Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Looking Forward to a Brilliant 2016!

During this holiday season, we would like to celebrate our success, our outstanding City Council and staff, and our strong community who believe in excellent governance. The City Council, City staff, and our citizens have all contributed to fostering our city as a great place to live, work and play. As the year closes, we reflect on progress and achievements, such as breaking ground on a number of land developments, and increasing opportunities for civic engagement.

With the New Year fast approaching, the City Council and City of Foster City staff are looking forward with expectations of community engagement and dialogue that will reflect visions of managed growth, excellence, and sustainability.
The City of Foster City will focus on promoting economic development by creating meaningful relationships with local businesses and nurturing growth that will be consistent with community values and will maintain a healthy balance of residential neighborhoods, business areas, and open spaces in the city. 

Civic engagement and transparency are crucial to good governance, and increasing opportunities for both will assist the City of Foster City in serving the community in the best way.  The City staff has introduced Foster City Forum, the online place where citizens of Foster City can join the conversation about City projects and plans. City staff has also developed an e-newsletter to be introduced in the New Year, as an easy and fun way to stay up to date with City happenings.
Foster City will also see planning and improvements aimed to improve services and maintain a sustainable and safe city. The Levee Improvement Project will continue to move forward in improving the structure of the levee to mitigate risk and sustain property integrity. The Wastewater Treatment Plant will be updated with advanced infrastructure that will allow for it to serve the community more effectively, for years to come.

The City Council and City staff look forward to these and other important initiatives in the New Year to continue to make Foster City the best place to live, work, and play.
On behalf of our City staff, I extend the best and warm wishes for a great 2016!

Holiday Wishes - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTuMPnXRlUE 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Thanksgiving 2016

As your friends and family gather around your beautiful Thanksgiving dinner table, take time to reflect upon all the wonderful time you have spent together. Count your blessings as you have and celebrate the gift of love and companionship. Share happy thoughts, optimistic plans and dreams with your family.

The tradition of Thanksgiving dinner reminds us to appreciate the finer things in life. As stated by W. T. Purkiser, "Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of Thanksgiving."

Let your enthusiasm, passion and energy bring great cheer to your Thanksgiving dinner. Prepare a great Thanksgiving toast while enjoying family, football, friends and time spent together. Make this a Thanksgiving to remember!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Foster City Forum—Join the Conversation We’re Listening

Foster City is a great place to live, work and play—and that’s largely thanks to all the residents who help give this community its charm.  Our citizens are our greatest asset, and we are therefore always striving to find more ways to involve them in our decision-making process. This year it’s been a top priority, and in fact, it was included in my most recent goals and objectives that were submitted to Council.

 So, I’m happy to report that earlier this month we launched the Foster City Forum, an online forum that makes it easier for the public to give feedback on all sorts of city topics and projects. The input that’s collected on this forum will help guide city staff and policymakers, allowing them to make more informed decisions. What’s more, residents can read what other citizens are saying, so it ensures transparency, encourages community dialogue, and builds consensus.

We realize that transparency and civic engagement are essential for good governance, and this forum is a key tool that will help us achieve our mission. We also realize that today, you’re probably doing just about everything online: banking, booking that next trip, catching up with friends, reading this blog—and the list goes on. Communicating with your local government in a meaningful way shouldn’t be an exception, so we’re pleased to provide you with this new digital opportunity to be civically engaged.

We invite you to visit the forum and weigh in on our current topic: What is your favorite activity to do in Foster City? In addition to giving us your two cents, you can read what other locals are saying. If you see a statement you agree with, you can click a button to show your support. At the end of every month, we’ll see which statement has earned the most support and award the author with a free meal, courtesy of one of our great local restaurants.
Also, once you’re at the forum, you can subscribe to receive alerts every time we post a new topic, so that you’re sure to always stay in the loop. I encourage you to take a few minutes and join the online community conversation—your opinion is important to us, and we want to learn more about you. We look forward to hearing from you!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Happy Veterans Day

The eleventh day of November is a special day. In 1919, the day became known in the U.S. as Armistice Day. It was meant to recognize those who served in World War I, during which an armistice to end fighting went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month of 1918. Today in the United States, the day is called Veterans Day. In some parts of the world, it is called Remembrance Day. It is a day to honor all of those who have served in the military.

