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.