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Retired Lodi Police officer Chet Somera to run Downtown Lodi Farmers Market, Parade of Lights

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Posted: Friday, April 19, 2013 12:00 am

Lt. Chet Somera may be best known as a 30-year veteran of the Lodi Police Department, but now that he's retired, he's leading a new life.

Somera has been hired by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce to run the Downtown Lodi Farmers Market and the Parade of Lights. The two events have been run by the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership, but the partnership's board of directors voted to disband earlier this year.

The Farmers Market will be held from 5 to 8:30 p.m. each Thursday from June 6 through Aug. 29. The Parade of Lights is held the first Thursday night of December annually.

Despite his extensive law enforcement background, Somera knows about farming, too. He grew up working in the fields in east Stockton with his late father, Chester Somera Sr. Somera Sr. was an immigrant who came from the Philippines by boat when he was 15 years old.

Somera and other chamber officials plan to continue some of the same traditions of the popular Downtown Lodi Farmers Market, plus some new attractions, Somera said.

These include offering a greater variety of produce for farmers to sell, such as beets, turnips, celery and other green vegetables, in addition to the berries, fruit and squash that have been traditionally sold at the Farmers Market.

The food court will be moved from Oak Street west of School Street, to Pine Street between School and Sacramento streets.

"We're trying to move the focus of the market to Pine and School," Somera said.

There will also be a beer garden at School and Oak streets, and a wine garden featuring Lodi-area wines near Elm Street, the north end of the market. The beer garden will feature rock and roll bands, while the wine garden will have jazz and other soft music, Somera said.

Another feature at Pine and School streets will be the "Farm to Fork" stage, where Somera plans to hold a pie-baking contest and have local chefs use produce sold at the Farmers Market to prepare a dish on the spot.

"When we put 4,000 people in roughly two and a half city blocks, there is often the opportunity for friction," chamber President-CEO Pat Patrick said, explaining why the chamber chose Somera for the job.

"Chet has people skills that Lodi policemen had," Patrick said. "Those skills are finely tuned, and even if he's not in uniform, he has a good presence of authority."

Somera said he doesn't anticipate fighting or other law enforcement problems at the Farmers Market because he has good people skills.

"I generally work well with people," Somera said. "If you treat people like they'd want to be treated, chances are everything's going to be OK."

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.


Residence: Lodi.

Career: Started as a police cadet in Stockton and a reserve for the San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office before joining the Lodi Police Department. He retired in January 2008 after more than 30 years.

Post-retirement activity: Taught an ROP class in administration of justice in the Lodi Unified School District; consultant in Sacramento for law enforcement agencies and school districts on emergency preparedness; general manager of In-Shape Health Club for two years. He now coordinates the Partners volunteer program with Lodi police in addition to his chamber duties.

Community service: Currently president of the Kiwanis Club of Greater Lodi.

Family: Engaged to Carol Hopkins of Lodi; six children, four grandchildren and a grandchild on the way.

— Source: Chet Somera

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  • Josh Morgan posted at 2:25 pm on Mon, Apr 22, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    Doug, what are your dues that you pay to the Chamber of Commerce? And certainly you must be a board member/

  • Doug Chaney posted at 9:52 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Yes, mother Josh? Why does Mr. Patrick need to hire someone?

  • Josh Morgan posted at 7:26 am on Sat, Apr 20, 2013.

    Josh Morgan Posts: 529

    Wow, what a joyous group you are. How about, thank you Chet for your 30 years of service protecting the citizens of Lodi or happy to see the Farmers Market will continue.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 3:24 pm on Fri, Apr 19, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Is this farmers market about produce or getting high? Why such emphasis on alcohol when downtown is already overloaded with wine rooms, lounges, restaurant/bars and every restaurant venue serving alcohol? I can see how seriously the city of Lodi and LPD take impaired driving, allowing the farmers market to become alcohol driven and the produce seemingly secondary.

  • Joanne Bobin posted at 11:07 am on Fri, Apr 19, 2013.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4308

    Can't imagine that the owners of Tillie's and Angelo's and the other Mexican restaurant on Pine would be happy to have these food street vendors directly competing with them.

    Lodi Beer must have a lot of influence to have gotten rid of their competition.

  • Doug Chaney posted at 10:45 am on Fri, Apr 19, 2013.

    advocate Posts: 499

    Right on Raymond! Mr. Patrick will now even have less to do at the chamber and can concentrate on his trips to China, rather than bringing decent paying jobs to the Lodi area. With all the members the chamber has, why would they need to hire a retired law enforcement officer to oversee two already set in stone events?

  • Raymond Cook posted at 8:38 am on Fri, Apr 19, 2013.

    Lodi Resident Posts: 25

    It's good to see that the City of Lodi has found a way to fatten up a retired police officers monthly income!



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