Thursday, December 3, 2009

Put the Lodi Library on your holiday gift list

Give your community a lasting holiday gift -- donate a title to Lodi Public Library from its Amazon Wish List.

There are several lists to choose from and a title for every one’s taste. The lists work like a gift registry — so once an item is purchased the title is automatically removed from the list.

This year’s library book budget is significantly less than in previous years. The library is unable to purchase all the titles it wants for the collection. Wish lists allow for donations of items that are desirable for the library collection now and in the future.

The Lodi Public Library wish lists are just a click away.

Give a gift to the various collections:


Friday, November 13, 2009

Juntas públicas para discutir la aumentación de las tarifas

La ciudad de Lodi está considerando una aumentación de las tarifas para proveer una extensión de las horas los sábados y los domingos. Las fechas que siguen son para la aumentación de las tarifas:

el 19 de noviembre, 2009 – 8:00 a.m.
Senior Commission Meeting
Hutchins Street Square Pisano Room - 125 S. Hutchins Street

el 1 de diciembre, 2009- 10:00 a.m.
LOEL Senior Center – Garden Room - 105 S. Washington Street

el 16 de diciembre, 2009 – 7 :00 p.m.
Junta Pública con el Concilio de la Ciudad de Lodi:
Carnegie Forum- 305 W. Pine Street
(La ciudad esta proveendo servicio gratís para la junta, pero necesita hacer una reservación.
Por favor llame al 333-6806 para hacer una reservación.)

Aqui están los aumentos propuestos:

Público (0-59)
Tarifa Currente $5.00
Tarifa Propuesto $7.00

Tarifa Currente $1.50
Tarifa Propuesto $2.00

Boleto de 10 paseos para el publico
Tarifa Currente $50.00
Tarifa Propuesto $66.50

Boleto de 10 paseos para los Ancianos/descapacitados/medicare
Tarifa Currente $12.00
Tarifa Propuesto $20.00

Pasajeros con la certificación ADA
Tarifa Currente $1.50
Tarifa Propuesto $2.00

Afuera de los limites de la Ciudad
Tarifa Currente $1.00
Tarifa Propuesto $1.50

Rutas Fijas
Público (5-59)
Tarifa Currente $1.00
Tarifa Propuesto $1.25

Tarifa Currente $0.50
Tarifa Propuesto $0.65

Boleto mensual para el público
Tarifa Currente $35.00
Tarifa Propuesto $44.00

Boleto mensual para los Ancianos/descapacitados/medicare
Tarifa Currente $17.50
Tarifa Propuesto $22.00

Boleto de 10 paseos para el público
Tarifa Currente $10.00
Tarifa Propuesto $12.50

Boleto de 10 paseos para los Ancianos/descapacitados/medicare
Tarifa Currente $5.00
Tarifa Propuesto $6.25

Para más informacion llame al 333-6706.

Annual Leaf Pick-Up begins November 16th

The City of Lodi's annual leaf removal program begins Monday, Nov. 16.
Residents still needing leaf removal services are reminded that street sweeping begins at 4 a.m., with the leaf collection crews following at 6:30 a.m. The City will not collect leaf piles placed in the street after collection crews pass until the next regularly scheduled pickup. Please rake leaves beyond the toe of the gutter so any rain can flow into the storm drain unobstructed.

A map of the City's 10 leaf pickup districts is shown below. The pickup schedule is on an approximate two-week cycle. The leaf pickup program will last approximately two months.

Some tips for residents:
Leaf piles containing prunings, lawn clippings or flowers will NOT be picked up.
Do not place leaves in plastic bags. The bags will not be picked up.
Please do not park cars on the street. They interfere with pickup.

If you need additional yard and garden waste containers, contact Central Valley Waste Services at 369-8274.

Week of: Nov. 16-27
Date /District
Monday, Nov. 16 /5
Tuesday, Nov. 17 / 6
Wednesday, Nov. 18 / 7
Thursday, Nov. 19 / 8
Friday, Nov. 20 / 9
Monday, Nov. 23 / 10
Tuesday, Nov. 24 / 1
Wednesday, Nov. 25 / City work furlough
Thursday, Nov. 26 / Holiday
Friday, Nov. 26 / No pickup

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fare Increase Public Meetings

The City of Lodi will be considering fare increases to provide extended hours on Saturday and Sunday. Below are the dates to consider the fare increases:

NOVEMBER 19th @ 8:00 a.m.
Senior Commission Meeting
Hutchins Street Square Senior Center
125 S. Hutchins Street

DECEMBER 1st @ 10:00 a.m.
LOEL Senior Center - Garden Room
105 S. Washington Street

DECEMBER 16th @ 7:00 p.m.
Lodi City Council Public Hearing
Carnegie Forum
305 W. Pine Street
(Free transportation will be provided to this meeting, but reservations must be made. Please call 333-6806 to make your reservation).

