Zack Wasserman, Chair of BARC, passes the gavel to our next chair, and emphasizes the importance of being a regional steward

BARC Chair Farewell - by Frank Wasserman.


I think we, all of us together, with the support of our BARC staff and our agency’s staff, have done a very good job for the past few years to make this agency effective. The Bay Area Regional Collaborative – an agency with a loud bark but no bite. And yet we have and are having a significant influence on our collective cities, counties and agencies - regarding Climate Change, Adapting to Rising Sea Levels and coaxing our regional agencies to work effectively together.

When I became Chair of BARC, I talked about Regional Stewards. As I turn over the gavel to your next chair , I want to talk to you about this concept again. Regional stewards are leaders who are committed to the long term well-being of places. We are integrators who cross boundaries of jurisdiction, sector and discipline to address complex regional issues such as housing/job balance, equity, education, real transportation concerns, protecting our environment and making bureaucracy work.

We see the connection between economic, environmental and social concerns – and here and now addressing the impact of rising sea levels. Regional Stewards know how to "connect the dots" to create opportunities for our region. We are leaders who combine an understanding that we are responsible for making this place, our cities, our counties and our region a better place for future generations with the need to confront and solve the very serious problems facing us at this moment.

Stewardship means the careful and responsible management of something entrusted in our care. Regional stewardship combines the idea of  "citizenship and leadership" with "stewardship of place." We look beyond the narrow focus of our personal needs, the needs of our businesses, the needs of our particular jurisdiction and organization – we do not ignore them – but we look beyond them to the needs of and possibilities of our city and of the many jurisdictions and organizations within the city. We analyze and we ACT with that broader perspective.

I hope you the members of this Collaborative, you our Regional Stewards develop a broad view as Regional stewards as you do several things:  Continue working together.Continue your commitment to our Region over our provincial interests.

I want to leave you with a modified teaching from the Mishnah, a collection of rabbis’ commentaries about the Torah, by Rabbi Hillel, which is on my website:

If we are not for ourselves, who will be for us?
If we are for ourselves alone, what good are we?
If not us, who?
If not now, when?

I thank you for allowing me to be chair for the past two years, I thank and look forward to working alongside of you as we continue to protect and grow our Region.

- Zack Wasserman, Chair
San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission - BCDC