I’m very proud of the things that I accomplished as a City Councilmember. I made more referrals than any of my City Council colleagues. Referrals are really the only way that Councilmembers can have additional items come before the Council. All of these referrals were requested by members of the community. I was glad to accommodate the many members of the public who had been frustrated that Council would not consider an item that was very important to them.

Affordable Housing

  • Have voted consistently in favor of high quality affordable housing projects.
  • Advocated to increase the amount of affordable housing at Warm Spring BART (the majority of the Council did not support this effort).


  • I was a strong supporter of the Homeless Navigation Center, consistently advocating for it until it was finally approved unanimously.

Environmental Protection and Open Space

  • Made a referral to have staff investigate how we can address the risks posed by oil rail cars coming through Fremont. Vote was unanimous to have staff investigate this. When staff returned with its recommendation, Council voted to advocate against an oil refinery spur extension in San Luis Obispo County.
  • Made a referral to have staff analyze potential changes to the building code to encourage the use of solar panels. The Council gave direction to staff to analyze the issue.
  • Advocated to prevent a profit-oriented events facility at the California Nursery Historical Park.
  • Made a referral to have the City Council formally oppose a proposed extension of the open hours of the Stanford Avenue entrance to Mission Peak. Council unanimously agreed to make a recommendation to the East Bay Regional Park District Board Operations Committee.
  • Based on a request from a group of young environmentalists, made a referral to have the City Council consider banning plastic straws in Fremont. Council unanimously agreed to have staff analyze the issue. Council unanimously directed staff to return with a draft ordinance within approximately six months.
  • Supported a safer, more direct route for train traffic through Fremont (the South Bay Connect project).

Historic Preservation

  • Successfully fought to preserve the Historical Architectural Review Board (HARB) when the Mayor proposed to eliminate it (Salwan voted to eliminate HARB)
  • Fought to preserve historic buildings at Ardenwood Historic Farm consistent with HARB’s decision (the majority of the Council voted to allow the demolition)

Funding for Local Nonprofits 

  • Advocated for increased funding to Abode Services and Shelter Against a Violent Environment (SAVE) – I was the lone vote for this higher level of funding (In 2020, my opponent in the County Supervisor race distorted this vote by claiming that I voted against funding for these organizations even though my “no” vote was due to my belief that MORE funding was warranted).
  • Advocated for funding for Local Ecology and Agriculture in Fremont (LEAF) – the rest of the Council did not support this effort)
  • Made a referral to establish a $100,000 budget allocation to provide funding for Fremont nonprofit organizations. The Council voted unanimously to have staff investigate potential criteria and selection process, but then declined to take action to establish the program.
  • Made a referral in 2019 to fund the Fourth of July parade in the amount of $25,000. Council unanimously approved funding the parade at an annual amount of $25,000.
  • Made a referral to fund the Festival of India Parade. Council unanimously asked staff to come back with a proposal for a $25,000 sponsorship of the parade and to establish a fund for future events. Based on my referral, staff proposed a Special Events Sponsorship Program. A grant funding program was set to be effective July 1, 2020. It was approved unanimously.

Pedestrian Safety

  • Supported Vision Zero to improve pedestrian safety (this was unanimously adopted by the City Council).

Renter Protection

  • Made a referral to have staff explore options for rent stabilization. A large number of speakers spoke about the high rents in Fremont. Council approved the referral to have staff research the various options. After approximately two years of delay, Council directed staff not to implement any renter protections but instead to establish a non-binding rent review process. I was the lone ‘no’ vote on the resolution.
  • When Council established the Rent Review Board, I argued against seating a Board member that was a developer that had spoken before Council in the past who clearly was not neutral as required by the ordinance. Instead of removing him from the Board they assigned him to be an alternate. I was the lone ‘no’ vote in approving the Board.
  • In 2019, staff recommended a number of tenant protections to address the growing homelessness crisis. A spokesperson from the Rental Housing Association (RHA) said they only agreed with some of the proposed changes (Items 1, 3, 6, 7 and 8). Council made a motion to approve only those changes that the RHA said they agreed with. The vote was 5-2 in favor with Councilmember Kassan and myself voting no because we wanted to accept all of the staff’s recommendations. The items that Council did not vote for due to opposition from the RHA were:
    • Relocation assistance
    • Source of income discrimination
    • Requiring evidence to explain the rationale for rent increases in excess of 5%

