Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman dies at age 77

December 29, 2011 6:04:24 PM PST
Fremont Mayor Bob Wasserman -- who tried to bring the Oakland A's baseball team to his city and keep the NUMMI auto plant from closing -- died Thursday at the age of 77, according to city officials.

Wasserman passed away today at the Kaiser facility in Fremont in the presence of his family, city officials said.

Wasserman had been active in Fremont government since 1976, when he was appointed to be the city's chief of police.

After retiring from a 40-year career in law enforcement that included appointments in Southern California and a term as the president of California Peace Officers' Association, Wasserman was elected to the Fremont City Council in 1992 and had served as mayor since 2004.

City officials said he had previously been commended for outstanding public service by a resolution of the California Senate and received the Law Enforcement Executive of the Year Award.

Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan said in a statement, "Mayor Wasserman served the residents of Fremont for 35 years with distinction and dedication. On behalf of the City Council, I offer heartfelt condolences to the Wasserman family."

Natarajan will fulfill the duties of mayor until the City Council decides on how to fill the remainder of Wasserman's term.

Wasserman is survived by his wife of 53 years, Linda, and their two children, Dan and Jill.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

Wasserman supported efforts by A's owner Lew Wolff to build a baseball stadium in Fremont so Wolff could move the team there and was disappointed when Wolff said on Feb. 24, 2009, that he would stop those efforts in the face of strong opposition by neighborhood groups.

Reacting to Wolff's announcement, Wasserman said, "We're missing the best opportunity we ever had and I'm very saddened by it."

Wolff is currently working on trying to move the team to San Jose but hasn't received approval to do so from Major League Baseball.

Wasserman also sought to keep the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. plant in Fremont, which was a joint venture of Toyota Motors Co, and General Motors, from closing but the plant was ultimately shut down on April 1, 2010.

Since then, Wasserman has supported efforts to find other uses for the large facility, including Tesla Motors' use of part of the land to build a premium electric sedan called the Model S.

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