Editor's Note - Farewell, our David Romero

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By Tom McDonald

Here’s a tribute to a great pressman, who left this past weekend for a new life in Arizona:

David Romero had been around the Optic for years before 1997, when his stepfather, Stuart Beck, hired him to run the circulation department.

Then tragedy struck the family- owned operation, when Beck died suddenly of a heart attack. His wife, Delia, David’s mother, took over the operation.

“When I was publisher, he was really my right-hand man,” she said of her son. “David was always there for me.

“Really, he was just about everywhere.”

Delia Beck remembers how her son would go with her to make sales calls in Santa Fe, and how he’d take care of facility needs even before anyone would ask. “He knew more about the plant than I did,” she said.

Then came a snowstorm that prevented the Optic’s press operators from making it in. “That’s when we decided we had to know how to run the press,” Delia Beck said.

But Romero wouldn’t become the lead pressman until after his mother had sold the paper to Landmark Community Newspapers Inc. He had been the one to give would-be buyers tours of the facility — while Delia traveled back and forth to Albuquerque caring for her dying mother — but after Landmark bought the newspaper, Dave decided to move on.

He and his wife Shannon and their daughter Britney moved to Arizona in the latter part of 2002. There, he worked in the Mesa Tribune press plant.

A year later, he returned to take over the Optic’s press, and he’s been running it ever since — until last Thursday, that is. After more than eight years operating the Optic’s Goss Community Web Press, he moved back to Arizona with his family.

It’s a significant moment in our newspaper’s storied history, with the last of the Beck-Romero family leaving the operation. True enough, it ended as a “family owned” newspaper in 2002, but with David Romero’s departure, our own Optic “family” got quite a bit smaller.

Fortunately, he leaves us in better shape than when he returned in 2003.

After two press rebuilds in three years, our print quality is improved. Under his supervision, our mailroom is far more stable and efficient. Our newsstand racks look and operate better than they have in years. And while our building gets older every day, it still houses a vibrant newspaper that makes a difference in people’s lives. All these improvements can be traced in large part to David Romero and his commitment to the Optic, its staff and customers.

We’re a better newspaper, thanks to David Romero. We’ll never forget him for exactly that.

• • •

As a farewell gift, we gave Dave a couple of press plates that included that tribute as well as a collection of quotes from co-workers and former Optic employees. Here’s one of the best, from our most senior employee, Michael Pacheco, who assisted Romero on the press for years:

“You’ve been the best boss I’ve ever had. You’ve taught me what I know about the press. We joke around and you’ve been a good friend. I’ll always remember you as a good friend. It’s too bad you have to leave now.”

There’s a lot of feeling wrapped up in that comment. A lot of feeling, indeed.

• • •

On Friday, we ran five letters to the editor in support of various candidates running for office in the June 5 primary election. That may encourage more such letters, so I thought I’d mention a couple of things you should know before submitting one:

First, I’ll run them on a first-come basis, but only to an extent. I’ll also consider the length of the letter (the shorter letters are easier to get in) and will attempt to be “candidate balanced” whenever possible.

You’ll have a better chance of getting your letter published if it arrives by Wednesday morning at the latest. After that, I strongly suspect the space I have available for letters to the editor will be filled up through the election.

Tom McDonald is editor and publisher of the Las Vegas Optic. He may be reached at 505-425-6796, ext. 237, or tmcdonald@lasvegasoptic.com.