Together, We Can Tackle the Issues
First and foremost on everyone’s mind is the issue of Homelessness. Many times I have been asked what is your plan. At the moment my plan is to get more involvement from the County and State. To date only the County has been involved. The State seems content to push off the problem onto Counties and Cities. In fact the Governor’s Task Force headed up by Mayor Steinberg of Sacramento and Mayor Garcetti of Los Angeles are recommending legal action to force cities to house the homeless without offering any other help. Frequently we are told in Lodi “our hands are tied.“ That is not true because several parts of Stockton are able to manage the problem, especially around our waterways, without the mayor and City Manager. In Lodi, we can manage this better; we just don’t. I have worked with others in the Delta that have been very successful in managing the issue and reducing the health hazard risks to the rest of us.
Public Safety and Homelessness are two issues that are really interchangeable because they are so intrinsically connected. But that being said the issue of ``Defunding the Police`` is not an issue or option. Police and Fire are already understaffed. We passed Measure L to increase funding for Police and Fire why would we reverse what was voted on? But that being said we need to be more fiscally responsible with Public Safety. A number of issues with staffing need to improve to maintain staffing.
COVID Issues. I as a small business owner was not happy with the response to the pandemic. Recently changes were made to allow some of our small businesses to operate outdoors. Unfortunately this has come a bit too late as we have already lost a number of businesses that will never come back. I would have liked to have seen our Council be more proactive earlier on in the process. At least at one point Council directives to our Police Chief to not be so rigid in enforcing the Governor's shut down order. Again something that could have been done much earlier. We are going to be facing some serious budget shortfalls because of COVID. It will require some hard choices to be made. It will require council members with the fortitude to make them. And a Council more willing to help small businesses through this pandemic.
Economic Development in Lodi needs to improve. For many years Lodi has been perceived as anti business and anti growth. Maybe to a certain extent that was true. However, Lodi needs higher paying jobs. Did you know Lodi's median income is $21,000 or so below the state average? We have the capacity to bring jobs to Lodi if marketed right. That would help keep those buying new homes in Lodi working here and not in the Bay Area. With my background in Economic Development I have worked on a lot of projects. I am currently working on one with the City of Lathrop with a former associate from the San Joaquin Partnership that we in Lodi could learn from. In 2008 I did an Aerial Tour video project with the San Joaquin Partnership that included Lodi. It showcased the area just East of 99 in District 5 known as the Beckman Business Park. That project brought several firms to Lodi. We will need more as I hear rumblings of a couple that are leaving. We need to bring companies and their jobs to Lodi.