Gus doesn’t have a youtube video, but he did send out a fundraising letter to certain voters that lays out a case against the current council and city leadership over the past four years.
Here it is:
Dear Long Time Fremont Voter,
Those of us who have been around Fremont for as long as we have should be really proud of what we have built. Fremont is a special place, a large city with a small town feel, small town values, and big city opportunities. Our city was planned by visionaries who saw that we could create a unique city where five small towns once were. We did that while keeping the character of the historic neighborhoods and, always, focusing on the dream, the vision of a place for families, a place to raise our kids and to build our lives.
I spent more than a third of my life building and serving this city as Mayor or Councilmember and, when I left office four years ago as a result of term limits, I thought I was done. I thought I would sit back and become an observer, or a critic, but never a candidate again.
Then a series of things happened. Two years ago, the city council placed a measure on the ballot to impose a Utility User Tax. The campaign stressed the city’s serious financial position and the absolute need for this tax to maintain essential services. The measure failed. In just a few weeks, the city found $3 million and then a few weeks later they found another $3 million. This ill advised tax measure severely damaged public confidence in the council and probably poisoned any ability to ask for new revenues in the foreseeable future.
Shortly after that, the selected developer for the Centerville Redevelopment Project (Fremont and Thornton) announced, after four years of trying, that he was unable to complete the project. Council accepted his resignation and gave it right back to him to try again! In a few short months, we had the same result. Now we have a demolition site with a nice fence around it and we have lost at least 5 years of progress on the site.
The conversion of the Swim Lagoon in Central Park into a Water Slide Amusement Park came next at a cost approaching $15 million. Bill Pease and I voted against it when it was first proposed at a cost of about $5 million, agreeing it was too expensive at that level. But it is being built at the sacrifice of the Rancho Higuera Adobe Park in Warm Springs and upgrading our community centers. All for a recreation amenity available three months a year.
Next the A’s Ballpark Village surfaced, a 32,000 seat stadium (with only 5800 parking spaces, almost half more than ¾ of a mile away), half a million square feet of retail, and 3150 homes, all on the bay side of 880 on land designated as industrial in our General Plan. It is obvious to almost anyone that this proposal is fraught with problems; access, traffic, parking, impact on existing businesses, impact on schools, on the wildlife refuge, and more. The city council rarely challenged any statement made by the A’s and things which should have been resolved (traffic studies, parking solutions, access to transit, etc.) were not even considered until the Environmental Impact Study started earlier this year. On a game day, total traffic on Auto Mall Parkway will be at least 2½ times the current traffic on the busiest street in Fremont. 880 will be over capacity in both directions and the proposed site will not have enough parking spaces to park all the cars, if they can get there.
Tie this together with a dramatic increase in violent crime (surprisingly being discovered by incumbents during this election season) and the council’s seeming inability to focus any attention on our older neighborhoods and shopping areas as they leapfrog over them to build new in more remote areas of town. I started considering whether I should run again for Mayor.
I guess the final straw in my decision making process happened at a council meeting in November as they were hearing an application for a development on Sabercat Road and Durham, across 680 from Frye’s. It was a residential development with some commercial in structures as high as 6 stories. Mayor Wasserman said that Fremont had doubled in size since he has lived here and that, regardless of who was sitting on council, it would double again, that there would be street cars and high rises, and there was nothing we could do about it. We are now about 212,000 people. Doubling our size would make us bigger than Oakland! There aren’t many of us in Fremont who think that is a good idea. I certainly don’t!
Now I am running for Mayor again. I am in a tough race against incumbent Mayor Wasserman and retiring Councilmember Cho. In the most recent campaign finance reports, I am trailing both of them. I expected to be outspent. Mayor Wasserman’s report identified more than $30,000 from real estate and development interests and 56% of his contributions came from people not residing in Fremont. I cannot compete with that, and I wouldn’t want to do so.
This effort is a real experiment. I want to run a campaign for Fremont: funded by as many Fremont people as possible, without huge contributions from special interests. That is where you come in. I have enclosed a remit envelope for you. I need you to write a check to my campaign to help us win in November.
Writing a check to a political campaign is relatively painless. I know there are a lot of things competing for your scarce resources, but the future of your community, the community you helped build, has to be important to you. Campaigns are really expensive. The postage alone for one mailer is more than $10,000. Yard signs cost more than $3000. The 200 word statement of qualifications in your sample ballot costs $2300 ($11.50 a word.) Our campaign office will cost us between $4000 and $5000. Thank goodness we don’t have to pay for TV.
Please donate to my campaign. Help me make a statement that this is our city, not some developer’s or some real estate investor’s. We need to send a message that Fremont is not for sale. While there is a maximum donation limit, maximums are difficult for many people so please recognize that I am grateful for whatever you can send.
Please help me in this effort. And, encourage your friends and neighbors to help also. I’d also like to ask you to volunteer to help in the campaign in some way; stuffing envelopes like this one, walking your neighborhood to influence your neighbors, or to put a sign in your yard. Just check the right box and we will get back to you.
If you want need more information or have questions, please feel free to contact me at 790-1685 or check my web site at www.gusmorrisonformayor.com.
Thank you very much.