13 March 2008

Ex-mayor Morrison to run for Fremont mayor

Former Fremont mayor Gus Morrison (D), who is the most outspoken critic of the Cisco Field project, threw his hat in the ring for the upcoming mayoral race. Morrison will be running against incumbent Bob Wasserman (D), and councilman Steve Cho (R), both of whom are in favor of the plan.

It's a shrewd move by Morrison, whose previous critiques about the project were generally drowned out by the A's massive and highly effective PR campaign within the city limits. Now the mayoral election promises to bring the issue to the forefront, with a good measure of debate regarding the project's merits.

Morrison served five terms as mayor and was termed out, leaving the path open for Wasserman, his successor (whom he supported). Morrison also supported councilman Bob Wieckowski in his political rise, which is ironic considering Wieckowski's initial support of Cisco Field. Morrison is well known for his anti-development stance in the Fremont hills.

Timing is the key here. The EIR process started last December and there's no specific timeline for producing a draft. It may come in the summer, it may occur in the fall. Without the EIR, the debate becomes mostly high-level and philosophical without much data. That may or may not be where some think the debate should stay. It certainly makes it more difficult for Fremont citizens to make their own determination.

Just in case you're keeping score:
  • Mayor Bob Wasserman supports the plan initially and does not believe a referendum is necessary.
  • Vice Mayor Bill Harrison supports the plan initially and does not believe a referendum is necessary.
  • Councilman Bob Wieckowski supports the plan initially and does not believe a referendum is necessary.
  • Councilwoman Anu Natarajan supports the plan initially and does not believe a referendum is necessary.
  • Councilman Steve Cho supports the plan initially but believes a referendum is a good idea. (He also thinks the project would be voter-approved.)
  • Former Mayor Gus Morrison does not support the plan.
Suddenly what was going to be a fairly dull summer will heat up a bit.

Note: The word "initially" is used as a placeholder until the EIR draft is released and the final EIR is voted upon.


Anonymous said...

Gus must feel this thing's bad for Fremont otherwise he wouldn't bother running for Mayor again. He obviously cares for Fremont and has it's best interests in mind.

- Timm

Marine Layer said...

Funny, I think the mayor and council are operating with the city's best interests in their minds too. It's not as if this is a divisive issue amongst them.

The fundamental debate comes down to this: how to fund city services. The current city administration thinks it can be done by boosting sales tax revenue. Morrison believes they're going too far in that regard.

Anonymous said...

It's a pretty divisive issue as far as Mayor Gus is concerned. I'd trust him over anyone currently on the council as he has many years of service on his resume and has the best interests of the city in mind. At the end of the day, Fremont taxpayers will feel some sort of negative impact of this. They should be represented by someone who has their interests in mind, not those of real estate developers.

- Timm

Marine Layer said...

Really? Don't you want to get all of the facts before clearly picking a side here? We're not going to see that until the EIR is out.

I'm interested in Morrison's take on budget matters. We're no longer in the salad days as he was during his tenure, so I'd like to see what new solutions he has in mind.

Anonymous said...


You're open minded on this?


Marine Layer said...

If you follow the site at all without blinders you'd recognize this. Feel free to pick out any semblance of bias from today's post if you like.

Anonymous said...

No, don't follow this site much at all. It's pretty boring from my initial observations. Not much news, just cut and pastes from the local newspapers.

- Timm

Marine Layer said...

OTOH, you bias is clearly evident. Toodles.

Jeffrey said...

Ha, ha, ha.

So boring that you chime in on a regular basis all of the sudden. If you are not interested why do you comment?

Marine Layer said...

Sorry folks, "Toodles" is code for "I'm stopping this now before it turns into a flame war."

Georob said...

TOODLES?? I remember Sally Field saying that when she played Gidget on TV. As for me, I'd go for something like "You are the weakest
link, g'bye!"

I guess we've been fortunate that no one on either the "Stay In Oakland" side or even the "San Jose or bust" crowd" has been high profile enough to attempt turning the media against the Cisco project. This is likely a result of the project being self-financed as opposed to using public money.

It all depends on what Morrison's agenda is. If this battle is nothing more than an intra-Fremont squabble, then I don't see much developing here. However, if he wants to make himself into the Ralph Nader of anti-stadium crusades, then he may pull any stunt he can just to draw attention to himself, in which case it'll get interesting

MikeTeeVee said...

ML wrote: "The fundamental debate comes down to this: how to fund city services. The current city administration thinks it can be done by boosting sales tax revenue. Morrison believes they're going too far in that regard."

We'll know Fremont has gone too far when we have an Apple Store and Nordstrom's. 8-)

Fremont residents spend a lot of money in neighboring cities which have cultivated retail while Fremont neglected it.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe a communist might be mayor of Fremont. Seriously, if a stadium cannot be built in California without public funding, just because it creates traffic and stuff like every other stadium, it is the end of sports in California. I understand that some people do not care for sports, but to try to take it away from others when a stadium will not require public funding is just evil. I don't know what this creep's hobby is, if he has one, but it must not require road travel or buildings.

Jeffrey said...

Is there a Wasserman, Cho or Morrison for mayor web site?

Anonymous said...

