21 Aug 2014
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Council Corner: Quality of Life

This week's opinion letter from the City Council comes from Councilmember Steve Okamoto

Council Corner: Quality of Life

When my wife, Diana, and I moved into Foster City in the late 70s, the term, “Quality of Life” wasn’t part of our vocabulary. However, as we lived our daily lives, raised our kids, brought them to school and enjoyed the parks and recreational activities, without knowing it, we were enjoying the quality of life that we all have come to expect in Foster City.

Quality of life means different things to different people. Some feel that when they turn on the faucet and water emerges, or when they flip the switch the lights turn on, that is a quality of life feature they don’t have to worry about. Others feel that safe streets demonstrate the quality of life here in Foster City. It could be enjoying our clean and well-manicured parks where our kids can play soccer or baseball safely. Quality of life also means having emergency services available within minutes.

Regardless of how one interprets quality of life, it basically means having the ability and means to pursue one’s own life with family and friends.

The City is currently studying how Foster City can improve its economic viability both in the short term as well as in the long term. Some folks call it a ‘sustainable’ plan to make sure that there is long term success in any decisions that are made. In any case, the primary goal is to create a scenario where the resident’s quality of life will be enhanced.

Being a thirty-year resident I feel that the former Councilmembers and Staff had done a wonderful job in making decisions that were effective both in the short and the long term. Since Foster City is a planned community, the framework for the sustainability of the growth of the town had already been established. For instance, our neighborhoods were designed to be compact with the amenities we residents needed close at hand. We have parks and open spaces near all of our homes, we have well designed streets with quiet neighborhoods, we have easy access to stores and other amenities and we have a variety of businesses that contribute to our overall economic health.

I believe the current thinking, as well as the charge to the Council, is to continue the path that our former leaders have set down for us. With credit to my friends at Kaiser, we must continue to be sure that Foster City continues to “Thrive” for the foreseeable future.

I believe that we will thrive with the decisions that will be made in the next several months. Foster City is a great place to live, and is in a position, economically, to remain a vibrant and vital community.

Finally, we shouldn’t forget that Foster City is a small player in a larger context of cities and counties. As City Manager Jim Hardy so eloquently stated, rather than duplicate services available in our neighboring cities, “we should play to our strengths and not try to be something we aren’t”.

If you’d like to comment on this article please email me at sokamoto@fostercity.org or call me at 650-286-3501.

 

About this column: Council Corner features weekly opinion letters from rotating members of the City Council.

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