Expanded Fremont City Council gets three new members

A historic election in Fremont Tuesday saw three new members added to its newly expanded seven-person, district-based City Council.

Business owner Teresa Keng posted a decisive victory in District 1, as did Jennifer Kassan in District 3. Kassan, the spouse of current Councilmember Vinnie Bacon topped appointed Councilmember David Bonaccors

In somewhat of a surprise, Niles community leader Robert Daulton is winning a narrow lead over Fremont school board member Yang Shao and three other candidates in District 4.

UPDATE: Results updated by the Alameda County Registrar of Voters Saturday evening show a major swing in the vote. Shao overtook Daulton after gaining a net 101 votes.

Daulton’s campaign had little institutional support or money, but perhaps sneaked up on a race that was dominated by Shao and opposition to his campaign from LGBT groups and Fremont teachers.

Councilmember Rick Jones, meanwhile, cruised to victory in District 2, beating two challengers.

Keng, Jones, Kassan, and Daulton join, current Councilmembers Raj Salwan, Bacon, and Mayor Lily Mei to form Fremont’s first seven-person City Council.

Fremont’s move to district-based elections and an expansion of the council did not come on its own. The threat of a lawsuit by a Southern California attorney earlier this year alleged Fremont’s at-large electoral system violated the state’s Voting Rights Act because it hindered Latinos from gaining office.

An opinion from the Fremont City Attorney’s Office found the lawsuit could be costly for the city to defend. The council later opted to slice Fremont into six proportional districts and create a schedule for filling each district over the next two years.

Salwan and Bacon are technically at-large councilmembers, which is the reason why Bacon and Kassan will be able to serve together for only the next two years when Bacon is termed out of office.

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