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    News in Depth

    We Post Full Text of Mayor Foster's Inaugural Remarks @ Cabrillo High School

    (July 19, 2006) -- posts below the verbatim text of the Inaugural Remarks of Mayor Bob Foster at Cabrillo High School in West Long Beach on the afternoon of July 18, 2006.

    We thank Mayor Foster's office for providing us -- at our request -- with the full text as prepared for delivery so we can bring it to our readers in its entirety.

    [begin text]

    Thank you, Tom.

    A special thank you to Bob Maxson;

    A very special thank you to my wife, Nancy; my mother, Helen;

    My mother and father in-law, Dar and Fern Williams;

    My son James;

    My son Kenny, his wife Cheryl and my three grandchildren: Taylor, Bob and Ryan.

    Special greetings to the Long Beach City Council, our City Attorney, City Prosecutor, City Auditor, my friend, the Mayor of Los Angeles Antonio Villaraigosa;

    Welcome to the City Manager, the Management staff, Department Heads, friends, family and colleagues.

    Greetings to friends both new and old and a very special thank you to the staff, students and faculty here at Cabrillo High School. Thanks for letting us take over these past few weeks. It is a real privilege and my honor to be here today for this ceremony.

    No matter whether a cold January at noon, or here in the hot sun of a California July, an inaugural is a special moment:

    It’s the culmination of the democratic process and expression of our democracy’s peaceful transition of power; Continually inspiring among such great turmoil and strife throughout the world.

    Today is a day for reflection;

    A reflection on the journey our City has taken this past decade;

    On the challenges yet to be met;

    Recognizing that a decade from now others will look at this moment and judge our political will and determination and our ability to create an inclusive prosperity that gives opportunity to all;

    And to focus on our renewed dedication to the commitment to become a great City.

    In the 90’s, our City started down the difficult road of reinvention;

    Finding new social and economic centers to build a strong future.

    At our low point, we questioned our future and had many doubts.

    We have withstood the loss of fifty thousand defense and aerospace jobs;

    We’ve withstood the departure of the Navy.

    We continue healing the wounds from civil unrest.

    Beverly O’Neill brought us civic pride -- the prerequisite for civic improvement -- and for her service, we owe her a tremendous debt of gratitude.

    Iowa by The Sea has grown into a big City these past several years;

    We struggle with the burdens of urban America but have held on to the Long Beach that is, in so many ways, unique in all of America: a large urban center consisting of communities where neighbors know each others’ names.

    And that sense of community will be the foundation on which we move forward today, as we begin a new phase in our collective journey;

    As we dedicate ourselves anew to the motto E Pluribus Unum, "Out of many one."

    Our part in this phase of our City’s journey is to respect our fellow citizens, help provide real opportunity for those who lack it, and be as active in correcting the negative effects of growth as we are about fostering the growth itself.

    It will also require us at times, to see beyond ourselves and our immediate interests to work for a larger benefit.

    This phase in our journey will require the engagement of all of us: West and North, Naples to Wrigley; Los Altos, Hellman the Arts District and everyone in between.

    We must celebrate our diversity -- of opinion, of race, of histories -- and proudly demonstrate that a diverse community can be unified in its pursuit of safety and real opportunity for all its citizens.

    Realizing that economic growth in Downtown Long Beach, can be the springboard for sustained improvement in our neighborhoods;

    Recognizing that when Coolidge Triangle and A Better Balance for Long Beach travel to Kansas City to collect trophies as the Best Neighborhoods in the Nation - the NATION - our entire City is stronger for it;

    And similarly, when our neighbors struggle, when our young people are gunned down in senseless acts of violence, we all suffer for it;

    Part of our City, part of our opportunity for a brighter future vanishes with every killing on our streets.

    No entity can prosper without attention to its entirety, the parts cannot take precedence over the whole.

    In many ways, today is also a culmination of a personal journey.

    I am the product of two different cultures, Russian and Italian.

    My parents are part of the greatest generation and made their own contribution.

    My mother worked in an aircraft plant during the war and my father served in the Marine Corp seeing combat in the Pacific.

    Despite long separation and active combat, my parents exited the war years with an appreciation and affection for the culture they fought against.

    They are remarkable people and I’m thankful everyday for their guidance.

    I learned a trade and the value of hard work from my father and learned compassion and respect of all people from both.

    While my father is no longer with us, he is always with me.

    My belief that I have an obligation to use my passion and skills for public service are derived from this background.

    Today I have taken an oath that actualizes that obligation.

    My responsibility is to live up to the description of my style to be direct, decisive and inclusive;

    To use all my energy and skill to bring people together to make our city a better place to live, work and play.

    I promise to use all my time and energy to lift this City we all love to a higher and better level, and I challenge you to do your part.

    The mark of a great society is its orientation towards the future; in having its citizens fully engaged in efforts larger than themselves.

    To tap into the basic human drive to build and improve and to make that improvement durable.

    E Pluribus Unum, "Out of many one."

    We can be an example to the rest of the country.

    I ask for you help, and participation in this bold and important journey.

    Together, we can improve the life and enhance the opportunity of all our fellow citizens.

    I pledge to give you determined leadership to move our city to the ranks of great communities.

    I will always honor and cherish the trust you have placed in me to serve, to lead, to unite our City into one from many.

    It is my privilege to begin that service here today.

    Thank you.

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