Fremont's City Hall chambers--not really much of a hall, really, nor a chambers--was packed Friday night to hear from mayoral candidates Mayor Bill Harrison and Vice Mayor Lily Mei. Growth, whether smart, dumb, or ravenous, is definitely on the minds of Fremonters this November. When Harrison, a first-term mayor, said he would not take a pledge against accepting campaign contributions from developers, members of the audience, presumably Mei supporters (she does not accept developer dollars), derisively laughed at him. Harrison appeared blindsided by the guffaws for a full minute while his challenger answered another question. But that wasn't the only embarrassing moment Friday night. At the conclusion of the roughly 45-minute candidates forum, Harrison rose from his seat and turned to shake Mei's hand, but instead she stayed seated and bent over, momentarily disappearing from the audience's vantage point as Harrison stood awkwardly with his outstretched hand. When asked if Harrison thought Mei had dissed him on the dais, he said, "I thought so, but whatever." Afterwards, Mei dismissed the diss. "It's not like that." She later explained that she was reaching down for the water bottle she placed under the desk. "Our water bottles were next to each other. I thought he was reaching for his," she said. These types of incidents tend to occur whenever a sitting councilmember challenges an incumbent mayor. They also tend to spill out during City Council meetings, too.
Oakland Council President Lynette Gibson
McElhaney, right, with challenger Noni Session
during a forum in August.
Rep. Eric Swalwell and Assemblymember
Catharine Baker last week.