Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Salwan Appointed To Fremont City Council; Fills Out Mayor Harrison’s Term

Dr. Raj Salwan
FREMONT | For the third time in two years, the Fremont City Council has appointed a new member to its brethren. The five-member council chose local Democratic stalwart Raj Salwan Monday night to serve the remaining two years of newly-elected Mayor Bill Harrison’s council seat.

Salwan, a Fremont planning commissioner and chair of the Tri Cities Democratic Forum, beat out a strong field of candidates with notable political experience that included David Bonaccorsi, Yogi Chugh and John Dutra, the son of the former assemblyman of the same name.

Monday’s appointment follows unforeseen changes in the councils makeup—some positive, some sad. In 2011, Dominic Dutra, another of the Dutra brood, was appointed to fill out Bob Wieckowski’s term when he was elected to the then-20th Assembly seat (redistricted as the 25th).

Gus Morrsion was tabbed as a placeholder in early 2012 to serve the remaining 10 months of Mayor Bob Wasserman term, who passed away the previous December. Harrison beat fellow Councilmember Anu Natarajan and Steven Cho in the mayoral race last November.

During the past November elections, it was Salwan’s direct and blunt criticism of Mary Hayashi that led the Tri Cities Democrats to admonish her run for Alameda County supervisor and signaled to some the once-feared assemblywoman had lost her grip on the local party faithful.

The addition of Salwan also continues Fremont’s recent tradition of having one of the most diverse councils in the East Bay and he becomes the second member of the city’s burgeoning Indo American community to this council. In addition to Indo Americans Salwan and Natarajan, the council also consists of Suzanne Lee Chan, Vinnie Bacon and Mayor Harrison. However, it was Natarajan, who registered the lone dissenting vote against Salwan Monday night.


  1. Steve thanks for posting this story. Yes, how unfortunate of Natarajan to vote against Dr. Salwan. In instances like these, she almost always gets it wrong. Remember, in 2010, the last time she got to vote for an appointment, she ranked the two Indo-American candidates dead last. Instead, she recruited Dominic Dutra, a corporate developer, to apply for the vacancy, and she helped lead the effort to get him appointed.

    If it were up to her, she would be the only Indo-American elected in all of the land, so that she would never have to share the spotlight with anyone.

    Incredibly selfish and shortsighted.

    Good luck to Dr. Salwan, he is a hard working community leader, and has helped to pave a positive pathway for future diverse leadership.

    Also, thank you Councilmember Sue Chan. Your leadership has been truly appreciated.

  2. While you continue this tirade, maybe you should tell the whole story of how incredibly selfish and self centered Salwan was in working against Anu and the Indo community when she ran for Mayor. You cant have it both ways now, can you?

  3. We do not need to make this post about Anu being anti Indian or not.. this public bashing of social workers without background and context is atrocious and detrimental for progress of any society..i have worked with Anu very closely and found her completely aligned with our community needs, however no one should support a candidate to ONLY favor the community, i think her choice has been more deserving vs non deserving..

  4. 10:57 please don't insult our intelligence.

    First of all, the Indian community, contrary to popular belief, consists of more than just Japra, Roy, Khanna, and Chugh. Wow! What a concept!

    To insist that anyone was "working against the Indian Community" in the Mayors Race would suggest that the entire community was aligned behind Natarajan. They were clearly not.

    Mayor Harrison enjoyed tremendous support from the Indian, Chinese, and Afghan communities. He had the broadest coalition of any of the Mayoral candidates, including business and labor. That broad coalition of support is why he's Mayor today.

    Dr. Salwan did not endorse in the Mayor's race. Although, as Democratic Party Chairman, he is charged with the main duty of supporting all of the endorsed Democrats. Harrison received the endorsement of the Democratic Party.

    And most importantly, please don't forget, it was Anu that started a miscalculated war against the Indian community, when she decided, in 2010, to rank the only two Indian candidates for the Council appointment dead last. Not 2nd, or 3rd, or even 4th, but dead last. She showed, in that instance, that she had no respect for either of those two up-and-coming leaders from the Indian community. She didn't give either one of them a shot. She drew the line in the sand at that point, she decided who she wanted to work with (the Dutras), and who she wanted to work against (the Indian community and the Democratic Party). That's what she, and apparently, her team of followers still don't understand 'till this day (or, perhaps, you refuse to acknowledge).

    She cannot blame anyone else but herself, for the end result.

  5. I am saddened by anonymous's statement that "Remember, in 2010, the last time she got to vote for an appointment, she ranked the two Indo-American candidates dead last" I believe that Anu's action in those cases bluntly proves that she rises above a discriminatory practice of only considering those of the same ethnic makeup. I would think if a Caucasian council member were to make or suggest such a consideration, how it would be viewed by the community would surly lead to a demand of resignation from council. Why would anonymous even think that Anu would compromise the trust the public has put in her by even considering ones qualifications for council by ethnicity? Additionally, I agree with Ena above, as my work in the community has proven Anu to be aligned with community needs.

