Fremont cops go negative on Harrison

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.



Matt Artz


  1. Why are they endorsing one candidate for two seats? Do they expect voters to choose the second candidate at random? That splits the vote and Bill wins the other seat.

    This is “Negative Campaigning 101”. Ya gotta make the alternative obvious.

    The don’t really explain what Bill didn’t do and Anu did do. Was there a particular vote that was split?

  2. I think the Police Officer Association will suffer backlash with this mailer. I don’t see anything of substance other than a hit piece intended to scare people. I wonder if this has to do with pension reform? Shame on Fremont Police Owner Association for slimy negative campaigning! I think personal attacks or non-issue related attacks are unfair and should be condemned by all campaigns.

  3. While I don’t have a clue what the issues around this are, I wonder how much of it has to do with the current on-going labor negotiations between the city and the POA.

    I agree with both Mike and Robert. Bad form and not a great idea when/if Bill is around after the election for another four years of working with the POA.

  4. The real story:
    Bill Harrison likes donuts
    The police like donuts
    clearly Bill is consuming more than his fair share and has created a donut shortage which the cops do not like.

  5. Mr Harrison may not be my choice and have not in my opinion listened to the community and have friendship with those who appear to be in conflict of interest but to insult the man is very tasteful. I will show my lack of confidence in him on Tuesday with my vote not use this venue to attack him personally for being large. I am appalled that adults would do this no matter who you support.

  6. Mr. Harrison in my humble view is a ZERO. He has done little to help the Fremont community. He lacks the leadership skills that are required to be a council member. It is time for him to go home.
    As for Anu she is a con-woman who will say and do whatever it takes to get elected. Once elect Anu has shown that she is not beholden to the Fremont taxpayer but to the realestate developers and Fremont police, and firefighters who love her for upholding their fat salaries and retirement pension taxpayer ripoffs.

  7. Singling out Harrisson is seemingly a pretty big disconnect in light of several facts.

    Consider that –

    The differences in the voting records of Anu and Bill are insignificant.

    In terms of what has been discussed, while both Anu and Bill spend some amount of time carefully discussing various matters of little consequence neither has initiated conversation of much bigger and looming issues (such as the need for pension reform).

    Don’t take my word for it, even Harrisson himself states that he was “..suprised..” by this mailer, and while that is to be expected he goes on to describe the very same uniformity of actions by he and Anu I have described above.

    Finally, even FFD has weighed in on the question and decided that there’s sufficient similarity between Anu and Bill that FFD simultaneously endorses both incumbants.

    So the stripes on these two, from three different perspectives, look pretty much the same.
    What gives ??

    Could this simply be a little bloodletting; are we just making an example out of Mr. Harrisson ?

    Making a visible cut (or threatening to do so), even if one of your own, is not an uncommon strategy.

    This works very nicely where, MOST IMPORTANTLY, you have confidence that you will continue to retain control of the majority..

  8. I am not sure why they would single out Harrison but I do know this … the best choice for Fremont is Vinnie Bacon. The current City Council is in the pocket of the developers. They don’t seem to have any interest in our schools – which is a primary reason to move to Fremont. Patterson Ranch is a case in point. The Ardenwood area already has over 300 elementary students overloaded to other schools. There is just no room for them at the local schools. Now the City Council has voted to add 500 more homes without adding classrooms for the children. At the most recent Council meeting, FUSD Superintedent Dr. Morris was cut off at only 2 minutes to speak. Are you kidding me?!?!? The disrespect shown to our superintendent is just another glaring example of the disconnect with the needs of the commuity. The only time I have seen Harrison at a school board meeting was to ask that Tak Fudenna Stadium be renamed for his old high school coach. With all of the budget cuts and constraints being placed on the school district, I would think he would have something more important to speak towards.

    What has Harrison done for us? Nothing outside of ensuring we have more problems. I am not condoning the negative flyer. I am saying there is another BETTER choice for City Council. Vinnie Bacon!

  9. Bbox, states “The differences in the voting records of Anu and Bill are insignificant”
    Not true, Anu has voted “no” on several Developments.
    Bill has always and I mean always have sided with Developers and Ignored the residents of Fremont.
    Bill is a congenial person, but is just a Political hack.

  10. Here’s the way I see it:
    if you have a chance to get rid of only one of two opponents, you choose to get rid of the stronger one – on the theory that you have a greater chance to manipulate the weaker one.

    Anu Natarajan has a record of go-along-to-get-along, a poor characteristic in someone who wants to present herself as a leader. There is no doubt in my mind that she’s the weaker of the two.

    It’s a matter of public record that Harrison is backed financially by big money real estate developers (who don’t live in Fremont) and consistently votes in their interests. Anu seems to consistently vote with Harrison and, consequently, now she, too, has backing from big money real estate developers.

    Based on their record, neither of them deserves to be re-elected.

  11. Anu has only recently voted (and only once, that I know of) “no” in a preliminary vote against development and then, when the final vote came up, she voted “yes”, for it. Pretty pitiful. Her vote made it unanimous. Again, go-along-to-get-along.
    She wouldn’t have the financial backing of the real estate developers if they weren’t sure she was on their side.

  12. My recollection is with post 13. –

    Anu has increased the frequency of her dissention as we’ve gotten closer to November.

    Prior to that – the differences where they exist – were infrequent and inconsequential to the ensuing outcome.

    Ultimately, I think what’s strange is making a distinction between one or the other (Anu or Bill) – you either like them both, OR, you want them both gone – for the same reasons.

  13. How many of these cops live in Fremont?

    What is next a press confrence with Gloria Allred on the steps of the Police station?

  14. It’s funny how a simple little question – “How many of our safety employees live in the community they also serve ?” – inspires such vitriolic responses.

    “What is next a press confrence with Gloria Allred on the steps of the Police station?”

    Why is it necessary to swing the discussion to such a ridiculous extreme ?

  15. As a Vinnie Bacon supporter, this flyer could not have come at a more opportune time. I won’t be voting for Anu but I’d be crazy to bet against her. I’m just hoping that Harrison is soft enough for a Bacon upset.

    Nice one, Tbone… mean, but funny.

  16. Anger is not an argument. It seems we all agree that both Bill and Anu have a record for us to judge. For the others I am reminded of 2008 where someone promised “to move mountains and part the ocean” and bring about change. But once in office, it is the same old stuff.

    “will not take money……..”. Been there, seen that. I rather go with the devil I know instead of the one I do not know.

  17. Well, I belong to the tribe and got to vote for my candidate even though the recent decisions might affect my backyard.

  18. Rather ironic both FFD and FPD unions have opinions about who Fremont citizens should vote for, when many of them will not be voting on Fremont issues since they don’t live in Fremont.

  19. “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…”

    When a General Law city (Fremont) decides to increase the council from 5 to either 7 or 9, they must either be elected by districts or from districts. By district means the candidate must live in the district and is elected by those who also live in the district. From district means the candidate must live in the district, but must run at large across the whole city. San Leandro has such a system in their charter.

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