I don't usually write a letter to the editor. I am compelled to write now because I am so tired of reading ongoing arguments, ugliness and personal attacks concerning the future of downtown Livermore.
My husband, four children and I moved to Livermore in 1961. During our years here we have been active in campaigns for candidates and on controversial issues which we felt were for the good of our city. We welcomed the open coverage of city and valley news and issues when The Independent appeared in 1963. It was a breath of fresh air presenting all sides of our community, its virtues and its challenges.
I remember times of great disagreement on issues such as restrictive covenants which would have prevented a person of color from buying a home in Livermore. Many of us of diverse backgrounds worked together to defeat that measure at the ballot box. Some candidates for city office have been more contentious than others. Through these years, however, I have never seen such unkind, and untrue, even vicious personal attacks as those written about Joan Seppala, The Independent, Jean King and anybody else who has voiced concern over recent City Council decisions and actions.
My concerns now are these.
1. Why did the City Council spend thousands of dollars on the community meetings and then vote unanimously to ignore the findings from those meetings? The session I attended supported the west side hotel, more parking, an extended park, etc., as did most of the sessions. Had the Council committed to Presidio before these community meetings were even held? Why are you, City Councilmembers, opposed to letting citizens vote to decide these issues? A vote against the Initiative or Referendum would completely support the current city plan and vindicate your actions; there could be no more opposition. A vote in favor of the Initiative or Referendum would speak to the desires of your constituents, whom you were elected to serve. Either way the rancor would stop because the community populace would have had our say.
2. I'm wondering if the people who have such unkind things to say about The Independent and Joan Seppala ever read The Independent? Their nasty, critical letters are published, not pitched in a wastebasket. City Council meetings are reported. Speakers on both sides of the Downtown Plan are quoted. City Councilmembers and the Mayor really did make those unbecoming statements. Their opponents have not made personal attacks on anybody.
3. Money matters. I donate my 'widow's mite' to as many causes as I can. Had it depended on people of my income level we would not have a Bankhead Theater and its many wonderful and diverse offerings which educate and entertain those of us who live here. I am grateful to the Bankheads, the Seppalas, Jean King and many others who donated significant sums so that I don't have to endure ever increasing traffic, bridge tolls, expensive parking, etc. to enjoy a quality night out. These and other good people continue to donate as sponsors to bring quality events to Livermore. Other aspects that make Livermore a great place to live have likewise been made possible because of the generosity of these and other citizens.
Owners of wineries and downtown businesses now criticize some of the people with whom they have previously worked in harmony to make good things happen here. I suspect they don't mind the income they've received from the influx of paying customers drawn here partly by the efforts of those they now defame.
Let's stop emulating the contention and the lack of civility, courtesy, compromise and cooperation flowing from our nation’s capital. Livermore has been a great place to live in part because of our diversity and our respect for one another. Let's stop this pettiness and move forward working together.