Victory rally

Police estimated about 200 people showed up to one last anti-stadium rally tonight outside City Hall.

Almost all of the folks had “Fremont First” signs and they let out some “Fremont First” and “No Stadium chants.

Russ Engel of the Fremont Citizens Network had a bullhorn and said the group would continue as a presence in Fremont affairs. He talked about possibly putting an initiative on the ballot that would prevent public funding for sports stadiums.

As for the A’s, he said, “We wish the Wolffs success in all of their endeavors, outside of Fremont of course.”
Below are some pics:


I’ll be at the pro A’s rally tomorrow.

Matt Artz


  1. There were definitely more than 200. There were three groups of protesters: 1) in front of City Council, 2) in the City Council Chamber (there were approximately 60-80 inside alone), and 3) on Paseo Padre Pkwy. Police estimate is definitely way off.

  2. FPD said they counted 200. I’m out of the crowd estimation business.
    Irvington: sorry to get thin-skinned.

    Tomorrow’s story will again give date and time for pro A’s rally. Not my call. Not a conspiracy either.

  3. One person I spoke with from FCN indicated that they counted over 600 at 7:10pm. Dunno how accurate that 600 count is, but there were certainly more than 200.

  4. I am curious to see FCN’s role in the next city election. If their supporters on this forum are any indication – that is D students getting a B on a test then walking around as if their Rhodes Scholars – I suspect their role being short lived, or at the least neglected by most.

    I’ll bet 10 to 1 that Vinnie will be there guy. Certainly he’s been entertaining the prospect of using the group as a vector in the next council election.

  5. Recall Wasserman
    Recall Chan
    Recall Harrison
    Recall Weikoski
    Recall Anu N.

  6. Lets hope the A’s are able to build their brand new home and ballpark in San Jose, since they are a city that is not afraid to do what it takes to stimulate true growth.

    The A’s and their loyal fans deserve more than what Fremont and their weak residents and leaders can give them.

    A true shame…

  7. Just because Wasserman,the Chamber of Commerace and the City Council thought it was a good idea to bring the A’s to fremont doesen’t mean they must be recalled. Keep in mind the city council didn’t even vote on whether to approve Wolff’s plan or not. (though they might have been leaning towards it)Can anyone bring an example as to why our elected officials should be recalled other than the ballpark plan excuse.

  8. Fremont81, here are some examples, there are probably more, fellow bloggers help me out.
    1. Sabercat Development
    2. Patterson Development
    3. Water Park (during a drought)

  9. Fremont81:

    Council and City Manager FRED DIAZ’s report card:

    Niles Plaza; When?
    Centerville; What, where, and when?
    CBD Plan; What where, and when?
    A’s PC or WS: Why?
    Budget; BROKE!

    Summary; F, F, F, F, and RECALL

  10. Fremont81; In fairness, I did forget one category on their report card;

    City Manager salary 2008; Increase in salary and “golden parachute”


  11. When the A’s build a stadium in San Jose, I will buy a season ticket.

    This is not about the A’s. This is about the City Council and the Mayor, and the internal affairs of the city who have conducted this business with no transparency and community involvement for such a large project.

  12. Adding to La Boca’s comments:
    Public trust has been completely lost as far as the mayor and the council are concerened. In my opinion, they have been operating as if they are a private company and don’t seem to understand that they work for the city and the citizens who elected them, right or wrong. They have not involved the community at all in such a major development as a stadium proposal. Lack of openness, closed-door meetings, openly disclosing their bias in the media, lack of transparency are all the reasons for loss of trust.