General Public (0-59) Currently: $5.00 /Proposed: $7.00
Senior/Disabled/Medicare Currently: $1.50 / Proposed: $2.00
10-Ride Pass General Public Currently: $50.00 / Proposed: $66.50
10-Ride Pass Senior/Disabled/Medicare Currently: $12.00 / Proposed: $20.00

ADA-Certified Passenger Currently: $1.50 / Proposed: $2.00

Outside City Limits:
Dial-A-Ride Currently: $1.00 / Proposed: $1.50

Fixed Route:
General Public (5-59) Currently: $1.00 / Proposed: $1.25
Senior/Disabled/Medicare Currently: $0.50 / Proposed: $0.65
General Public Monthly Pass Currently: $35.00 / Proposed: $44.00
Sr/Disabled/Medicare Monthly Pass Currently: $17.50 / Proposed: $22.00
10-Ride Pass General Public Currently: $10.00 / Proposed: $12.50
10-Ride Pass Senior/Disabled/Medicare Currently: $5.00 / Proposed: $6.25

If you have any questions, please contact the City of Lodi at 209.333.6706.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Transit Thanksgiving Holiday Closures

The GrapeLine, Fixed Route and Dial-A-Ride/VineLine services will not be operating on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 26th or Friday, November 27th. Service will resume on Saturday, November 28th with the new service times. Saturday - Fixed Route: 7:45 a.m. to 3:09 p.m.; Dial-A-Ride/VineLine: 9:15 a.m. to 3:09 p.m. Sunday - Fixed Route: 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; Dial-A-Ride/VineLine: 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

One person's junk is another person's treasure?

Roughly 150 pieces of office furniture ranging from desks to lockers and couches are available for sale between 9 a.m. and noon on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the City of Lodi's Municipal Service Center, 1331 S. Ham Lane.

And no haggling!

The items, priced from $5 to $25, were formerly used in the City's police, library, finance and transit departments.

All purchases must be made in cash and are final. All purchased merchandise must be removed by noon or the items will be disposed of as trash or scrapped for recycling. Prices are not negotiable.

Interested buyers should park at the Kofu Park parking lot and walk into the Municipal Service Center to the sales location. Once an item is purchased, the buyer will be allowed to drive a vehicle into the MSC to load his or her item(s).

The City is conducting the surplus sale to free space for other storage needs. Funds will benefit the City's General Fund programs.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Downtown Summit follow-up

About 70 Lodi community members attended Friday's Downtown Summit, with guest speaker Michael Freedman -- the architect behind the School Street renovations of the mid-1990s (pictured to the right) -- the highlight.

Also unveiled were survey results. More than 60 business and/or property owners returned surveys, and another 50 downtown visitors were polled over three separate days.

Conclusions: Everyone identifies downtown Lodi with the theater, restaurants, farmers market and special events, with a generally positive view of downtown overall. Interestingly, the vast majority of visitors felt safe downtown, with 47 of 50 saying they felt "very safe" during the daytime, and 43 of 50 saying they felt "somewhat" or "very" safe at night.

There also was a consensus of those surveyed that downtown needs more parking more specialty shops/museums and more restaurants. A few areas showed dramatic differences of opinions between property/business owners and visitors. Visitors felt businesses should open on Sundays, but business owners disagreed. Meanwhile, businesses felt downtown needed to be cleaner, but that didn't register with visitors.

One thing the surveys couldn't reveal was what is the attitude of those people in the region who don't visit downtown Lodi. Is it because they don't know the city has a downtown recognized as one of the best in the Central Valley? Are there qualities of downtown that keeps them away?

Meanwhile, Freedman gave his opinion of what it would take to bring Lodi's downtown to the next level. Some of his observations: property owners, not the City, should now be the catalyst behind boosting downtown's vitality; Sacramento Street improvements should wait until School Street business intensifies; and a handful of underutilized key downtown properties could stall downtown's potential.

Summit attendees eventually broke into five discussion groups, where they each identified five priorities for boosting downtown.

A recap of the Summit is scheduled for the City Council's "shirtsleeve" session at 7 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Carnegie Forum. Freedman is scheduled to attend and answer questions.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Public Works Goes Pink!

It was a cool, damp, foggy morning as 18 ladies joined hundreds of other walkers/runners for this year's Race For Awareness. We gathered at Geweke's car lot on Beckman Road. This is our second year that members of the City of Lodi Public Work's Department, their family and friends participated in the 5k Run/Walk. We were able to field two teams in this year's event and most walked the 5k route while we did have one runner who won her age division. We had a great time raising funds for a great cause and ended the morning with a pink pancake breakfast provided by the Kiwanis.