The day draws the Nation's attention to the sacrifices made by its war heroes. A day where we can express our collective pride and thanks to the armed forces.

For me personally, I am so appreciative for the selfless acts of valor, bravery, dedication, commitment and ultimate sacrifice of those who have protected and served our great country. Let us give thanks to those past and present.

Happy Veterans Days!

Friday, October 30, 2015

“El Nino” – Is Foster City Ready? Yes We Are!

There has been a lot of talk lately about El Nino and the potential impact it will have on the Bay Area.  While we are all hoping for rain, it is important to remember that the impact of an El Nino winter can be significant. I recently checked in with my staff to make sure the City is prepared, and I believe we are.

In terms of preparation, both the Fire and Public Works Departments have been actively coordinating at the County level to access current resources and to determine additional resource needs (such as sandbags, equipment, etc.). Our Public Works Department recently participated in a regional workshop on October 21 with members of the County, State, FEMA and Army Corps of Engineers to identify additional steps that may supplement Foster City’s existing preparedness activities. As part of Foster City’s regular operations, staff has identified and routinely implements maintenance and prevention steps that are done to eliminate the pressures of excessive storm runoff, such as clearing storm drains. Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Police and Fire also have standard operating procedures for coping with the effects of storms (such as monitoring and lowering the lagoon level, handling downed trees, unsafe roadways, etc.).

With regard to incident response, staff is currently working to develop an Incident Action Plan (IAP). Once completed, the IAP will be activated in the days leading up to a significant weather event containing up to date reports and predications, as well as contact information, call out procedures, and will reference the aforementioned standard operating procedures that relate to the hazard specific response. During these weather events, regular conference calls with the County take place to allow for Foster City to communicate our status and request assistance, if necessary. In the unlikely situation that the effects of a single weather event, or cumulative effects of an extended period of weather, exceeds the capability of our city’s response resources, the City Manager may choose to enlist additional support in the form of a partial or full activation of Foster City’s Emergency Operations Center. At such time, the Emergency Operations Plan would be employed.

I am confident that the City is in a position to handle the forecasted El Nino winter. I urge residents to take the same level of precaution. Here are a few things you can do to prepare your family:

1)      Keep an Emergency Kit with non-perishable foods, water, a first aid kit, flashlight, portable radio, and extra batteries.

2)      Make an Emergency Plan for your Family – Does your family have a meeting place? Where will you go if you need to evacuate? How will you contact family if cell phones are down? Plan ahead!

3)      Clear rain gutters and check your roof for leaks (before the rain starts!).

4)      Check your yard for items which could potentially be carried by wind.

5)      Store your important documents (birth certificates, insurance policies, etc.) where they will not be affected by leaks or flooding.

6)      Check your car tires and windshield wipers.

7)      Stock up on sand bags and keep them in a dry location until they are needed. Sandbags will be available as needed in the City Hall Parking lot for residents to fill up and take home.

8)      Check the exterior of your home for cracked paint and loose window panes, which could allow for leaks or promote dry rot.

9)      Consider investing in a portable generator for your home.

10)   Bring your pets inside away from the weather.


These are just a few of the things which you can do to help keep your loved ones safe in the event that we are affected by a strong El Nino winter. For more information on emergency preparedness, please visit the City’s website at http://www.fostercity.org/fire/communityoutreach/Planning-for-Emergency.cfm.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Fall, Open House and the World Series

