Smooth sailing for first-time council candidate?
With Mayor Mark Chandler deciding not to run for re-election this fall, it may make things easier for Lisa Craig, currently the only declared candidate for Chandler’s District 2 spot.
City council candidate filing period starts in July. Craig is a local businesswoman specializing in historical preservation projects. She’s also been a planning commissioner and has local roots that run deep. Her dad is trucking company owner John Teresi. Craig is one of the principals developing the old Rocha’s Mortuary building on School Street into a Clearsuites business center. Chandler indicated earlier that he hopes to expand his family’s winery business, plus he’s the incoming president for his Rotary club.
SPEED FREAKS: Officers recently clocked a vehicle going 85 mph on Lodi Avenue just east of Lower Sac. Officers pursued the speeding vehicle for a mile or two until it finally pulled over at Hutchins Street. The female driver was promptly arrested for reckless driving and failure to yield. Someone posted online that they saw the arrest happen and then spotted the same person an hour later “hanging out at the farmers market.” … Earlier this month police stopped another vehicle going 81 mph and driving recklessly on Cherokee Lane near Poplar. The 21-year-old driver was arrested and his vehicle was impounded. … If it seemed like there were cops everywhere recently it’s probably because Lodi police joined forces with several other local police agencies for the Saturation Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP). Officers made quite a haul that day. A total of 15 officers conducted 133 traffic stops and issued 126 citations, according to LPD.
MOVIN’ IN: When will those new “tiny homes” on Lodi Avenue at Washington Street start to be occupied? Lodi Community Development Director John Della Monica says relatively soon. He says the contract with Sacramento Self-Help Housing, who will be leasing the property and managing the operation, is being routed through city departments and should be finalized shortly. A grand opening gala and ribbon-cutting event will be scheduled within the next 30 to 45 days, after which the first tenants should be moving in. The project is the first attempt to address the city’s homeless population by providing transitional housing opportunities for people who are or have been homeless and have been vetted. The city will own the real estate, but not be the landlord. The project was paid for by a $1.2 million state grant.
GOOD EATS: We don’t know what the secret is to Guantonio’s wood-fired pizza, but whatever it is, the secret’s out. Every day they’re open the place is packed, with standing-room-only crowds hanging out the door and waiting in the front parking lot to be seated. The little neighborhood pizzeria specializes in thin-crust pizza, which they say is an expression of their food philosophy. “We believe it is the perfect canvas to present the beautiful produce grown in the region.” Their dough is hand-mixed and naturally leavened, according to their website. Their limited menu includes 13 different pizza choices, sides and appetizers such as wood-fired cabbage, braised artichokes, their Capri salad (not to be confused with the former Capri Pizza salad), and chickpea hummus. Guantonio’s is open Wednesday through Saturday at 5 and is located on the corner of California and Lockeford.
GOING DOWN: The three city-owned utilities — electric, water, wastewater — all saw their cash reserves fall this fiscal year, according to recent staff reports. Lodi Electric expects to end the fiscal year with a $5.9 million reserve reduction by the end of June. The water division expects to close the fiscal year with a reduction of $1.3 million, and the wastewater section is looking at a
$5.7 million reserve fund reduction. Lodi Electric will wind up with $36 million in reserve at the end of next fiscal year; the water division will have an estimated $5 million at the end of next year; and the wastewater division will have an estimated $6.8 million in reserve at the end of next year. The figures don’t mean the respective utilities are losing money, says City Manager Steve Schwabauer. He says the city has largely adopted a “pay-as-you-go” (rather than borrowing) strategy for capital improvements, and the cash reductions reflect money being spent on repairs and upgrades. However, he says the water and wastewater utilities will be asking for a 3% rate increase sometime this year, and Lodi Electric’s energy cost adjustment charge will most certainly increase this year, he predicts.
ZEROS: The police department will be receiving two new “Zero” motorcycles, mostly paid for by a $51,000 grant from the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. They are electric cycles with appropriate “police packages.” The new bikes will be used by the department’s traffic control unit for traffic, DUI and special enforcement activities. They have a top speed of 102 mph and a maximum range of 196 miles per charge.
The mural that was painted on the electrical box at Vine and Hutchins is gone. Perhaps you noticed. But why? That’s what Patricia Busby Cunningham wants to know. Turns out the box was damaged and had to be replaced, according to city officials, and not because they didn’t like the artwork.
FLASHBACK: School bonds issues have had a long history of defeat in Lodi. It’s never been easy. Fifty years ago, on June 7, voters rejected a proposed $7 million bond issue to build a new high school. That defeat followed on the heels of another failed attempt in 1968, which sought $14.3 million to replace the old Lodi High East Campus (now Hutchins Street Square) and build an additional elementary and middle school. Nope. Even though a majority of voters said “yes,” it did not reach the required two-thirds majority. Campaign committee member Bob Little pledged at the time to do it again and again until it passed. And so the school board did. Only 90 days later, trustees tried it again with an identical proposal. It went down in flames, too. But oddly, it would actually take flames to get the next bond issue passed. In March, 1974 two Tokay High students broke into the dean’s office and set fire to a filing cabinet, which spread throughout the school’s main building. Much of the building was a total loss. Barely three months later voters overwhelmingly approved bonds to build a new Tokay High School campus, passing with 77% approval. Campaign co-chairmen, brothers Kelly and Ivan Suess said at the time, “It’s fantastic and we are thrilled!” Groundbreaking for the new Tokay High was held July 22, 1975.
REMEMBRANCE : We note the recent passing of former Lodi librarian Kathy Andrade. Kathy helped guide the Lodi library through financially difficult times of the 1990s when budgets were shrinking and resources were stretched. She was quiet, but determined, and always professional.
LAST LAUGH” Someone posted online, “Want to know the secret of turning $40 into $400? Put the $40 into your gas tank, then drive to work (and earn $400).” … Then Manny Menchaca posted, “I just got a full tank of gas for $22. Granted, it was for my lawnmower, but I’m trying to stay positive.”
Steve is a former newspaper publisher and lifelong Lodian. Write to Steve at email@example.com.