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An editor's notes: Believers in free enterprise

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Posted: Friday, November 15, 2013 3:21 pm

Sorry to read the obit today for John Talbot, a former Lodian who passed away at age 82 in Vermont.

I knew John through Twin Arbors Athletic Club, where he swam regularly. He was always trim, and dapper, too. A model of graceful and stylish aging.

I also knew John through the Jedediah Smith Society, based at UOP, devoted to research about the legendary Western explorer, trapper and mountain man.

His obit mentioned that John embraced a life philosophy reflecting "the value of the individual, and man's right to live in a free and unencumbered society."

That probably reflects his admiration for Smith, who personified the ideal of the rugged individualist.

It might also reflect John's efforts in 2008 to shoot down a proposed redevelopment district in Lodi. John was a fan of free enterprise, not government expansion. As it turned out, the redevelopment district was not adopted.

Agree or disagree, John was always civil. A true gentleman and class act.

Earlier this week, I had the chance to meet a remarkable fellow who is also a fan of free enterprise: Sergey Ivannikov, co-founder and CEO of Russian American Media in Sacramento.

Sergey immigrated to California with little money and virtually no English language skills. With his wife, Olga, he has built a media company from the ground up. Now, RAM includes a newspaper, magazine, business directory along with social media and web services. The company also stages numerous cultural and philanthropic events. 

Sergey and Olga are absolute dynamos, fulfilling the American dream.

My Lodi link to Sergey and Olga is Frank Gayaldo, wine and international trade consultant extraordinaire, one of the best-connected business leaders in the region.

Frank, Sergey and I shared a wonderful lunch of Russian meats, breads, and cookies at the RAM offices off Fulton Avenue.

My hope: The Sentinel and RAM can find ways to connect and explore mutual journalistic interests in coming months.

Looking forward to continuing our conversation over lunch in Lodi sometime soon.