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Political outsider to make second bid for Fremont council
By Matthew Artz
Oakland Tribune, Jan 20, 2010

FREMONT — Vinnie Bacon has been preparing for a 2010 City Council bid ever since he surpassed expectations in the 2008 race.

Now he has made his candidacy official.

Bacon, a 48-year-old technology worker, joins Mission San Jose High School senior Ishan Shah as the only announced challengers to incumbent council members Bill Harrison and Anu Natarajan. Harrison said he plans to seek re-election in November, while Natarajan said she hasn't decided whether to seek a second term.

Bacon, a political newcomer, finished a surprising third in the crowded 2008 field, besting one candidate who had a lot more money and establishment support.

"It was so much fun last time," Bacon said of campaigning. "We really did build up a community-based campaign that nobody has seen in Fremont before."

Bacon, who in 2008 refused to accept campaign contributions from developers, said Fremont has allowed too many homes and shopping centers, while failing to attract companies that pay good salaries.

In 2008, he opposed both a subdivision planned for land adjacent to Coyote Hills Regional Park and the A's ballpark village plan.  Bacon already has come out against the city's most recent attempt to lure the A's to a new South Fremont site on land owned by the soon-to-be-shuttered NUMMI auto plant. Bacon doubts a ballpark will spur development on the nearly 400-acre NUMMI site, and fears that it could make the location less attractive to manufacturers. 

"Tell me the type of businesses that want to locate close to a ballpark. Restaurants and bars," he said.

Bacon remains a long shot given that he is expected to face two better-funded incumbents, and Fremont hasn't elected a City Council challenger over an incumbent since 1989.

But the A's ballpark proposal could help Bacon build a strong base of stadium opponents to make him viable.

"There's enough dissatisfaction out there," former Mayor Gus Morrison said.

Bacon, who contributed about $30,000 to his 2008 campaign, finished third behind incumbent Bob Wieckowski and Suzanne Chan, who each were elected to the council.

 

 

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