I feel like I’m living in two different Livermore worlds.
On one hand, we have this lovely town filled with friendly people. As the days get warmer, nothing’s sweeter than hanging out downtown, taking advantage of sidewalk eateries from on one end to on the other. Or having a beer with friends on the patios over at the on Portola.
When I ride my horse with my pals at , or , I’m amazed at how you can go such a short distance from town and find a peaceful place to restore your spirit.
Not long ago, a friend of mine came for a visit from St. Louis and was smitten by the beauty of , and even more impressed with the cuisine at , the midway stopping point of our hike.
Within a few minutes of our homes, we can find ourselves in a world-class restaurant or having a picnic in a local park or winery.
Right around the calendar corner, kicking off the summer, is the World’s Fastest Rodeo, with a week of festivities celebrating our Western roots. It's a reminder that people around here still making a living from raising cattle and working in agriculture.
And when budget cuts took away our beloved fireworks show last year, residents and businesses rallied to . No one shuts down our traditions.
Now you can quibble about the fact that this year’s display will likely be at rather than , but the bottom line is that we have our fireworks back thanks to a community that cared enough to make that happen.
But just when you think the biggest scuffle in town centers on where the fireworks will take place this year, you read about and gang-related .
A for residents around the Walnut Street area where the most recent incident on Easter afternoon took place.
At least one attendee expressed frustration at the effort that didn’t — in the commenter’s mind — address the problem beyond turning on lights and watching out for suspicious doorknockers.
Our tireless Patch editor Kris Noceda filed on the meeting, which he attended. Police Chief Steve Sweeney told those at the meeting that Livermore needs more feet on the street.
We all recognize there's a growing problem that needs to be solved — although it's difficult to get our minds around a Livermore where such things could take place.
For years I’ve walked and jogged near the neighborhood where the Easter shoot-up took place and never once worried about being out there after dark or in the early-morning hours. The homes seem filled with families, or older residents who have already done their diaper duties.
It never appeared to be a place where you should don a flak jacket.
But then I never thought that anyone, especially a police officer, would have to worry about .
Everyone needs to be watching their neighborhoods a little closer these days, and by nipping the problems early we can probably keep these incidents to a minimum.
But it's going to take some organization and some city involvement, which began with Mayor John Marchand taking the lead on the Walnut Street neighborhood watch meeting. Now, citizens need to move forward by going to council meetings to voice their concerns, and discuss steps that can be taken including reinstating .
There's only so much pie in the pan, so if we ask the city to allocate more funds for a dedicated drug and gang team, then something else is going to have to go. But with public safety a No. 1 issue for most folks here, it may be time to tell the council exactly that.
If we can get the fireworks back, we can certainly bring back the task force if that's what it takes to stop the gangs from getting any more of a presence here in Livermore.