I had a friend visiting over the 4th of July holiday and through his eyes I was reminded how unique Foster City and our community truly is. The little corner of the world that we share is special indeed.
The 4th of July began with the Pancake Breakfast lovingly prepared by the dedicated Island United Church of Foster City which set the tone that only a small town can obtain. The pancakes, sausage and bacon were delicious as well.
Next was the parade with the fire truck leading the way for all the men, women, children AND dogs dressed in red white and blue. It was so colorful and reminded me of the patriotic old movies in small towns with Spencer Tracy leading the parade down Main Street. Our new fire chief, Mike Keefe was on hand overseeing the festivities with the enthusiasm you want to see in our new chief. Of course the firefighters that were working that shift plus battalion chief, Jim Comisky, were all on hand to make sure all the attendees enjoyed the experience. Along with our Police Department and Park and Recreation Department, I believe we have the best employees as they work in concert with each other and their individual department heads to make the day look as effortless as it appears.
As you looked at Leo Ryan Park and the seemingly endless rows of tents and blankets to gather on, I heard some Foster City folks commenting some of “those” people were from out of town. Being exclusive doesn’t look pretty or sound pretty and I, for one, welcome those from “far-away places” like San Mateo and other cities. Many share our zip code and feel a part of our City and are we really any different than each other?
The Foster City Lions Club did an extraordinarily great volunteer effort. They are there all day selling food/drinks, manning the parking lot so we can make some revenue toward offsetting the cost of this event. If it weren’t for the volunteers in our city……from CERT, Explorers, Lions, etc., we would not be able to make this event pencil out. We also had great sponsors.
Amid the Foster City/“Mayberry” experience we just need to look a mile away where our own Gilead Sciences is making world news with the approval of their daily pill to curb the transmission of AIDS. This approval of Truvada has been heralded by AIDS advocates and physicians as a turning point in the battle against the decades-long epidemic. We are so grateful Gilead has chosen Foster City as their world headquarters and as their home. Especially since Gilead employee, Walter Ruzzo, joined forces with our Environmental Sustainability Task Force our relationship with them has blossomed. With over 1,900 employees, they are the largest employer. Our city council was fortunate to be invited to sign the beam at the top of their new lab building which is a good luck gesture for employees and the construction crew. No, we didn’t climb up there but they lowered it and we all signed it, they then hoisted it to the top along with an evergreen tree, another good luck sign. All of these gestures solidify our relationship. I also feel pride when pretty much all their press identifies them as Gilead of Foster City.
We honored them at our council meeting as they completed their 25th year. Twenty five years ago they were in one small building, now they have 43. As their needs change their campus is evolving into a real community within a community.
The finale of the day was of course the fireworks……we stood with my former colleague and friend, Linda Koelling and her hubby in the parking lot of Safeway and had a great view. The oohs and aahs heard from the thousands assembled were in itself awesome. I don’t care where you all came from because the patriotism is for our Nation and we are all part of that no matter where our pillows reside.
Reports were good on the condition of our streets and parks as the smoke cleared. Redwood City had their own fireworks which I believe lightened the crowds.
I continue to encourage folks to join city committees, service clubs or any other organization that complements our City. Good vibes don’t just happen…….they are a result of commitment and love for our fellow human beings. And as my friend, Tom, headed back to Spokane he took with him memories of a beautiful, well run Foster City.
Even though Berkeley, Vacaville, San Francisco, San Diego and all the other cities are in the news, please try to remember we are Foster City. We are not the federal or state government with their dysfunctional ways of trying to balance a budget. We are unique…..however we cannot control the efforts of the state to take away funds that we so carefully protected over the years. I assure you we are healthy as a City and we have a staff that will guide us through next year’s budget process with their expertise.
We MUST protect and provide services to our residents as well as protect and negotiate with our employees as we look at 2013 to balance our budget without the use of reserves. I think I can speak for all of us that you have our commitment. We need to view our entire community as family, whether you work or live within our boundaries.
We usually get emails from disgruntled residents so if you had a great experience on the 4th please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you ARE that disgruntled resident then please email our mayor!!!!