Two Extraordinary People
I am paying tribute to two people who have played an enormous role in my life and certainly in the lives of the people who live and work in Foster City.
First, a man I met eleven years ago when I joined the Rotary Club of Foster City……a man I would learn who played an integral part in why we are one of the most successful cities in this state. Those first few years I only knew him as Rick, the BBQ guy and Rick the parrot juice guy (private joke here) and Rick the never ending volunteer for everything our Rotary Club did to raise money to give right back to the betterment of our city.
When I then entered the political arena I learned this man…..of course you know now it is Mr. Rick Wykoff…..was way more than just a good guy.
Day by day I learned of his contributions to this city. Every day of his 17 years as City Manager strengthened our foundation and shored us up for the years to come. Of course then deciding to run for our City Council was another way to contribute to our ongoing success. Besides knowing where the “bodies were buried” as staff, he had the institutional knowledge and that resource was paramount to the rest of the council members. Rick will be termed out December 5th after ten years on the City Council.
In the six years I have shared the dais with Rick I have listened and learned from his expertise and wisdom. I thank Rick Wykoff for sharing his life politically as well as personally and allowing me to see who he really is as a human being and my friend. I will always listen to his advice and counsel this next two years but will miss the glances of “knowing” during some of those long meetings. Good news is there is still lunch every Wednesday with our Rotary Club. I’m pretty sure I will still be getting his wife, Judie’s “take” on our meetings which are so welcome because she just makes me smile. Simply put though I will miss my friend and my colleague, meetings will never be the same!!
Second, I met a woman about 30 years ago when a group of girls starting playing Pedro……after trips to Reno playing cards on the train, we bonded. Our bond of course has strengthened over the last six years as colleagues on our City Council.
This woman……Linda Koelling……stepped into the political arena like she was born for it. Taking charge of every committee assigned then joining others of which she soon became the leader of, she made a name for herself and put Foster City on the map with her involvement. Every city council member and city on the Peninsula knows Linda and respects all the contributions she has made. The hours Linda has put into her passion is incomparable, certainly Measure P was passed by such a huge margin due to her efforts in fundraising and education of the public. Linda was president of the League of California Cities for our Peninsula Division where she continued to show her leadership. Linda’s contributions span so many causes, all of which she participated in for the betterment of our City. I could list all the boards and committees she has served on and the successes she has enjoyed as mayor in 2011, but I would rather share what she has meant to me.
Six years ago she helped me get elected and our friendship went to a new level…….she gathered me under her protective wings and taught me the ins and outs of local politics, introducing me to many new people as we followed this path. She knew I was a “deer in headlights” in the beginning but in a non judgmental way she guided me, trying to teach me to make decisions with the facts and not so much with my heart (still working on that).
Around the Peninsula people call us Laverne and Shirley since we are always together at dinners, conventions, meetings and fundraisers. Usually laughing and teasing each other as we tried not to take all this too seriously. They used to call us Thelma and Louise but we decided we didn’t like the ending of that friendship and we fought over who would be Susan Sarandon!!
Linda Koelling is my dearest friend, confidant and teacher and my “Shirley”. There just aren’t words to express how much I will miss sharing the dais with her. Linda and I will still go to movies, lunch and play Mexican Train and Pedro and I’m sure I’ll get more than a few phone calls, after the first meetings without her to commiserate with, on what I could have done different…….I will always listen to her. Unfortunately Linda is also termed out December 5th after eight years on the City Council.
Foster City will miss Rick Wykoff and Linda Koelling but their contributions to this City will be felt for decades to come. Good luck to you both as new adventures await, for Linda maybe another elected position or role in government and for Rick fish to be caught (or not). Not sure he actually takes the fishing pole…. I need pictures!
I believe I speak for Foster City and our staff…….we will miss you both beyond what words can convey. I’m grateful my time on the City Council was, in part, spent with you both.
Comments: Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 23, 2011
Two Extraordinary People
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Foster City, CA 94404