27

Campaign Mailer Watch: Bob Wieckowski

owlMost of you guys got Wieckowski’s “Give our economy a JOLT” mailer earlier this month.

In it he makes several claims:

  • Creating thousands of local middle class jobs
  • Attracting high-tech companies to our region
  • Establishing job training programs and workforce development
  • Hiring more police and firefighters

Below the image are excerpts from a Q&A I did the the Fremont Councilman, in which he explains the basis for the claims. Spoiler Alert: Fremont this year is budgeting fewer police and fire department employees than the summer before Wieckowski joined the council.

Warning!!! This is going to be a long post. If you’re not into politics scroll way down for cute Chihuahua photos:

wieck2

TCB: Explain how you created “thousands of middle class jobs”

Wieckowski: “The BART Extension. If we look at the BART extension I think we can agree that those are good middle class jobs.” And the Grade Separation … That was during my entire time in office.”

“I think that that’s legitimate for a city council member to claim that, ‘I did that.’” … “Once the City Council approves it, you have ownership of it. I think you take ownership of it if it’s a catastrophe, but if it’s a success you take ownership of that as well … I think the public sector does create jobs.”

TCB: Should you take the blame for jobs lost by the NUMMI closure?

Wieckowski: “I don’t take the blame for NUMMI. … (mentions that city under Gus Morrison lobbied for the Prius to be built in Fremont) … It’s not like this city hasn’t been active.  If a private landowner decides he doesn’t want to do it….”

TCB: Using your criteria for creating jobs, couldn’t I claim to have created thousands of jobs by voting in favor of a state infrastructure bond measure — that bond money goes toward hiring people?

Wieckowski: “You’re reaching. As an elected official I have control over how (money) is spent. That sets me apart from citizens. You don’t have any authority to direct how that money would be spent as a citizen other than to approve this much money being raised.”

TCB: Couldn’t Garrett Yee also claim to have created thousands of jobs with the new Ohlone campus in Newark?

Wieckowski: Garrett was running for election when they had the bond (that paid for the new campus).” He didn’t get sworn in until the same time that the Ohlone bond was approved. I would agree with that (giving Yee credit for creating jobs), if Garrett had been on the Ohlone board and voted to put the measure on the ballot…”

“I think John Weed (a longer-serving Ohlone board member) could say (he’s) responsible for thousands of jobs.”

TCB: Name some of the high-tech companies you’ve attracted to our region?

Wieckowski: “There’s a whole list of new companies that have come in. I think I (pause) My claim to attracting them is creating the environment in Fremont that we want to be green.”

(He’s saying that by pushing for sustainable policies like the Styrofoam ban, he’s creating a climate that attracts green tech companies to Fremont)

He added about the mailer:

“It’s a propaganda piece. I’m taking liberties with my use of action words.”

TCB: Explain how you established job training programs.

Wieckowski: “I participated with Kennedy High School (on setting up their Green Academy). I didn’t do much (except for going there) and showing my support. Now they have something. I’ve just been friendly with them.”

TCB: Explain how you’ve hired more police and firefighters:

Wieckowski: (He says that he’s asked the city to give him the precise figures on sworn officers from when he took office in Dec. 2004 and now.

Note: I don’t have those figures. I do know that the eight new police positions authorized by the council in mid-2007 were never filled. I also know that according to this year’s city budget, Police Department staffing is budgeted for 287 full-time equivalent employees. In the 2004/2005 budget, It was 299 FTE’s — a decrease of 12.

As for fire, The department is budgeted for 152 FTEs this year. In 2004-2005, it was 153 — a decrease of one.

More Notes:

  • Wieckowski pointed to grants for the future Sabercat Park and the Grimmer Greenbelt (his creation) to back up the claim that “he’s also secured millions of dollars to create new parks and recreational opportunities.”
  • He noted that he was the council’s point person on transportation issues and funding to back up the claims that he “created jobs” and “helped secure over $200 million for local projects including a BART extension.”
  • He’s saying that his participation in the city’s trade mission to China helped retain jobs for employees at two Chinese-owned companies doing business in Fremont.  Wieckowski volunteered to be the council’s representative after Mayor Wasserman backed out because of a social obligation. Councilmember Cho threw a fit over the mayor not going and refused to go, and the vice mayor at the time, Bill Harrison, also declined to attend.

