Valley Democratic Club took the comment personally.

Three-quarters of the club quietly voted during an April 19 meeting to censure longtime Democratic political fundraiser Stone, calling for his resignation and apology. The Santa Clara Democratic Party Central Committee followed suit in a vote on Thursday, mirroring calls for Stone to resign from office and apologize for the comments.

Stone first learned the news and emailed club members Monday, apologizing for the “inexcusable” and “politically stupid” comments. “It was never my intent to disparage women or labor,” he wrote. “It was just a miserable and insensitive way to express my frustration at that moment.”

That didn’t convince Stanford law professor Michele Dauber, an SVDC executive board member who led the vote against Stone. She told Stone his comments were “offensive, sexist, misogynistic and anti-worker.”

Contending he was being bullied, Stone tried to explain his remark, saying his “comment was a reference to the old phrase ‘sucking hind tit.’”

Digging himself deeper, the assessor continued breaking the metaphor down “as an idiom meaning to get a raw deal or the short end of the stick. It is derived from barnyard pigs in which the weakest pig is forced to nurse on the mother pig’s nipple furthest back and therefore gets the least amount of milk.”

“If anyone is a pig in this situation, it is not labor,” Dauber sparred in response to what she framed as his “bizarrely graphic description of mother pig nipples,” and called him out on what she characterized as “numerous statements that in my opinion tended to deny or minimize the offense.”

“Even your own numbers appear to show a lack of support among women,” she added.

In response, Stone tallied his record of progressive voting, support of unions, diversity within the assessor’s office and how he’s fundraised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democratic campaigns.

“I have supported countless pro-labor Democrats for local office, most recently for example, David Cohen. I have endorsed, walked precincts, and raised funds for scores of Democratic women for public office including Hillary Clinton, Cindy Chavez, Susan Ellenberg, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Kamala Harris, Susan Hammer: the list is much longer,” he wrote.

Stone also took his own jab at his opponent, accusing Kremen of “toxic” behavior on the Valley Water board, where he has failed to get support from his female colleagues. He was also left puzzled by the apparent double standard of supporting his opponent, who owned the URL sex.com, which Stone said “sought to profit from the exploitation of women.”

But those attempts to diffuse or divert attention left Dauber, a formidable critic who led the successful recall campaign against the Santa Clara County judge in the Brock Turner case, unmoved.

Even so, Stone says he’s not going anywhere and that his track record will speak for itself. “I will not be bullied, and I have no intention of resigning,” Stone wrote. “I will win this race as I have the past 11 consecutive elections.”

Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect an amended resolution from the Santa Clara Democratic Party Central Committee and correct Kremen’s role with the site sex.com.

The Fly is a weekly column written by San Jose Inside staff that provides a behind-the-scenes look at local politics.

23 Comments

  1. What a bunch of thumb suckers. What will be next? Will saying that money is the mothers’ milk of politics get you thrown out and/or canceled?

    I doubt that Larry meant to said “tit.” He most likely used the proper term for someone sucking money from the unions to fuel his campaign, “Teat.”

    Who would listen to a bully like Michele Dauber? 🤮. You have to be a real “weak sister” (pun intended) to listen to the likes of her.

  2. Larry, Your apology was pathetic.

    You cowed to the this herd of lemmings. I suppose that what you don’t realize is that after 40 years of supporting the Dems and providing huge amounts of financial assistance, it is your turn in the guillotine. Any apology would be futile — resistance is futile. And, if they didn’t demand your head on this remark, they would have found another way to castrate you (sorry for the mixed metaphor). They want you gone and there is nothing you can do to stop it.

    The glitterati have picked the chosen one — and you ain’t he/she/they/them/his, pal.

  3. Been a Democrat my whole life, but I am fed up with how much of Democratic party politics increasingly revolves around wielding power by feigning offense.

    Kremen voted to make a serial sexual harasser the CEO of the Valley Water Board in an all-male vs all-female vote, and then said nothing while those women were baselessly accused of racism for the ridiculous fact that the harasser was black, but Stone is the bad guy for a common metaphor?

    What a joke.

  4. Another bang up job of wallowing with pigs by ‘The Fly’. SJI tells us ‘Fly’’ is written by staff.
    So, Wadsworth, Hase, Bitters, etc. we’re too busy for such hard hitting investigative news?
    The funny thing is this: There is no ‘meet our staff’ section anywhere here at SJI.

