After 13 years, hundreds of stories, hundreds of thousands of words, and scores of new friends and contacts, this is my final column. And it’s a very bittersweet moment for me.
When I first started writing Around Dublin in 2001, our city was quite a different place. East Dublin was in its infancy, Dublin High was dilapidated and not its beautiful current self, you could drive through the middle of Camp Parks to avoid Dublin Boulevard, the current Dublin Library and Dublin Senior Center didn’t yet exist, and the recently-opened Regal Cinema at Hacienda Crossings was showing the Oscar-winning film “Gladiator” with Russell Crowe.
My family and I moved to Dublin from Southern California in 2000. My wife, Tamara, and I quickly fell in love with the area and the potential that was laid out before us in terms of good city services, really good and still-improving public schools, beautiful parks, lots of new shops and restaurants and the potential for meeting many people who are now our closest of friends.
My children, Evan, Tristan and Makenna, were part of the first student class at Dougherty Elementary School, which provided a glimpse into Dublin’s future when the school had to quickly add portable classrooms to accommodate the fast growth. Today, two of those “kids” are in college, with the youngest leaving home and heading to college next fall after she graduates from Dublin High.
The time simply has come to turn over the pen and keyboard to another person who can bring a fresh new perspective to a city that I love and that I’ve worked to support, educate, criticize (when needed) and defend for the past 13 years.
So allow me a final few hundred words to offer some parting thoughts and thank-yous.
I’ve written a lot about Dublin schools over the years, which is understandable when you have three children who literally grew up in them. I want to thank all of the various teachers and coaches whom I’ve interviewed over the years, with special thanks to Superintendent of Schools Steve Hanke and Dublin High Principal Carol Shimizu for always being accommodating to my numerous last-minute requests for interviews. You didn’t always like what I wrote but were always respectful and classy.
Now, if you could just do something about all the excessive homework still assigned to students — especially in high school — then we’ll have made some real progress!
It would have been impossible to write about all of the amazing growth and changes in the city without having civic and political leaders who didn’t mind (much) having their cell phones ring on numerous evenings. On the political side of the house, I’d like to thank former mayors — and former Around Dublin columnists before me — Janet Lockhart and Tim Sbranti. I could not have done this for so long without your help.
I’d also like to thank and congratulate new Mayor David Haubert and the other council members, who all have been very helpful and supportive — even on the most difficult of issues. Let’s all keep working toward a single Dublin without any east-versus-west delineation or consideration.
On the civic side of the house, where I’ve been proud to have served as a member of the Parks & Community Services Commission for the past eight years, a big thank-you to current Parks Department leaders Paul McCreary and Rich Jochner and former Parks & Community Services Director Diane Lowart. So many of the great activities and events that Dubliners wanted to read about and take part in are in your department’s purview.
Just make sure that you call me to attend the dedication of the 90-foot, lighted baseball field at Fallon Sports Park that I have been incessantly pestering you and many others to build for the past eight years.
And finally, a big thank-you to my lovely wife, who has long been my second set of eyes and ears on the community. All of those evenings at challenging Parent Faculty Student Organization meetings, at book clubs and attending Bunco games gave me a lot of story ideas over the years.
Thank you, Dublin! It’s been a fun ride.
Contact Alan Elias at [email protected].