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November 9, 2004 > Interview with Fremont Mayor-elect Wasserman

Interview with Fremont Mayor-elect Wasserman

Following the November 2nd General Election, Fremont voters elected Councilmember Bob Wasserman to the position of Mayor. TCV asked Mr. Wasserman for preliminary comments following his election.

TCV: What are the priorities for this council?

Wasserman: I think the priorities are very clear. The number one thing that we have to attack is the budget problem. We have to find answers to that. Measure V didn't pass so we have to find ways of getting through the short term while developing strategies for the long term. One of our strategies will probably be another tax measure, but this time my thoughts are that we will do a better job of planning and get people involved with a lot of finger prints on the proposal before we go to the people.

TCV: Are you still thinking of a general tax, like a utility tax, or are you looking at a parcel tax for police and fire?

Wasserman: I think we're open on that. That's one of the things we have to do. The whole council has to get involved and come up with a cohesive plan. There are pros and cons whichever way we go.

TCV: Do you think that this is going to be a unified council?

Wasserman: I'm very confident that we'll be a good working council. When I say that I don't mean to say that we're going to always be 5:0, but I think we're going to be a council that has a willingness to stick together. That's what's really important. There will always be issues for us to disagree about and that's healthy, but when we start fighting each other for partisan reasons or for other reasons disconnected to the issues, that's when we get in trouble.

TCV: You have one seat open now. Do you see that being an appointment followed by a special election, or waiting until the general election?

Wasserman: My choice is an appointment that goes to the general election because we avoid the expense of a special election and we don't have to go through another campaign. I think we have to be positive and build for the future. That's why I would like to avoid going through another campaign.

TCV: Do you see filling the vacant seat through appointment as simply a process of casting a net and looking at who you and the others on the council feel is qualified or looking at the recent council race and considering the person with the next highest vote total?

Wasserman: Historically, in Fremont and in most other cities do not go to the next highest vote recipient. If I had abandoned my office before the race and left three openings, it could have been a whole different picture. Different people may have run for office. So, just to say that someone came close is not an all-encompassing thing. It certainly earns him some consideration, but not a sure thing seat.

TCV: What happens while there are four councilmembers and a vote splits 2:2?

Wasserman: It is not likely that there will be four of us for a long time, because either we'll appoint someone or have a special election. Even if we have a special election, we would probably appoint an interim.

TCV: But, what does a 2:2 vote mean?

Wasserman: 2:2 is a no.

TCV: 2:2 means that you can't get a majority?

Wasserman: Yes. So, it's really no different than a 2:3 in many ways. The danger is that if you have something that's really, really important, you'd better not have a 2:2. I don't think that that would happen. Normally that's not a problem. When we've had a 2:2 in the past, it's usually been on non-essential things.

TCV: How do you see your style differing from Gus [Morrison]? What can we look for that might be a different at council meetings?

Wasserman: I've never had a problem with the way Gus runs meetings and as far as what will be seen publicly, there may not be a whole lot of difference. I think I might try to be a little more formal, maybe move it along more. Behind the scenes I think that I would be somewhat different than Gus. I'm a person that likes to bring consensus. I think you will see subtle differences.

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