In Recognition of Robert G. Gottschalkby Representative Jackie Speier
Posted on 2015-12-08
in the house of representatives
Tuesday, December 8, 2015
Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, I rise to honor Robert G. Gottschalk, the
current Mayor of Millbrae, California, for his twelve years of service
on the Millbrae City Council. Mr. Gottschalk served on the council from
2001-2009 and then again from 2011-2015. He was Mayor for three terms
and Vice Mayor for three terms.
Just a few years ago, Millbrae, like most cities on the San Francisco Peninsula, undertook a retrenchment involving substantial budget cuts and changes to service delivery. Although many of these changes arrived shortly before Robert Gottschalk returned to the city council, the city's residents counted on Robert and his colleagues to nurture the experiment into a success. Recently, changes occurred to Millbrae's fire department. In both instances, Robert and his colleagues worked hard to ensure that change delivered value for city residents.
Robert also worked hard to identify a sound development partner for the city in several areas near the Millbrae BART station. Surrounding properties, and BART's own property, hold great promise for residents and the city's treasury. Robert Gottschalk sought to support transit- oriented development throughout this area while also ensuring that existing Millbrae residents benefitted through additional sales tax that may support city services.
For the last three years, Mr. Gottschalk has served on the HEART Board of Directors, an affordable housing fund, that helps to relieve the hardship that too many of our neighbors suffer due to the skyrocketing housing prices in the Bay Area. The lack of affordable housing is unfortunately the defining problem of our time and the leadership of our elected officials is needed to address it.
In his duties on the council, Mayor Gottschalk served on the Finance Committee, the Loan Review Committee, the Airport Land Use Committee and the SFO Airport Community Roundtable. I've been working closely with him and other local and federal officials to solve the airport noise crisis that has become a health problem for many residents in San Mateo County. In his service on the Airport Community Roundtable, and on the council, his legal expertise is invoked to ensure that Millbrae remains as noise-free as possible, and that the community's interests are understood by airport and federal officials.
During his 12 years on the council, Councilman Gottschalk has been part of many milestones in town. He was instrumental in completing the construction of the Millbrae library and the expansion of the countywide library system. As a long-time board member of the Sister Cities Commission, he led the effort and signed friendship city agreements with Kai Ping, China in 2009 and with Hanyu, Japan in 2014. He has traveled to China five times. He has also been very active in improving county emergency services and in relieving traffic congestion.
Mr. Gottschalk brought impressive experience to the city council. He earned a BA from San Jose State University in 1968, an MBA in Finance from UC Berkeley in 1975 and a JD from UC Hastings College of the Law the same year. He has practiced law in Millbrae for 15 years. Prior to that, he had a 21-year-career in the banking industry. He served for 26 years in the military, including on an aircraft carrier in Vietnam, and retired as Captain in the U.S. Navy Reserves.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the House of Representatives to rise with me to honor Robert Gottschalk for his service to the city of Millbrae and to our country. Few are called to serve, and even fewer go willingly into the daily toil of democracy. Whether in our nation's armed forces or as a thoughtful voice of reason on a city council, Robert Gottschalk is one who has contributed greatly to his city and country. It is now time for him to turn over the reins of responsibility to another council, but he does so knowing that he not only did his best on behalf of his community, but that his service is an example of why local democracy in America is the most trusted level of government. We sincerely thank him for a job exceedingly well done.