Brisbane’s Character

Written by Mayor Lori Liu. Photo Courtesy of Kathy Wall

At my State of the City address on October 4th, I had the opportunity to share my personal story and acknowledge the amazing work done by our Brisbane community. Here is a synopsis of my speech.  My husband Ray and I moved to Brisbane in 2004, and one of the first community events we attended was an Earth Day cleanup event at the water tower off Kings Road. At that event, we were struck by how engaged people were about volunteering and being stewards of San Bruno Mountain. It was there we met Michael Barnes, who we learned was on the City Council at the time. While we had a preconceived idea about politicians being removed from their community, we noticed that Michael was directly participating, rolling up his sleeves and pulling weeds. He was talking about how to define the character of Brisbane. That’s a question that has resonated with me over the years, and is extremely relevant today as we look forward to the future of our community.
So what is our city’s character? How has it been defined this past year? How does that inform our future decisions? We live in close proximity to a major metropolitan area but have unique access to open space on San Bruno Mountain. We care deeply about our neighbors; we look out for one another. We appreciate the arts and outdoor recreation. We’re quirky and we have our own unique traditions, such as decorating Stars and painting fire hydrants. All of this defines who we are in Brisbane, and will be important in mapping out our future.
Each of the projects we’ve worked on this past year helps define Brisbane’s character. We’re currently considering the Baylands project and working towards adopting the Parkside Precise Plan. We’re also designing a new Brisbane Library, which will provide much-needed community space and include our first public art installation thanks to the Public Arts ordinance. We also built a new Brisbane Skatepark and are planning on renovating the Crocker Park Trail, both of which will give our youth, Crocker Park employees and the entire community enhanced opportunities for outdoor recreation.
One of the key defining characteristics of our city is our commitment to the environment. In response to actions by President Trump to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, we signed several documents pledging to do our part to combat climate change. These documents are not just words, but reflect the true commitment of our city to taking a stand to protect the environment, even in the national and global arenas. Above all, these efforts show that our voices still matter.
Another key aspect of our city’s character is our commitment to the arts. Live at Mission Blue celebrated its 13th season this past year, and we had a very successful “Concerts in the Park” series this past summer. We also created two new events, the Brisbane Marina Kite Festival, and the Star City Music Festival, which activated our Marina and Community Park, and provided recreation and musical entertainment for the whole family.
What makes me most proud to call Brisbane home is our spirit of volunteerism. It is unparalleled; people see a need and are quick to act. I’m so grateful to G3, or the Guerilla Garden Gangstas, a grassroots group of Brisbane residents who have been working behind the scenes to make enhancements to Visitacion Ave. They’ve been working with the local businesses to build planters, plant beautiful and colorful flowers, and add fresh coats of paint to fences. They’ve done a remarkable job. Thank you, Sue Cochran, Dan Carter, Danette Davis and other G3’s!
Another notable volunteer organization is Brisbane Village Helping Hands, which is committed to helping Brisbane residents “age in place.” Thank you Nancy Coleman and the entire Brisbane Village group for taking on this important project and allowing our seniors the opportunity to continue to live in town.
In closing, what defines our city is our character, which is made up of the people that tie it all together. I am so grateful to my neighbors, friends, family, local businesses, and city staff for working together to build our city’s character. Although I am not running for re-election, you will likely see me with my hands in the dirt on San Bruno Mountain, pulling up weeds and teaching my children to be stewards of our great city. Thank you to my colleagues and to the entire Brisbane community, I can’t wait to see what you will do next to make our city an even better place to live.

No Comments