As we enter the Fall Season, I reflect back on my childhood school days and fondly recall the tradition of back to school "Open House." And of course, October was the month for the Major League World Series (never went into November back then as it can today!).
The Open House is a chance for you to "show off" your school, your classroom and classmates to parents and family! It was always a fun evening of sharing what was going on in your life from 8AM to 3PM inside your learning world, the elementary school classroom and playground! The City recently offered the same Open House opportunity where residents, family and friends could tour our Fire House, Police Station and City Hall. Residents had the opportunity to learn about our City Government, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), emergency preparedness, and fire and crime prevention. For the kids, the highlight of the day was definitely checking out the police cars and fire engines!
As the City Manager, it was an opportunity to "show off" our great community facilities and my “my classmates” (in this case the City Executive Team) who are some of the greatest department heads in the nation! At the Open House, residents had a chance to meet and talk with City staff including Police Chief Matt Martell, Fire Chief John Healy, Assistant City Manager Dante Hall, City Clerk Doris Palmer, Human Resources Director Ann Ritzma, Public Works Director Jeff Moneda, Finance Director Edmund Suen, Community Development Director Curtis Banks, Parks and Recreation Director Jennifer Liu and my Management Assistant Julie Paping. Don't forget to put the Fire, Police and City Hall Open House on your calendar for next October (it usually falls on the first Saturday in October).
In regards to the World Series, our ball club the San Francisco Giants won't be there (back in 2016!) but it is shaping up to be a great series. As I write, it seems it may be a Mets-Royals World Series. Even though our Giants are not in it, October still brings the same excitement of a great Fall Classic with the World Series!
I still recall the special days in elementary school when the teacher would roll in the TV and set it up in front of the classroom to watch a few innings of the World Series. Baseball instead of Math, English, or History...Wow! What a treat and what an era! I have a vivid memory of watching the Dodgers and the Baltimore Orioles in my 4th grade classroom, while Sandy Kolfax and Jim Palmer battled it out. A great memory for me! Giants fans, you will be glad to remember that the Baltimore Orioles won that series from our rival LA Dodgers, sweeping the Dodgers 4 games to nil and shutting them out 3 of the 4 games.
Open House, World Series, "showing off" your classmates and school, it doesn't getter better than that. Enjoy the rest of October and I hope it is a classic!


Friday, October 2, 2015

Beacon Spotlight Awards

I am pleased to report that yesterday the City of Foster City received 4 Beacon Spotlight Awards from the Institute for Local Government. The Institute for Local Government promotes good government at the local level with practical, impartial and easy-to-use resources for California communities.  The Beacon Award Program is a statewide program recognizing cities and counties that are working to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, save energy, and adopt policies and programs that promote sustainability. 

The City of Foster City received the following awards this year:

·         Platinum Level Award for 20% Agency Energy Savings Reductions

·         Gold Level Award for 13% Natural Gas Savings Reductions

·        Gold Level Award in Sustainability Best Practices (achieving at least three in each of 10 categories)

·         Silver Level Award for 8% Community Greenhouse Gas Reductions

What’s great about this award is that it recognizes Foster City’s many accomplishments in a wide variety of aspects of Environmental Sustainability.  Many people have seen the new solar panels at the Foster City Library/Community Center, but they may not know that our commitment to sustainability and energy savings goes well beyond that.

Here are just a few examples of Foster City’s sustainability activities which helped earn those awards:

·         Replaced all traffic and pedestrian signals and street lights with Light Emitting Diode (LED) technology.

·         Implemented energy efficiency upgrades for city buildings.

·       Reduced water consumption by installing low-flow toilets and state of the art irrigation systems, using drought tolerant plants and hardscape, and installing artificial turf in City parks.

·         Offers significant water conservation rebates for EMID customers.

·         Banned single-use carry-out plastic bags and polystyrene disposable food containers.

·         Sponsored community compost giveaways, electronics recycling, and paper shredding.

·         Installed solar voltaic panels at the public library / community center.

·         Purchased fuel efficient and alternate fuel vehicles for city fleet.

·        Took action to enable Foster City property owners to access Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing.

