By Tim Hunt
Honoring two remarkable menUploaded: Jan 6, 2022
Flags flew at half mast late last month in Pleasanton and Livermore to honor two remarkable men.
The Pleasanton flag was lowered in honor of the legendary football coach, broadcaster and businessman John Madden who passed on Dec. 28.
Livermore’s flag flew at half mast to salute former mayor, community leader, volunteer and World War II hero Dr. John Shirley. I knew Shirley better than I knew Madden, but they shared the character trait of making time for everyone with a smile. Shirley served on the Livermore City Council from 1958 to 1966 just before the wars over residential growth erupted. He stayed active and lent his voice and support to issues through much of his life.
It’s a challenge to reconcile the gentle, smiling Shirley with the understanding that he was a decorated hero in World War II. He was awarded a Silver Star, two Bronze Stars and a Purple Heart as well as the Croix de Guerre by French President Jacques Chirac. He fought in both the invasion of Italy and the invasion of France.
After the war, he earned his veterinary degree and operated Livermore’s first clinic. He was active in civic life throughout his decades in Livermore.
It is fitting and telling that the Livermore City Council Chambers were named in his honor in 2019.
Two lives that were so well lived.
Veteran land use attorney Peter MacDonald officially hung up his shingle with the close of 2021. MacDonald, whose former office overlooked Main Street, provided an ideal balcony to people watch or check out events downtown.
He closed his practice that opened in 1988 after 33 years of helping people win government approval for their projects. He has lots of experience and expertise. He held degrees in both urban planning and law and served as Pleasanton’s city attorney from 1982-1986 during the busiest development season the city has seen. That included the approval of four major business parks, including the largest in Northern California—Hacienda—as well as an average of 1,000 homes per year.
That laid the foundation for the enviable local economy that Pleasanton enjoys today as well as the revenues that gush into the city and make possible a high level of services.
He and I have enjoyed a few lunches catching up on old times and pondering the challenges of today that I look forward to continuing as he enjoys his retirement.