  13. Fremont81,
    You make a valid defense against recall if this were the only problem. This is only the latest problem. One of the present councilpersons maintained a worldwide website soliciting fees for assistance with govt. access. This site was up from two weeks after being appointed to the planning commission and remained during the council term of that person and the site was only removed after being caught. Then that same person lied about it three times and got caught at that. The present mayor and two present councilpersons violated the Open Meetings act and got caught, then instead of correcting it for free, they spent over $150 thousand dollars to try and justify it. They lost right up to the State Supreme Court and then had to pay more city money to the citizen plaintif who brought them to task. ($25 thousand). Two people in the building dept. were investigated for corruption by the Prosecutors office and now they dont work for us any more. One of the councilpersons registered to vote before perfecting the naturalization process. Thats a 20 year felony and mandatory deportation offense.
    There is more than what I have listed, but this is a blog not a doctoral thesis.
    I do commend you for trying to see a good side to this, but the more we peel the Fremont onion, the worse the fumes.

  14. Smalls the only lite to see is the light between your ears. The hole there is big enough to build the A’s new ballpark.

  15. Recall Wasserman
    Does anyone know What the number of Valid signatures needed to recall Wasserman and Sue Chan is?

    I heard San Jose voters are currently in the process of recalling one of their own council members, for what seemed like a silly thing regarding naming a shopping center Little Saigon.

    However, Mayor Wasserman’s and the Council action’s are far more serious, unethical, show utter incompetence, and complete disregard for the public that have put their trust in them.

  16. Marty, I guess I’m a D student because I don’t get your comment (below), but I do know that the correct use of your second ‘their’ is ‘they’re’.

    As for Mr. Bacon’s next move, I hope he does go for it.

  17. Hi “No Personal Insults Please”

    Thanks for the correction. You missed my 1st use of “there” which should have been “their”. So who’s the smart one now?

    Go Bacon!

  18. So, Matt – how come no article in the paper about Dirk Lorenz’ flagrant lack of impartiality on the stadium project?

    I know the stadium issue is resolved, but that doesn’t mean that Mr. Lorenz didn’t use his office to put a big thumb on the scale. If the A’s hadn’t pulled out, if the FCN had not been successful in raising enough issues to bring the viability of the project into serious question, Mr. Lorenz would still be in a position to cast a tainted vote on the stadium project.

    What are the ethics rules that regulate Planning Commission members? Are they given ethics training? Is this information available to citizens for review?

    I know a good reporter like you can really sink his teeth into this and do City residents a real service by preventing this from becoming another issue that the FCN has to address on their own.

    Looking forward to that article 😉

  19. NPR –

    It’s a great article – thanks for posting the link.

    Although it seriously buries the lead and is a bit tough going in some spots, it does highlight a lot of issues.

    One of the things that the article made me think about is that, while Mayor Bob has taken on the role of “lead dope” in the stadium debacle (he’s earned the honor), the City Manager should bear an equal portion of the blame for the sorry state of affairs at City Hall.

    So the question is, what do we do next? A recall, while I would support it, is not an answer to the City Manager problem, unless we want to wait for a new Council to get us a new City Manager. It seems that draining this swamp is going to take a while. I hope we, the residents, have the patience and persistence for the task.

    Besides, even with all of the support from commenters here, I don’t see anybody out at shopping centers asking people to sign recall petitions. What’s up with that?

  20. One thing that is puzzling me is how come for a city as diverse and not so small like Fremont, how the city council members are elected at large.

    Does it make sense to have a different way of city council elections.

    For example if the city is zoned into 4 zones or districts (please bear my simple mind here): North East, North West, South East and South West (or zone/district 1, 2, 3, 4). And we elect 1 council member (must live in that area) from each zone/district. This way, every zone gets equal representation.

    The number of districts can be 4 o 6. If it is 6, then we have 1 mayor and 6 council members, and a total of 7, which ensures an odd number so that there is no tie in voting.

    OK. I am no government expert and did i said i have a simple mind. Thoughts?

  21. D –

    I think it’s a great idea.

    Ever since the City was incorporated, City management have done what they can to eliminate any identification with the original five towns that combined to form Fremont.

    I don’t see any reason why we could not go back to electing Council members from Irvington, Niles, Centerville, Warm Springs and Mission. If additional areas need to be added to represent areas that were not significantly populated back in the ’50’s, so be it. Is there any reason why we are limited to the current number of Council members? After all, County supervisors are elected to represent particular areas of the County.

