Leaders Lead
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Leaders Lead
The last City Council meeting made me reflect on what a leader is or is not. Before I embarked on this journey of holding public office, I researched and consulted with friends who held or were holding office at the time seeking information about the most common challenges they faced and what advice they can provide. Two comments were repeated by the majority; you must have a thick skin, keep an open mind and whenever you vote, make sure you’ve researched the issue from different points of view. At the last Council meeting, several concerned residents spoke in favor of the City paying down the amount of the proposed government obligation bond in order to lessen the financial impact on them. As a resident and a local business owner, I understand their request. However, as your Mayor/Councilmember I have the duty and the fiduciary responsibility to look beyond my personal gain or the gain of a group of individuals for the benefit of the entire community presently and in the future. Interestingly enough, back in November this same City Council considered the idea of using some of the reserve fund to pay down the G.O. Bond. We requested staff to provide us the financial analysis and the saving property owners may realize should we use $20 million to pay down the bond. The analysis showed that the average home owner with assessed value (not market value) of $680,000 would save $61 per year and the Council voted unanimously (5-0) not to use reserve funds and risk not having the additional $20 million for emergency and other City critical needs.

While as leaders we owe our constituents to listen to them and hear their ideas, we should have the courage, resolve, and leadership skills to do what is best for the future of our City. We owe our constituents information and explanation of our decisions, we do not and should not follow them when they are not looking at the bigger picture and the impact on the future of our City’s well-being. The motion to commit $10 million to pay down the bond for a savings of $30 per year (8 cents per day) to the average assessed property owner is nothing more than grandstanding, pandering, and in other words “playing it safe” to the detriment of the Council, City staff, and the City. It is concerning when Councilmembers focus more on their titles and positions rather than acting upon their responsibilities and duties. Leaders who play it safe are risk adverse and tend to only address their point of views when they think there will be no consequences. Leaders should lead!

The Levee Improvements Project is the most important project since the creation of Foster City. We are being forced by FEMA to raise our levee system or be designated as a flood zone which results in requiring all mortgage holders that are federally guaranteed to purchase flood insurance at a cost of $2000-$3000 per year.FEMA has agreed to keep Foster City in a “seclusion designation” rather than flood zone as long as we are making progress on the levee project. Over the past three years, Citystaff has been working diligently with FEMA, other regulatory agencies and consultants.City Council has also been actively involved with our congressional and state representatives to ensure the project does not face obstacles from any of the regulatory agencies. While buying insurance gets you coverage, it does not stop your property from being flooded. In addition, property values throughout the city will decline as properties in flood zone do not get the same market price compared to no flood zone. Whether your house is paid off or not, you will be impacted financially if we were to be a flood zone. The simple fact is that this project is to protect our safety and property value. We can pay less with a bond or pay more later with flood insurance and property value declines without real protection from mother nature.

On a positive note, I’m pleased the majority of the Council has the resolve and courage to fulfill our fiduciary responsibility of ensuring the future of our City.

I invite you to join me every first Thursday of the month for Coffee with the Mayor at Penelope’s Coffee from 8:00am to 10:00am and every first Friday of the month for Meet the Mayor at City Hall from 3:00pm to 5:00pm. Please call (650) 286-3503 for office appointments. 

Council Corner

January 31, 2018
Leaders Lead

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