Special guest to the morning's event was Tina Macuha, Good Day Sacramento (CW31) morning traffic commute host. She shared about her recent diagnosis (April 2009) and treatment of her breast cancer, the importance of early detection and how her mother died of breast cancer in 1983.

Funds raised benefit Geweke's Caring for Women Foundation. The Foundation has always been focused on creating awareness for the need of early detection for breast cancer.

As the event has grown and progressed they have begun to realize the other side of the breast cancer story; women who are in the fight for their life and struggling financially to stay afloat. The stories have touched their hearts deeply which is why the Geweke's Caring for Women Foundation was started in November of 2008. All money raised through Pink October events will go towards helping Breast Cancer Survivors who are struggling with financial needs. They are able to see the tangible results of their efforts by touching these women directly.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

FBI National Academy

I recently had the unique opportunity to attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, along with 254 other law enforcement professionals from across the United States and around the world. Each year, the Lodi Police Department has the opportunity to send one member from our management team to Quantico to attend the National Academy. It was a wonderful experience that I will fondly remember for the rest of my life.

Graduates from my class represented law enforcement agencies from 48 states, the District of Columbia, 21 international countries, three military organizations, and three federal civilian organizations.

The FBI Academy is located on the United States Marine Corps Base Quantico, deep within the Prince William Forest. It is an extremely secure location guarded by a Marine Corps security check point one mile off Interstate 95 and then an FBI security checkpoint approximately five miles further into the base. It is a large complex that houses the FBI’s Field Training Unit, Firearms Training Unit, Forensic Science Research and Training Center, Technology Services Unit , Investigative Training Unit, Law Enforcement Communication Unit, Leadership and Management Science Units, Physical Training Unit and their world-renowned Hostage Rescue Unit. The main complex has three dormitories, two cafeterias, a library, a classroom building, a large gym and track, an indoor and eight outdoor ranges and a Hogan’s Alley which is a mock city with facades replicating a small town and is used for tactical training.

Internationally known for its academic excellence, the FBI National Academy provides 10 weeks of advanced investigative, leadership and fitness training through graduate and undergraduate classes which are accredited through University of Virginia. Training for this program is provided by FBI Academy Instructional Staff, Special Agents, and other staff members holding advanced degrees, many of whom are recognized internationally in their field of expertise. I took 17 units of instruction on Leadership, Ethics and Decision Making; Labor Law Issues for Law Enforcement Administrators; Stress Management in Law Enforcement; Managing Organizational Change and Development; Conflict and Crisis Management and Fitness in Law Enforcement. To some extent, it was like being back in college running from class to class, Monday through Friday, on a tight schedule.

The training that I enjoyed the most was the fitness program. The Physical Training Unit challenges each student to improve their physical fitness while attending the academy by exposing us to core performance training. Ironically, I did not lose a single pound, but I lost 8% body fat and 2 inches in my waist. My particular fitness class met on Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays for two hours of instruction on nutrition and fitness followed by core and aerobic training. Each Wednesday, the entire academy, as well as several instructors, gathered for our Challenge Runs. These were runs that started at 1.5 miles in the first week of the academy progressing to a 6.1-mile run and obstacle course at the United States Marine Corps Base Quantico known at the Yellow Brick Road. Those that complete this feat receive a traditional yellow brick which signifies their accomplishment in the area of physical fitness, which I proudly display behind my desk.

A total of 42,964 graduates now represent the FBI National Academy since it began in July 1935. Of this number, 25,452 are still active in law enforcement work. We currently have three other National Academy graduates still active in our department: Chief David Main, Capt. Gary Benincasa and Lt. Steve Carillo. Our Mayor and former Police Chief Larry Hansen is a graduate as well.

In addition to the benefits of the academic, leadership and fitness training one receives from attending the National Academy, an extensive litany of professional networking is developed. There is a unique fraternity of FBI National Academy graduates who network with one another for counsel, information sharing, professional advice and friendship. I now have professional contacts in 48 of our nation’s 50 states as well as 21 foreign countries such as England, Germany, Canada, Belgium, Kenya, Gambia, Costa Rica, Mexico, Bangladesh and more. The number of police officers who have the fortunate to attend the National Academy in comparison to the total number of police officers nationwide is very small. I consider myself fortunate to have attended and for that, I thank the Lodi Police Department and the City of Lodi.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Downtown Summit tomorrow

You probably know Lodi has a downtown that other cities have used as a model for downtown revitalization. The California Planning and Development Report named Lodi's downtown of the top three small-town downtowns in the Central Valley.
Now, 12 years after the City invested millions of dollars to bring new life to downtown, property and business owners will join other interested residents in discussing the business district's future in what's being called a "downtown summit" at 7 a.m. Friday at Hutchins Street Square.

The event features three guest speakers, one of whom (Michael Freedman) is the architect behind downtown Lodi's current design. We'll also reveal the results of a survey of downtown property and business owners, and a survey of visitors about what they see in downtown and what they think it needs to reach a higher level. In some results, downtown shoppers and business/property owners have opposite views of what they see as challenges.