    Of course, the real issue is that people need to know more about the candidates before they cast their vote, regardless of whether the candidates are running “at large” or as representatives of a particular district.

  22. I think the biggest voting pattern is that uninformed voters tend to vote for the ‘incumbent’ on the ballot. Maybe they should eliminate that to remove bias and not show who is incumbent and who is the challenger.

  23. Wow, thanks for the pointer Vinnie. Bill Marshak’s article is right on in terms of what I was talking about as a layman.

    His concluding remarks are one that we all need to heed right now:

    “Simply dismissing the concept of a charter city as too expensive, too radical and too much effort is a poor choice. It is time for citizens to explore the possibilities of a grand future with visionary ideas and the vigor to make things happen. Fremont is a large city in a strategic location with enormous potential. Proactive, dynamic actions can replace tired and complacent governance. New faces are knocking on the council door, maybe it is time to let them in.”

  24. I’ve been following the blogs for a while now and have refrained from commenting, until now.

    First of all, I think that the pro-stadium folks(mayor and city council) should just admit that they want the stadium because it’s a ‘cool idea’. The perceived benefits are emotional, not based on facts and figures. FCN has done their homework. They have consulted with experts from both Stanford and Berkeley Universities about the impact of stadiums on the local economy. We have read all of the reports from the A’s and city websites and made educated conclusions. There is no evidence to show that stadiums bring money in for the cities that host them. Numerous studies published in various journals and books have shown this time and time again. These studies are not published in obscure publications, but publications such as the Wall Street Journal and BusinessWeek. Taxpayers end of paying through subsidies, tax breaks, and infrastructure improvements. Taxpayers ended up paying $80 million for the Giants’ Stadium which was 96% privately financed(according to their own website), and which they stated was the best taxpayers could hope for. Even one penny spent towards a stadium is too much for our city.

    We don’t have the money to maintain our own streets and emergency response force. According to the Fremont Dept of Transportation, we should be spending $30 million on road maintenance and improvements in Fremont. Guess what? We only spend $5 – $6 million. Where do you think the extra money will come from for the extra wear and tear on our streets with extra stadium traffic. I asked both Keith Wolff and Nina Moore these questions at one of the community meetings before the A’s cancelled all of them. I talked about these issues and many more and they did not have an answer for them. They couldn’t explain how new jobs and businesses would be created. They couldn’t explain the ‘multiplier effect’ that has been touted in their presentations. They said that the EIR would explain these issues. Well the EIR is an ENVIRONMENTAL impact report. It’s not going to talk about how new jobs and how much money is being created or brought into the city. Even if you read the ERA report that the A’s did, paid for, and presented to the city council in 2007, you will see that the economic benefits are very small for Fremont. In fact they talk about Alameda County as a whole and will only happen if and only if there’s a ballpark village and 3000 housing units sold.

    So, I suggest that everyone(including the mayor and city council) does their homework before accusing FCN of ‘ruining it’ for the city. You should be thanking us for saving your hard earned money from going down the drain.

  25. On the question of election by districts, under state law, a general law city (us) can have a 5 or a 7 member council with the mayor selected from the council or directly elected (us again.) If a council goes from 5 to 7, it must be elected from districts rather than at-large.

    That sounds fine, until you try to divide Fremont into 6 equally populated districts. With 213,000 population, each district should have 35000 +/- people in it. I haven’t done the math, but I know that Warm Springs and Mission are the least dense parts of the city and that Irvington is the most dense. It isn’t like we could give a councilmember to WS, MSJ, Niles, etc. because the law says they must be equal. I would guess that WS and MSJ, the 94539 zip code, might get one councilmember and Niles would have to share a councilmember with part of Centerville.

    There was a measure on the ballot in the 70s to elect from districts which failed. The plan for the districts then tied WS to north Centerville, for balance.

    I’ll see if I can figure out from Census tract info what the allocation would be.

  26. Gus,

    Drat, I should have known that there would be a bureaucratic reason not to do a common-sense thing. Duh.

