By Matt Artz
Friday, August 1st, 2008 at 4:55 pm in Fremont.
Every year Fremont officials have to declare any gifts they’ve received and list major assets that could present conflicts of interest. I’ve been sitting on these forms for months. Before I disclose, I want to emphasize that I’m not saying or even insinuating that any of these gifts are inappropriate. Some of them are simply amusing.
Take the mayor’s gifts, for example. A Wendy’s employee gave him a set of pots and pans, Sheena Chang gave him a $160 scanner, Rahul Roy gave him a $150 tea set and John Winn gave him a $150 gift basket with champagne truffles and coffee. If I can make out his handwriting, it also looks like some one gave him some whiskey on Pearl Harbor Day.
When it comes to stocks, Mayor Wasserman is all Fremont all the way. He owns shares of local companies, Lam Research, Sybase, Fremont Bank, Cisco and Men’s Warehouse (they still have an office here), which Councilman Bill Harrison also owns.
Harrison, a CPA, had what seemed to be the shrewdest stock picks. He owns shares in both Weight Watchers and Yum Brands, which owns KFC, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. If your diet goes yo-yo, he gets mo’ dough.™
Anu Natarajan gets the prize for best name for a consulting firm: Anuance. Last year she was treated to a $200 lunch at Berkeley’s Chez Panise by local dancing king Dominic Dutra and his wife, Lisa. She also got $75 in A’s tickets from Assemblyman Alberto Torrico. Developer Ray Tong paid her $85 ticket to the Citizens for Better Community gala and the chamber comp’t her at the wine tent during Fremont Festival of the Arts.
Councilman Steve Cho was treated to about $275 worth of meals and by the Bay East Association of Realtors, the Taiwanese-American Federation of Northern California, the Federation of Indo-Americans and the Academy of Chinese Performing Artists.
Councilman Wieckowski got the best gift: A $120 model fire truck courtesy of the Fremont Firefighters Association. The union also paid his $250 ticket for a golf tournament in Sunol. Marco Roofing comp’t him at a breakfast prayer meeting, Kaiser paid his way to the Citizens for Better Community gala and Allied Waste got him into another golf tournament.
Wieckowski seems to be the biggest sports fan on the council. He received $300 in Raiders tickets and more than $500 in Warrior tickets. Most of the Warriors tickets came from Urban Village Farmers Market — not exactly the first place you’d expect to invest in season tickets.
As for me, I accept free food wherever I can find it, most recently at the State of the City shindig hosted by the chamber.