I am running for reelection this coming November. It was not an easy decision for me. Eight years on the City Council seemed like enough time when I first ran for the position and now those eight years are about up. The time has passed very quickly and there is still so much to do. I have spent altogether sixteen years on the Planning Commission and City Council. I thought seriously about retiring from public service and then realized how much my civic involvement has formed my self-identity. I now consider myself more than an architect, husband, and father. That surprised me.
It is amazing what can happen within your community in sixteen years. We built a new train station and multiplex cinema downtown, created a rail corridor-specific plan of over 600 acres, including 83 acres of a former race track that will be transit oriented development. We built a new central library, police station, and two fire houses. These were all very significant projects where having an architect in a leadership position for the city was very important. We also passed a sustainability initiative, required that all new public buildings be LEED Certified, and revamped our inclusionary housing requirements.
In the next few years our city will be struggling with how to deal with the impacts of the proposed California High Speed Rail as it barrels through our downtown at 125 mph, how to balance pressures for growth with quality of life issues, and how to keep the roads paved in a down economy. These are all significant challenges.
Architects are trained as problem solvers who understand and can visualize the built environment. Architects need to be at the table when these decisions are made. We have a social responsibility to help create and preserve the best living environment for future generations.
Jack Matthews, AIA
Mayor of the City of San Mateo, CA
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