Prop 13 Reform (Fair Tax on Commercial Property)

  • Proposition 13 limited increases on property tax. These increases apply to big commercial property owners. Because commercial properties are held for much longer periods, they pay very little property tax which makes it challenging to fund all of the needs of local government. For that reason, I have advocated for many years to reform Proposition 13 so that large commercial property owners do not get the same tax benefits that homeowners do.
  • In 2016, I made a referral to review possible reforms to the commercial portion of Proposition 13. Council decided to take no action.
  • In 2019, I made a referral to endorse a statewide proposition called the Schools and Communities Act that would have required large commercial property owners to pay their fair share of property tax. The vote was 4-3 in favor with Mayor Mei and Councilmembers Jones and Shao voting no. Since more than a simple majority is required to endorse a ballot measure (2/3 is required), my proposal did not pass. I brought the referral back to Council in 2020. The item passed 3-2 with Councilmembers Jones and Shao voting no. (Councilmembers Salwan and Keng recused themselves.)

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

  • In 2017, I made a referral to have the City of Fremont implement sanctuary city status. The police department stated that it would have no practical effect on their practices. Numerous speakers came and unanimously voiced their approval of the referral. The resolution was unanimously approved.
  • The Human Relations Commission recommended that the City reaffirm its adoption of a Compassionate City Charter and adopt it as an additional “vision” statement for Fremont. I strongly supported this and the recommendation was unanimously adopted.

Good Government

  • In 2017, the City adopted districts for City Council elections. One of the sitting Councilmembers who had been appointed to his seat (Bonaccorsi) argued for a district map that was very irregularly shaped that would prevent him from having to run against another elected councilmember (Jones). This was clear gerrymandering that Bonaccorsi admitted was to preserve his seat on the Council. The vote was 3-2 to adopt the gerrymandered map with Lily Mei and myself voting no.
  • In 2018, the City Manager proposed a change to the Council Handbook to restrict the number of referrals that a Councilmember can make. This was obviously directed at me as I had made more referrals than any other Councilmembers. A number of residents speak out against this. Council decides to take no action.

Minimum Wage

  • In 2018, I made a referral to increase the minimum wage in Fremont. Council unanimously directed staff to proceed with a study of the issue. When staff returned with a report, a motion was made to have staff return to Council with a report in three or four months. I was the lone ‘no’ vote because I did not see any reason to delay action on this matter.
  • In 2019, the item came back to Council and was adopted unanimously with an exemption for employees under the age of twenty-one.
  • Two months later, an amendment to the minimum wage ordinance was proposed to exempt non-profit corporations. The motion to amend the ordinance was approved on a 5-2 vote with Councilmember Kassan and myself voting no. I felt the people working at a non-profit organization are in need of a minimum wage just like everyone else.
  • In 2020, Vice Mayor Jones made a referral to delay the minimum wage increase due to COVID. I was opposed to the delay and a majority of the Council voted against it.

Socially Responsible Investing

  • In 2019, Councilmember Kassan made a referral to add Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria to the City’s investment activities. A motion was made to not implement this. The motion passed 5-2 with Councilmember Kassan and myself casting the ‘no’ votes.


  • In 2018 I made a referral to allow for marijuana delivery within the City of Fremont. Council unanimously directed staff to investigate what the policies are in nearby cities. When staff returned with information on implementing marijuana delivery within Fremont, a motion was made to take no action to allow marijuana delivery. The motion passed 3-2 with Councilmember Bonaccorsi and I voting no.