Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon

When Fremont Councilmember Vinnie Bacon appeared to be gloating last week about the city’s most recent electoral results that flew under the banner of an insurgent call for slow-growth, Councilmember Raj Salwan couldn’t take it anymore and he may have been voicing the complaints of many Alameda County Democrats.

“This was a change election, not just in Fremont, but all over the Bay Area,” Salwan responded during the discussion last Tuesday to appoint a new member to the Fremont City Council. “I don’t see this how you see it.”

Salwan, won a return to the Fremont City Council last November, as did Bacon and Lily Mei, who moved up to mayor after defeating the incumbent and establishment-backed Bill Harrison.

Fremont Councilmember Raj Salwan

After numerous motions to select Mei’s replacement on the council failed, Bacon at one point reiterated that the results of the election proved Fremont desires slower growth. Bacon and Mei blamed new housing developments for increased traffic congestion, while highlighting support for candidates like themselves, who eschewed accepting campaign contributions from developers.

Salwan’s stern comments were a bit surprising for the typically mild-mannered Fremont veterinarian. Instead, he offered a greater factor for the results was high name-identification of the winning candidates.

Bacon and Mei’s strategy during the campaign to blame the city’s newer developments for growing traffic issues, in addition, to resting the blame on Harrison is “wholly inaccurate,” said Salwan. “I don’t see it as a mandate. I thought it was a very close election.”

But the re-litigating of the November election continued when Salwan charged that Bacon double-crossed a political ally named Cullen Tiernan, who ran in the November council election and was also an applicant for the open council position last Tuesday night. “If you had a mandate, Cullen Tiernan would be here and not me,” Salwan lashed out.

Bacon appeared willing to respond to Salwan’s comments, but demurred, calling the comments “not appropriate,” before successfully motioning for former Fremont planning commissioner David Bonaccorsi to get the council appointment.

However, in the larger scope, Bacon has become a dissident within the Alameda County Democratic Party over the past year. During the November election campaign Bacon was publicly vocal about a belief the Alameda County Democratic Central Committee was conspiring against an endorsement of his re-election campaign. On social media in September, he then announced he would not seek the endorsement. Then, just days before Election Day, Bacon made the unusual charge of saying the central committee was funneling tens of thousands of dollars from developers to Harrison’s campaign.

In addition, his strong support for Mei, a political independent that most county Democrats essentially view as a Republican, also upset many party insiders, or, at least, made them leery of Bacon’s intentions.