January 18, 2005 > Editorial: Field of Dreams
Editorial: Field of Dreams
Tri-City councils have reconvened after their holiday break and elections with at least one new member on board. This year promises to be filled with trials, tribulations and notable challenges.
Fremont faces clarification of Measure T, moving ahead with the Centerville Market Place, building Niles Plaza, continued expansion of Pacific Commons and the construction of new fire stations.
Newark is rejuvenating the Thornton corridor as Home Depot eyes the old K-Mart site and a new fire station will be completed in the old town area. A satellite campus of Ohlone College continues to move toward construction.
Transit is the watchword for Union City. The Decoto area will continue to move toward the realization of a transportation hub and ACTIA (Alameda County Transportation Improvement Authority) may finally have to settle the Highway 84 debate with Fremont. Senior housing has continued to blossom along Alvarado-Niles Road and officials are pondering an expansion of the library.
All cities have continuing fiscal challenges and all share a stake in the new Dumbarton Rail Corridor which will travel through each city and transport commuters across the bay connecting with CalTrain. BART continues on its uneven financial path to connect with San Jose.
Even harmonious councils may need to remind new as well as seasoned members to keep their eyes on an overall vision for their city and follow a rational plan. Usually agenda items have been scrutinized by staff and/or specific commissions before reaching city council.
Councilmembers should remember that staff's job is to carry out the day-to-day functions of the city and give expert advice. Competent staff removes the burden of technical investigation from councilmembers providing reliable and complete information. Boards and commissions are created to aid the city by providing valuable community input. Each group has a specific reason for existence and is filled, hopefully, with people who have an interest and are willing to invest hours and talent helping the city function well.
Each city's council will change as new members integrate. The primary focus should be centered on incorporating the expertise and energy of citizens and staff toward a bright future. While a successful city can build on the strength of its recent past, some are in dire need of restructuring and rebuilding. In both instances, the vigor of our cities relies on community involvement, respect and tangible results. Both city staff and our elected and appointed officials need to keep this in mind.