Earlier this month, a Livermore Valley cultural institution, the Livermore-Amador Valley Symphony celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special concert at the Bankhead Theater in Livermore.
The group was founded in 1963 when you could buy a home in San Ramon Village in Dublin for $100 down on a Veteran's Administration loan with a total price of about $10k.
The driving force in symphony and other arts organization was the founding of Lawrence Livermore and Sandia national laboratories that brought a highly educated work force of scientists and engineers to the valley for the first time. Both were established in the 1950s. Livermore's population soared from 4,300 in the 1950 census to 16,000 10 years later. Pleasanton nearly doubled from 2,200 to 4,200.
A year after the symphony was established, Stanford professor Dr. Arthur Barnes took over as director. He will serve for his 50th season that finishes in 2014 and then retire. The symphony has named Lara Webber as his replacement. She has lived with her family in Livermore for several years.
WHILE TALKING lab-related matters, the private joint venture company that now operates Lawrence Livermore (with Bechtel and the University of California as primary partners), lost a major law suit relating to 2008 layoffs that took place after the new management company took over the lab.
An Alameda County jury awarded $2.7 million to five former employees who sued for breach of contract in the layoffs. The five employees represent 125 others who also filed suit on similar grounds.
If the award stands after the expected appeals, the joint venture could be looking at millions in payments to the former employees.
And then there's the age-discrimination suits that have not been tried and were scheduled for a hearing earlier this month. Those carry with them the possibility of punitive damages under state law.
U.S. REP. ERIC Swalwell, D-Dublin, had virtually no support from Democrat party leaders beyond the local level when he challenged 20-term incumbent Pete Stark in 2012. Swalwell benefitted from the anyone-but-Pete Republican voters in the district, particularly those in the Livermore Valley, and emerged with a convincing victory.
Democrats dominate registration by more than 2-1 margin over the Republicans so it is a safe Democratic seat. Whether it will be safe for Swalwell with the open primary that he took advantage of to take out Stark remains to be seen.
But the party leadership already has switched to backing him with Democrat leader Nancy Pelosi endorsing him. That likely helps on the bayside of the district, but will not help with moderate or conservative voters in Pleasanton.
One potential Democrat challenger, Ro Khana, already has shifted his attention to Rep. Mike Honda in the 16th district. Khana has a good base on the peninsula and strong Silicon Valley ties through his work as an attorney.
For Swalwell, the question likely is whether termed our Senator Ellen Corbett will take a run at the Congressional seat. For Corbett, as with all state office holders, no federal term limits make Congressional seats the Holy Grail for those who want to maintain elected office. This dynamic may shift a bit with the new state limits that allow officer holders to serve up to 12 years in one house instead of the former six-year limit in the Assembly.