Fremont Bank and Washington Hospital

This week, I have to write about the race for Washington Hospital. I just spoke to Ravi Johal, who, it turns out, was born the same day as me: June 24, 1975. At least, he didn’t have to spend his 33rd birthday watching the City Council on TV.

The interesting thing to me about Johal is that he’s basically a Fremont newbie lawyer, who went to high school in Roseville, college in Sacramento, hasn’t been a Democrat very long; yet he’s endorsed by Torrico, Stark, the nurses union, and four out five members of the city council.

Maybe they have an affinity for June Cancers. They also might have real concerns about the manner in which the hospital is run, but, if they do, I don’t recall any of them saying so publicly.

On the other side of the fence seems to be a couple of Fremont Bank executives. Friends of Washington Hospital — a state-registered PAC, which is raising money for the incumbents and sending out nasty letters on their behalf — is the product of two high-ranking bank officials. The group’s president is Fremont Bank Vice Chairman Mike Wallace (also chair of the hospital board) and the group’s treasurer is Fremont Bank Vice President Jamie Vargas.

Vargas’ personal phone is listed as the group’s registered phone number, according to documents filed with the state. And, the address for Friends of Washington Hospital is 39150 Fremont Blvd. — the same address, conveniently, as Fremont Bank.

Nevertheless, Vargas said that Fremont Bank is not affiliated with the group. “This is something we do on the side,” she said.

Matt Artz


  1. OMG! Aren’t there some laws against this? How can a sitting hospital board member, who is also the chair of the single largest lender (Fremont Bank) in the tri-city area run a negative campaign? Clients of the bank could be influenced or intimidated very strongly to go with Mr. Wallace’s stance. I wonder if Washington Hospital has deposits at Fremont Bank! Makes a nice three-some
    Hospital-BANK-PAC! I guess Evelyn Li’s documentary has touched some raw nerves.

  2. Mr. Wallace needs to be recalled. As a voter, it is my expectation that he not involve himself in negative campaigning tactics particularly in a non-partisan election.

    We also need to revise the charter to prohibit any Board member to become Board members of other organizations such as Kidango etc. And if they do, it needs to be a unpaid voluntary position.

    I am also interested to know how the funds from the Hospital Bond are being expended.

  3. Are some of the directors becoming nervous and stooping down into personal attacks? Public needs to look into whether there are lot of drone bees hooked into honey in the honeycomb. Are they trying to protect the queen bee ?
    Does Fremont Bank and Mr Wallace have anything to do with the bond measure floated by the hospital ? What is the business relation between Fremont Bank and Washington Hospital ?

  4. I would like to start a recall of some members of the Washington Hospital Board. If that is of interest to any voter of the Washington Hospital district (includes Fremont, Newark and Union City) then please email me at chinmoyr@gmail.com

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