The Beacon Spotlight Award is a cumulative, on-going program and Foster City plans to continue to take actions and promote programs in sustainability until we achieve Platinum (or better!) in all four categories.
I could not be more proud of the City and its staff, its businesses and its residents for all you do to promote sustainability and a “green” way of life here in Foster City. Sustainability is very important, not only in Foster City, and we must continue to do our part by implementing policies and practices which promote sustainability.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Thoughts on State Fire Activity

We are so fortunate to live, work, and play in one of the safest cities in the nation thanks to an excellent and dedicated Fire Department and Police Department. In my opinion, both departments are second to none.
Based on what is happening with wild fires in our state, my thoughts turn to the brave men and women of our Fire Department. I would like to share some comments from our Fire Chief John Healy in an email to me:
Hi Kevin,
I wanted to share some of my thoughts regarding wildfires the State has been experiencing this summer. It is clear that four years of drought has resulted in much drier plant fuels which in turn has resulted in fire behavior conditions that are unprecedented. This summer has been busier than previous years with local government providing assistance to the State numerous times since late July. This past week the State experienced the start of two devastating fires within days of each other. The first fire, called the Butte Fire, broke out in Amador County east of Jackson and quickly spread south into Calaveras County. The fire claimed two lives, destroyed over 70 thousand acres and more than 250 homes and hundreds of outbuildings like barns and sheds. Foster City sent a four person Engine company to assist as part of a Strike Team made up of 5 Engines from San Mateo, Central Fire, San Bruno Fire, and a Strike Team Leader from San Mateo. They were part of three Strike Teams from San Mateo County sent to assist the State in controlling this wildfire. Shortly after their departure to the Butte Fire, a new fire broke out in Lake County near the towns of Cobb and Middletown. This new fire was called the Valley Fire and it spread with such ferocity that fire modeling tools could not even calculate the rate of spread because it was beyond any historical data recorded and programmed into that tool. The Valley Fire grew to over 50 thousand acres in the first day and consumed close to 600 houses, 10 businesses, and hundreds of outbuildings. In the first 30 minutes of the fire, it spread faster than anyone has experienced before and trapped four firefighters, resulting in serious burn injuries to those firefighters. For the next 12 hours, firefighters focused their efforts on assisting 6 thousand people living in the fire's path in evacuation. Unfortunately, there were at least two civilians that were unable to escape the flames and perished. The fire also spread into Napa and Sonoma Counties. The Fire Chief for the Lake/Napa unit put out a plea for assistance of any type from anywhere to come to that community's aid. Although San Mateo County had already sent three Strike Teams and several other resources out to the Butte Fire and were at maximum level of aid provided out of County, the local area Chiefs decided to send out 5 more resources which were made up of a four person Engine from Foster City, a Brush Engine from San Mateo, an Engine from Central Fire, and an Engine from County Fire, along with an Engine from San Francisco City Fire to respond to the Valley Fire and assist in controlling the fire that is now over 73 thousand acres.
As the Fire Chief, I wanted to share with you that this decision to send more resources than normal was challenging and I constantly think about making certain we have enough resources to handle all types of emergencies. Currently Foster City has 8 of our 26 members out on State fires, and San Mateo has 9 of their 70 members out. All stations and apparatus are currently staffed at our normal daily levels, but much of it is our off-duty personnel working additional days. This extra work adds a great deal of strain to the organization because the members are missing planned family events like birthdays, anniversaries, and their kids' sporting events. I must say I am very proud to lead such a dedicated group of professionals who clearly put others' needs before their own. I recall responding to the Oakland Hills Fire as a firefighter 25 years ago and witnessing first hand fire spread that was outside of any norm of that time. I witnessed total destruction of over 2 thousand homes and wished that I could have done more. I am experiencing many of those same emotions today when I thnk about the Valley Fire and the members of Lake County who have lost everything. I look forward to all the fire in the State being fully extinguished and all of our members returning home safely.
John Healy  

Friday, September 4, 2015

Labor Day Weekend

I really like Memorial Day weekend and Labor Day weekend. They have always been bookends for my summer kick-off and, as a child, the official back to school weekend or start of Fall.

Fall will reflect a change in weather across our great country as leaves change with bright color and hopefully the start of a rainy season in California.

Have a great and safe Labor Day weekend. Let your body, soul and mind reset this weekend.

Turn off your electronics, watch a movie with somebody special, sleep late, enjoy a great meal, eat some ice cream, go to a concert (I will be at the Billy Joel concert Saturday at AT&T Park!), go for a long walk, read a book, take a nap, play with your dogs, or partake in whatever you do to relax!

We will have a fantastic and busy Fall! Charge up your batteries this weekend, as we get ready to continue our excellence in community service.

