Who is Vinnie Bacon?
Vinnie's Professional History
I hold an undergraduate degree in Biology from the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and received graduate degrees in City Planning and Transportation Engineering from the University of California in Berkeley.
After I earned my undergraduate degree, I worked for six years as an environmental engineer in Milwaukee researching the effects of pollution on the three rivers going through Milwaukee to Lake Michigan, and what can be done to keep the rivers and lake clean.
After completing my graduate work at UC Berkeley, I worked for four years as a Transportation Planner preparing environmental impact reports, traffic impact studies and transportation demand modeling studies.
As a planner, I worked on a number of 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.
When Silicon Valley was booming in the late 90's, I used my extensive technical knowledge to move into high-tech, starting as a software support engineer. I quickly moved into management and have been in high-tech management for the last 14 years. I've worked at large tech firms such as Nortel Networks and VeriSign. I've also worked at a couple of startup companies building up their operations from the earliest stages. I am currently the Chief Technology Officer of a law firm in Oakland.
Vinnie's Involvement in Fremont Political Life
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.
In 2005, I got involved with the Patterson Ranch issue which got more interested in our City Council. Not surprisingly, I found that most Fremont residents shared my view that the Patterson Ranch area should not be heavily developed. On the other hand, I found out that our entire City Council didn’t agree with the majority of its constituents on this issue. 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, an increase of about 400 from what had been currently allowed. Read more about Patterson Ranch here.
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 big money players but was 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 have continued to be involved in a number of issues since then. I’ve always sided with 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 a number of residents and I spoke against the project. Council approved it 5-0 despite a number of concerns that weren't adequately addressed. Read more about this here.
In 2009, I also became a leader in the Fremont Citizen’s 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 flattered when someone suggested that a list of concerns about the ballpark be prepared, and someone else noted that my 2008 campaign website contained the best such list that exists on the subject. I have a number of articles on the ballpark issue such as here and here.
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. Read more about the Niles Canyon widening issue here.
In 2011, I spoke on behalf of the Save Kimber Park group, a group of local residents opposed to developing additional housing in the Kimber Park area. I’ve participated in a number of their meetings, 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. Read more about Kimber Park here.
In short, I have always stood on the side of the residents of Fremont when presented with controversial issues. Unlike many other City Council candidates, I have always stated clearly where I stood on these issues. I would be happy to continue representing the residents of Fremont as a member of our City Council.