Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Inaugural "Coffee with the City Manager"

This past week, I hosted the first "Coffee with the City Manager" event here at City Hall. The purpose of this meeting was to provide an informal, open forum for community members to come speak on topics that matter most to them.

Thank you to the seven residents -- Georgia, Peter, Karen, Ran, Paul, Jim, and Brent -- who joined me for a cup of coffee last Wednesday. I found our conversation to be a dynamic and inclusive dialogue -- and if I may say so myself, of most healthy and much-needed public discourse.

We started our meeting with a brief update on key City initiatives -- including, but not limited to, the Levee Protection Planning & Improvements Project, Wastewater Treatment Plant Improvement Project, annual budget process, and the recent endeavors under the Economic Development Strategic Plan.

A variety of other topics were also brought to discussion. Here are a few key highlights from our conversation:

What does the City Manager do?

  • The City Manager is appointed by and responsible to the City Council, serving as the Chief Administrative Officer overseeing the day-to-day operations and City personnel. In summary, the City Manager also develops the annual City budget, proposes new policy objectives, and implements those policies and programs that are adopted by the City Council.
  • There are nine departments that report to the City Manager, which is supported by a team of Department Heads.
  • Legal counsel is provided via the City Attorney, who is tasked with minimizing the City's liability risks, ensuring all departments are legally compliant; as well as providing information and legal advice to the City Council.

City Center Concept & Foster Square

  • Originally, the 15-acre site adjacent to City Hall proposed an idea that revolved around the "City Center Concept." Public input was gathered through surveys and of these, some suggestions included shops/retail, dining, a movie theater, etc.
  • Today, Foster Square is gradually coming to fruition. There are three housing developments that are being constructed on the project site -- Alma Point, Atria, and Lennar. Of this, 21,169 square feet of retail space is also included. These projects are currently underway and are near completion.

Charter Square Shopping Center & the Fourth Elementary School

  • The San Mateo-Foster City School District has begun its process in regards to the fourth elementary school in Foster City. It should be noted that the San Mateo-Foster City School District is exempt from the City's zoning ordinances, per Government Code Section 53094.
  • The San Mateo-Foster City School District recently issued its Notice of Preparation on the Environmental Impact Report. There will be a public comment period in which citizens may submit their concerns. The City has prepared a preliminary letter in response to this.
  • An Ad Hoc Citizens Education Facilities Committee will be created to engage the School Board throughout this process. Committee members will be appointed at the April 3, 2017 City Council meeting.

Community Engagement

  • Foster City has several sources where community members may access the latest City information and events. This includes the City website, City app (Foster City Access), e-newsletters (Foster City Current & Business), FCTV, daily Police Report Bulletin, and much more! The City is also active on a number of social media streams. Visit the Communications Hub for all the ways you can stay connected.
  • Woven within Foster City's fabric is its vibrant and diverse community. This City has been known to be rich in cultural events. City staff will continue to do its best to preserve and promote this element by bringing forth the many cultural events & activities you see daily.

Relationship with Chamber of Commerce

  • The City has a collaborative partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, working together to execute the City's economic development vision & strategic plan, providing resources to our local businesses & stakeholders. 

As your City Manager, I will continue to host these forums as a means of fostering a robust public dialogue and integral partnership between you, our citizens, and your City government. 

Please feel free to reach me via phone at (650)286-3220 or email at Stay tuned for more "Coffee with the City Manager" events to come!

Monday, March 6, 2017

Looking Ahead Into March ...

March 12 is Plant a Flower Day and March 30 is Take a Walk in the Park Day

After bouts of rain and with the onset of Spring, I'd like to highlight a cornerstone of Foster City: our City parks. From water-lined pathways, to fields of greenery and overlooking views of the bay, Foster City's parks system boasts some of the best around. There are a total of 24 parks that contribute to the unique beauty of our City, while providing a plethora of open space. The vitality of our community is due in part to the recreational opportunities provided by these areas. These include sports fields, picnic areas, bocce ball, and aquatic sports -- just to name a few. 

At a glance, here are some timely trivia about our parks system:


Foster City has 24 parks comprising approximately 200 acres of parks and open space, and including dozens of amenities such as playgrounds, sports fields, tennis and basketball courts, beaches, picnic areas, boat ramps, walking ramps, a dog park, windsurf rigging area, school garden and 8 miles of recreational facilities along the Bay Trail.


Thousands of people flock to Foster City's Leo Ryan Park for its signature events, including the annual cityFEST! Celebration, Fourth of July Celebration, epic Summer Concert Series, Polynesian Festival, and Holi Festival. In 2016, it is estimated that 25,000 people visited the park for the Fourth of July Celebration alone.


The City employs 17 full-time people to maintain the park system. Although they work in teams, this means that each employee maintains the equivalent of almost a park and a half, or about 10 acres per employee. Parks employees also spend 600 hours per year supporting special events in the City's parks. Parks employees maintain and upgrade planting materials, prep ball fields, repair irrigation systems, maintain park facilities, and ensure parks are ready & safe for all users.


The Foster City lagoon is the City's primary stormwater drainage basin, but also serves the dual purpose of providing a recreational amenity. The beautiful lagoon contains 212 acres of water. Residents use the waterway for swimming, fishing, and boating. Foster City also offers concessions that rent boating & windsurfing equipment of use on the lagoon.


Foster City serves as a regional amenity for youth sports enthusiasts, with 12 soccer and baseball fields, including 5 year-round synthetic turf fields. There can be 200 games a week during peak seasons and about 7,000 practice hours annually associated with AYSO, Peninsula Youth Soccer, Pony/Colt Baseball, Foster City Youth Softball and Foster City Little League.


From July 1, 2015 to June 20, 2016, 320 park permits were issued, in addition to the hundreds of "drop-in" park users who come to play on the playgrounds, walk their dogs, play games with friends, and otherwise, use the parks as part of their daily lives.

As you gear up for Spring (and before we know it Summer!), visit our Parks & Recreation page for more information on the City parks and what we have to offer. If 24 parks aren't enough, I promise you we have many events & activities in store for the upcoming months!