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About this blog: I am a native of Alameda County, grew up in Pleasanton and currently live in the house I grew up in that is more than 100 years old. I spent 39 years in the daily newspaper business and wrote a column for more than 25 years in add...  (More)

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A second half of life exceptionally well lived

Uploaded: Oct 21, 2014
Reporting more to prepare an obituary on David Mertes of Livermore, I was struck by how well he served people both locally and in areas around the world.
He retired as chancellor of the state's community college system in 1996 and then plunged into the non-profit world. Locally, that was through his leadership on the ValleyCare Health System Board of Directors (its education building is named for him and former CEO Marcy Feit) as well as the Las Positas College Foundation.
What greatly impressed me was the list that fellow Rotarian Phil Dean prepared of international projects that David was heavily involved with internationally. They were way too numerous to list in the obituary, but here's an abridged list. Phil worked with David to submit grants to Rotary International after they had lined up financial support from the Livermore club, plus other local clubs or international clubs. Some of the grants, through David's relationships, involved the partnership of up to eight clubs and most were in the range of $60,000. They also partnered with Assist International of Scotts Valley on some of the medical equipment.
Grants were given to:
Establish a women's wellness center in Snezhinsk, Russia (the nuclear research and development city).
Provide an automated cardiac monitoring unit to a children's hospital in Budapest, Hungary; a later grant provided 24 refurbished neonatal, pediatric and patient monitors.
Providing 240 wheelchairs to people in Kathmandu, Nepal
With partnership with ValleyCare, established a primary care facility in Ganja, Azerbaijan that included a resource center to teach preventive medicine.

Establish an intensive care unit in the Pediatric Teaching Hospital in Pecs, Hungary.
Upgrade the Intensive Care Unit in the Children's Hospital of Cluj-Napoca, Romania.
In collaboration with the Rotary Club of Istanbul-Topkapi in Turkey, establish an Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Emergency Unit in the tertiary hospital in Prishtina, Kosovo. It complemented a $3 Million project that David led in collaboration with the American International Health Alliance to enable ValleyCare to train doctors and nurses in Kosovo.

My takeaway: a second half of lived spent exceptionally well taking on projects that will benefit people and regions for years.

Alameda County Registrar of Voters Tim Dupuis has, as they say, some explaining to do.
Absentee ballots were mailed two voters in early October and some of us—my family included—have already voted.
So, on Monday, Oct. 20, the mail brings the Alameda County sample ballot and voter information pamphlet.
Seems like Mr. Dupuis and his department have it entirely backward.
Yes, getting out the ballots on time is critical—it seems equally critical to be sure voters have some clue about what they are voting for on the local and countywide measures.
The Board of Supervisors should be enquiring about just what went wrong and, more importantly, how to ensure information accompanies ballots or is mailed earlier. The 2014 performance is simply unacceptable.

What is it worth to you?


Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Oct 21, 2014 at 9:32 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

It is not limited to 2014.
Previous years my neighbor received our ballots.
Or one of us receives a ballot one day, the following day the other ballot arrives.I suggested to Tim Dupuis and his predecessor (I forget his name, he retired two years ago). That they use the FED EX system for mailing the ballots due to the ineptness of the U.S. Postal System.
When I had my discussions with these two folks, they indicated to me
that the post office receives the ballots in one load, and at the discretion of the post office they select the delivery time, day.

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