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November 8, 2016 — California General Election
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November 8, 2016 —California General Election

City of Fremont — ” Raj Salwan, Candidate for City Council

Photo of Raj Salwan

Raj Salwan

Veterinarian/Businessperson/Father
23,391 votes (21.28%)Winning
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  • Traffic congestion is a serious problem facing our community. We have certain pockets all over the city that are facing severe gridlock during commute hours. I will make fighting traffic congestion a top priority and will dedicate more funding for it
  • We need to consider schools in our decision making on city council and planning commission. I believe that great schools and strong neighborhoods are key to a high quality city.
  • I am for responsible growth. We need to control the pace of growth and make sure we slow it down. We also need to keep the growth to areas that are well served by transit.
Profession:Veterinarian, business person, father, Chairperson of Fremont Planning Commission, and Former Fremont City Councilmember
Chairperson, Fremont Planning Commission — Appointed position (2014–current)
Fremont City Councilmember, Fremont City Council — Appointed position (2013–2014)
Vice Chairperson, Oversight Board to the Fremont Successor Agency — Appointed position (2012–2014)
Planning Commissioner, Fremont Planning Commission — Appointed position (2011–2013)
Chairperson, Human Relations Commission — Appointed position (2005–2010)
School of Veterinary Medicine, Tuskegee University Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and Surgery, Human-Animal Bond, Compassionate care, and Emergency medicine and critical care (1999)
University of California, Irvine Biological Sciences at University of California Irvine, Biological Sciences and Veterinary Medicine (1995)
Board Member, Abode Services (2010–2013)
Chairman, Fremont Chamber of Commerce (2010–2013)
Committee Member, Alameda County Transportation Commission Citizen Watchdog committee (2012–2013)
Board Member, Kidango (2009–2011)
  • Fremont Firefighters Local 1689
  • Fremont Police Association
  • Educators and Teachers of the Fremont Unified Teachers Association
  • Congress member Eric Swalwell
  • Senator Bob Wieckowski
  • Assemblymember Bill Quirk
  • Assemblymember Kansen Chu
  • Supervisor Scott Haggerty
  • Alameda County Democratic Party *Sole endorsement
  • Business for Good Government, a Committee of the Fremont Chamber of Commerce *Sole endorsement
  • Alameda County Building Trades Council
  • Tri-Cities Democratic Forum *sole endorsement
  • Sierra Club
  • Linda Wasserman *wife of late Mayor Bob Wasserman
  • Supervisor Richard Valle
  • Councilmember Rick Jones
  • Craig Steckler, Fremont Police Chief Retired
  • Steve and Terri Landon
1.
Affordable Housing

What are your plans for providing more affordable housing?

Answer from Raj Salwan:

Fremont has a serious lack of affordable housing. We need to do more to make it easier for people to stay in our community. My vision for Fremont is a simple one - I want all Fremont residents to have the same opportunities that our city gave me: a home they can afford, a good education from a school near where they live, a job with decent pay, parks to play in, and a safe environment. We need to make sure all Fremont residents and future generations have the same opportunities that Fremont offered me.

As a city we need to build affordable housing and incentivize developers to do so. We also need to have affordability by design by building smaller units and one bedroom apartments, preferably near transit. Currently, housing that is affordable by design is difficult to build due to current building and planning codes. I will make it easier to help build these units in Fremont by asking the city staff to streamline these regulations. I also support the Affordable housing bond which will help provide housing for our teachers, firefighters, police, and people of all vocations and lifestyles. 

2.
Unfunded Liabilities

What is your plan to deal with unfunded liabilities such as pensions and deferred maintenance on roads?

Answer from Raj Salwan:

Unfunded liabilities is one of the issues I want to address. There are two kinds of unfunded liabilities - pension and post-employment health care benefits (OPEB). We need to pay both of these over time like a mortgage over 20-30 years. We have been making regular pension payments, however the OPEB was not being paid fully. Recently, the City of Fremont created a trust to pay the OPEB payments. I will make sure that we continue to pay into that along with our pension payments. Once I am elected, I will also look to my colleagues to see if I can get support to increase the amount of payments we can make to reduce the debt more quicker. If we are able to put more funds into paying down debt, that will result in savings for our city down the road.

As far as road maintenance, with the passage of Measure BB and increased funding by the City of Fremont, the amount being spent on road maintenance is much more than previous years. We have improved the Pavement Condition Index signifiantly over the course of last one year. However, there is more work to do and I will prioritize funding for roads and streets along with public safety and reinvestment in our neighborhoods.

3.
Education & Schools

What do you believe is the responsibility of city council members when it comes to education and schools?

Answer from Raj Salwan:

We need to consider schools in our decision making on city council and planning commission. 

As a Fremont native, I am a product of Vallejo Mills Elementary, Centerville Junior High School, and Washington High School. As a parent of three kids who now attend our public schools, I am directly affected by the challenges faced by our school district. 

I believe that great schools and strong neighborhoods are key to a high quality city. As your city councilmember, I will not run from my responsibility to make sure Fremont school needs are addressed. 

I had the benefit of education from a good Fremont public school (Go Huskies!). As a parent, I understand how good schools enrich our community. That’s why  I will be a proponent of collaboration between the city and schools. 

Specifically, I will fight for the following:

-more after school and summer programs for our kids

-increasing safety at our schools 

-encouraging programs to educate children and parents to bicycle to school by teaching safety skills and making routes to schools safer

-improving traffic situation around our schools and investing in bike lanes and improved pedestrian pathways.  

 I am open to the city helping build parks (through joint use agreements) next to our public schools so that our school district doesn’t have to spend precious fees for park land. 

 

1.
Trafic Congestion

What are your ideas for reducing traffic congestion on main roads?

Answer from Raj Salwan:

Traffic congestion is a serious problem facing our community. We have certain pockets all over the city that are facing severe gridlock during commute hours.

As the economy has heated up with historic unemployment rates, more people are using our streets than ever before.  I will make fighting traffic congestion a top priority and will dedicate more funding to manage it. We need to reinvest in our infrastructure since it has been overlooked in the economic downturn. Reinvesting in our roads is more important than ever. We need to build the infrastructure so that we can keep our streets moving. 

 I believe that we need to prioritize the traffic patterns of Fremont residents over out of towners who cut through our neighborhoods.

Specific strategies that I would like to implement include:

- creating traffic calming for cut through traffic through our neighborhoods

- no left/right turns during rush hours to deter traffic out of our neighborhoods

- putting more stop signs at strategic locations

- reinvesting in new signal technology for better signal timing which prioritizes local traffic

- working with WAZE App to let them know which streets are our neighborhood streets and to remove traffic from those streets

- consider closing our main streets to through traffic during extreme rush hour on certain days like City of Los Gatos.

I feel your pain as I travel through Fremont and will make managing traffic congestion a top concern!

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