Thoughts:

  • Obviously Wieckowski’s polling shows that jobs are the big issue. The problem is that if every elected official overseeing taxpayer money can individually take credit for spending that money in a way that creates jobs, then job creation is not such a unique skill.
  • Another problem is that the mailer’s interpretation of job creation could be so different from that of most voters, many of them who get this piece might just scratch their heads and wonder if Wieckowski has spent the past six years as president of Google or the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.
  • The irony is that of Fremont’s five council members, Wieckowski might have the best claim to an independent record in the three years I’ve been covering things. Obviously you need three votes to do anything, but it’s hard to imagine the council banning Styrofoam food packaging without Wieckowski and it’s hard to imagine there being any hope for a Children’s Natural History Museum without him either. I asked him about that. He answered by mentioning his effort four years ago for a permanent Hayward Fault exhibit at Central Park. “It’s hard to get that on a flier,” he said.
  • This might be the last edition of Campaign Mailer Watch. It’s 9:16 on a Saturday night. Not good. This should have been my Lady Gaga hour.

wieck_page2

Matt Artz

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    Regarding the Bart extension, he says:

    “As an elected official I have control over how (money) is spent. That sets me apart from citizens.”

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but Bart funding has come from bonds and tax measures that were dedicated specifically for the Bart extension. I sincerely doubt Wieckowski had any influence on this money, and if there was a vote he was merely a placeholder I’m sure.

    And, regarding the styrofoam ban attracting green tech companies to Fremont- It’s astonishing how these green tech believers think. It’s almost religion-like where they rely on some supernatural faith to be the engine.

    There’s more from this post that concerns me, and I’m sure the commentariat will fill in the gaps. But from the hardhat-and-slacks photo op, to the liberal distortions he makes to take “ownership” of other peoples achievements, this guy comes off to me as a complete fraud.

  • VOR

    “It’s a propaganda piece. I’m taking liberties with my use of action words.”

    As I noted in an earlier thread, say anything it takes to get elected.

  • VOR

    “The BART Extension. If we look at the BART extension I think we can agree that those are good middle class jobs.” And the Grade Separation …

    The BART extension and the Grade Separation projects began in Fremont’s planning long before BW took office, but since the projects broke ground while he was in office I guess he can take credit for them.

  • http://fcnisbacon.wordpress.com/ Marty

    It’s not the mailer that gets me. It’s the justifications he uses in the interview.

  • bbox231

    Artz – This is one of your better pieces.

    You asked a series of reasonable questions and importantly – you lent some THOUGHT and commentary as to the veracity of the responses. Lady Gaga didn’t miss you – but Fremont was a little better off as a result of this article.

    Re the flyer itself –

    THis thing is a bit curious.

    Elevating responsibilty for the claims of jobs “created” while simultaneously discounting the jobs “lost” seems like a massive double-standard. . .

    I guess I’m surprised at what’s NOT included. Consider that even Bob back-pedals to some degree when he says – - “It’s a propaganda piece. I’m taking liberties …”

    I guess I think Bob takes some serious swings at populist issues, but never gets wood on the ball – Where’s the “stuff” that Bobbie can declare is uniquely his for many, many years of “work” on behalf of Fremont citizenry ????

    If you asked Bobbie what his major contribution was; ; what result did he uniquely achieve as a result of many years on the Council ? And, whatever THAT was – why didnt *that* point make the flyer ? Or, if it did, why does even the guy who worked so hard to deliver the accomplishment relegate a description of same to political puffery ?

  • Fremont_Bill

    I think this interview gives us more information about all of the great things Bob has done for Fremont. He hmmmm, let me check the mailer.
    This Weikowski mailer makes Bobby look like a hypocritical fool, anyone that has been a council watcher knows that Bob is a ineffective boob.
    In his defense Bob is a nice, ineffective guy.

  • VOR

    Does BW take credit for water park in Central Park and the jobs it has created?

    Hint: This venue was initially discussed by the Fremont Recreation Commission about 12 years ago.

  • Andrew Cavette

    I agree, this is a very good post.

  • Bruce

    Matt: after all the stuff that is a stretch, I agree that the Children’s Museum is a good thing that BW has been promoting.

