FREMONT -- The City Council on Monday night voted to appoint Raj Salwan, chair of the Tri-Cities Democratic Forum and a politically connected ally of Mayor Bill Harrison, to an open council seat.

Salwan, a planning commissioner and major property owner, finished first by notching seven votes in the council's ranking system. David Bonaccorsi, an attorney and planning commission chairman, was a close second with six points. John J. Dutra finished third with four points while Yogi Chugh captured three points. Christina Broadwin and Rick Jones rounded out the field of six candidates, each finishing with two points.

Following the rankings, the motion to appoint Salwan passed on a 3-1 vote, with Vice Mayor Anu Natarajan casting the dissenting vote.

"It's a great feeling," Salwan said after the meeting. "I'm looking forward to working with the council."

The term of the open seat, which Harrison vacated last month when sworn in as mayor, expires in November 2014.

Under state law, the vacancy had to be filled by Feb. 2, otherwise the city would have been forced to hold a special election that could have cost Fremont taxpayers more than $600,000, according to the Alameda County Registrar of Voters.



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