Gus Morrison’s final night as Fremont mayor

During the emotional City Council meeting Tuesday night, Gus Morrison’s speech stood out for its straightforward delivery and heartfelt conviction. Morrison was elected to mayor for five terms, but was in retirement when he was appointed to serve again as mayor earlier this year, when Mayor Bob Wasserman died. The standing-room only crowd gave Morrison a standing ovation when he was given a special pin noting his more than 25 years of service to Fremont.

After the ovation died down, Morrison noted that Fremont has changed greatly since 1960, when it was a town of just 40,000 people, and included just 700 Asians and less than 20 African Americans. Morrison said he was proud of the changes the city has undergone since then.

“We built a special place,” he said. “We need to protect it for the future.”

Fighting back tears while reading from prepared remarks, Morrison gave advice to the present council and future ones:

“Do your homework as well as you can. Try your best to not make up your mind until after you’ve heard the public speak … many times people have changed my direction. So, do that. That’s the best advice I can give.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Always ask the next question. Don’t feel like it’s a dumb question — you can always say, ‘This may be a dumb question, but …’ Because if you ask two more questions, you may find the guy was just blowing smoke.

Stand firm on principle. Don’t compromise your principles.

And, of course, always protect the hills and the wetlands.

I’ll be watching and occasionally commenting. When you do well, I’ll shout it from the mountaintops. When you mess up, I’ll tell you directly. I look forward to doing a lot of shouting.

Good luck. Good night.”


Chris DeBenedetti