    I do agree we should ban styrofoam (they can start with Chili’s, our take-out meal from there last night could have built a large sized RC controlled airplane!), but I don’t buy that it is a job creator for Fremont. It’s just the right thing to do.

    Also, came home last night, found a message from his mother on my answering machine. Sorry Mrs. W, didn’t listen to the whole thing.

    I’m a tree-hugger, I may vote for BW, but have to look more at GY first.

  • nu n town

    Matt,

    Great piece! Great questions asked!

    BW said it himself, ” PROPAGANDA PIECE”.

    I would’t want my elected rep at the state level to continue making false or over boastful claims as BW has done recently. Especially, when he claims to have created Police and Fire positions, and the opposite has been true.

    GY guy will get my vote.

  • Gautam

    Perhaps the councilman was being facetious by calling it a propaganda piece…

    None of Yee’s mail discuss his accomplishment– perhaps because he doesn’t have any. It’s a huge leap to oversee a community college and then to be in charge of overseeing California when his only qualification for the job is that he’s a decent fellow.

  • bbox231

    How rude Gautam is to ignore the accompishments and contributions and personal sacrifices of our men and women in uniform ! How uttery disrespectful !

    But more central to the comparison Gautam attempts to draw – - – Yee was identified by Argus as one of 10 people to watch – (to WATCH, Gautam) – - because he’s up and coming – because he’s entering the political scene – – because he’s one of the new kids on the block.

    To expect to compare a list of “accomplishments” from a newbie against a list (far, far more reasonably expected) from someone who has been a SITTING MEMBER of our City Council for many, many,many years – - – - is an apples and oranges attempt to drag this distinguished citizen and member of our community into a muck of obfuscation which our Council members have so lovingly cultivated for so long.

  • JIM_FREMONT

    Garrett Yee has nothing on his flier because he hasn’t done anything. Garrett hopes to smile his way to the assembly and that is just not how things are done. He really hasn’t demonstrated leadership or even done anything substantial. He has not taken any hits by running for a real election. I like him, but he has not been tested and vetted as a good candidate. Bob has done a lot and he isn’t afraid to take unpopular opinions. He stands for something.

  • JIM_FREMONT

    ..probably the only things Garrett has going for him are: 1)John Dutra’s endorsement 2)CBC – a political non-profit (LOL!)
    I just don’t think John Dutra is enough reason to vote for Garrett.

  • Gautam

    Bbox, you have misconstrued my comment regarding Mr. Yee’s accomplishments. While his service to our country is noble and deserving of the highest respect, I was commenting with regards to his legislative accomplishments and experience when it comes to doing the work a state assemblyman must do.

    He is someone to watch, I agree. He may have a bright future. But I have no idea where he stands on a host of issues facing the state of California. Who will he work with? What are his views on the budget? He talks about veterans issues, but that is by no means the only problem afflicting our community.

    I am simply questioning Mr. Yee’s record as an Ohlone College Board Trustee and wondering how his experience on the board indicates how successful he will be as a state assemblyman. I don’t understand why you give him a pass simply because he is a newbie.

    If you want to use the Argus as the legitimizer, they endorsed the Councilman over Mr. Yee. I am still troubled by Mr. Yee’s mailers which have not showcased any accomplishments on his part. Again, being a nice man is not and should not be the only criteria we use to elect these politicians.

  • bbox231

    Guatam -

    You ORIGINALLY stated that Yee “..doesn’t have any ….accomplishments . .. ” (see that word “any” ? – as in NONE ???) – and which completely disregards Yee’s years of service in uniform.

    You now attempt to (misconstrue ?) your original question – - – you are now inquiring about “legislative accomplishments” only.

    My original point was NOT an attempt to use Argus as a “legitimizer” of Yee – my point was that even in the eyes of Argus, Mr. Yee was “newbie” someone “to watch” – - -

    In other words, someone who’s list of “accomplishments” would more rightly be forthcoming. And, who hopefully – after as many years in political service as Mr. Weickowski has been afforded – hopefully, will have something more to claim as “accomplished” – in ADDITION to his years of service in uniform.

  • Gautam

    Again– Bbox, I am sorry if I wasn’t clear. I was commenting with regards to experience that is germane to being a state assemblyman, and as you can see, I don’t think being in the military automatically qualifies one to make decisions regarding minute domestic policy matters that usually come before our assemblymen and women. So while I think the military shows Mr. Yee’s outstanding character, it does not tell me much about his qualifications for running for assembly.

