The Livermore Valley Chamber of Commerce kicked off its 2019 Wine Country Luncheon series on May 23. The luncheon took place at the Robert Livermore Community Center, and featured a State of the City address by Mayor John Marchand.

“One of my favorite quotes is from Sir Isaac Newton: ‘If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants,’” Marchand said. “I’d like to acknowledge the mayors here today who have served this community before I did.”

One such mayor, Dr. John Shirley, will be honored on July 13 with a ribbon cutting for the John Shirley Council Chambers, located at the corner of S. Livermore and Pacific Avenues.

“We’re finally out of the triple-wide trailer, and will have a facility that’s worthy of this community,” said Marchand, who has served on the Livermore City Council since 2005, as mayor since 2011, and is a member of the Chamber’s Board of Directors.

“This is the Chamber of Commerce, so let’s talk about the state of the economy,” Marchand said. “It’s good. The population growth over the last ten years has averaged .8 percent. The ten years before that it was 2.4 percent, so we are growing at a very sustainable level. We created about 1,000 jobs, and we’ve created about 1,000 residents. Our median household income has skyrocketed, so things are looking good.”

This year, Livermore’s 150th, marks a host of community anniversaries.

“There’s a great confluence that’s happening,” Marchand said. “It’s the 150th anniversary of the transcontinental railroad; it was 150 years ago that Livermore was founded by William Mendenhall, who understood the importance of the railroad. The train station, built in 1892, had lost its historical context because the train tracks were moved, but we restored the train depot back to its original glory and moved it, so now it’s back at the tracks and once again a train station.

“Even more important, it’s the 150th anniversary of Mendeleev’s Periodic Table. Where else but Livermore would you have the mayor talking about heavy particle physics and the periodic table?” continued Marchand, who spent his professional career working in the sciences as a chemist. “Livermore is one of only six cities in the world to appear on the periodic table.’

Livermorium, a synthetic chemical element with the symbol Lv and the atomic number of 116, was named in 2012. This year, on May 30, Livermorium Day will be celebrated at, where else, 116 S. Livermore Avenue.

“This is also the 100th anniversary of the Livermore Stockmen’s Rodeo Association,” Marchand said of the association that was formed a year after the first Livermore Rodeo was held in 1918. “The Livermore Rodeo – the World’s Fastest Rodeo — takes place this year from June 7 to June 9.”

Marchand noted some of the town’s new businesses, including those at the Outlets: H&M, Ulta Beauty, Crate & Barrel, Bric’s, and Botega Venetta; and new businesses around town such as Maserati, Alfa Romeo, Story Coffee, Rusty’s Chop House, and Vericool – thermal packaging for a greener world.

“We can’t recycle Styrofoam. Styrofoam will last till the next ice age, so Vericool is producing ice chests that are both reusable and compostable,” Marchand said. “Not only are they helping the environment, they’re looking after our community by giving a second chance to people who have been incarcerated; now they can find employment.”

To connect jobs and housing, Marchand addressed Valley Link.

“For the last seven years, San Francisco and the Silicon Valley have created half a million jobs, yet only 60,000 housing units. All of those people are going over the Altamont, so what we’re trying to do is connect the jobs and housing with Valley Link, which will start initially in Lathrop. We’re going to reactivate the transcontinental railroad 150 years later to again connect the nether regions and make this region work again.”

Marchand added that Livermore is doing its part to create housing, most notably: Sage by Shea Homes which will feature an art walk, “So it encourages art, aesthetics and health,” said Marchand; Chestnut Square with 72 units for seniors and 42 units of affordable family homes; and, at the former Groth Brothers site downtown, the Planning Commission has approved 221 apartments with retail space.

About the downtown plan, Marchand said, “The Independent is running a story about a small group of people that have filed a notice of intent to circulate an initiative to stop the progress we have in the downtown today. I hope you will stand with me to oppose this attempt because I for one believe this community has no interest in delaying the downtown project — no interest in going back to the drawing board and endlessly redesigning this by initiative and at the ballot box. Back in November the community spoke with one voice – we had an election, and I got over three quarters of the vote. Trish Munro, who supported the downtown project, was voted in, and my Vice Mayor Bob Woerner also supported it and he got more votes than both of the opposition opponents combined.

“I’m excited about the progress that we’re making, and turning this plan into reality,” he continued. “We have waited 15 years for the completion of the downtown plan, and we’ve waited long enough. We had a very long public process where we had 19 partners at the table – 19 stakeholders – and one of the things that came out during the process was that one element that almost everybody agreed on was the importance of the downtown hotel having an iconic presence on S. Livermore Avenue. Ironically, that is one element that this initiative proposes that be specifically prohibited. The one thing we agreed on will be prohibited if this initiative moves forward. Livermore deserves to be able to enjoy the amenities the plan brings, such as more open space, parking, cultural facilities, the extension of Blacksmith Square – this is what we heard from the community, and we are building those.”

Marchand also noted some of the city’s innovative school programs, including: Livermore High School’s FFA (Future Farmers of America) program; 3rd graders’ Ag Day; the Pedrozzi Scholarship Foundation; Tomorrow’s Leaders; Youth in Government; and the Summer Reading Program, in which 3,000 youths participated last year.

To see a video of the Mayor’s State of the City address, visit www.tri-valleytv.org.

The Chamber’s next event in the Wine Country Luncheon series will be “People, Planet, Profit — B-Corp Businesses a Force for Good.” It will take place on Thursday, June 27, at the Robert Livermore Community Center. Tickets are $55 for Chamber members, and $65 for “not yet” members.

To learn more, visit www.livermorechamber.org.