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January 24, 2006 > Editorial: Turning '50'

Editorial: Turning '50'

Some numbers naturally lend themselves to what can be termed singular moments in time. Since we learn to count by 10's, it is not surprising that the beginning and end of decades or combinations thereof bring special recognition. In our area, cities are celebrating their 50th year and these anniversaries hold great significance for us. Other towns and cities in this country and abroad might snicker at our exuberance of attaining the milestone of a mere 50 years; they mark celebrations in hundreds of years. However, there is something to be said for the brash young kid on the block with the energy of youth and a "can-do" attitude to go with it. Maybe a good portion of that energy is wasted on thoughts and deeds leading to dead ends and remarks of "I told you so," but there are also many new ideas and actions that represent marked and positive change as well.

Celebrate Fremont, a citizens organization, hosted a kickoff event of Fremont's 50th birthday bash the other night with a sky-high level of excitement and energy that was gratifying to see. The Gala Committee, headed by Fran Stone and Maria Rogers with committee members Joan Lopez, Shirl Oliphant, Karen Sandeen, Ric Serianni, Marie Smith, Kim Stoermer and Linda Wasserman is to be congratulated on a brilliant event. This bash was, in a way, a coming out party for Fremont, done with panache. It is unfortunate that the cost was so high that many who have a significant role in this year-long celebration were priced out of it (a free kick-off is scheduled for Monday, January 23rd), but the atmosphere was definitely upbeat and those attending exuded a positive sense of place and self. By that I mean Fremont is beginning to believe in itself. With that attitude, petty bickering with neighboring cities has no place and wasteful studies that serve to delay and create bureaucratic blinders and blunders should become passˇ. Am I wearing rose-colored glasses? No, but I can see hope and energy from the grassroots of our community.

The first step in any recovery or growth process is a firm belief in your abilities. Too often, our community has been characterized by its own citizens as just "a bedroom community" that serves little purpose other than sleeping quarters. Development of anything other than utilitarian shops and markets has been dismissed as a pipedream by some. Some city officials, even those who ostensibly plan to create a healthy and vibrant Fremont, travel many miles from other communities, stop by for the day to work their shift and then scurry back to their home city to spend our tax dollars. In the past, even some elected officials have voiced the opinion that if they need to shop, their gaze moves beyond Tri-City boundaries.

It is my belief that this community can and will flex its collective muscles to become a powerhouse of the Bay Area. This is not a matter of "if" but "when." Given effective and bold leadership, "Celebrate Fremont" has demonstrated that citizens are ready, willing and able to make it so. With the vision, passion and energy of many of those in our community, change is coming and we are lucky enough to be in the middle of it.

Happy Birthday Fremont!

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