We'll digest the information, and give summit attendees a chance to discuss priorities for downtown's next phase. When and what that is, who knows? But at least it will give the City a framework for enhancing downtown Lodi in the future.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Sewer rates under pressure all around

Today's story in The Record points out ratepayers in Stockton and Tracy are facing potentially major sewer rate increases because of more strict treatment plant discharge requirements. Although Lodi's most recent permit is requiring more advanced sewage treatment, it hasn't reached the point of these cities.

Read it here

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Getting Around Town Just Got Easier!

City of Lodi GrapeLine's fixed bus routes have undergone some new changes that will make the system more efficient, rider-friendly, and easier to navigate.

Please check out our website to see the new route maps and schedules

New bus schedules can be picked up at:
Lodi Station, 24 South Sacramento Street;
City Hall, 221 West Pine Street;
or the City Finance Department, 310 West Elm Street

Here is a list of the significant changes to our fixed route system:

Weekday Route Changes

Route 1:
Timetables have been updated.

Route 2:
No significant changes.

Route 3:
Streamlined through Downtown and extended to Kettleman Lane and Lower Sacramento Road, eliminating confusing one-way service on Walnut and Oak Streets and creating a faster trip along Lockeford Street. There is no longer a one-way loop on Century Blvd. and Wimbledon Drive; instead the route runs along the western portion of Century Blvd. and Mills to access Kettleman Lane Shopping Centers. Route 4 covers the eliminated portion of the route.

Route 4:
Updated to reduce route redundancy and confusing one-way service.
Stockton Street is used to access Lodi Avenue, providing direct service to Smart & Final.

Hutchins Street is used to access Century Blvd. (The old route used Fairmont Ave., then Vine, and then Church St. to reach Century Blvd.)
The new alignment serves high density apartments directly and avoids narrow streets. From Century Blvd, the alignment directly services Century Christian School and Beckman Elementary School on Scarborough Drive, along with high-density housing on Wimbledon Drive. The route continues on Ham Lane and Kettleman Lane to the Kettleman Lane Shopping Centers.

Route 5:
Service has been discontinued past Highway 99 because of few boardings. The route is now streamlined through the northeastern neighborhood and follows Cherokee Lane to Almond Drive, Stockton Street, and Kettleman Lane. Updated route will be faster and more streamlined along Cherokee Lane.

Weekend Route Changes

Route A (which combined elements of weekday routes 1 and 5) has been eliminated because its large one-way counter-clockwise loop made travel much too long.

Weekday Route 1 has been reinstated for weekend service and is called Route 30.

Weekday Route 5 has been reinstated for weekend service and is called Route 31.

Segments of weekend Routes B, C, and D (Weekday routes 2, 3, and 4) have been eliminated, instead combining elements of each to create Routes 32 and 33. These routes run in opposite directions of eachother, but along the same route. The routes operate along Lockeford Street, Ham Lane, Kettleman Lane (to the Kettleman Lane Shopping Centers), Mills Avenue, Century Blvd, Wimbledon Drive, Hutchins Street, and Central Avenue. Route 32 runs in a clockwise direction, while Route 33 runs counter-clockwise.

Please contact the City of Lodi Transit Division with any questions or concerns at:
(209)333-6800 ext. 2076, or

Big Belly Solar trash compactor

Here's an item that's going to the City Council on Wednesday: using federal stimulus funds for solar-powered trash compactors.

Check out this video on the cans:

Thursday, August 27, 2009

7th Annual Coastal Cleanup at Lodi Lake- Sept. 19

Where does a cigarette butt end up that has been flicked out onto a City of Lodi street or alongside the Mokelumne River at Lodi Lake Park? Hmmm, maybe a waterway.

You probably have seen the clever posters for this event, but the reason for the event is clear: stormwater runoff can pollute our beaches, rivers and other waterways. Come join the local effort at Lodi Lake Park to do a little housekeeping before the winter rains return.

Lodi's California's Coastal Cleanup is gearing up for 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Sept. 19, at Lodi Lake Park. This event is fun for the family, friends, scout groups, fellow workers or just going it alone. You'll make new friends!

People interested should show up at the lake by about 8:45 am, wearing work clothes and covered shoes, with your signed liability release form in hand. The forms are available in English and Spanish from this City of Lodi press release.

Be ready to divide into teams which then clean an area of the lake. Teams then assemble back at the lake front and sort and count garbage. Yup! It's gross, but very interesting. We'll have a contest for the most interesting item found for the day and submit the entry to the State organizers for the statewide competition.

Lodi has won TWICE in the seven years we have participated. The first year we cleaned the lake, a student found an unscratched lottery ticket; the second winner was last year -- a Gucchi purse doubling as a crawdad hideout.

