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