The Future
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The Future

Overall Foster City is in great shape. That, however, is in some ways a blessing and in some ways a curse. It is a blessing for obvious reasons, reasons we see every day at our homes, in our parks, on our streets. The curse, however, comes from the assumption that to keep it all this way all we have to do is what we have done in the past.

The fact is that Foster City is different in fundamental ways. Recently, our Parks and Recreation Department celebrated the completion of our park system with two ribbon cuttings. The last significant piece of vacant land has buildings being built on it. Old industrial sections of our City are under redevelopment. Whether you like this development or not, the fact is that we are no longer on a growth trajectory, we are, in essence, grown. Thus, in order to keep Foster City in great shape for the future we need to manage differently than we have in the past, when we were growing.

Any of you that have children understand that raising an infant is different from raising a toddler and that is different from raising a pre-schooler and that is different than raising an elementary age child, a teenager and then grown children. Our City is, in that respect, the same.

Cities around us struggle with finding funds to fix and replace aging infrastructure. Our City is less than 50 years old, so we do not have those issues, but we will someday. We need to plan for it. We live in the midst of an historic drought and in an age of significant expected sea level rise. We need to plan for that. Traffic on the 92 - 101 corridor is a nightmare. We need to fix that.

None of these are things we had to deal with in the past, but we will have to deal with them in the future. Moreover, we will have to do so without the constant increase in income to the City that forty years of growth brought us. Forty years of adding new buildings, new neighborhoods, new businesses have generally lead to forty years of more income each year. Now that we have or soon will stop growing at that pace, the income will stop growing at that pace as well.

So, what is my point in all this? My point is that while we have funds today and while we are in great shape today, we have an obligation to plan for the future, to prioritize, to look forward, to plan forty years out, to be conservative in what we spend, to be environmentally green in our practices, to manage proactively not reactively, to not rush to spend simply because we have money today.

OK, you're thinking, but you have talked about this before, how are these comments any different? What is different, and I know it is only just past the 4th of July, is that this is an election year and not only that, it is an election year for a majority of the Council - three seats!

What happens in this election will effect what happens in Foster City for years to come. Ultimately it will be a decision of whether to move forward in a proactive way, planning for the future, changing how we have done things in the past when needed, or whether to continue to rely on ideas of the past, which clearly worked in the past, but may or may not work in the future.

I think that now is the time to look to the future, to find new proactive, out of box leaders who can lead a changing Foster City to preeminence in the region and in the State. People who want to look at key issues of housing, business mix, redevelopment, transportation, water, environmental initiatives, schools, and traffic, to name just a few. People who want to work with other cities and the broader community to find creative and cost effective solutions to these long term issues, solutions that will keep the quality of life high and ensure that Foster City continues to be the desired place to live, work and play that it is today.

If this sounds like you, then now is the time to step forward. Soon the period to register as a candidate will open and it will be time to step forward. I can tell you from personal experience that if you want to do it right it will be a lot of work, but it will be some of the most rewarding work you will ever do.

It is a chance to make a small part of your world better for yourself, your family, your community and your future. The old ways were great in their day and we owe lots to our former leaders who were creative in dealing with a growing City. Life, however, has changed, and Foster City has changed and must continue to change in ways that make sense for today and for the future. Today we need vibrant leaders and we need them to step forward now. We are ready for you. Are you ready for the challenge? I hope so.

Council Corner

July 08, 2015
The Future

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