College student Ted Van Alen's study of "negative migration" from Lodi of people age 25 to 35 created a glimpse of Lodi that doesn't often take center stage in the public forum.
Van Alen expressed the immemorable complaint of young Lodians - "there's nothing to do in Lodi" - in the sophisticated language of social research and added a few novel points as well. Lodi's not attractive to young professionals, he said, because there are few jobs for them and few inexpensive starter homes.
He presented his conclusions and his survey data in a report to the City Council this past week. A quick review of his data leaves us wondering if his findings flow conclusively from his statistics but we won't presume to pick nits. We're thankful for his interesting insights and would like to offer a thought or two ourselves.
Not only could Lodi benefit from continued efforts to attract high-tech employers of professionally trained people, we would benefit from having some of that training done here.
Van Alen's study prompts us to repeat our hurrah for Delta College's idea of a Lodi campus and urge dispatch in its building. We would also add that the recent creation of Stanislaus State's Stockton satellite campus will also improve the academic and technical abilities of our young adults (and the older ones too, for that matter).
The need for affordable housing, like the weather, has been long discussed and little acted upon in Lodi. We would particularly urge city planners to look favorably on proposals to increase the rental stock and ask the Legislature to do something about the legal environment that makes condominiums such a loathsome proposition for builders.
In the end, we would ask Van Alen and Lodi's young people to be understanding. Without college campuses, Lodi is always going to be a place where young people must leave to continue their education.
Many entrepreneurs, professionals and skilled blue collar types, as well as immigrant workers, find Lodi just the right place to raise their families. Does Lodi have to be more than that?
Lodi may never be a fashionable haven for live theater or the center of a raucous night club scene, but as Van Alen's study points out, 61 percent of the people who live in Lodi love it (or, to be nit-picky, at least like it).
- Lodi News-Sentinel