KTVU Channel 2 debuted Zip Trip with a live broadcast from Livermore on June 7. The show called the city one of the hottest spots to bring a family to live. They referred to Livermore as the “Gateway to the Central Valley.”
Gasia Mikaelian, who was born, raised and schooled in Livermore, and Mike Mibach spoke for the station. They pitched their chairs in the center of town near Lizzie Fountain. Background music was supplied by Crawdad Republic.
Both described the founding of Livermore in 1869 by William Mendenhall, and the naming of the city for his friend Robert Livermore, who had settled in the area in the 1830’s. They mentioned the 101-year annual rodeo that celebrates the area’s long tradition of ranching. They noted the many vineyards that benefit from the ideal conditions for growing grapes in the Valley, and the two world renowned national laboratories.
Frank Mallicoat interviewed the 2019 Miss Livermore Rodeo, Morgan Laughlin, a sixth generation Livermorian. She said she loves barrel racing. “There is a romance to it you can’t give up.”
Malicoat gave the answers to a trivia contest asked of local citizens. He noted that there were over 96,000 acres in the area available for growing grapes, over 50 wineries, Livermorium - the 116th atomic element, the oldest continuous existing lightbulb at 118 years, and Randy Johnson, who grew up in Livermore, one of baseball’s tallest players, a hall of famer winning over 300 games. Malicoat was reminded by a resident that pitcher Marc Davis from Livermore also won a Cy Young award.
Gasia Mikaelian interviewed Mayor John Marchand, who pointed out that the downtown has changed a lot in the years. Marchand stated that after moving the highway out of downtown, the area was transformed into an award-winning downtown with sidewalk cafes and public art. It has become a gathering place.
When asked about plans for the Livermore’s future, Marchand discussed the Emergency Operations Center, Stockmen’s Park and Veterans Way. Marchand also mentioned the 100th Anniversary of Livermore Stockmen’s Rodeo Association and the 101-year rodeo parade scheduled for the next day.
Mikaelian brought up “the more than a little bit of controversy over the hotel”. She continued, “There are people who grew up in this town who have seen a lot of changes and they don’t like all of them. Tell me about the fight to preserve Livermore’s small-town heritage and feel, while really having to make some concessions to the modern world we are living in.” Marchand replied, “After a tremendous public outreach program, most agreed that the hotel had to have an iconic presence on South Livermore Avenue.”
As for growth, Marchand said, “If you don’t grow, you are going to die as a community. One of these days you are going to have to let the young people inherit this community. I want to make sure that they inherit the best community that they can.” Mikaelian wondered whether the city might grow out of control. Marchand responded that the city has carefully planned how large Livermore can grow before exceeding resources. “We’re going to keep it an amazing community.”
Mike Mibach mentioned how expensive it was for people to live in the Bay Area, and the rise in taxes, wondering whether Livermore was going to spend all the tax money it received or “tuck it away.”
Marchand responded that the city manager replaced the necessary assets, keeping in mind that the number one priority in this community is public safety.
Carolyn Wente, interviewed by Sal Castaneda, discussed the initiation of Wente wineries by her great grandfather in 1883. The operation is now owned and managed by 4th and 5th generation Wentes. The winery introduced the first clones of both chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon to the area. “This community of over fifty wineries is not just about wine, it’s about friends and comradery and enjoying the Livermore Valley,” she said.
Tom Bramell, leader of the Centennial Bulb Committee, related that the longest continuous burning lightbulb was donated and installed in 1901 by the owner of the Livermore Power and Water Company. People from all over the world come to the Fire Station on East Avenue to see this wonder. See more information at Centennialbulb.org.
The First Street Alehouse and Posada Restaurants were part of a featured food segment.
Claudine Wong interviewed Matt and Emily Stout-Garcia and daughter Annalise about the Spectrum Community Services’ Meals on Wheels non-profit that delivers food to homebound seniors. They noted that food and security are hard to lose. The human connection is important.
Wong also related the story of Livermore firefighter/paramedic Gustavo Trejo. He took an overtime shift, and ended up saving the life of Scott Leather. Both men and their families have formed an enduring bond and friendship.
Mikaelian summed up the visit to the city stating, “Livermore people take care of each other.”