What should happen to the land that sits between Dublin and Livermore on the east side of town? Should it be used for more housing? Retail? Open Space?

That's the crux of somewhat competing signature-gathering efforts under way in the city to place an initiative on the November ballot.

Led by former Mayor Janet Lockhart, her former Vice Mayor Claudia McCormick, Dublin schools Trustee Greg Tomlinson and Mona Lisa Ballesteros-Patel, a city parks commissioner, the "Let Dublin Decide Initiative of 2014" would direct the city to "take the necessary steps to bring the land immediately adjacent to Dublin's eastern city limits under Dublin's control so residents can decide what, if anything, ever gets built there," according to the organization's news release.

This potential ballot measure, which also mandates at least 60 percent open space, is designed to compete with the "Dublin Open-Space Initiative of 2014," for which signature gatherers led by residents Morgan King and Dave Bewley have been using the sign "Save Doolan Canyon," to attract interest. Using what I admit is a pretty simplistic description, the open space initiative would ask for Dublin residents to vote on a measure that would eliminate a planned housing development for Doolan Canyon in the east and preserve land as open space in the west.

While the current new housing developments under way were approved as part of the Dublin Master Plan when Lockhart was mayor, there has been a lot of community grumbling as of late -- at least from a variety of people that I've encountered -- that there is too much housing being built in the city and not enough open space being left, well, open.


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To make matters even a bit more complex, the city of Livermore has recently asked the Alameda County Local Agency Formation Commission, which helps make decisions regarding land in unincorporated areas -- like between Dublin and Livermore -- for control over the land.

It definitely has the makings of a heated debate and is one of the most contentious issues in our expanding East Bay enclave. We'll stand by and wait to see if one or both initiatives gets enough signatures to qualify for the November ballot.

big St. Patrick's Day numbers: If it felt a bit more crowded during last month's St. Patrick's Day celebration, you were not imagining things. The city is estimating a record crowd of about 81,000 visitors descended upon the Civic Center festival during its two-day run. The beautiful weather that weekend was definitely a factor in bringing out the crowds, and for the long lines at the beer vendor booths.

Here are a few other stats from the day courtesy of Stephanie Mein. the city's events and marketing coordinator. There were more than 260 vendors at the festival. The Dublin Lions Club Parade featured 72 entries, 2,500 participants, including 10 bands, which marched in front of about 15,000 viewers. There were 2,400 runners in this year's Shamrock 5K Fun Run and Walk. And the Dublin Youth Advisory Committee collected $540 to help provide payments for low-income youth to be able to participate in city programs.

FARM fresh: The farmers market is back starting Thursday. Beginning in the afternoon, people will be able to visit Emerald Glen Park to pick up farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as other goodies, when the annual Farmer's Market has its season debut.

In addition to picking up produce, the market also features weekly special events, including tastings, cooking demonstrations, cook-offs, children's games and musical entertainment. Hopefully, because of California's drought, farmers will be still be able to get enough water allocated by the state to use for their crops, so we can all buy some great produce!

The Dublin Farmer's Market is open from 4 to 8 p.m. each Thursday through Sept. 25. You can get more info about the market by logging onto www.dublin.ca.gov/farmersmarket.

Contact Alan Elias at elias2000@sbcglobal.net.