January 11, 2011 > Dutra returns to Fremont council
Dutra returns to Fremont council
Following a brief ceremony on Tuesday, January 4 in city council chambers, Dominic Dutra was sworn into office by his wife, Lisa as their daughter Tricia and son Gabriel stood by. Mr. Dutra settled into his seat on the dais as an appointed councilmember and recalled his election in 2002 to serve a four-year term on the Fremont City Council. This time Dutra is filling a two-year vacancy created when Bob Wieckowski left to become the 20th District California Assembly Member.
Pledging to complete Wieckowski's term of office without seeking reelection, Dutra noted that although some thought him crazy to volunteer during one of the toughest economic challenges that has ever faced Fremont, he wanted to offer his services as a "concerned" citizen. He is convinced that "the path the City is currently on is simply not sustainable" and a "restructure of the City" is the only solution to the current financial crisis including a "comprehensive analysis of our current delivery service model."
According to Dutra, the current model is "broken" and "unsustainable" He noted that Fremont is not alone in this predicament; many other cities are facing the same issues. "In light of today's realities, it is absolutely unrealistic to assume that the slow growing or unpredictable economy will save us or that the State [of California] will do anything other than take more money away from the cities or that citizens, at least at this point, will support a tax to help us get through our current challenges."
To overcome obstacles facing the City of Fremont, Dutra said that the council needed muster the "moral courage to stand up and do the right thing." With what he called one of the most "exciting and dynamic new development models" and "historic opportunities," especially in the NUMMI/Warm Springs area, Dutra noted that economic growth, not just business growth, is the engine of recovery. It should be recognized that Fremont is a world class destination for education of children and its development as a hub of "Green Tech and Clean Tech" can be a positive focus for the future.
Vowing to face tough decisions and confront the City with the reality of expenses that outpace revenue, Dutra said he can focus all his energy on these problems without interference from political motives or campaign rhetoric. The top priority and "the number one reason why I am here," according to Dutra is to bring the budget under control. "With 92 percent of our budget expenditures dedicated to public safety and maintenance, we simply cannot meet our budget challenges without also instituting a multi-year phased strategy for restructuring employee compensation including adjusting the city's post-employment benefit liabilities." He concluded that "there is nothing else to do but act and this is the time to do it."
In summary, Dutra admitted to a selfish reason for asking to sit on the council: "I honestly believe we have an historic opportunity to make a difference in this city if we face our challenges squarely and act with both vision and courage."