    But thanks for again giving us the benefit of your expertise. Why can’t Our Mayor and/or our Council members explain things to us simply and clearly like you do?

  27. You have to remember that I had 25 years in office to learn all this stuff and I have a good memory. Our longest serving councilmember has just a few months over 4 years of experience. There are good arguments against term limits, with loss of experience and history being the strongest.

  28. D Alur said, “new faces are knocking on the council door.” Have you thought about running for council? I would love to see you go for it!

  29. I guess Dave Smith would agree with your opinion on term limits 🙂 Sixteen consecutive terms? Holy moley.

    It appears to me that a new crop of local candidates may be arising from the wreckage of this stadium kerfuffle. Based on those 25 years of experience that you mentioned, do you have any advice you’d like to share for those contemplating a mayoral or council run?

  30. Bored with TV, I looked up some easy census data to see how councilmembers distributed by districts would end up. I used zip code informatin with the following results.

    94555 (north of Decoto Rd.) 33863 people
    94536 (Mowry to Decoto, 880 to hills) 66533 people
    94538 (Mowry to UPRR, 880 on the west) 56111 people
    94539 (UPRR to Milpitas) 46910 people

    So, if there were 6 councilmembers were elected from districts, each district would have to be about 35000 people. The council distribution would be essentially

    94555 1 councilmember
    94536 2 councilmembers
    94538 1 2/3 councilmembers
    94536 1 1/3 councilmembers

    Without detailed census tract information and a lot more work, a rough estimate of the boundaries of 6 councilmembers would be:

    1 Everything north of Decoto Rd
    2 Area bounded by Fremont, Mowry, Decoto, 88-
    3 Balance of Centerville and Niles
    4 Irvington, bounded by Mowry, Fremont, Grimmer, 880
    5 Balance of Irvington and MSJ probably to Durham
    6 Durham to Milpitas

    Not real accurate, but a good approximation. It shows where the power would be in a districted counci.

    Even in a 4 member council elected from districts,with about 52000 per district, the 94539 zip code would still have to import population from 94538 to get to one councilmember, Irvington would get one, and the 94536 and 94555 zip codes would share two, probably one for everything north of Thornton and one for the rest of Centerville and including Niles.

    Either way creates problems. That’s fun, but not worth doing any more work on.

  31. I like the idea of 6 council districts. Gus did a very good pre-planning. Even city of Santa Clara has 6 council members (with half of Fremont’s population).

    Should Fremont consider a “strong mayor”? Although Fremont now is “council-manager” city government, the current mayor seems very “powerful” (because of the current political structure).

    Maybe we need another push for charter city.

  32. Good morning Fremont blogers! The sweet smell of CHANGE is in the air. Aloha O’e!

  33. Gus –

    When you say “Either way creates problems” – are you meaning from a pracitcle implementation of the districted council or just from a, “I’m bored – but not THAT bored with TV right now” perspective ?

    To be certain – a “districting” of the city would represent a management challenge. Are you suggesting that based on your experience – the distribution of populace is such that any methodical definition will be so sorely flawed as to make a district-based-council an improbabilty ? I’m unclear on your conclusion here.

  34. Number of members of council makes little difference in the quality of the governance. Richmond has 9 councilmembers, as does Oakland. San Jose has 11. The more people on council, the longer the meetings, because each councilmember will have to talk on each issue. The problem about meeting length is that the council talks too long, not because the public talks too long. And I was just as guilty as the next one.

    Charter city opens a bunch of problems that the general law cities don’t have, mostly dealing with the initiative process. Changes to state law generally are only made after hearings and deliberation and, with 350 or so of California’s 476 cities being general law cities, not without input from cities. Many of the old advantages of charter cities, such as ability to levy or raise taxes, have been negated by state initiatives, so there are not many financial advantages. One major disadvantage lies in the power of special or narrow interests to revise the charter by initiative. Look at the number of charter initiative measures on any San Francisco election and see some examples. The most threatening idea is compulsory binding arbitration for employee groups. No legal under state law for general law cities, but in many charter cities, public safety unions have caused charter amendments to require arbitration on salaries and benefits. The council would have no control over it and would have to find the resources to comply with an arbitrator’s decision. With 2/3 of the operating budget in Fremont going to public safety, the council could be faced with a major problem.

