My Commitment to Foster City
Five years ago I thought I “knew” Foster City, however, I have learned so much more……not only how this city runs but more knowledge of who lives and works here. I am happy I am retired so I can dedicate as much time as possible to this endeavor for the short time I am part of the City Council.
I probably knew more about politics at the county level before I retired from Samaritan House. That agency serves so many cities where I learned about non-profits, the players involved and their needs at the social service level. Of course I didn’t know the needs of those living in Foster City until I was elected.
The health, safety and welfare are the main issues as I represent the people that elected me. So quite obviously the budget is the most important issue since without enough money to cover the programs that provide for our health, safety and welfare I will not be living up to the commitment I made five years ago and the goals I set. We pay a great deal of money to the experts at city hall that crunch the numbers to bring to our attention how we can achieve our goals. I do not have a degree in how to project a budget for a government agency. Even If I did, I’m not sure that is my job. Our directors of each department have those degrees to provide me the information on how to proceed to balance a budget. We are having those discussions now every other Monday to specifically find ways to not only possibly make some cuts but to find revenue. I attended a C/CAG meeting Wednesday night where the analyst commented that the reason we don’t have a budget at the state level is not because of the 2/3 vote, term limits, etc but because there are not consequences for those that vote. His opinion, and I agree, that you need to hold us accountable as we hold those that provide the facts to us accountable.
In addition to the several liaisons positions I hold in Foster City I am also on the Joint Powers Authority for the Library. We meet almost every month to manage and direct staff on budget, programs, etc. I also am on the Emergency Operations Council where every city in our county has a representative. We also meet almost every month to approve the budget, stay abreast of county issues and find ways to improve communications between our cities during an emergency. At last week’s meeting we had a presentation regarding a new way to receive information for social services….dial 211. Apparently we are the last county in the Bay Area to add 211 as a service. It will be available to us in a few months. This will take the load off 911 calls and after an emergency 211 will have the information regarding finding loved ones, shelters, non-emergency medical and food. All the non-profit information will be in their data base where the calls will be answered at the United Way headquarters in San Francisco. The United Way is funding this for two years and beyond if needed. It is not mandatory for us to contribute financially.
Since the San Bruno fire I have been talking with Battalion Chief, Jim Comisky who commented that if our residents smell the foul odor of gas and report it to PG&E, they should absolutely follow up with them, plus if PG&E does not respond it should be reported to our Fire Department. Jim also added that having so many residents that are CERT members will be very valuable if and when disaster strikes. Also our Fire Marshall, John Mapes, reported that San Bruno Fire had not received any such calls for its residents. John also commented that the 30” main high pressure feed in San Bruno goes to San Francisco and was installed in the 40’s and 50’s. We do not have that large of a main in Foster City and our small mains were installed in the 60’s. I don’t want to give a false sense that we are exempt but these are the facts from two of Foster City’s finest!!! More information can be found at www.pge.com.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to be trained as a Certified Emergency Response Team member (training takes place in Foster City)………AND to make an effort to get to know your neighbors and their needs in a disaster. We will only have each other for many hours.
As usual the bottom line is money and we are continuing to receive vital information from the directors of all of our departments in Foster City. The future of Foster City, as we know it, depends on their suggestions and our approval. I trust this will be done in a professional, effective and efficient way. My commitment to this city is still strong…..We not only need a balanced budget but we need a balance period.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding this article or how to enroll in our CERT classes. You do not need to be a Foster City resident to apply.
September 29, 2010
My Commitment to Foster City