Dutra’s son ends career in politics

Article from The Oakland Tribune
Published June 2006

Councilmember Dominic Dutra was doing exactly what he said he would.

On vacation this week with his wife, Lisa, and their two children in La Paz — a coastal town in Baja California, Mexico — Dutra was a long way, literally and figuratively, from the Council Chambers in Fremont City Hall.

He was spending time with his family, an activity that topped the list of reasons Dutra cited in announcing recently that he would not seek re-election in November after serving one term.

“I love being on the City Council and I love public service, but I’m only going to get one chance to raise my kids,” he said when reached by phone in Mexico. “His kids are growing up, and he’s not able to spend as much time with them,” Mayor Bob Wasserman said. “That’s certainly a good reason (not to seek re-election). I applaud him for that.”

Dutra, 43, was elected to the council in 2002. He had followed in the political footsteps of his father, John Dutra, who served on the council from 1986 to 1996, and in the state Assembly from 1998 to 2004.

Dominic Dutra said he haddecided not to run as early as six months ago. But he waited to make the announcement until after the June 6 election, when his father ran — and lost — to former Assemblywoman Ellen Corbett in the Democratic primary for the state Senate.

The timing of the announcement in mid-June also gives potential candidates plenty of time to decide if they want to run for his seat, Dutra said.

Born in Walnut Creek and raised in San Jose, the outgoing council member graduated from Irvington High School, which he attended after moving with his family to Fremont about 30 years ago.

After attending Ohlone College, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business management and a master’s degree in business administration from Santa Clara University.

Looking back on his four years in office, Dutra said he is most proud of the job the City Council has done for Fremont’s economic development. He touted the new Pacific Commons shopping center as well as progress on ongoing projects in Centerville and the proposed downtown area as examples of the council’s successes.

“We have addressed budget shortfalls in a prudent way, and now we’re looking to shore up the revenue situation,” he said.

The council’s “respectful” professionalism also is a source of pride for him. “We disagree, but we’re still able to work well together,” he said.

When asked to list any disappointments or frustrations from his four years, Dutra demurred. “I don’t look back at anything (being) frustrating,” he said. “I know it sounds trite, but it was a real privilege to serve.”

He wouldn’t speculate on who may run to replace him, but Dutra predicted his successor’s biggest challenge will involve solving Fremont’s budget woes. “The budget and economic development have always been the (city’s) two biggest issues,” he said. “The best thing we can do is help citizens come together to invest both our focus and our funds toward improving Fremont.”

The longtime Fremont resident is president of Dutra Enterprises Inc., a real estate development firm established by his family in 1999. Dutra said he also will focus on his new commercial real estate and consulting firm called Dutra Cerro Graden.

Still, Dutra says his No. 1 personal focus now will be to spend time with his daughter, Tricia, 17; son, Gabriel, 10; and wife, Lisa, with whom he will celebrate their 20th wedding anniversary on July 5.

“This is what I’ve decided is best for me. I feel very good about this decision,” he said.

The Oakland Tribune