August 23, 2005 > Editorial: We can do it
Editorial: We can do it
The Tri-Cities used to be known as the Washington Township. This legal and political entity encompassed the land now known by the city names of Fremont, Newark and Union City. The area and its environs have a rich history that has provided a wealth of dividends to its population whether Native American Ohlone, early Mexican and Spanish settlers or farming communities of immigrants from the East and around the world.
Dividing farming communities into cities with defined boundaries created new identities and thinking. Regional issues were important, but only in the context of local priorities. Witness the Highway 84 debate and ill will created between city politicians infecting even smaller geographical units of neighborhoods. At times, comments, arguments and votes appear to be more "in spite of" rather than "in the best interests of" a larger issue than city boundaries.
There is nothing wrong with promoting issues of self-interest as long as those espousing a particular view identify their interest (politicians are often required to disclose this) and understand that at times, issues may transcend their local patch of earth. Alliances and offers of assistance, although sometimes hidden by political rhetoric, are in place to assure public safety and regional aid. The Tri-Cities and their neighbors have buildings, parks and artworks that are a source of pride to their communities. The same can be done in partnership for regional facilities that require broader participation and support.
As an example of such an opportunity, our area is dotted with small museums and plans for more that share a love of local history, art and natural history to highlight the people, events and places of interest. These resources, past and present plus the strategic geography of our area have the potential that when fully harnessed will make the Southeastern Bay Area recognized as the "powerhouse" of the Bay. While specialty museums hold a significant place in any community, our area should boast a large showpiece museum that expands the scope of, yet supports, the work of smaller facilities.
This is just one of the venues that demand regional support. A performing arts center is another while recreational facilities including golf and a large sports site are within the realm of possibility. For those beginning to shake their heads in disbelief, I offer the example of Newark's Silliman Center. A small city with limited resources, yet big dreams made it happen. The only thing that can stop even bigger dreams is whether we have the ability to work together. Can the mayors of the Tri-Cities and those of our neighbors north and south get together to set the groundwork for such joint projects? Of course they can. Can it be done? Why not?