Perhaps the best part of any goal-setting exercise is the engagement of participants and the wisdom of a group working together in a creative endeavor. When government agencies set goals for the coming year, it’s interesting to see what they come up with, of course, but the best part may be the engagement of citizens who have a stake in their government.
That was certainly the case recently when the Pacifica City Council met with residents to hear their ideas for how the city ought to be spending time and money. Suffice to say, those who took time to participate had concerns far beyond the Coastside neighborhoods.
Oceana High School student (and Tribune intern) Thant Paing was one of several citizens who suggested the city take climate change seriously. He suggested the city perhaps align local goals with targets for greenhouse gas emission cuts outlined by the Biden administration. Resident Suzanne Moore was worried about hate and housing. Another important topic came up: appropriate regulations for short-term rentals that protect neighborhoods and encourage visitors.
The city’s own goals for the next decade overlap in important ways. The city says it will update its Climate Action plan with an eye toward mitigating the potentially disastrous effects to come. It pledges to retain and develop affordable housing and to invest in crumbling infrastructure. Importantly, the city says it will seek fiscal stability. It wouldn’t be incorrect to put that last goal first as much is dependent upon the city’s fiscal future.
If these goals for the future sound familiar, that’s because most of them were also the goals of the recent past. In 2022, the city also pledged to strengthen infrastructure, engage with community and seek fiscal sustainability. Interestingly, it also wanted to support “a healthy and compassionate community” by investing in mental health and affordable housing, to “maintain a safe community,” which included emergency preparedness efforts and to protect a “strong city workforce.”
Our goals, professional and personal, are often aspirational. The city’s are no different. It is not fair to badger city officials for failing to move the needle on some of our society’s most intractable problems, from climate change to affordable housing. But we do want to hear that they are keeping their eye on these bouncing balls, otherwise, the goal-setting process becomes performative.
The city’s goals continue to evolve. Officials say they heard residents and want to tweak their list to better reflect constituents. That’s a good sign.
The city has one other admirable goal in its preliminary list for the decade to come: broadening outreach to hear from more residents and businesses to ensure more and better ideas bubble to the top. That is another foundational goal and one the Tribune shares. In fact, it’s why we cover these meetings — so that you can participate armed with the information you need.
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