Housing and Small Businesses
Safe, affordable housing and our local businesses are the bedrock of our community. Nati will require strong development agreements that ensure District 4 receives funding directly to refurbish our most needy apartment and family housing units (without passing costs onto tenants/renters) as well as protect our mom and pop shops from being overrun by big box corporations. Since D4 has extremely limited opportunity for growth, it is imperative that our representative fights for resources and protections dedicated to our area. Nati’s experience as a fire district clerk in the rapidly expanding Tracy area has taught her to leverage developers’ resources for the betterment of the community. When development agreements are made, we have to require public benefit funds.
Many of our city’s most difficult issues have been transferred to the police, even for non-criminal matters, without giving much training or support from the community. This, coupled with a society and system that is still racist and sexist, means we must transform how issues in our community are handled. Nati supports transitions of appropriate non-criminal matters to our local nonprofits, county and state programs, and our own neighborhoods. We can improve City relationships with our local nonprofits, partnering local businesses, and concerned citizens, and through MOUs that outline processes from dispatch to direct to the appropriate City department alongside non-police support. These transitions have already shown major success, such as our hate crimes social worker liaison between Lodi PD and the Breakthrough Project, where any reported hate crime triggers a call to an on-call social worker who accompanies Lodi police officers and assists the victim or witness to appropriate resources. What a perfect example of our town being stronger together!
...is a human rights issue! Nati knows from her extensive work with nonprofits and her own community center serving District 4 that we need a social support model with high levels of accountability geared to the specific type of homelessness. A newly homeless mom and daughter has very different needs than a mentally ill, chronic drug user who has been on the streets for multiple years. In order to help others and reduce homelessness, we have to understand the wide spectrum of what homelessness encompasses. From there we can take action that actually helps everything from immediate needs to preventive care, particularly around mental health and addiction issues.
Public accommodations including restrooms, trash services, needle boxes, and wifi facilities must be available to keep our streets clean and safe.
Nati supports City and citizen-led initiatives such as the Lodi Committee on Homelessness including its tiny homes program, more potential transitional housing options, and expanding the efforts of our wonderful nonprofits right here in Lodi, such as Lodi House, Grace & Mercy Charitable Foundation, and the Women’s Center.
Parks, Sidewalks, and Green Spaces
Our lives are lived on our streets, parks, and playgrounds. Nati will continue her work, such as volunteer and organizing folks for the Main street garden, celebrating our community with community gardens and murals, prioritizing renewal of D4’s broken concrete and asphalt, and ensuring the walkability of our sidewalks, drivability of our streets, and bikeability of our roads.
Our District’s historic parks, such as Blakely Park and Hale Park where Cesar Chavez marched, cannot be allowed to go into further ruin but instead should be restored. Lodi Ave and Central Ave businesses deserve to have the same beautiful trees and landscaping on sidewalks and parking spots that the other Districts receive. And where City funds lack, Nati is adept at finding alternative funding sources through grants, community-led fundraising, and donations from local businesses.
An avid gardener herself, Nati is a strong supporter of the Greenline proposal that would transform the abandoned Union Pacific railroad tracks, from Lodi Lake connecting to Downtown and District 4, into a green walkway for cyclists and pedestrians.
Government and City Council
Nati believes that being an elected official is a civic duty, not a career. She will limit councilmembers' service to two terms. Nati also supports an at-large elected mayor separate from city council.
Antiquated Municipal Codes
Did you know that the Lodi Municipal Code (LMC) allows mobile food vendors (like street carts, food trucks, etc) to be denied their permits if they’ve ever been convicted of a felony? LMC 9.16.030 (f).
You may think at first that this is a reasonable precaution. But it is actually cruel and unusual punishment
for those who have already served their time and who are trying to be productive members of society. LMC also requires applicants to complete background checks which may be prohibitively expensive. Other LMC sections allow denial of permits based on the number of complaints to the Lodi Police Department within a 12 month period, so there are other mechanisms to ensure the safety of our community without creating barriers to re-entry.
Sidewalk vending also requires a social security number (as opposed to a permanent residency, green card, driver’s license or other identification) that excludes any immigrants, including lawful immigrants, from operating these small businesses.
The whole point of not having a brick and mortar business is that the cost of opening a business is reduced and the feasibility of contributing to the economy is greater. Our current codes are preventing these benefits and should be changed.
Many folks still struggle to get their mail delivered to the correct address. Our USPS system is over-whelmed and financially struggling. One of the actions we can take to reduce misdirected mail is to invest in community mailboxes, also known as cluster boxes. Cluster mailboxes are better for the environment due to reduced driving and wear on mail carrier vehicles. They are more efficient and save time for our carriers by having one centralized location to deliver (and no barking dogs!). They are more secure than the average door box and usually have a place for parcels as well. For those who cannot walk to the box, door delivery is still available at their request.
However, the cost of cluster boxes is high, usually about $1,200 plus installation costs. They can be purchased and installed by private companies as long as they are up to the local USPS’s standard. For those who can afford it, neighbors can band together to share the cost, and there should be a small grants allocation to help shoulder the cost for our lower income community members.
Stay tuned for more policies from Nati.