Lodi Mayor Phil Katzakian will put the State of the City in terms any "gear-head or racing enthusiast" can understand during the annual address on Wednesday.
Being in the driver's seat all year long gives the mayor a view of the city and all its curves and straight-aways. His speech will include some illustrations about the city from his vast racing knowledge — Katzakian was an open-wheel, Formula Atlantic race-car driver. He is also a businessman of many years here in Lodi, but his need for speed is one of his core passions, on two and four wheels.
Katzakian will get "under the hood" with this year's city performance. He said there were no crashes, really not even a spinout. He will point out many city accomplishments, some track records and what he considers some impressive lap times over the year.
Katzakian admits that he didn't enjoy the winning season alone, saying he has a strong pit crew. Besides all the power-train specialists at City Hall, including new "Crew Chief" Rad Bartlam, a gear-jammer himself, the mayor said he is bringing in a team of experts who are all about high performance.
In the pit crew will be Mark Chandler, executive director of the Lodi-Woodbridge Winegrape Commission. Chandler will not change the oil, but will talk about the growing year and what it bodes for racing fans as well as wine fanciers.
Joe Harrington, Lodi Memorial Hospital CEO, will talk about the hospital as it "burned up the track" in its expansion project.
Katzakian will also "draft" on the economic development work of Dale Gillespie, partner of the "racing team" developing Reynolds Ranch. Gillespie will talk about jobs created by this new consumer-centered "race track" and what it means to citizens, shoppers, job-seekers and racing fans in Lodi.
The State of the City event will begin at 11:30 a.m. in Kirst Hall at Hutchins Street Square, 125 S. Hutchins St. A Touch of Mesquite will cater the lunch. The $25 ticket includes an "it pass" to the buffet lunch. You can expect the "checkered flag" to come down around 1:22 p.m., based on early time trials. Seating will be available to racing fans and not wanting lunch at no charge.
The address will be hosted by the Lodi Chamber of Commerce. Tickets must be purchased in advance at the chamber office, 35 S. School St., or online at www.lodichamber.com. Click on "Community Calendar," then click "Mayor's State of City Luncheon" then click on "Register Now."
There will be no walk-up ticket sales. For more information, call 367-7840, extension 100.