As discussed before, Morrison and his " old time " Fremont buddies are dismayed that all the development in the town in the past 20 years is in the wealthy south part where it's full of multi-million dollar homes along the hills with mostly foreign high tech types who commute south to Silicon Valley. The old timers own property around the more central , older Fremont Hub area which they had hoped for 4 decades would become a " downtown " ,which doesn't exist since "Fremont" was newly created from consolidating 5 small towns 50 years ago. All that's happened is THAT area is just another generic bunch of strip mall intersections . Demographics show the white population in town continuing to drop about 1-2 % per year , mostly in the lower income central and north areas.
There is a reason he has tried to block this southerly development incl the Mission area and now Pacific Commons in the name of being a tax guardian .
If the stadium and homes were being planned in the central core area of Fremont, you can bet the farm he and his property owning buddies would be it's Number 1 booster !

At the community level , other than maybe Berkeley , politics is all about business connections and real estate , with some politicians using " fiscal responsibilty " as just another tool / political identity to distinguish one self to the electorate. Do you think Gus lunches with Howard Jarvis -type anti -tax zealots or big-time long time Fremont landlords ? Be real .

Anonymous said...


Is Morrison's true concern focused soley on city services? Or is this a case of a former-five-term-mayor being incapable of passing the baton of leadership to a new generation? Was he the type of mayor who consistently tried to maintain the status quo and keep Fremont the way he wants it? Basically, I'm wondering if he's intent on acting as an obstructionist or does he feel that he can extract a better deal for the community? One is a position I can respect....the other is one I despise.

It's pretty plain to all that Fremont will be acting as a proxy for San Jose in this endeavor. Does that bother the former mayor?


Anonymous said...

One interesting little fact will result from the election. If Gus is crushed....the stadium is a done deal. I suppose it's possible that the mayoral election will become a defacto vote on the park. That could be interesting to watch!

James said...

Tonoght (Saturday) at 7 p.m. the History Channel will begin airing a 3-part series featuring Cisco Field and Fremont, as part of their Modern Marvels show.

Jeffrey said...

I just watched Modern Marvels. It was 3/4's about the Roman Colosseum and then at the end it covered a bit about modern stadiums.

The only interesting thing to come out of it, was the presentation of the stadium as a gathering place for the Silicon Valley community. It is not surprising, but it pretty much sums up the direction the marketing of the stadium will go. The A's will be marketed as Silicon Valley's team the minute shovel hits dirt.

As for Gus Gus... I do believe his opposition to the stadium initially included a direct complaint that the stadium would draw investment money away from "downtown" Fremont. Whatever his motivation for this complaint, he made it.

linusalf said...

intresting how cisco field was featured on that program due to advertising sponsership from cisco systems.

Jeffrey said...

Modern Marvels, a show I watch pretty regularly, usually has that aspect to it. 10 minutes of the show devoted to whatever the sponsor wanted in the show and it is tied to the subject of the show.

Disturbing? A little bit.

Way off topic, but the more disturbing thing is they way the History Channel sometimes puts on propaganda about recent events without the perspective of time. I'd prefer they didn't put on stuff about "Saddam Hussein and his Reign of Terror," for example.

Not that it may not be true, but just that it helps foster misconceptions about recent events.

anon-a-mouse said...

Anon 8:16 nailed Gus' angle exactly. This is all about Gus' interest in the Hub area and his selfish desire to support his investments there. That is all. Timmmmmm's nonsense about having Fremont's interests in mind are hilariously off-base. The current city leadership is thinking about what's best for the city (oh, and they also have experience in city government, thank you very much). Gus is thinking about what's best for Gus. He had his chance to run the city and he wasn't able to build a downtown. Now Wolfe is here to do it. Tough luck if it doesn't profit Gus.

bartleby said...


What are Fremont's rules governing term limits? If Morrison was "termed out," how does he get to run again? Does Fremont have some kind of cooling off period after which you are eligible to run again?

Marine Layer said...

Morrison needed a 4-year break before running again.

From Fremont's municipal code:

Sec. 2-1107. Term limits.
(a) No mayor who has served terms comprising eight consecutive years as mayor shall be qualified for further service in that office until he or she has a break in service in that office of at least four years.
(b) No councilmember who has served terms comprising eight consecutive years as a councilmember shall be qualified for further service in that office until he or she has a break in service in that office of at least four years.
(c) The disqualifications imposed by this section shall not prevent a person who is disqualified from serving as mayor from serving as a councilmember or a person who is disqualified from serving as a councilmember from serving as mayor. However, any person who has served terms comprising sixteen consecutive years in the offices of mayor and councilmember shall be disqualified from further service in either office until he or she has a break in service from both offices of at least four years.
(d) Time spent in office while serving less than a full term shall not be counted in computing consecutive years in any office.
(e) Time spent in office prior to the enactment of this section shall not be counted in computing consecutive years in any office.
(f) In computing the number of years served, full, four-year terms shall count as four years of service even though the period encompassed by such terms may not be exactly four years in duration.
(Ord. No. 2210, § 1, 12-3-96; Ord. No. 2387, § 1, 6-27-00.)

Sec. 2-1108. Term of office for mayor and councilmembers.
The term of office for the mayor and each councilmember shall be four years.