It has been a busy week for me so it was just this morning that I read the article in the Islander about the hearing tomorrow on the Marina Project. I was familiar with the factual issues but frankly what surprised me was that only Herb Perez and I were willing to comment and tell our residents our thoughts on the issue.
Now I understand that the point of the public hearing process is to keep an open mind and be willing to listen, which I always do, but that does not mean that you can not have concerns about what is being proposed at a public hearing or have concerns about an issue effecting your City. When one Council Member does not respond at all and two others say they want to wait to hear what everyone has to say before they are willing to say anything, I get very concerned.
Steve Okamoto is technically correct that the hearing is not about the Housing Element of the General Plan. However, the point made by the two of us that voted not to approve the Housing Element, is that it clears hurdles for more housing in a way that we believe is not in the best interest of Foster City right now because it fails to address the impacts from such growth. The same concerns are presented by the proposed Marina Project and so the same issue is presented: do we clear more hurdles for more housing now, or do we study the issue and find ways to diversify the City’s revenue and ameliorate the impacts from additional development.
Thus, when Council Members who have I have heard to say privately that they want to wait on housing until we can see the impacts from what we have currently in development are not willing to say that on the record, I worry and I think that maybe what happened with the Housing Element happened only because very few residents showed up to express their opinion. So, unless we have lots of people showing up tomorrow, who knows what might happen!
So again Foster City, this is another call to action from me. I have challenged you this year to take action and this is another time to do that. I also challenge you to take broader action as this is an election year when a majority of the Council is up for election. Art is termed out but both Herb and Steve can be reelected. This is a critical year to make sure that someone is elected that believes that it is their responsiblity to be answerable to the residents that elected them. Those are my challenges to you.