In Recognition of Steve Okamotoby 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 Steve Okamoto for his four
years of service on the Foster City City Council, and for his many
significant contributions to our community.
During his term, Steve was instrumental in accomplishing many objectives that have shaped Foster City. The parks system was built out as Werder Park and Destination Park were completed this year. In 2014, the city's smoking ordinance was implemented, the implementation of the fire management shared services model with San Mateo and Belmont was completed, a gatekeeper ordinance for development projects was implemented, a synthetic softball/soccer field at Edgewater Park was completed, and a 15-acre site was sold and developed into the new Foster Square. In 2013, Phase III of the Levee Pedway Repair Project was completed, a synthetic soccer/baseball filed at Sea Cloud Park and a synthetic soccer field/walking track at Port Royal Park were completed and finally the voters approved Business License Tax Measure U.
Additionally, Steve served on the Airport Community Roundtable, the Airport Land Use Committee, the Peninsula Traffic Congestion Relief Alliance, as the liaison to the San Mateo-Foster City Elementary School District, and as the liaison to the City's Parks and Recreation Commission.
Steve's commitment to the residents and community of Foster City has been unshakable. He has been a resident for over 34 years and he and his wife Diana have raised their family there. They are the proud parents of two grown children, Brad, 32 and Katie, 31.
Steve was born in San Francisco, attended Lowell High School, and graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in business. He had a successful career in the financial industry for almost four decades and then worked for the American Cancer Society for ten years raising tens of millions of dollars for the agency. When he was elected to the city council, he retired from the American Cancer Society so that he could devote all of his time and energy to his new responsibilities.
During his service, he's been a voice of reason and responsibility while on the city council, and a person deeply concerned about the [[Page E1740]] future of his community. I take special note of his concern about the impact of airport noise on the residents of Foster City. For several years, he has served on the San Francisco Airport Community Roundtable and worked closely with my office to reduce the number of overflights of jet aircraft approaching San Francisco International Airport. His work culminated in a recent agreement with the FAA that would, in part, have the FAA examine whether it is feasible to use a slightly different approach to the airport. If, at some point in the future, the residents of Foster City sleep better at night, they will have Steve Okamoto, in part, to thank for that outcome.
In his broader public service, Steve has for years educated our community about the civil rights tragedy that we know as the internment of Japanese American citizens at the start of World War II. He and his committee of volunteers are actively raising funds to create a memorial at the site of the Tanforan Assembly Center that was the starting point for the transportation of Japanese Americans into the heartland of America during a time when racism and a failure of political leadership allowed our fellow citizens to be incarcerated for no reasons other than fear and bigotry. Steve was himself interned in his early years. America has since apologized for this historic injustice, and when the Tanforan Memorial is constructed it will be a lasting reminder in our community that we can never let anger and bigotry trample the civil rights of our fellow Americans.
Deeply dedicated to the dignity of seniors, Steve also serves as honorary chair of Komochi, San Mateo, a community service organization that delivers services in the Japanese tradition of respect and care for the elderly.
Mr. Speaker, I ask the House of Representatives to rise with me to honor an extraordinary public servant, human being and good friend. Steve Okamoto is one of the most conscientious people I know, and he has always dedicated himself entirely to any task at hand. When Steve speaks, our community listens. When we look amongst us for an outstanding citizen, we see Steve Okamoto. We will miss him in public life, but will certainly have his guidance through private actions for years to come.