Foster City's Struggle to become a City
High taxes, born of an increasing bond debt, particularly as bonds were sold to cover interest on previous bonds ("capitalizing interest"), gradually alienated the Foster City residents from the developers. The Estero Municipal Improvement District Board of Directors came under heated attacks by the Foster City Community Association (FCCA), led by an attorney who specialized in bonds, Wayne McFadden. Property taxes in Foster City were the highest in San Mateo County (about 3.75% of the value of the property), and the residents paying such taxes were understandably clamoring for citizen political representation (remember that the value of property determined the size of voting power, thus favoring the developers). McFadden led the FCCA through five years of intense legal and political battles with the District Board, until the FCCA finally managed to attain the incorporation of Foster City on April 27,1971. With incorporation, Foster City was established as a Council/City Manager form of local government, having a five-member City Council/District Board (the District continued to exist along with the City) - this is the form of government which continues today.
Wayne McFadden became the first Mayor of the fledgling new City of Foster City. However, similar to a colony which revolts until it becomes a free nation, yet subsequently enters a period of extreme political strife, Foster City residents fought the developers politically and in the courts until they gained incorporation, and subsequently entered a period of intense political dissension. McFadden was characterized in the press at the time as "dominating his community like no other single politician in San Mateo County." Indicative of the continuous instability of the situation in those early years, Foster City hired and fired thirteen different City Managers between 1971 and 1977. Foster City had four separate City Managers in 1971 alone, and repeated this alarming phenomenon with four more City Managers in 1977. Since 1977, however, the City has experienced stable leadership and steady growth in population and property values.