    As a voter I am entitled to that opinion. Thus I say that Yee doesn’t have any accomplishments from what we have seen through his Ohlone College Board tenure. If he is such a rising star, perhaps he should have waited until he racked up more accomplishments that are germane to the office he wants to run for.

  • VOR

    For those interested in learning more about Garrett Yee’s U.S. Army service you might find this informative. You can also do a Search in the Archives of the Tri-City Voice for other letters then-Lieutenant Yee wrote while serving in Iraq.

    http://www.tricityvoice.com/articledisplay.php?a=6041

    We all like to think our training can serve us throughout our lives. Life experiences counts.

  • bbox231

    Gautam – you are definately entitled to an opinion and many in this venue are glad to share theirs !

    You have some interesting thoughts and ways of expressing them – but the thought I find most interesting is that an individuals “character” is not one of the (many) “qualifications” you will consider when entering the voters’ booth.

    Very peculiar.

  • Relatively new to Fremont

    It’s quite clear that Garrett Yee is hoping that the out of district Independent Expenditures will get him elected into office. My mailbox is being bombarded daily by their propaganda which say nothing of what he’s done or what he plans to do in Sacramento.

  • VOR

    Relatively New to Fremont, then by all means vote for BW, who will bring thousands more middle class jobs to our community and a chicken in every pot.

    The basic thing to remember, every politician walks the walk, and talks the talk. Then they get to Sacramento and nothing ever changes. It doesn’t matter whether their initials are BW or GY. It’s the SOS.

  • nu n town

    Interesting that after stating that he has created thousands of jobs and attracted a long list of companies to our region, he didn’t name one. Why was that?
    As far as BART, that was going to happen regardless. But I would say that it’s hundreds of jobs, not the thousands that BW claims.
    Last I checked, there were 5 City Council members. Based on BW’s statements, he seems to be the only one accomplishing anything. A sign of an effective leader is sharing the accolades with your team as upposed to taking credit for someone elses hard work.
    For me that’s the biggest difference, BW loves the letter “I”. GY is more along the lines of the word “WE”. GY has proven himself to be an effective leader in all aspects of his life. From Eagle Scout as a kid, to countless hours of Community Service, Ohlone School Board, Colonel in the Army Reserves, Santa Clara University, MBA GG University & Army Strategic Studies and Business Leader. It will be people like GY that will make Sacramento less of that SOS.

  • bbox231

    Bob has demonstrated what he can deliver. He has many, many years of dedicated service to our community.
    Those years have achieved a result.

    Yee is unproven and a veritable neophyte in the polticial arena.

    There is one aspect to this race that IS very clear to me, and is best expressed by an oft-cited quote –

    “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.”

  • fred

    Fremont is a city with no real good general plan. New housing continues to be high density, low income, squished together garbage. Niles, warm springs and Mission San Jose are the only areas with anything going for it.

    I hate to see the new condo/townhouse development where tri city sporting goods was as well as the new development on the corner of Fremont blvd and Blacow RD. Why do we need houses right on top of each other?

    The claim of BW that “HE” created a bunch of jobs is really funny. He himself? I think not!

    My goodness, he won’t even take any blame regarding NUMMI. but, he will take all the credit for a few companies moving into fremont. Pretty funny really…

  • John

    In giving its support to Wieckowski, The Argus editoria had a difficult time explaining what slight edge this candidate had over Yee. What I’ve learned in getting dozens of mailers from the two candidates and their proxies over the last week or so is that Wieckowski isn’t afraid of a little dirty campaigning. Your interview shows me that I am right in leaning toward Yee. Thank you for shining the light on this guy.

  • Larry Wilson

    Other than Wieckowski being a chair warmer on the Fremont City council, what has he really accomplished?

  • fred

    We had several people walking the neighborhood today trying to sway the vote to BW. I had to explain, how can he put the nice little family picture on his mailers when he in fact is not a father? The illusion of a family is funny. if you can’t trust small things like that, how can you trust anything?

    did he personally save NUMMI? or, did Toyota feel political pressure from washington and sacramento? what about Tesla? Very interesting!

    Fred S