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Mayoral Debate

 Sorry folks, I couldn’t take notes and blog at the same time. Here’s a rundown of the mayoral debate. Hope it’s not too sloppy. It’s too late to do the council one.

Opening Statement:

Gus Morrison – Comes out swinging. Mentions fact that city asked for big tax hike then suddenly found surplus in 2006, mentions failure of Centerville redevelopment, says council has been all song and dance on the A’s.

Steve Cho – Facing two septuagenarians, he emphasizes that he has energy to be mayor.

Top issue

Morrison: Says it’s how to fund local government. He supports the hotel tax on the Nov. ballot

Cho: Says public safety is top concern. He wants to revisit the city’s burglar alarm policy

A’s ballpark

Cho: Supports it for economic development and national exposure

Morrison: Opposes it. Says everyone would drive to the game and it would be a transportation disaster. Cost Lowe’s and Costco business. If ballpark is built, it should be near NUMMI

Should the A’s proposal go to the voters?

Gus: No

Cho: Yes

Charter City:

Cho: Could have benefit in helping city generate revenues from baseball stadium

Morrison: Opposes it.

Support for current effort to increase redevelopment funds:

Morrison: Supports it as valuable tool for building an Irvington BART Station and 680-880 cross over.

Cho: Supports it, but he also criticized the city’s track record with redevelopment projects. “We have had a whole lot of studies,” he said. “We don’t have anything to show for it.”

What about downtown?

Gus: Said he had a plan and it fell apart after he left. Says the A’s plan would complicate vision of downtown Fremont as lifestyle center with bookstores, REI, etc.

Cho: Notes that the land is private and the city can’t control private investors. (A squabble in the family of William Faidi, a major landholder, set back the downtown project) Says downtown will happen it might just take a while.

Low income housing?

Both say it’s important

Support for Dumbarton Rail and East West Corridinator (Rt. 84)

Gus: He opposes both projects. Said the connector project (84) will just move the traffic jams from one place to another and that Dumbarton Rail wouldn’t work like a normal train system.

Cho: Supports East West Connector project. Says North Fremont needs the new road. Won’t answer Dumbarton question because of funding issue coming before MTC. (Not sure why that is. Wasserman never misses a chance to say it’s a dumb idea)

How to help Small Business?

Cho: He’s a small business owner. Says Fremont has a reputation as being a business unfriendly town. (It seems like they say that about every town. Fremont has to be more business friendly than Berkeley)

Gus: Key to economic development is helping the little guy get started.

Cultural Affairs and the theater in Centerville?

Morrison: Said they had a plan for a cultural arts center when he was mayor, but never got it funded. Said it’ll be harder to get people to tax themselves for it after the city found that surplus after pushing for the 2006 utility tax.

Cho: Big supporter of the arts. Sits on the symphony board. Said cultural center would put Fremont on the map just like the A’s would.

I’m skipping one. Lets go to vision for Fremont four years and 10 years down the road.

Morrison: “We’re about building a place for families. Four pillars: family, home, church and school

Cho: Adds a fifth pillar: economic development. Talks about making historic business districts more economically viable.

Coordinate development with school capacity

Cho: Interested in the idea

Morrsion: Says current law makes it hard to do. Wishes that cities had more say though.

Why him?

Gus: Touts experience. Says he can work well with council members. Sees mayor as facilitator.

Cho: Says he goes out into community and can voice people’s concerns. Plays up relative youth again. Says next mayor has to have energy level to take Fremont to the next level.

Matt Artz