UPDATE: I did talk to police union President Greg Pipp late Friday afternoon, although I don’t have my notes here at home. Pipp said the police were disappointed in Harrison because they thought he’d be a leader in addressing their staffing concerns, but they said he failed.
Pipp said Anu Natarajan opposed Patterson Ranch, which he argued would stretch forces even thinner. Pipp also noted that she supported district elections, which Pipp said would make for a more responsive City Council.
I didn’t have time to get into the fine print of whether Natarajan really opposed Patterson Ranch, but I did ask how district elections and one very large development would really impact police staffing.
He reply was pretty much that at least Natarajan is trying to change things at City Hall, while Harrison is “status quo.”
I was right up against deadline, so the conversation was somewhat brief. I didn’t ask why the union didn’t endorse Vinnie Bacon and Kathy McDonald if they were so opposed to Patterson Ranch and so in favor of district elections.
I also didn’t discuss the fact that in order to have district elections, Fremont would need to pass a charter, and that a charter would allow the police and fire unions an opportunity to ask voters to allow their contract disputes to go to binding arbitration — something the unions generally support and city management fears.
I haven’t given much thought to whether unions or other interest groups would wield more power if Fremont went to district elections.
Most of the other folks I talked to (City Council members current and former) said the mailer was probably in response to city requests for cops to give back a percentage of their salaries.
I’m waiting for the police union chief to give me a call explaining why cops like Anu Natarajan, but not Bill Harrison. Below is the mailer the police union sent out this week asking voters to oppose Harrison.