If you'd like to help lead a team, just work, or sponsor the event, contact me. We'd like to serve coffee and breakfast goodies and, of course, water. T-shirts will be given to all workers who complete the day, until supplies run out. So come early and join the best community service event in Lodi. Teachers may want to check out the Cailfornia Coastal Commission's website for great teaching ideas connected with the cleanup.

Please contact me if you'd like to help. My contact information is available on the City press release.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

The Who, What and Where’s of Encroachment Permits

An encroachment permit authorizes the applicant to perform work within the City’s right of way, construct approved facilities, or conduct specified activities. The encroachment permit is not a property right like an easement, nor does it confer a property right. Therefore, it does not transfer with the sale of real personal property.

Individuals, companies, contractors, corporations, utilities and other agencies proposing to conduct any activity within, under, or over the city’s right of way are required to obtain an encroachment permit.

Examples of work requiring a construction encroachment permit are excavations, sign, post, and fence installations, equipment/structures placed upon the street and/or sidewalk, vegetation planting/trimming, driveway or sidewalk installation/replacement, and utility work.

Examples of events requiring non-construction encroachment permits are neighborhood block events, walkathons/marathons, marching band review, and material placed upon the street and/or sidewalk.

The Downtown Encroachment Permit Application is for Special Events or non-construction work in the downtown area. The downtown area encompasses Church, School, and Sacramento Streets from Lodi Avenue to Locust Street, Walnut, Oak, Pine, Elm and Locust (south side) Streets from Church Street to the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.

Encroachment permits are available online at under the Public Works department tab. Once the application has been filled out drop it off at the Public Works Department, 221 W. Pine Street, Lodi, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday (except the last Friday of the month due to Furloughs). Submitting an application does not constitute encroachment permit approval. The permit application fee to initiate the application process is $38 and is non-refundable. Please contact the Public Works Department at (209) 333-6706 for fee and insurance details.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Congressman McNerney views Lodi sites

Congressman Jerry McNerney toured the site of a possible solar power installation, and then visited the Lodi Lake Park Nature Area for a up-close threat of the eroding riverbank near Pigs Lake on Tuesday.

McNerney hiked from the Nature Area parking lot to the far end of the park, viewing the failing Mokelumne River embankment. If the remaining 16 feet fails, most of the Nature Area would be inundated by up to 5 feet of water. In the opinion of an engineering firm, the bank may last five years, but certainly won't survive another decade without repair. That assessment is a year old.

The City of Lodi has applied to the State of California for nearly $2 million of Proposition 84 bond money. The State, however, has notified grant applicants such as Lodi that it is indefinitely postponing the sale of Prop 84 bonds needed to come up with the statewide $40 million pool that would go to river parkway or urban stream projects.

Earlier this year, the Lodi City Council named the Pigs Lake embankment repair its No. 1 priority among projects submitted to a county group that visited Washington, D.C., on a lobbying trip.

Monday, August 17, 2009

When Is A Buiding Permit Required And Why

Do-it-yourselfers often wonder if they need a permit to make an improvement to their home. While a building permit is required for almost anything you do to your home, here are the most frequent exceptions:
1)Painting, wallpapering, tiling, carpeting, cabinets, countertops and similiar items;
2) One story detached structures (tool sheds, playhouses and similiar uses) less than 8 feet tall and less than 120 square feet;
3) Fences not more than 6 feet tall;
4) Retaining walls not more than 4 feet tall;
5) Sidewalks, driveways, and uncovered decks not more than 30 inches above grade level;
6) Above-ground, prefabricated swimming pools that are less than 2 feet deep and less than 5,000 gallons;
7) Shade cloth structures;
8) Swings and playground equipment; and
9) Attached window awnings extending not more than 54 inches from the house.

Permits ensure that the work being done meets the current codes and building standards and ensure your safety and the safety of your neighbors. State law requires that you have an approved permit prior to the work being started.

There are many benefits to getting a permit before you do any projects. When you apply for the permit, your project will be reviewed to make sure your project meets the current standards. As an example, you want to build a 90-square-foot patio cover and attach it the back side of your house. The plans examiner will make sure your rafters are of sufficient size and spacing for depth of the cover, that the attachment to the house is adequate, that you have adequately sized footings and check all other important details of the patio cover to make sure it is safe.

The consequences of starting a project without a permit can be costly. There is a penalty fee charged if you are "caught" doing work without a permit. If the work done doesn't meet the current codes, you will have to bring the project up to code or tear it down.

There are other liabilities associated with improvements made without a permit. All permits issued for your home are a matter of public record. If a home is for sale, a potential buyer may search the City records to see if permits were issued for any work done. If any work done without a permit is discovered, you may be required get a permit and to bring the work up to the current code.

