Flags flew at half mast in Livermore to honor his service and his memory. He was elected to the council in 1974 and served until 1989, the last seven years as the first directly elected mayor. He also served three years as mayor before city voters approved electing the mayor directly.
He guided the city through a very challenging time. Proposition 13 passed in 1978 and dramatically changed city finances across the state. Retail businesses, a critical source of sales tax revenue, shifted west to Dublin and Pleasanton where Stoneridge mall opened in 1980. Livermore’s few auto dealers, another important revenue source, were struggling and Pleasanton and Dublin were drawing new dealerships along Interstate 580. It took years and wise zoning decisions to permit the big box retail and auto stores along the freeway corridor that now is one of the top sales tax generators for the city.
Times were so tough in the mid-1980s that Floyd Sparks, publisher of the Tri-Valley Herald, spearheaded a fundraising campaign to raise money to computerize the police department because the city could not afford to buy the system.
There was no Target, no Costco and no auto row along Las Positas Road.
Turner and his council colleagues joined with the staff to help the city strive to maintain services in challenging financial times. One initiative that lasts to this day was enhancing the downtown corridor with the bluestone sidewalks. It was years later that Highway 84 was re-routed to Railroad Avenue and then the Isabel Avenue corridor was finished to connect directly with I-580. That allowed downtown to flourish as it does today.
One personal characteristic about Mayor Dale is that he was likeable. You might disagree with his position, but you couldn’t dislike him personally. In contrast to other politicians, he went down easily—others not so much.
He served as a director of the Livermore Area Recreation and Park District after leaving the council and ended up moving to Gold Country because of his wife’s physical challenges.
Dale and I enjoyed a special bond in later days as we both had come to know Jesus as adults and celebrated that together. Enjoy your reunion with our Heavenly Father Mr. Mayor (my favorite nickname for Dale).