If the results of the Fremont mayoral race do not change as votes are counted through the weekend, they will cause a reshuffling of the makeup of the City Council for the third time in as many years.

Now that Bill Harrison appears to be Fremont's mayor-elect, he must vacate his council seat when he is sworn in next month, City Clerk Nadine Nader said. The remaining four council members, including the new mayor, then will have 60 days to choose a replacement to serve the remaining two years on Harrison's council term.

Their two options for that are holding a special election or appointing a new council member after interviewing applicants.

Most cities choose to make an appointment to avoid a costly special election but also to retain control over who they will be working with on the council.

Earlier this year, the Fremont council appointed Gus Morrison to serve as mayor on an interim basis after Mayor Bob Wasserman died.

Last year, the Newark City Council appointed then-Planning Commissioner Bob Marshall to fill the council seat vacated when Alan Nagy was elected mayor.

In 2010, Fremont council members appointed Dominic Dutra, who served on the council from 2002 to 2006, to replace Bob Wieckowski, who resigned after being elected to the state Assembly. Dutra was selected after three council members ranked him first, while Harrison ranked then-Human Relations Commissioner Raj Salwan first and Dutra second.


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Who would be the front-runners for appointment this time?

Might it be another Dutra family member, John J. Dutra, who finished third in the council race won by Vinnie Bacon and incumbent Councilwoman Sue Chan? Or will it be Salwan, now a Fremont planning commissioner and still a Harrison ally?

Friday, Harrison said it was too premature to say. Stay tuned.

Walgreens committed to East Oakland

The demise of state-subsidized redevelopment might not spell doom for a long-awaited shopping center in an East Oakland retail desert.

Walgreens on Friday said it remained committed to becoming the anchor tenant at a proposed outlet on the corner of Foothill Boulevard and Seminary Avenue despite a new hitch that likely will delay construction for at least six months.

The redevelopment project appeared imperiled when the state Department of Finance two weeks ago invalidated the city's last ditch effort to push it through before the state legislation went into effect dissolving redevelopment agencies across California.

On Monday, Mayor Jean Quan told the board overseeing Oakland's former Redevelopment Agency that the state action had probably killed the project because Walgreens likely wasn't interested in waiting for the issue to be resolved.

The state is expected to reconsider the matter in April when the oversight board files its property management plan. If the state approves it, the shopping center could be opened in late 2014, developer Sid Afshar said.

The decision to eliminate redevelopment was fiercely opposed by cities, which argued that the program was their only mechanism to fix blight and spur economic development. Redevelopment opponents argued that agencies often didn't spend their money wisely and that redevelopment projects weren't worth the cost to state coffers.

The 27,000-square-foot East Oakland retail project, which includes a Walgreens and several other stores, provided fodder for both sides. Without the nearly $3 million public subsidy, it's unlikely the project would have materialized.

But Oakland's redevelopment agency wound up paying $4.5 million for the parcels, which are valued at only $2.8 million, according to a city report.

For one major parcel, the city in 2009 paid the First African Methodist Episcopal Church roughly the same price the church had paid for the parcel several years earlier during the height of the real estate boom.