A million here, a million there . . .

My mom used to have an expression that she used when we would hear news about government spending. It went, “a million here and million there, pretty soon we are talking about real money.” Of course, that was back when a million dollars was a lot of money and what she meant was that those in charge of government spending seem to do so cavalierly.

Well, on May 20th, at a budget study session, one of the items on our calendar for discussion in connection with the 2015 – 2016 budget was $925,000 for one new bocce court, refubishment of the two existing courts and rehabilitation of the area around the courts including new lighting and more drought resistant landscaping. This item was a revision of the initial proposal which was to spend $1,125,000 which would get us two new bocce courts.

Now I know that some of you reading this article will think that I am just an anti-park guy, but whether you choose to believe it or not, I am not anti-park. I love our parks and our recreational services and I understand the value and quality of life that they bring to our community. My point in connection with the bocce courts, as was my point in connection with the three new parks being built right now, is that the funds we are using to build new parks could have been used to build new amenities in our old parks and thereby reduce the long term burden that the parks place not only on our economy but on our environment as well.

The new bocce court proposal is projected to save about 325,000 gallons of water per year. That seems great, but the three new parks, parks that are designed to be more drought resistant, are going to use 800,000 more gallons of water per year. These parks will also require ongoing yearly maintenance and eventually replacement costs when they have completed their initial life expectancy. For these parks, however, the argument is over and the parks will be online in the coming weeks. I am sure that many of our residents will enjoy them, especially since they bring Foster City’s first bathrooms to the levee.

The bocce courts, however, are not yet “done deals” and I am writing this article primarily to seek the support of those residents that think that we could use the million dollars that will go into new bocce courts to remove old environmentally demanding features at existing parks and put in new environmentally friendly features that will, at least, offset the environmental demands of our new parks. So, to make a long story short, if you agree that spending nearly $1 million for the bocce court project is too much for too little and too few and would like the Council to explore projects that would be more environmentally friendly and more useful to a larger portion of our City, then please email them and let them know. If not, then I hope you enjoy the new bocce courts.

Turning now to something very positive, I hope that you have all noticed the new solar panels at the library. Those took a lot of work from a lot of people to put together, but I am very proud to have had a role in pushing them through the Council’s approval a few years back. The solar panel project is a real life demonstration of leadership by example and I hope that it is just the start of many such projects in our City. If you do too, let the Council know. I would like to see solar carports at the Rec Center, charging stations at shopping centers and public parking lots, bike rental stations, the list goes on. If you do too, show your support for these projects and help us to leave a better Foster City for our children and their children.

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