November 9, 2004 > Editorial - Fremont Faces Council Challenge
Editorial - Fremont Faces Council Challenge
Now that the general election is over, some important housekeeping items remain. Newark City Council faces the task of filling an empty seat as does the Fremont City Council. While the faces of four Newark councilmembers remain the same and bode well for an appointment that will be in harmony with the general direction of the city, the same is not so clear in Fremont.
In a previous editorial of this paper, prior to the election, I said that new faces on the city council of Fremont would be a good thing. A change of two positions out of five councilmembers may do much to remove the stigma of inattention to the workings of the city and poorly planned, incomplete action to solve the financial situation. The sooner a new councilmember is appointed either until the next general election or a special election, the better Fremont will be prepared to create stability and prove it can move beyond posturing and ineffective government.
While change can be a good thing, it can also bring challenges as well. Mayor-elect Wasserman has said that he does not necessarily favor filling the vacant seat with the next-highest vote by the electorate. The reasoning is that if he had left his seat to run for office, others might have put their hat in the ring. I don't buy that argument since a seat was vacated by Bill Pease and anyone interested in serving on the council had the opportunity to show their willingness to serve.
If someone has taken the time, effort, and money needed to run for office, it is a clear indication of intent. If voters give a significant number of votes to a candidate for that office, it demonstrates a constituency - the election proves voters intent too. There is no room for back room deals or favors in Fremont. If an appointment is made, look to the voters. If someone else would have run for that seat, if vacant, let them come forward in a special or general election and appeal to the voters at that time.
Dirk Lorenz garnered a significant number of votes, losing to a much better financed and slick campaign run with ads that were a bit disingenuous. The unofficial results listed at the Alameda County website indicate that Steve Cho was a clear winner and has a mandate for another four years on council. The second open seat was a closer contest separated by approximately 1,650 votes. When you consider that John Fulgham, who did not campaign or show himself during the process received over 3,500 votes, a difference of 1,600 is not large. In fact, according to Alameda County, it represents less than 2% of the votes cast for council. The results can be viewed at www.acgov.org
It seems fair and honest to appoint Dirk Lorenz to council until another election is held. Mr. Mayor, start your new office with a appointment recommendation that is clear and can be substantiated by pointing to your constituents. Submit Dirk Lorenz as your choice for councilmember.