Fremont Mayor Gus Morrison Speaks about Religious Diversity

December 2, 2002

Source: The Argus

On December 2, 2002 The Argus reported that "the police chief was baptized as an honorary Sikh, the mayor makes it a habit not to ask what he's eating, and local developers are amazingly adept at feng shui. Those are some of the anecdotes Mayor Gus Morrison told members of the Commonwealth Club of California, who were curious about what it's like to be a leader in a city as famously diverse as Fremont. Morrison told how he has been beat up by conservative radio stations for allowing a space in City Hall for Muslims to pray during a city meeting. He recalled being petitioned to change a street address because it was entirely made up of 4's, which are bad luck in Chinese culture. And he told how, in 1998, Police Chief Craig Steckler was invited to a Sikh temple following a leadership election where he was presented with a sword and a sash. Steckler later was told that he had been baptized as an honorary Sikh. The city's experiences in policing the diverse community, in accommodating students who want to wear traditional garb in schools, and even something as innocuous as a dinner invitation, underscore the need for an open mind and cultural sensitivity, Morrison said."