When Brenda Akin found out that there was a way to keep tax dollars in Lodi, she was all for it.
That's her main reason for grabbing her phone and a list of names, and calling hundreds of Lodi residents to get them to support Measure W.
"When the Legislature has the money, they can spend it in Los Angeles, Carmel or anywhere," she said. "When we keep the money here, we can use it to fix roads, sewage pipes, Eastside blight and put money into our schools."
In a bright red sweater, Akin wheeled through her house, decorated with original paintings and wine posters, on Thursday afternoon. Her cocker spaniel trotted at her side.
Akin recently broke her foot by slipping in water, and has slowly gone from not being able to walk at all to doing laps around the house.
While healing, she realized she could reach all the people who stay at home during the day. She estimates she has called hundreds of people in the community to tell them about redevelopment.
"What really surprised me is they didn't understand Measure W … but they are all really nice. Not one hung up," she said.
Before making calls, Akin researched online about redevelopment so she would be able to answer people's questions. With a cheerful demeanor, she is quick to come up with answers in a conversational tone and include the person's name, like she is talking to an old friend. The top questions people have asked are whether the measure will increase taxes, and if the city will be able to use eminent domain.
Akin always tells people that neither of those things are true, and refers to a pamphlet provided by redevelopment supporters.
The flyer has quotes supporting the measure from Mayor Larry Hansen, CEO of the Lodi Chamber of Commerce Pat Patrick, Lodi Unified School District Board President Richard Jones, President and CEO of LOEL Foundation Tracy Williams and Lodi Police Officer's Association President Scott Bratten.
Akin explained that right now, 80 percent of Lodi's taxes go to the county. With redevelopment, the city will instead hold on to that 80 percent and send the rest to the state and county.
The flyer says that Measure W will prohibit the use of eminent domain by the redevelopment agency. It is also prohibited by the city ordinance.
City staff has estimated that during the next three years, redevelopment will raise a total of $2.9 million for the agency.
Akin said that after she explains what will happen with redevelopment, she has been able to convince people to support the measure. She has noticed most people tell her they are still undecided. If they do tell her their position, it's about 50-50.
"If it passes or if it fails, it will be very much by a close vote," she said.
This is the first time Akin has become an community advocate for a measure, she said. But she has always been involved in nonprofits.
She is on the board of directors for Lodi House, and she has been a staple in the community for years as president of Akin Estates, the winery she and her husband, David, started.
Akin became more interested in being active on Measure W after joining the Lodi Chamber of Commerce's Governmental Relations Committee.
She heard her first presentation on Measure W at a meeting, and from there, she found out as much information as she could.
Her vision for the redevelopment dollars is that they would go to fix up old buildings in the Eastside and create affordable housing for seniors.
"That's what makes Lodi such a great community, is looking out for each other," she said.