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By Tim Hunt

A fitting legacy for a woman with vision

Uploaded: Sep 15, 2015

To determine the legacy of the late Barbara Mertes, look no farther than Las Positas College in Livermore.
Barbara was raised in Livermore and earned her under-graduate and advanced degrees at Cal. Once she joined the Chabot College district, she became the driving force in ensuring that the Livermore Valley had its own community college. It started as an outpost with Barbara leading it in 1975, but, over the years, grew into the stand-alone campus you see today.
Barbara, who died earlier this month at the age of 85, had the foresight and wisdom to understand that the valley would grow and it would be best served by its own college. She was instrumental in writing the state grants that helped fund key facilities. During his career, she garnered more than $100 million in competitive grants for the two colleges.
The bond issue passed by Chabot Las Positas district voters has provided the funding to largely build out the campus so it is full-service for students. Appropriately, the school's performing arts center is named in her honor. Barbara loved the arts and wrote plays in her spare time.
Barbara and her late husband, David Mertes (who died last fall), made their home in Livermore. David, who served as president of two community colleges as well as the state chancellor, did the commutes or the work-week apartments out-of-town on the job while Barbara maintained the family home in Livermore. David contributed significantly to the system statewide, while Barbara maintained her focus on the valley and Chabot and Las Positas campuses.
After she retired, she was elected to the governing board of the district and served as a trustee until retiring last year.
Daily thousands of students attend and learn at Las Positas—what a fitting legacy for a woman committed to higher education in the valley.

There's a bit of a surprise in the best places to live list published by Liveability.com.
The top city in the country is Rochester, Minn., while the top California city is Palo Alto at No. 6. Walnut Creek is No. 11, San Mateo No. 12 and Santa Cruz No. 19.
Pleasanton is ranked 54th.
Clearly, the rankings ignore cost-of-living and weather. There are a number of cities in North Dakota and South Dakota high on the list.
Just goes to show that criteria is everything when it comes to rankings.