    Who are these fearless reporters of truth that are completely anonymous?

  5. Get “woke,” continue to get more mentally and morally broke than do the worse of mere, ordinary “progressives.”

  6. Yes, this is just one more example of Dauber’s endless bullying. Maybe he will soon be “credibly accused” of sexual harassment. That would also be in form for Dauber. Will SJI ever run a true expose on her?

  7. Fellow Democrats:

    I would like to provide you with my experience with Mr. Stone after 76% of our members voted at our general meeting on April 19, 2021 to condemn his comments as offensive. I am not writing today on behalf of the Silicon Valley Democratic Club (SVDC) or any other entity but solely in my individual capacity. Any title or affiliation in this email are for identification purposes only.

    Contrary to Mr. Stone’s contrite tone in today’s email to voting delegates of the County Central Committee, Mr. Stone sent emails to Silicon Valley Democratic Club President Jennie Hutchinson, and to me, the club’s Parliamentarian, on April 20 and 21, that tell a very different story. In those emails Stone made numerous statements that in my opinion tended to deny or minimize the offense. If anything, Stone’s statements in these emails simply reinforced the need to hold him accountable.

    Stone’s original, offensive comment was published in San Jose Inside on April 15. Stone stated that his opponent is “sucking the tit of the union.” In my view, this comment is offensive to both labor and women. I would also ask fellow Democrats to consider Stone’s comment in light of the fact that the South Bay Labor Council currently has a female leader.

    In emails following our club’s April 19 vote to condemn Stone’s statements, Stone did not appear to recognize the offensive nature of his comment. Rather he seemed to lash out, and inaccurately accused us of bullying him (“I will not be bullied,” Larry Stone email 4/20/21).

    In his 4/20/21 email Stone stated that his “comment was a reference to the old phrase “sucking hind tit.” If you had given me reasonable time, I would have explained the origin of the phrase. The Urban Dictionary defines it as an idiom meaning to get a raw deal or the short end of the stick. It is derived from barnyard pigs in which the weakest pig is forced to nurse on the mother pig’s nipple furthest back and therefore gets the least amount of milk. While my use of the term was politically stupid, I did not intend to offend anyone” (Larry Stone email 4/20/21, emphasis added).

    In Stone’s bizarrely graphic description of mother pig nipples quoted above, he seems to clearly analogize organized labor to “barnyard pigs.” Stone concluded his missive by saying that he regretted making the comment because it was was “politically stupid” (Larry Stone email 4/20/21). Notably Larry Stone did not acknowledge in this email that his statement was offensive.

    As regards women, Stone claimed that “he takes a backseat to no one in support of women’s rights” (Larry Stone email 4/20/21) and as proof attached a lengthy list of elected and political leaders who support him, over 90% of whom were male according to my tabulation.

    After I responded to Mr. Stone that in my view the Club had followed our By-laws and that I found his new comment evidently analogizing organized labor to “barnyard pigs” offensive, and noting the statistical underrepresentation of women among his political and judicial endorsers, I received yet another email from Mr. Stone.

    In this second email dated 4/21/21, Stone’s tone showed even less recognition that he had given offense with any of his comments. Instead he stated “No matter how much you insist on characterizing my ill-advised use of the idiom, it had nothing to do with woman or labor,” and accusing his critics of an “attempted political and cultural purge of Democrats who do not meet your personal litmus test. . .” (Larry Stone email 4/21/21, emphasis added). Stone also failed to offer any substantive reply to the concern about the dearth of female endorsers on his list.

    I will leave Democrats to draw their own conclusions on the sincerity of Larry Stone’s contrition in today’s 5/3/21 email. I know what I think based on the emails quoted above, on which Stone copied County Party Chair Bill James, presumably because he thought his ramblings about mother pig nipples would somehow make him look good to the Chair.

    Finally, I find it distasteful that in his emails Stone repeatedly refers to his past fundraising (Larry Stone email 4/20/21: “I have contributed to and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Democrats and served on the National Finance Committee for every Democratic Presidential Nominee since Mike Dukakis. In the last election I raised $102,000 for Biden Victory Fund. I have personally donated more than $100,000 to Democrats in recent years.”).

    I am a highly successful fundraiser for many Democratic Party candidates and causes, raising more than 2 million dollars since 2016. I find it very troubling that Larry Stone appears to be trying to use his history of Party fundraising as a shield to accountability for his statements.

