Fremont resident on hunger strike over proposed homeless center

A Fremont resident has gone three days without food on a hunger strike. 59-year-old Ruiping Sun said he's protesting a controversial decision city leaders are set to make 
next Tuesday on a center to help the homeless. Sun has been camped out outside city hall since Tuesday.

Sun said he’s not against a homeless navigation center. He doesn't care where it's built. He does care who has a say and feels it should be up to the voters.

“First and second day is fine,” said Ruiping Sun. “Today third day I feel cold.”

Bundled in a heavy jacket, the Fremont resident of 20 years and retired engineer has gone 72 hours drinking only black coffee and water.

It’s his first hunger strike over the city’s first-ever homeless navigation center. He said it should be a ballot initiative for the voters to decide and not city leaders.

“Only position I take is the decision making,” said Sun. “I believe this decision is so critical for Fremont.”

“I’ve been in city government for 15 years and we’ve never had a hunger strike on any decisions,” said Fremont Vice Mayor Raj Salwan.

Salwan said holding off on a decision could mean a loss of $2 million in state and county funding. Next Tuesday city leaders are set to vote on building the shelter in either in a parking lot behind city hall or on property on Decoto Road.

Rob Larisch wants a center and said the protest makes no sense.

“For someone who has great access to housing and food and say I’m going to give up food to raise visibility to this issue just seems a little ironic,” said Larisch.

His family is donating a dollar for every hour the hunger strike goes on to the operators of the center.

Still, Sun’s supporters have been stopping by and dropping off water. Bottles line the sidewalk.

“I feel proud that at least one person is doing such an extreme step to save our downtown, to save our city,” said Ashwin Lulla of Fremont.

Sun lives near Mission San Jose, nowhere near the two proposed sites. For him, he said his protest is the right thing to do.

“I love Fremont,” said Sun. “I really don't think anything else.”