Your Man Around Town!
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Your Man Around Town!

As Jack Webb, creator and star of the 60s TV series, Dragnet, would say, "Just the facts, Ma'am."

In our slice of paradise we call Foster City, there seems to be a swell of issues that have taken on a life of their own via social media, conversations at the grocery store, at the park during a youth sports event, and in our homes. I am referring to issues ranging from housing and traffic, to schools, smoking, water and countless other issues that affect each of us in a unique, yet communal way. That these issues are being discussed and shared is FANTASTIC. However, we owe it to ourselves to gather as many facts supporting each of these issues in order to help us better understand the effects on us as individuals and as a community, before casting judgment (or blame) or coming to any meaningful conclusions.

We are all aware of the game "telephone," where one person starts a conversation about something and by the time the last person in line repeats what he heard, the story has changed. In my opinion, we are ALL victims of this, thus creating a wave of inaccurate information which can then, in turn, create misunderstanding - further evolving into waves of people reacting to issues that are not fully explained. I have witnessed this personally, and often, when I am able to offer facts on the subject matter, opinions change and people then take a second look at the issue at hand with a different set of eyes. In truth, each of us on your City Council cannot be everywhere all the time, but you can do your part to reach out and gather information which will help you reach informed opinions, supported by facts, one way or another.

About a week ago, I attended the Next Steps town hall meeting at Foster City school. I wanted to personally hear what was being talked about regarding our schools and the plans residents in San Mateo and Foster City liked or did not like. My small group was made up of both San Mateo and Foster City residents who weren't fully considering the big picture. After nearly two hours, everyone shared ideas and facts about what could be done, what is possible, and what it would take to accomplish the best solution for our kids. These issues can get personal and emotional, but I want to stress the importance of using facts to back up any and all sides to a discussion. To keep tabs on the issue, visit http://www.smfc.k12.ca.us/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1227679788655

The other night while getting groceries in Foster City, someone approached me to discuss water rates that are being proposed, and proceeded to ask a line of questions in rapid fire – "Why are parks so green? Why are we not using recycled water to water city owned property? Are we as a city reducing our water use by 25% as mandated by Governor Brown? Etc. Good thing I was not buying ice cream or it would have melted and that MIGHT have made me unhappy!! Once I was able to respond with several facts, our conversation turned to a friendlier, resolution-based talk which, when I left some 20 minutes later, my new friend had a clear picture of what we are doing and why. To keep tabs on the issue visit http://www.fostercity.org/publicworks/waterdistribution/water-conservation-rebates.cfm

Finally on this subject, after my last council corner, many of you reached out to me and thanked both Jennifer Selvitella and I for bringing the issue of traffic, schools and child safety to the forefront. If you still want to get the sign "DRIVE LIKE YOUR KIDS LIVE HERE, visit http://www.amazon.com/Drive-Like-Your-Kids-Live/dp/B00AEG15SQ/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1430244633&sr=8-7&keywords=kids+safety+signs

I did, however, while at Sea Cloud Park, get asked about traffic in general in our city and what I was doing about it. As I discussed the traffic issue in depth, I noted once again that traffic is not just solely a result of growth in Foster City, but rather a growth of the entire Bay Area, for which highways 92 and 101 are used - making our traffic a nightmare and no easy or quick solution will solve that issue overnight. In fact, I even tried to lighten the moment by telling her that if we turned all the signal lights to green, the traffic would be no different! Once again, "Just the facts, Ma'am."

Onward and upward to some great happenings in our city: If you are not aware of the Foster City Men's Club that is celebrating its first year in Foster City, let me share with you that they are doing fantastic work. Each month, they hold an event with food, drinks and a guest speaker. Almost 30 men show up for a lively time. More important than just the social part, they have joined forces with our Parks & Recreation Department to offer scholarships to our youth so that individuals, who cannot afford the entire cost of some outstanding programs, now CAN with the help of our Foster City Men's Club. Kudos to Club President, Sergio and the board of directors for being pro-active in providing financial support to keep youth involved in classes and developing their interests in science, technology and the arts. Read more about the group at http://www.fcmensclub.com/

The Youth Advisory Committee (YAC) for Foster City, under the strong leadership of Tiffany Hall, held their annual spaghetti dinner a few weeks back. Along with Mayor Art Kiesel, City Manager Jim Hardy, Parks & Recreation Director Kevin Miller and myself, we enjoyed a fun-filled evening of music, good food and a demonstration of martial arts from Gold Medal Martial Arts. Council member Herb Perez was there to introduce his instructor and the kids. YAC does great work with our youth – maybe our future leaders!

The Foster City Chamber of Commerce just announced that Sam Hindi (owner of the Foster City ARCO/AM PM MINI MART) was elected chairman of the board of directors. I have known Sam for many years as we served together on the Parks & Recreation Committee. Congratulations to Sam.

And speaking of the Chamber - SAVE THE DATE – the Foster City Arts & Wine Festival will take place on May 30th and 31st. On May 29th the event kicks off with the Carnival and Artist reception. Join the fun, and even volunteer! Visit http://www.fostercitychamber.com/events-programs/art-wine-festival/ for more details.

Let me leave you all with this thought –

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence." John Adams

If you wish to comment or share your thoughts, please contact me at gpollard@fostercity.org or 650-286-3505.

Council Corner

May 06, 2015
Your Man Around Town!

City Hall - 610 Foster City Blvd.
Foster City, CA 94404
(650) 286-3200