Rhoads on Lodi's Issues

 
Public Safety
“Bottom line: I want more officers. We currently have 64 officers when we have the budget for 71, and that’s still well below our pre-recession staffing. I’d also like our city to also embrace technology to solve our public safety issues. The city recently started using drone technology to assist officers, and I love that. I think we could help make our streets, parks and schools safer by investing in surveillance and drone technology.”

Recreation
“Physical activities like biking and kayaking are becoming a larger part of our city’s identity. I would love to help the ‘rail to trail’ Lodi Greenline Project in any way that I can. I’m also a huge believer that parks programs and other activities help keep kids out of gangs and away from drugs. Sometimes a coach can be the only father figure in a kid’s life. In the Lodi Chamber of Commerce’s Vision 2020 plan, the Chamber outlined that we need a greater commitment to sports and recreation. I agree. We have so many facilities with the potential to open Lodi up to competitive sporting events and tournaments, but they need drastic upgrades. Upgrading and promoting our sporting facilities will not only bring tourists to our city but also generate revenue. If that means I have to drive to a city park every weekend to apply some paint or mow a lawn, I’m more than willing to do it because I believe our kids deserve to experience the best Lodi has to offer. I want to build on the successes of our future bowling alley and the World of Wonders Science Museum expansion and bring in other businesses that cater to our families.”

Homelessness
“Homelessness is at the forefront of everyone’s minds right now, and I don’t blame people for wanting to call Lodi home. It’s a great community with a big heart. But in order to be a part of this community you must share our same values, and follow our local laws. I believe the solution is educating residents on available services, who to contact, and encouraging them to donate to community organizations instead of giving directly to the homeless. Our spare change is often fueling the cycle of substance abuse issues in our homeless population.”

Government Transparency
“For years, the city council has complained about lack of community engagement. And to be honest, I think it’s because the community doesn’t know what the government is doing or where their tax dollars are going. I would do a number of things to improve our city’s transparency, including making city meeting agendas available to the public on city-operated social media accounts. Also, with the City of Lodi website launching next year, I will advocate that information and meeting agendas are more easily accessible to the public. I’m a firm believer that the public needs to know when utility rate changes are coming down the pipeline, and I’m already doing my best to inform the public each and every time those issues come up.”

The Economy
“Our city is home to many vibrant small businesses that not only give Lodi its small town feel, but also provide tourists and residents with amazing places to shop, eat and drink. As a past downtown employee, I’m a huge supporter of our city’s downtown and small businesses, and understand the struggle they experience. I will cut the regulatory red tape that hurts our family-owned businesses and prevents other businesses from calling Lodi home. I will help our own neighbors thrive and support their dreams of owning a business.”

Water
"Lodi is the 'Zin Capital of the World,' and is a city with a long agricultural history.  This makes water one of the most valuable resources for our city. Our city's farms, dairies and vineyards rely on their access to water, and our residents deserve clean, potable water. As California's dry and wet years become unpredictable, I'm supportive of the city's efforts to become self-sustainable, and believe it's imperative that the state increase water storage and abandon the tunnels project."

Education
"Education plays an enormous role in our community. Unfortunately,  as new and experienced teachers are choosing higher-paying districts, Lodi Unified is facing a shortage of teachers at nearly every grade level, and our children are paying the price. My own mother was a teacher, and I saw her dip into her own wallet to provide for her students. We need to ensure that our tax dollars are directly going to our classrooms and our children's teachers. I badly want to bring a satellite college campus or small four-year university to Lodi - one that can provide teacher credentialling programs and specialized degree in viticulture and agribusiness, and funnel a highly-educated workforce into Central Valley industries and schools."