And finally, your insurance company, in case of damage, may not cover work done without a permit, and may not cover damage to your home if the work done without a permit was the cause of the damage.

Permits protect everyone.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grape Bowl work under way (updated Thursday)

Work began Monday on a $289,039 construction project at the Grape Bowl that will provide more access for disabled spectators, remove obsolete facilities and the trees that blocked viewing of the scoreboard at the west end.

So far, the trees at the Bowl's west end were removed, as well as the softball diamond backstops and dugouts. In the near future, the bare west embankment will be replanted with groundcover.

The concession stand structures on the north and south ends will be removed by the end of the week, and the project calls for the construction of concrete platform decks on the north and south ends to accommodate wheelchairs.

Removing the softball fields will allow three soccer games to be played simulateously on a north/south axis. It also will allow for an artificial surface to be installed.

The demolition work is being paid with San Joaquin County discretionary funds. The artificial turf will be purchased with development impact fees collected over the years from homebuilders specifically for an artificial turf field. The money is restricted for projects providing additional park use and can not be used for any other purpose.

Thursday update: Here's are two new pictures showing the gap where the north concession stand was removed Thursday morning. The south end will be removed by the end of Friday. It will cost roughly $1.5 million to build replacement concession stands and restrooms that meet Americans With Disabilities Act requirements. In the meantime, temporary restrooms will be in place for Grape Bowl functions and catering trucks will provide food and drinks for spectators.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Grape Bowl follow-up

The George Thorogood concert caught the attention of the Sacramento TV stations. Here's what channels 40 and 13 had to say:

And this from Channel 13

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Logistics of a Grape Bowl concert

First there's the decision to put on a concert at the Grape Bowl for the first time in 30 years. Then there's figuring out how to do it.

ATMs were rare when Foreigner played at the Grape Bowl in 1978. There weren't electronic credit card machines, either. People these days, however, are used to those types of services. Those are some of the challenges facing the City and promoter for the George Thorogood show on Friday.

Tickets may be purchased at the Grape Bowl with cash or a credit card. There won't be an ATM on site, however, so any food, beverage or other purchases inside the facility will be cash only. The nearest ATM is at the Grape Festival Grounds.

Ticket sales at the Hutchins Street Square Community Center box office, as well as online at, end at 4 p.m. Friday. The Grape Bowl gates open at 6 p.m., with show starting at 7 p.m.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Library closing Monday for two weeks

The Lodi Public Library is heading back to its Locust Street location after seven months at its temporary accommodations on Pine Street. The library is open Saturday and Sunday at 212 W. Pine St., and then is closed until Aug. 3.

Overall, $1.6 million has been spent on library improvements and renovations in the last year, with the Lodi Public Library Foundation, federal block grant funds and Lodi's General Fund the major funding sources.

Here are some pictures taken Friday as workers near the end of the renovation, which includes a new heating/air conditioning system, new carpet, children's area, new furniture, renovated restrooms (including two family restrooms) and a new entrance ramp.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Glitch in online streaming of City Council meeting

If you have cable TV, you're able to watch tonight's City Council meeting. Unfortunately, there's a glitch with the company that streams that video feed over the Internet.

Fixing the problem midstream means rebooting the company's computer, which would result in a portion of the meeting left unrecorded. We'll work on it Thursday in order to have the video available online as soon as possible.

UPDATE: The server handling the broadcast has been repaired and video from Wednesday's meeting is now available online.

No one likes paying higher sewer rates

Even if the proposed wastewater rate increase for Lodi is adopted tonight, residential rates still compare favorably with other cities in the region.

The monthly rate for a three-bedroom residence is currently $27.74, with the first-year 25-percent increase raising that to $34.68.

Take a look to the north, where Galt currently charges $51.87 for residential sewer service. To the south, residents in Lathrop pay $39.10, Manteca charges $39.50 and Tracy $31.

Over the Altamont, residents in Livermore pay $40.75 a month.

But the people really feeling the pain of the heightened environmental regulations are down Highway 12 in Rio Vista. That city just raised monthly sewer rates to $58.84 for those residents who aren't living in the newest developments. In five years they'll be paying $84.37. Here's a recent newspaper story on their situation.

Residents in other cities in our region are paying less, of course, but that is expected to change as their wastewater operating permits expire and come up for renewal. State regulators are placing greater focus on the salinity and other constituents of surface water and land discharges than in the past.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ready for a second downtown bike race?

Race organizers were pleased with Sunday's first Lodi Cycle Fest, which brought hundreds of cyclists and hundreds more spectators to downtown Lodi.

Here's an email the City received Monday from the Delta Velo cycling team, which put on Sunday's races:

"I would like to thank the city of Lodi, it was a pleasure to work with each of you on the Lodi Cycle Fest. Your efforts and endurance helped bring nearly 400 racers and their families into downtown Lodi. I personally saw many hundreds of spectators around the course with smiles and cheers for the men and women that came to race. Lodi showed off what I have known for years, that it is a spectacular city with charm and life that rivals any in California. I look forward to working with you again for next year’s Lodi Cycle Fest."

