Who Is Vinnie Bacon?
Who is Vinnie Bacon?
I grew up in Wisconsin and got an undergraduate degree in Zoology from UW-Milwaukee. I worked for a few years as an environmental engineer after college. Then I headed out west to the Bay Area where I’ve been for well over 30 years.
I completed a joint program at UC Berkeley earning Masters Degrees in Transportation Engineering and in City Planning. After graduate school, I worked for four years as a Transportation Engineer preparing environmental impact reports, traffic impact studies and transportation demand modeling analyses. As an engineer, I worked on several projects here in Fremont. Knowing what good planning is, I was surprised at the piecemeal development I saw being approved in Fremont. I failed to see a coherent vision being implemented.
Vinnie’s Involvement in Fremont Politics
Like many others, I moved to Fremont to start a family. For the first few years I lived here, I was preoccupied with raising my child and getting my high-tech career going. I did some work with the local PTA at my son’s school and became a member of the board of the Glenmoor Gardens Homeowners Association. I also became active with the local Sierra Club group taking on various leadership positions for over a decade.
The Patterson Ranch Development
In 2005, I got involved with the Patterson Ranch issue which got me interested in our City Council. Not surprisingly, I found that most Fremont residents did not want to see this area heavily developed. Unfortunately, the entire City Council at the time didn’t agree with their constituents on this issue which may have been due to the fact that the property owners contributed tens of thousands of dollars to four of them. I worked hard with the Friends of Coyote Hills for years to limit development next to Coyote Hills Regional Park. Ultimately, the City Council voted 5-0 in October 2010 to amend the General Plan and allow for nearly 600 homes to be built.
At the Council meeting where this was voted on many residents and I spoke against the project. It was approved despite numerous concerns that I believe weren’t adequately addressed. Those involved with Patterson Ranch realized that to make any change on this issue, we’d need to have our views represented on the City Council. That’s what ultimately inspired me to run for office in 2008. My method of campaigning was not to talk to the political establishment or the big money players but talking to residents about their concerns. I personally met and heard from literally thousands of Fremont residents. I learned a lot about what Fremont residents think and want. I got involved in several different Fremont issues. I’ve always been guided by what the residents want, as opposed to outside moneyed interests.
In 2009 I got involved with the Citizens for Neighborhood Integrity. We opposed the spending of public money on the Route 84 realignment project. This project proposes to build an unneeded roadway at a cost of over $200 million. At the Council meeting where this was voted on, many residents and I spoke against the project. Council approved it 5-0 despite the valid concerns that were raised.
In 2009, I also became a leader in the Fremont Citizens’ Network. This group of Fremont residents, largely from the Warm Springs area, formed when the City proposed a ballpark right near their neighborhood. I have always insisted that the City take an honest look at the costs and benefits of a ballpark. In my opinion, the City painted a rosy picture of how a ballpark would impact our economy and downplayed key concerns from the community. I was honored when my website was recognized by community activists as the best source of information on the ballpark issue.
Speaking to young environmentalists at a FIERCE event.
Mission Peak in the Snow
In 2010, I got involved with the Save Niles Canyon group. This group led the opposition against Caltrans’ proposed widening of Route 84 within Niles Canyon. I’ve met with local residents many times, participated in their protests, and attended meetings with Caltrans on this subject as a representative of the Sierra Club.
In 2011, I worked with the Save Kimber Park group, a group of local residents opposed to developing additional luxury housing in the Kimber Park area. I helped them gather signatures for their Open Space Initiative, and stood with them against the proposed rezoning of the open space in the middle of their neighborhood.
In 2012, I was elected to the Fremont City Council.
Vinnie and Jenny at the
Niles Canyon Stroll-n-Roll
I am married to attorney Jenny Kassan who was first elected to the Fremont City Council in 2018.
My son Patrick is 26 years old and currently pursuing a Masters degree in Data Science at UC Davis.
In my free time, I love biking, nature photography, playing ice hockey, and working in my backyard mini-farm growing all sorts of healthy food.
Raspberries, Kale and Arugula