Those who have the most economic interest in suppressing intrusion
are the most successful in prohibiting exposure from outsiders.
Fremont has entered into a perfect storm. Just as nature’s three weather occurrences came together in the movie, “A Perfect Storm”, orchestrated dysfunction in Fremont has created our own local perfect storm.
Rational solutions now can produce change for Fremont’s future.
1. Misinformation (Rudeness)
2. Wasting tax dollars (Financial Mismanagement)
3. Putting the residents in harm’s way (Contempt)
The dangerous impact of this perfect storm is that the safety of our residents and the security of our city have been reversed. We have gone from 23rd in rank for our resident’s safety to 59th. Our danger level has nearly tripled. Residents are being put directly in harms way like pawns on a chess board. Residents are being traumatized. People are being killed and more will happen, unless residents create the change in elected government. The following selected examples demonstrate how we residents can create change with resident-oriented elected leadership on the council. My commitment to you is to be the citizen’s candidate for this election. As the citizen’s councilmember I will protect you, respect you, and I will not neglect you.
This proposed utility tax (Measure L) is more invalid today than it was two years ago. It was defeated then and it needs to be defeated again. The proposed justifications are simply not true. The recession has diminished. The State is no longer siphoning city money – the siphoned amount was approximately $3,000,000.00 a year! This is only slightly more than 1% of the city’s cash flow. Why is the city government still pleading poverty with a cash flow around $250,000,000.00 a year? The existing council approved a 20% increase in our city budget for the last two years. The city’s financial reserves are still increasing by millions and they are still growing. More money does not cure bad management. Band-Aids only hide the bleeding. We residents must mandate the proper use for how our dollars are spent. Our core needs must be serviced first. For example, the present policy of waiting until this election to fix some potholes while money is wasted to surface streets that did not need repair is outrageous. Further, the residents nearest these streets did not even want the intrusion. The present council will claim success but the results show failure.
We cannot negotiate contracts that we cannot live up to. Successful contracts are a two way street. We must not create future liabilities without a clear source of indemnification. There are proven methods for guaranteeing future pension payments without creating future financial liabilities for the residents of Fremont. As a 40+ year member of The International Association of Bridge, Structural and Ornamental Ironworkers Union, I thoroughly understand the process of negotiated contracts and the procedures that must be followed. I understand benefits, future financial liabilities, and their relationship to wages. I also understand that the way we treat the people who work for and with our city reflects on our image. As The Teamsters Union Brotherhood always said, “A good day’s work for a good day’s pay”. This rational policy will create the best image for Fremont.
Brown Act Violations
The recent blatant Brown Act Violation is outrageous. There is a compelling inference that other procedural violations have occurred. The open meeting act is intended to build public trust and this arrogant disregard for protocol has alienated many residents and created distrust. Transparency in government is the essence of citizen satisfaction and successful government. The lawful process to correct the recent criminal malfeasance of the Brown Act Violation (non-response to burglar alarms) was to revoke the improper action by the council and city management, and start over. They did not. The present city council members and city management failed again to follow the law and instead, stood firm on an extremist decision that knowingly and willfully violated The Brown Act. This failure to function has placed the City of Fremont in court for legal resolution that could have been easily resolved at a council meeting. This ego-centered resistance to follow the law will happen again and again if we citizens do not compel lawful behavior by our present city council members and management. Every candidate for City Council is given a manual on how to comply with election law. The Brown Act is prominently featured and has a chapter all its own. The Brown Act stresses the importance of not having any serial meetings, which is exactly what the present council did in violating The Brown Act. At a public meeting they all admitted that they had serial meetings and their demeanor indicated that they were very proud of it. This is the worst kind of arrogance – abuse of the public’s trust.
Non-Response Burglar Alarm Policy
The no response alarm policy is a disaster. The new crime wave is overwhelming and getting worse. The criminal element has sensed this orchestrated chaos and dysfunction. Fremont victims are paying the price. We all know one of our business neighbors has paid with his life – murdered at his business in broad daylight on Fremont Boulevard, Fremont’s main street. Fremont was rated the 23rd safest city for its size in America. Today, only 18 months later, our danger level has nearly tripled. We are now ranked 59th in danger level, moving to the 60th plus level and worse. More money won’t make bad policies work. This specific disaster is the result of a historically-failed policy of non-response to a call for help. This policy has never been successful anywhere in America. It has long been discarded previous to the Fremont exposure. The reason it was previously discarded was because it was worse than unsuccessful. It creates escalating danger for the residents. We are already experiencing the escalating danger in Fremont. This must stop now and it begins with a public announcement that this policy is immediately reversed.
Disregard for Citizen Participation
A prior generation of local citizens now in their later years built a Pagoda in the city park and were willing to repair and maintain it at their expense. This offer was disregarded and the Pagoda was torn down. This is another example of city arrogance and it has to stop. When citizens are excited about participating only to be shunned by a city, it creates an atmosphere of apathy. They wonder, “Why should I keep offering to help? The city doesn’t care”. There are logistical issues like insurance and liability. However, they are easily fixed. We have a city attorney who should be able to draft a disclaimer. Every volunteer organization in the country successfully deals with this. Why can’t our city management solve this problem? The point in bringing up The Pagoda issue is that we want to have citizen involvement and when a city management team (staff and council) ignore the citizens, then we are clearly overdue for change. Gracious citizens who offer to help should be respected, not rejected. Without citizen involvement we lose the opportunity to participate, and municipal decisions are made without us. It is time for rational solutions for Fremont’s future.
The city maintains a practice of engaging consultants at large fees for projects not needed. Previously, professional city staff had been hired on the basis that they would perform these tasks. Their talents have been suppressed. In every consultant’s contract there is a “no promise of success” clause. This means they are not held accountable for the unintended consequences of their bad judgment. We citizens cannot even demand a refund. There are times when research and analysis for a proposed project is far beyond the ability of existing staff to develop. However, the key question must always be, ”What is the real need or value of the proposed project to be studied”? When these proposed projects are first discussed by council in public sessions that is the time for the public input. If there is no public support for the ideas, there is no reason to study further.