Friday, July 10, 2009

How did Lodi get George Thorogood?

There’s excitement building in Lodi for the July 24 Grape Bowl concert by George Thorogood & the Destroyers. But how exactly did this concert come about?

The main reason is the City has an experienced facilities manager on staff. James Rodems (pictured to the right) has been director of Lodi’s Community Center for roughly 2 ½ years. He previously served as a facilities manager for private and public entities. He’s now also serving as Lodi’s interim parks and recreation director, overseeing the Grape Bowl. Because of his experience, he sees the Grape Bowl from another point of view.

“We’ve had this long, belabored process trying to figure out what the do with the Grape Bowl,” Rodems said. “What do people think the Grape Bowl is? People think it’s something for football games. Experienced facility managers will walk into that venue and they will tell you it is limitless in its uses.

“So how do you convince the public it’s limitless? You do something other than a sporting event in there.”

Promoter Peter Koulouris brought veteran rocker Dave Mason to Hutchins Street Square in November and was impressed with the work of Lodi’s staff, Rodems said. Meanwhile, Rodems began toying with the idea of a Grape Bowl concert and contacted Koulouris in early 2009.

Later, Koulouris and co-promoter Troy Gotschall began looking for acts and found that Thorogood would be available.

“(Koulouris) said he thought this was the act that would fit in the venue and appeal to a large segment of Lodi’s population,” Rodems said.

Rodems said if 2,000 people buy tickets, which sell for $29 plus a nominal service charge, the show will be a success from the City’s view.

“It’s all to show that it can be done,” Rodems said. “What we want is to make sure we get the mechanics of this event down so we can do it again.”

The concert is scheduled for 7 p.m. July 24. Highway 61 Blues Band is the opener, Stray Cats co-founder Lee Rocker's band is the support act, followed by Thorogood, who has a new album scheduled for release in the days after the show.

Tickets are available at the Hutchins Street Square box office or at

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Tour de Sewer Plant

Who can really say they know what happens to the stuff that goes down the drain? We all know what we play in sewer bills, but where does the money -- along with that other stuff -- go?

You can find out between 10 a.m. and noon on Saturday, July 11, in the first public tours of the White Slough wastewater plant.

Public Works staff is holding an open house, and giving tours of the facility, which has undergone a major facelift in recent years. Lodi has spent roughly $50 million in the last seven years on wastewater system improvements, most of them at the plant adjacent to Interstate 5.

If you're interested in going -- and who wouldn't be? -- be sure to RSVP to the Public Works Department at 333-6706. We want to know who's coming, and be sure we get a head count before we lock the gates!

The City press release on the open house is here.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some comments on fund transfers

There's been some public discussion about the transfer of money from the various utility accounts to Lodi's General Fund, the account used to pay for discretionary services such as fire and police protection, park maintenance, and general government services.

There's been an assertion that Lodi transfers whatever money it wants from the water and wastewater funds to the General Fund, and the amount is arbitrary. It is not.

The transfer is based on a cost-of-services study performed by MuniFinancial, a consulting firm used by numerous cities and other public agencies to determine the cost and funding of various public services. This report was provided to the City Council in September 2007.

If you want to read a 47-page PDF that's thick with tables and explanations, it's been on the City's website for nearly two years and is available here.

The water and wastewater fund stopped paying the PILOT -- short-hand for "payment in lieu of taxes" -- because a transfer from those utilities to the General Fund must be related to the burden on the General Fund.

Anyone in Lodi can learn what it costs to run the City. Simply read the annual budget that is posted online at

State Water Board backs off strict order

Moderately good news for Lodi wastewater customers today in what's a complicated issue.

Some background: Lodi operates its White Slough wastewater treatment plant with the permission of the Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board. The Board dictates how the City treats the waste coming into the plant and how it discharges it onto the ground or into a Delta waterway.

In 2007, the Regional Board issued Lodi a new permit to operate its treatment plant. The nearly 200-page permit provides the parameters by which Lodi operates the plant. In 2008, the California Sportfishing Protection Alliance appealed the Regional Board's permit to the State Water Board, saying the permit wasn't strict enough.

The State Water Board's staff largely agreed with the environmental group in drafting a proposed order. But at today's meeting in Sacramento, after hearing strongly critical comments from the City, cannery Pacific Coast Producers, an association of Central Valley wastewater discharges and the head of the Regional Board, the Board voted 4-0 to roll back some of the more onerous language in its proposal.

One of the most effective speakers for Lodi was none other than Pamela Creedon, the executive officer of the Central Valley Regional Board. She went toe-to-toe with her counterparts at the State Board.

