I would like to start out by thanking all those who voted to re-elect me to the City Council. I know that the election was uncontested, but I saw your vote as a vote of faith in me and in where the City Council is going with our City. Thank you to each of you and thank you to all of the residents of Foster City for giving me the opportunity to serve for another four years.
One of the key initiatives that I feel we have accomplished during my first term was the adoption of our very first Economic Development Plan, which we call Sustainable Foster City. A key element of that initiative was a Citywide study of the retail businesses. We heard the consultant's report at the November 4, 2013 meeting and they presented some alternatives and ideas that will be among the many possible outcomes that we will consider.
The next step, as I see it, is to survey our residents, businesses and the population of people who work here in Foster City and attempt to learn why they do not shop extensively in Foster City and, more importantly, to learn what we could bring to Foster City that would cause them to shop here more often.
It was pointed out to us by the consultants, that we have a unique population. While I know that the Council was already well aware of that fact, for me it brought to the forefront the issue that governments seem to make assumptions about what people want and then take action based on those assumptions. Thus, if the assumptions are wrong, then the actions taken will not have the desired results. That, for me, is what lead me to the conclusion that rather than assume what people want in Foster City, maybe we should ask those people who live and work here. That way, when we begin to discuss the solution, that solution will be driven towards meeting the real, rather than the perceived needs of our population.
By saying this I do not mean to say that I intend to step aside and let popularity rule. What I mean is that Foster City is a City of many different cultures and backgrounds and through that a variety of value systems. Thus, the City Council must first learn and understand the value systems of those cultures if what we want to do is to build a City that people of all cultures value and therefore want to make a home or run a business. To think that we already understand everyone's values is presumptuous and there is too much at stake here to be presumptuous.
I am therefore going to advocate that we take the next step of bringing together some focus groups representing various interests and try to learn why they like living or working in Foster City, what they do not like about it and how we can make it better. I strongly believe that some time spent on self-reflection in this way, will give us the best chance of succeeding with our economic development plan in ways that will enrich the quality of life for all of us that live, work and play in Foster City.
In the coming months, you should begin to hear about the formation of these focus groups and I urge you to try to volunteer to participate in them. Participation has always been a cornerstone of life in Foster City and I hope that does not change anytime soon. I also want to open myself up more to hearing from our residents, businesses and workers and so in addition to my phone number and email address, I am also restarting my twitter account, @cbronitsky, so that those of you who use twitter can also stay involved. Starting next month I will be tweeting about things of interest to residents and businesses of Foster City, so I hope that you will decide to follow me there.
If there are other ways that you think I could be more available, please let me know. Our current Mayor, Pam Frisella, has always said that the City Council Members are the advocates for the residents and businesses and I want to continue in that vein and make myself even more available for that purpose.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not thank Mayor Frisella for all she has done for our City and for her help to me in my personal growth as a Council Member. We did not always agree, but when we disagreed we did so professionally and always both had the best interest of our City at heart. Also, welcome Gary Pollard. I am excited for Gary to join our group and bring new ideas and new perspectives to our job. Congratulations and let's get to work!Those are my thoughts. You can always share your ideas with me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at (650) 286-3504.
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