Local woman rejoins the living

Contra Costa Times, San Francisco
Feb 24 2005

Local woman rejoins the living

NOW THAT Mary Lawson of Pleasanton has been brought back to life in
the Social Security Administration’s database, she’s talking on
national TV about the ills of a bureaucracy that declared her dead
and cut off her benefits.

Lawson, 84, appeared Monday on cable network MSNBC’s “Hardball”
program with Chris Matthews to discuss a Social Security snafu that
declared her dead as of Jan. 10.

When Matthews asked her opinion of President Bush’s proposal to
overhaul Social Security she said, “I think that, before you change
the system, you change the people who work for the system.”

Lawson’s daughter, Peg Gardner of Livermore, accompanied her on

Lawson speculates someone mistyped a digit in the Social Security
number of a person who died, mistakenly identifying her as the dead
person. From there, reports of Lawson’s “death” trickled down to
Medicare, which stopped paying her doctor bills, and to at least one
credit agency.

With help from aides of Rep. Richard Pombo, R-Tracy, Lawson got her
January Social Security check last week after being declared alive.

FREEWAY ICON TURNS 90: Commuters who see those “Donald D. Doyle
Highway” signs while driving Interstate 680 through the San Ramon
Valley can be rest assured that Doyle is a real person.

Doyle, who served in the state Assembly in the 1950s, and who helped
establish the route for the freeway corridor, turned 90 on Feb. 6 and
threw a big party.

The energetic Rossmoor resident still drives and says he gets a good
feeling when he sees signs with his name on the freeway. One is
posted at the southbound approach to Alamo and the other is
northbound near Alcosta Road in San Ramon.

“It’s a nice feeling to know my work came to some recognition, not
that I was looking for it,” Doyle said. On the other hand, “It’s
amazing when I hear people say, ‘When are you going get that highway
fixed, Doyle? It’s too bumpy.'”

NEIGHBORS SEE RED: Some residents of rural Bel Roma Road north of
Livermore might soon have plenty to say about Pardee Homes’ nearby
2,150-unit development proposal, to appear on the city ballot some
time this year.

But their more immediate focus is on paintball.

Alameda County’s East County Board of Zoning Adjustments today will
consider Clifton Matthews’ proposed permit to operate a paintball
park on 21 acres at 3726 May School Road, about a third of a mile
west of Dagnino Road.

With horses and a rural lifestyle on Bel Roma Road’s five-acre lots
not far to the west, “We just don’t feel it fits in with the
environment out here,” said resident Gail Vardanega.

Today’s meeting is set for 1:30 p.m. in the public works building at
4825 Gleason Drive, Dublin.

REMEMBERING GENOCIDE: The San Ramon City Council received an unusual
request Tuesday night from Gevorg Der-Galestanian, who arrived at
city offices wearing distinctive Armenia insignia in a black SUV
adorned with the Armenian flag.

Times reporter Scott Marshall says that during the council meeting’s
open forum segment, Der-Galestanian, an Iranian of Armenian descent
who works at SBC, asked the council to establish some kind of
memorial to commemorate the Armenian Genocide.

“I am still struggling and fighting for my rights as a genocide
survivor,” he told council members, who listened silently.

An estimated 1.5 million people were killed outright or died later of
starvation in the genocide. From 1915-18 during World War I, the
Ottoman Empire forced people to move from Armenia and Anatolia to
Syria. Deaths attributed to the deportations continued until 1923.

From: Emil Lazarian | Ararat NewsPress