    My concern over districting is that one area of the city could overwhelm other areas. And, in areas where councilmembers are elected from districts, they tend to become more concerned about their district than about the city as a whole. In my straw man scenario, MSJ and Warm Springs could have one councilmember out of six. How much influence would that member have with the other members and the mayor?

    I’d like to find a way to make elections cheaper somehow because the cost will eventually drive us to district elections. I don’t know the answer, but of the 7 candidates who really had a chance to win last November, 6 of them ran a deficit in their campaigns and, while I haven’t seen the reports, I’d guess that 4 of them spent more than $100,000 on their campaigns, beating the old record of about $90,000. If we can fix that, more people could run and they would not have to go, hat in hand, to special interests to fund their campaigns.

  35. – Gus – thanks again for the insight.

    So many good points .

    The last I found quite profound – “..and they would not have to go, hat in hand, to special interests..”

    One has to wonder what deals were struck last year.

    (Advance apologies to the BLOG for an off-topic question )

    Gus – – if you would be so kind, I have been curious for some time now and can’t get a clear explanation – what advantage do Fremont taxpayers receive in exchange for their direct financial support of Washington Township hospital? I’m looking to understand what benefit is SPECIFICALLY afforded the residents of Fremont who support this institution, in part, with their taxes. How is Washington Township providing an incremental service to the community and what is that service ?

  36. Bbox, Interesting question about the hospital, which, if framed simply as a 2009 question would be a very good one. But the hospital has been a public institution for now just more than 60 years. It was founded and established to fill a void in our area at a time when the closest hospitals around were in Hayward and Castro Valley. As late as 1965, I had to take my son to Laurel Grove Hospital in Castro Valley for a tonsillectomy. There was no Kaiser in Fremont and members had to go to Hayward or Santa Clara and there were no emergency facilities down here. There was a real community need.

    That need still exists, even though Kaiser has come to Fremont and we have more choices. The broader community, outside Kaiser, has medical needs which are best met closer to home. I can remember the hours I spent with kids in the WHS emergency room and then, later, in the Kaiser ER in Hayward. There also is a need to provide care for those unable to afford insurance somewhere closer to home than San Leandro or Oakland. So there is community benefit to having a community hospital.

    Bearing in mind that the WHS Board of Directors is my least favorite elected body and that I have many problems with the administration of the hospital, I cannot argue with the quality of care or the professionalism of their entire staff.

    Also, it has been years since the hospital has levied a property tax for operations. They have passed bond issues, requiring 2/3 votes, and we are taxing ourselves a small amount to build the facilities necessary for the hospital, but they are self supporting from fees and charges and they have accrued significant reserves.

    Hospitals are like police and fire services. Until you need them, they have little use. But, when you need them, you want them to be there. While I have been a Kaiser member for more than 40 years, I am glad WHS exists and I don’t resent any money I pay to keep them there and updated.

  37. Thanks, Gus – I get the historical need to establish a localized presence. But, as you infer – that was then – this is now.

    As I have had the unfortunate opportunity to spend many hours in Bay Area hospitals (aging parents and relatives) – Washington compares favorably in my mind to at least two very significant Bay Area institutions I’ve had the opportunity to get to know.

    I think what you are saying is that, even with the presence of Kaiser – there are medical capabilities that Washington provides that Kaiser does not and that patients requiring these kinds of care would likely need to travel outside of Fremont to secure such care. Is that accurate ?

    Re the taxing of the community, what amount do Fremont residents pay to the Hospital ? Are these ongoing bond issues (previously passed) and/or fixed taxes on – – – property, sales, other ?

    Thanks very much for your ongoing education – very, very helpful. I need to spring for pizza and beer for you and Vinnie to say “thank you” some time – – – when and if we do, I’m afraid I’ll insist that we’ll have to meet at Bronco Billy ! ;^)

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