  6. ....and anonymous....please identify yourself to add credibility to your statements. Hiding in the shadows simply compromises your position and lend zero credibility.

  7. Ena thank you for your generous words.
    Unfortunately, they can't be reconciled with Anu's actions on Monday night. She voted NO against Salwan, even when he was the clear leader for appointment candidate. Even when he ranked highest among the group. She also could have abstained. But she went even further. It is an insult to the Indian community, many of their shared friends, and to our City. She has sent him a direct signal that she is not willing or able to work with him for the betterment of our community. That is truly a disappointment.

  8. I don't even know why this has turned into a conversation about Anu. (anonymous has an axe to grind apparently) We should simply focus on what the appointment means to our city. I do believe that Bill's appointment of Raj is good for our small business community as Raj is a small business owner and Bill an accountant who understands the finances and therefore difficulties of being in business. I look forward to having advocates for small business on council. (Anu and Sue have also been very responsive to the small business community and value our contributions to building a quality community) Therefore, anonymous needs to focus on moving forward and working with all council members, she needn't be grinding an axe to stir trouble. IMHO

  9. Mr. Lorenz, It seems like that was in response to Anon 10:57 pm accusation that Salwan was somehow working against the entire Indian community in the Mayor's race.
    Why don't you come to Salwan's defense, as well? Particularly since you seem to be so sensitive to grand sweeping arguments.
    If the theme of the argument is support of the Indian Community, which 10:57 pm suggested it was, then it is certainly not unreasonable to recall Anu's own actions in 2010. Unfortunately, 10:57 pm suggests that Salwan was expected to fully come out and endorse Anu for Mayor, particularly because she is Indian and he is Indian.
    We are simply stating that, if that assumption should hold true for all members of the Indian Community, then it was Anu Natarajan who first broke that bond.
    So Mr. Lorenz, please also correct 10:57 pm's attack on Salwan. If ethnicity/community are not a factor, then Salwan should have also been free to choose who he felt was the best candidate for Mayor in 2012. Correct?

  10. Mr Anonymous, please find a name so we can address to you directly.. well, i happen to know a little about our community due to my tireless work in building a platform that the community can rejoice share and learn from, i am NOT into politics and endorsements. And therefore this post saddened me to comprehend that instead of rejoicing Mr Salwan's victory we are making it all about how Anu is against the community when i believe she is not. We dont need to make it worse for anyone who wants to make a space for themselves in the community.

  11. Anu is a vindictive politician who chooses to punish those who are against her. Salwan should be free to choose who he thinks is best for the council and not be called selfish if he doesn't get on the Indo-American bus for Anu. This is pluaralistic society and everyone is free to make their own choices.

    Anu can't have it both ways. She can't on one hand not support Indo-Americans, yet on the other hand say that Salwan was selfish for not supporting an Indo-American. If anyone is selfish, it is Anu Natarajan. She publicly stated that she did not think there was room for another Indo-American or a woman on council and has been saying that since 2008 by blocking anyone who tries. Sorry Anu, you weren't appointed the Queen of all Indo-Americans. You were appointed to serve others.

  12. Personally, what concerns me most is that Harrison put a Republican with no business or city commission experience as his second choice. Why?

  13. Everyone needs to move on including Anu Natarajan.

  14. Well Anonymous, its not in the best interest of anyone to use such harsh words for others in a public forums.. and thats why perhaps you choose to remain Anonymous.. Let me tell you when we say good things about someone, it doesn't mean we are saying bad about his or her opponent, however when you say such substandard things about someone you debase yourself..you don't win anything by berating someone in public forums...my two cents.

  15. Hey folks, Anonymous is not qualified to speak on behalf of the Indian community. She needs to focus on her job and keep out of introducing this dirty politics in Fremont. As it is we are tired of sme of the stupid Democrats meddling in Fremont politics, particularly in non-partisan politics and siding with one Democrat against another. As a fellow Indian, I can vouch that all the three, Anu, Yogi and Raj meet very regularly to share their views and they are very good friends. I say so because I have had the honor to also attend such meetings out in the open such as at Panera or Peet's etc. So let us cut this out. Yes Ena, you also know a lot about the Indian community because of your background. So anonymous needs to stop her posts and not treat these folks like she treated Garrett Yee, another member of the minority of the minority and a very very fine patriot. And Anonymous needs to smarten up and realize that Sue Chan is a very smart and intelligent person, very capable of seeing through this game.

  16. What does Sue Chan have to do with anything?

  17. Chinmoy you are aware that many of the "anonymous" comments on here are posting by different people using the same tags. It's not the same person.