Friday, August 21, 2015

What Does Kevin Do Besides Work?

This is my message to staff and all whose lives are busy, hectic, and stressful: Balance work, family, and the things you love to do!

When I am not at the office, some of my interests include boating, golf, travel, and spending time with my family and friends. I also enjoy catching a movie, going to a concert, or reading a good book. (City Staff Reports don't count!)

I recently watched About Time, Silver Linings Playbook and Inside Out. I enjoyed all of them! I love anything with Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn, but my favorite is Adam’s Rib. Since I am a big baseball fan, I loved The Natural, Bang the Drum Slowly, and A League of Their Own. If you love baseball too, check out Nine Innings from Ground Zero. It’s a great and intense documentary! And of course on Thanksgiving, my wife Loretta, daughters Jackie & Leslie, and I love to watch Planes, Trains, and Automobiles.

I recently read the Princes of Ireland and The Beauty and the Sorrow (which is a fantastic novel on World War I). And I have a fairly extensive library on all things John F. Kennedy.

My favorite bands/musicians are the Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Frank Sinatra, and Mark Knoppeler. My favorite opera is Puccini’s La Boheme.

So how about this month? How will you balance work with family and fun? Read a great book? Kick back to Sinatra? Catch a movie? (I love the Kabuki Theater in SF!) No matter what you do, spend that quality time with family and friends! And maintain that work, life balance.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Levee Project

Hello everyone, 

This post is to update you  on a challenging task Foster City shall be undertaking in the next coming years.
Let me open by stating as a City we are fine at this moment in regards to flood protection but we must move forward with a plan to address levee improvements, provide excellent analysis to our City Council for clear policy direction on the project, while engaging and educating all of our residents in Foster City on our plan to meet the challenges ahead.
Recently the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a coastal flood hazard study.  Even though they have certified our levee since 1997,  this new study used a new methodology and has determined that roughly 85% of Foster City’s levee system does not meet FEMA requirements.
This means the levee will not retain accreditation status if action is not taken, placing the City in a flood zone designation that will require property owners with Federally-backed loans to obtain flood insurance and require owners selling properties in Foster City to disclose the flood zone designation as part of the sale, which could potentially lower property values.
Here are some important facts about what this means for us as a city:

·         If no action to update the levee is taken, Foster City will be placed in a flood zone designation area, and residents could be required to purchase flood insurance.

·         Flood insurance is estimated to be thousands of dollars annually.

·         The Levee project is being implemented to protect the city, and to avoid this zone designation shift.

·         The project focuses on the renovation of existing levees and construction of a new levee protection system that meets FEMA certification requirements.

·         Estimated Cost For the Project: Up to $75million.

·         Expected Completion Date: Mid- 2020.

·         The City will be hiring a financial consultant to assist with determining financing options for the project. 

·         The city plans to reinstall the levee pedway, and widen if possible, so that recreational uses are improved or at least maintained.

Please be aware this project is of the upmost importance as it is vital in keeping our housing and business property values high, avoiding new flood insurance costs, and protecting our homes and business from the chance of a natural disaster.

Please feel free to contact me, reach out to our Public Works office or share your thoughts here, so we can start a dialogue of our City's plans and issues, on the levee project. For more information go to http://www.fostercity.org/publicworks/lagoonandlevee/Levee-Protection-Planning.cfm.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

My Goals and Objectives for Fiscal Year 2015/2016

In cooperation with the Foster City Council, I have submitted my goals and objectives for the Fiscal year 2015/2016. For those interested, I have written a brief outline so you can get a concise, digestible idea of my own goals I have set out as your City Manager.

To briefly summarize, I am focusing on our community-intergovernmental relations, neighborhood planning and preservation, municipal operations and prudent financial management.  It is of the utmost importance to me that our community views their local government departments as friendly, helpful, courteous and competent in serving their community.  I want to continue fostering community relationships and provide services to ensure that Foster City will continue to be a great place to “live, work and play.” Our municipal operations shall be efficient and wholly transparent to our residents, as we want our citizens to be always well-informed and aware of any city notices or happenings. Neighborhood enrichment and preservation are always at the forefront of our thinking and goal implementation and I shall assist the city council in ensuring our communities are well designed and preserved. I want to present new, innovative, and progressive ways to revitalize and reinvigorate Foster City as a “destination” place in San Mateo County, while maintaining effective budget planning. With the appropriate annual fiscal reviews, quarterly budget, revenue and expenditure performance reports, completed and presented to the City Council, I firmly believe the government of Foster City and I can fulfill these goals.