    Fellow Democrats, I urge you to stand with our brothers and sisters in organized labor and with women in and out of the labor movement and vote to hold Larry Stone accountable for his statements.

    Best regards,

    Michele Dauber

  8. Michele is running another one of her hit pieces campaigns someone on her “enemies” list.

    Michele, will you be offended if those of us who are Independents make up our own mind? Are we allowed to do that or will you come after us as well? The Dems have gone from being silly to outright vicious.

    When she says “hold someone accountable,” what she really means is that she wants to destroy the person’s life and reputation.

  9. Wrong! holding someone accountable means letting them know we won’t sit and watch him bully or disrespect any more people. This man waves his money to get away with this and glad they took a stand to stop supporting his behavior. Larry stone can suck a pacifier and soothe himself to sleep. No one worried about him anymore. I hope more get held accountable and put in their place as well. We have a couple more on the list. Rosen is next and hope he loses too. I am tired of Larrys getting away with their disrespectful behavior and wave Cindy Chavez around as if she represents all-woman?. I hope Cindy Chavez stands with democrats and makes a statement or I can’t see myself supporting her again. She made a statement on her support for the other loser Rosen so I would say she may stand with these men sadly.

  10. Hillary Clinton, Cindy Chavez, Susan Ellenberg, Anna Eshoo, Zoe Lofgren, Kamala Harris, and Susan Hammer women I don’t support and glad I don’t after seeing his list of supporters. This woman could be like him especially Cindy Chavez nope. He supports who he aligns himself with unless this woman put him in his place I would say birds that hang together flock together.

  11. Michael, don’t you worry about Cindy, she will go whichever way the election winds blow.

    How about releasing your entire list? Has your vigilante group already assigned to each person on the list the method of their destruction? Some eliminated by money scandals, some by sexual scandals, some for the use of idioms, a some by yet to be determined offenses to yet to be determined Wokeness Orthodoxy?

    Does the Democrat Central Committee have any plans to change its name to the Church of the Perpetually Offended??

  12. Silicon Valley Dems are no longer what they used to be. They are now a bunch of labor kowtowers, progressive wannabes and bullies like Michele Dauber. It seems that any Democratic political candidate running for office has the need to get approvals from these guys. What a joke and how shameful…

  13. Ms. Dauber:

    Would a ceremonial stoning of Stone satisfy you? (pun intended) Perhaps we could make it a fund raiser for your next crusade — you know, $10 for a small stone and $20 for a large one?

    Larry uses a common idiomatic expression and you can’t handle it — you get the vapors? You get 70% plus of the members to vote for censure, but they don’t vote out of conviction, they vote out of fear of you and what you might do to their careers and families. You are view by many as Madam McCarthy.

  14. The fact that Stone is using antiquated colloquialisms is a sign that he’s getting long in the tooth, and he’s been in that role for too long. First elected in 1994, coming up on 30 years! With the kind of attitude he displays, I’m thinking he’s far too comfortable and it’s time for some new blood down on Hedding Street. I don’t know much of anything about Gary Kremen, but if he’s viable, he’s got my vote already.

    Just to mention something related, that’s my opinion on Sheriff Smith. She’s been there too long.

  15. To SCC:

    I would agree that we should have term limits. I think that once a politician has been termed out in any elected office he should not be able to run for any other office or serve in any government appointment for 4 years.

    As for Larry, let’s change the rules so he can’t run again. Let’s not engage in a blood sport to trash him and his legacy.

  16. I think it’s time for Larry to go. Been on the job too long. Probably not that hard and might be fun–or else he wouldn’t have stayed in it like he has. But I can’t believe that there isn’t someone else who wouldn’t be better in the role.

  17. The issue that I have with Larry and how he runs his office is that his staff are extremely arrogant and rude.

    My house just got approved by City of SJ for an ADU. We just started construction and will not finish for at least 3 months and already received a letter from his office indicating my property has been reassessed and as a result we have to pay $5,000-$6,000 more on property tax, wtf. My wife contacted his office inquiring about this increase while my the unit is still being built. His was unhelpful, rude, acted “entitled” as a typical government employee and gave us a run around. My wife asked for information about appeal process which the staff just hung up on my wife.

    How Larry’s office staff treat the people of this County reflects on how he runs his office. Perhaps he’s been there far too long and became entitled and therefore his staff act that way. Larry’s got to go!

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