    So Chinmoy, now you're planting the seed about your early support for Garrett Yee? He's a lifelong republican. Just because he's a Service man doesn't mean he is the best candidate to run. For anything.

  18. Reading all the above comments, what I find strange is that if you are going to engage in political debate or discussion, expressing your thoughts and views. then posting anonymous comments seems cowardly and comes across as if you are afraid and not quite sure of your views. Politics involves open debate. Maybe as you (anonymous) put it, Natarajan's vote against Salwan was not to your liking. However Ms Natarajan is an elected member of the council and was elected to exercise her views and lead. Perhaps she thought that in this instance voting for Salwan was not in the best interest of Fremont. Surely her views are permissible as an independent leader?!
    Ms Natarajan took an oath when she came to office to exercise her best judgment as she deems fit. In the same way our newly elected council member Raj Salwan will do the same. Surely in a democracy we elect leaders and not followers of communities.
    This whole question of dividing a community is inappropriate at this juncture.
    Just because someone is of a particular nationality does not mean they have to only support people of the same nationality. Natarajan represents all of Fremont and not just Indo-Americans.
    We wish Raj Salwan and Anu the very best always.
    Rennu and Gill

  19. There is only one post that is posted in the name of Anonymous that is not you. The rest are all by you. As I said, you have no business in splitting the Indian community. Take your non sense politics elsewhere. You seem to have selective heartburns against Republicans. There was no heartburn when the Democrats lobbied and recruited Japra from the Republican party and shamelessly took his $5000 check. There was no heartburn when our Mayor was sworn in by a Republican turned Democrat.

    And you wonder what Sue got to do? You should devote more time in re reading your posts instead of spending your time spewing nonsense here. YOu will hopefully then figure out what Sue has got to do. As I said, just keep your hands off the Indian community. You are not an Indian and hence know nothing about the Indian community. As I said, Yogi, Anu, Raj and I meet frequently over coffee. And many who live here in Fremont, unlike you, knows this since we do so in public view. At one time during our meeting, our Mayor along with former Mayor (Mr. Wasserman) bumped into us.

    SO JUST KEEP OFF THE INDIAN COMMUNITY because you had not even graduated from high school when some of us got involved with Fremont politics and in the service of the community (Dutra Sr.) and the country. (Garrett Yee).

  20. Rennu and Gill, nice to see you folks again, this time over here. I read the Argus on why Anu voted the way she did. I even talked to her and she confirmed what she told Argus. I even spoke with Raj this morning and he wondered who is spreading all this nonsense. Raj even told me that after his appointment, Anu and he shook hands. These are very very refined folks, not someone from the dungeons of society. And what a fine response from Yogi last night when we talked. His response "What happens happens for the good. The best person got appointed and I will run in 2014, family permitting." But sad to see the Democratic party in the city, the same folks who run a anti-Dutra campaign, a anti-Chinese campaign and now a anti-Indian campaign persist with their non sense. so hats off to the three of them (Anu, Raj and Yogi) and to all the others who are on the Council including our Mayor.

  21. Everyone is allowed to visit this site and post comments and opinions. If you don't like the discussion or exchanges, stay off the site.

  22. You mean everyone has the right to blurt out non sense, pure crap and be uncivilized. Everyone has a right to come and attempt to sow seeds of racial discord? Again another piece of non sense. This is my last post to you.

  23. At least the rest of us have the courage and guts to state our name.. most cowardly act to be anonymous and then bash someone.
    Politics is dirty but not cowardly! I am friends with both Anu and Raj, and may the best candidate win always. Who would have ever imagined America would have an African American President.
    So Anonymous.. get real and stop stooping so low.

  24. Mr Anonymous, that proves my point, when you bash someone in public, you win nothing.. you disgrace no one BUT yourself.. next time you want to be squared, confront the person directly.. do not use a public forum..

  25. Anonymous 7:27pm
    You need to start going to the gym.
    24 Hour Fitness has a special going on. Hint Hint.

  26. No one has the right to judge Anu...why she voted the way she did. Appointment is a very complex issue and a lot of factors have to be considered, not only the candidates experience, his community involvement, his character, his stand on issues, his knowledge of the city, etc. It is very easy to post and make comments sitting on the side lines.
    So, i say, stop all this nonsense and move on.

  27. The Argus asks her about her dissenting vote, and she responds by saying she was confused by the ranking system. That confusion resulted in her voting no on the motion to appoint the candidate with the highest number of points. In 2010 when she was questioned, she said she also choked and mistakenly ranked both Chugh and Salwan last.

  28. Anonymous 5:03pm.
    Have you looked at yourself in the mirror? Start working out.

  29. 932 am not sure they are judging, it appears that some are simply curious. an earlier poster suggested salwan was not supporting the indian community by not supporting natarajan in the mayor election. and others suggest natarajan was doing the same when she refused to support salwan. if it applies to one, then it applies to both.