If you’d like to read in greater detail, and explore my official list of goals and objectives please follow this link to view my goals and objectives.  (Link to Goals Sheet)

Thank you all for reading, and don’t be afraid to reach out to me in person, phone, or email or comment on this or any one of my posts here!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015


Good afternoon Foster City! I just wanted to let you all know that this upcoming Sunday, July 26th, we’ll be at the Giants game and would love to see any and all Foster City residents and community members there. The Giants will be taking on the Oakland A’s, and we’ll be out in full support for this battle of the Bay this Sunday!  If you’re at the game please, stop by and say hi to myself, Foster City employees, family and friends.  Come and enjoy a fun afternoon of Giants baseball!  We will be in Section VR 307 Row 14.  Hope to see you there.  GO GIANTS!


Thursday, July 9, 2015

A "Musical" Note from the City Manager

Summer Concert Kick Off
Our Summer Concert Series kicks off Friday, July 10th at 6pm in Leo Ryan Park. There is not a more perfect setting to spend a Friday evening in Foster City with family and friends than a summer concert in Foster City!
Summer Concert Series

4th of July!
Thanks to everyone for a great 4th of July day and evening of spectacular fireworks. Check out these photos provided by Gordon Mak.

The Personal Touch/Good For Everyone!
As part of my new City Manager initiative, I believe we should stay connected to residents with public outreach and within our own organization. At our management team meeting today, I encouraged people to instead of calling or writing an email, to get up and walk over to their coworker's desk and have an in-person interaction. The reaction I first received when I did it was "what are you doing here?" but by the time I left, I got a "come visit again!" The purpose is to further build a team-oriented community.
When I became City Manager I received congratulatory calls, emails, and notes. All were very nice and appreciated. The handwritten notes were the most meaningful to me, as that person took the time out to think and physically write something down. The art of communication has changed with new technology and letter-writing is a fading art form. Today I provided staff with Foster City a note card to write a personal note to someone who has impacted their day/life in a positive way and write a thank you card to them. Both parties will be positively impacted by this activity.
So get up, get out and talk to that person in the office next to you, and send that hand written note. You will be glad you did!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Serving the Community and Committed to Excellent Public Service; Day 1

Budget Message
On behalf of the entire Executive Management Team and the employees of the City of Foster City, it is my pleasure to submit a balanced Annual Budget for Fiscal Year 2015/16 and the Five-Year Financial Plan.  The Budget and Five-Year Plan reflect vision, innovation, regional partnerships, and dedicated employees which are the foundation of the City’s endeavor to ensure and deliver on a successful future for the community.  This outlook is the result of our City Council’s continued focus on enhancing long-term fiscal strength and sustainability for the community. (The budget can be found here)

Celebrate Success
On June 27, 2015 the City celebrated the completion of the Foster City Parks Master Plan with the dedication of Bridgeview and Shorebird Parks.  Bridgeview and Shorebird Parks add 6.5 acres of beautiful community open space to the Foster City parks system, provide aesthetic value to the local neighborhoods, facilitate recreational activities, and encourage greater access to the San Francisco Bay, and the Bay Trail.  We now have 24 parks available to make your life better in Foster City.

Wishing You a Warm, Wonderful 4th of July
The upcoming Foster City 4th of July celebration is a day and evening event that is being organized to showcase the traditions of our community and country.  I hope you join me in Leo Ryan Park to enjoy the pancakes, parades, the Opening Day Ceremony and Veterans Honor Wall Ceremony at 11am, music, and Foster City fireworks as you celebrate the day with family and friends.  Make this Foster City 4th of July memorable by counting your blessings and truly appreciating your freedom.  Hope to see you in Leo Ryan Park, and have a safe and Happy 4th of July!