"I believe your staff has it wrong and I can not stress this enough," Creedon told the State Board members, adding that the proposal from the State was "poor public policy."

The result is the Regional Board can hear new arguments in reconsidering its 2007 permit. The State Board, however, did create a new interpretation of a State regulation that will have a ripple effect throughout California and result in higher wastewater costs.

George Thorogood concert July 24

We've already put out a press release on the Grape Bowl concert with George Thorogood & the Destroyers on July 24, but the latest news is that Lee Rocker, one of the Stray Cats co-founders, will be the concert's opening act.

If you visit, you can hear some clips of his music, which are similar to the Stray Cats' rockabilly style. That's him on the left.

For tickets, visit

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

MSC Transit Vehicle Maintenance Facility Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

The Public Works Department held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at their new 14,000 square foot Transit Vehicle Maintenance Facility located at 1331 S. Ham Lane on Monday, May 18th. Public Works Director Wally Sandelin welcomed guests to the new facility and recognized those companies, individuals and agencies that worked to complete the project. After brief remarks from City Manager Blair King the city council was introduced and had the honor of cutting the ceremonial ribbon. Visitors were able to tour the entire facility and interact with shop staff.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Budget vote likely on June 10

Budget presentations by the City's various departments concluded Wednesday, and the City Council eventually decided to push back a vote on adopting the Fiscal Year 2009/10 Budget until June 10.

Various employee groups and others have agreed to unpaid furlough days and the elimination of a 3 percent match by the City to the employees' deferred compensation contribution, which works like a 401(k) match in the private sector. Together, they amount to a roughly 7.6 percent reduction in pay and benefits.

All departments heads and City Council appointees (City Manager, City Clerk, City Attorney), along with most other employees, agreed to this for the final four months of the current fiscal year and all of FY 2009/10.

As of Wednesday night, the following bargaining groups had yet to reach agreements with City management: General Services, Lodi Professional Firefighters and Fire Mid-Management.

The City Council decided to give those groups another week to figure out a way to avoid potential layoffs before it votes on the budget in a continuation of the meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 10 at the Carnegie Forum.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Lodi officially opens new boathouse

Here's a nice new feature for Lodi Lake -- a new boathouse to store boats (of course) and related equipment. This one, built with state bond funds and a major donation from Lodi's Meehleis Modular company, is over the waterline, allowing boats to enter the structure.

Another nice feature is the handicap-accessible kayak/canoe launch. People in those types of watercraft can roll up or off on a ramp by using handrails, meaning no worries about tipping over when getting in or out of your canoe/kayak.

City officials and Bill and Carol Meehleis were involved in Thursday evening's dedication and ribbon cutting. Clicking on the pictures will bring them up in a much larger view.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Cal EMA stations new engine in Lodi

The California Emergency Management Agency today handed off one of its new $340,000 fire engines to the City of Lodi, an engine the City can use as a back-up rig and one Cal EMA will call on when Lodi firefighters respond to a major fire elsewhere in the state.

Cal EMA Acting Secretary Matthew Bettenhausen (speaking) and others provided some remarks during the dedication at Lodi Station 3 on South Ham Lane.

A video of the ceremony can be viewed at with more information on the Cal EMA program available here.

The engine has a shorter wheelbase than the City engines, and rides a little higher, making it a better choice for off-road firefighting.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Review of 2009/10 budget begins

Lodi staff began briefing the City Council on the proposed FY 2009/10 budget at this morning's study session. The Police, Fire and Public Works departments gave an overview of their budgets, staffing, accomplishments in the current fiscal year and areas of emphasis in 09/10.

The next budget session will be Tuesday, June 2, in another 7 a.m. study session at the Carnegie Forum, where other department heads will make brief presentations on the current year and plans in the upcoming one.

The City Council could adopt the budget as soon as the June 3 meeting.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Tuesday's election and potential impact on Lodi

Voters go to the polls tomorrow to decide a bunch of propositions related to State finances. The League of California Cities is expecting the State to seize $2 BILLION of local government money if the propositions fail.

So what would that mean for Lodi? Another $1.4 million in lost revenue.

This would be on top of the impact on the City by the recession. Revenue from property and sales tax alone is estimated to be nearly $3.5 million less in the fiscal year (beginning July 1) than it was in Fiscal Year 2006-07.

Of course, this would only be a loan to the state. Funny word, "loan." Usually it's lenders who decide if they'll make a loan. Making a loan against your will ... you could probably find a better word for it.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Draft FY 2009/10 budget now online

The draft budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1 is now available online at 
Here are the basics: General Fund spending is down to $39.8 million. Nearly every department budget is getting hacked because of falling revenue.

The first regular City Council meeting on the budget is Wednesday (May 20). The Council will not adopt the budget any sooner than the June 3 meeting.