New Beginnings
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New Beginnings

This coming Monday, the latest version of the City Council will hold its first meeting. I have always found new beginnings energizing. It brings a new vitality that is fueled by the enthusiasm of new members and tempered with the hope of the experienced members for progress and change. This creates the perfect storm for the creation of a Team that realizes great successes utilizing the best practices of great organizations.

In January we will hold a Policy and Goal setting meeting. The public is welcome and encouraged to attend. Together with our City Manager and input from all Council Members I believe we have created an agenda that will yield a focused conversation with defined deliverables. It is my hope that we create the blueprint for the future of City in three key policy areas. It has often been said that Government moves slowly, while forgetting that WE are the Government!

There are many successful methodologies that can be used to set policies. Different organizations use the type that they are most comfortable with or have traditionally used to experience success. I believe that we can set the goals and desired outcomes first and then create a pathway to insure that attainment of the same. The City needs to focus on a limited number of policy initiatives that are attainable, measurable, and within our grasp.

To plan well is to succeed. Fail to plan is to plan to fail. Great Teams spend time planning after they define their Goals. As elected officials, our goals and outcomes are defined by our residents. Our policy initiatives should reflect what our residents are concerned about and what our neighborhoods and community needs. We must find creative ways to address the challenges that our community currently experiences while creating new and innovative ways to fund these policy initiatives in creative ways. Most importantly, the funding must be perpetual and sustainable over a long period of time. This will ensure that our plan will come to fruition and not be short changed due to a lack of capital.

Initially we must accept the fact that we need to face forward. We can no longer look backwards and lament about the past or the challenges of the present. We must take a long hard look at where we are and what our current state of affairs are with regard to three key issues.

First, we must examine our current economic health and vitality and project our ability to maintain our economic stability and sustainability for the foreseeable future. Our economic engine is what allows us to maintain our quality of life for all our residents.

Second, we must consider all aspects of our current land-use, and any and all changes for the future benefit of our community. This topic is in the forefront of every days conversation. Our residents are concerned about all aspects of development and redevelopment and we as a council must address this as a high priority.

Finally we must address traffic both within the city limits and external to our city. Our quality-of-life is being increasingly diminished by the inordinate amount of time it takes to travel to and from our homes to work and back.

Each and every one of these issues are intertwined into one general topic called our quality-of-life. While they are not easily separated, they can certainly be dealt with individually. An individual method and matrix of success can be implemented that will allow each to be enhanced and maintained for the foreseeable future.

Our economic health must be guarded, grown, and sustained as it plays a crucial part in providing the monies necessary for the salaries of our city staff and those who maintain our exemplary buildings, parks, and infrastructure. We must create a new economic blueprint that identifies our strengths and weaknesses and builds upon our existing profits silos to provide a perpetual stream of income for our city.

It is time to address and re-examine the original master plan for our city. T. Jack Foster created an outstanding template upon which our reality is based. However it is time to provide a new version based upon the current as-built and a future not yet considered. The use of land and its best and highest use must be balanced with the desires of our residents who live, work and play in our City. We need to create a new vision that faces forward and addresses the current and future challenges.

I believe that we as the City Council have an interest to engage with the School District in conversations of quality education and their plans as they move forward to implement Bond measure actions. Towards that end I hope we will engage as a subcommittee (2 council, 2 school board, superintendent and City Manager) on on-going basis.

Finally we must examine traffic and how best to deal with the reality of its impact upon our quality-of-life. Traffic is a byproduct of the financial success that we are experiencing during this economic upturn. However, it is having a dramatic effect upon the ability of our residents to enjoy their leaseholds and property ownership as they try to work and raise their families within our city limits. We must decide what aspects we can actually have an impact upon internally and regionally to help create solutions to ameliorate the harm done to our quality of life.

I am enthusiastically optimistic that you our residents along with me and my fellow Council Members can create a common vision and set of goals for the upcoming year and the years to follow. Together we can create a new and better vision based upon the successes of the past architect. We are stronger through conversations that yield goals that reflect compromise, understanding, and commonalities. Please join us and become part of the conversation. I am available every Friday at Penelope's Coffee at 9:30am or can be reached at (650) 468-3143. Join me and share your views of our Foster City.

Council Corner

December 16, 2015
New Beginnings

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