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Catching up with… Lodi's David Hinchman

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Posted: Sunday, March 29, 2009 10:00 pm

David Hinchman was a busy man in the late 1980s and early '90s. He served on the Lodi City Council, and was principal at Parklane Elementary School in north Stockton and Lakewood Elementary in Lodi.

David Hinchman

The former mayor was so worn out from a year-round calendar at Lakewood that he decided against a re-election campaign in 1992 after eight years on the council.

"I was working 235 days a year at a year-round school," said Hinchman, who still lives in Lodi.

Hinchman, 69, recalls his eight years on the City Council as enjoyable ones, working with what he considered a good council of Randy Snider, Evie Olson, Fred Reid and Jim Pinkerton.

"The council we had in those days really worked together," said Hinchman, who was also mayor during his council tenure.

One of the council's greatest successes at the time was hiring Tom Peterson as city manager to replace the retiring Henry Glaves.

The hot issues of the day were how the city would enforce the two-percent annual growth limit approved by Lodi in 1981; Pacific Coast Producers employees parking on the street; developers tearing down old houses on the Eastside and replacing them with apartments; voters banning smoking in public places in 1990; and whether the city should make Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday a holiday.

David Hinchman at a glance

1940: Born in Los Angeles.
1958: Met wife Kay while attending Stockton College, now known as San Joaquin Delta College.
1963: Began his teaching career in fifth grade at Reese Elementary School. Later in the '60s, he worked with special education students in Stockton and at UCLA.
1971: Became fifth-grade teacher at Live Oak School. He coached the first Tokay boys tennis team during that time.
1975: Named vice principal at Woodbridge School.
1976: Named principal at Victor and Tokay Colony schools at same time. He was Victor's first principal. He later became principal at Live Oak School and Mahin School for special education.
1982: Lost first bid for Lodi City Council.
1984: One first of two terms on the City Council.
1985: Named principal at Parklane Elementary in north Stockton, where he started up the controversial year-round calendar on that campus. He always disliked the year-round format.
1989: Became principal at Lakewood Elementary in Lodi.
1992: Left City Council after two terms. He chose not to run again.
1994: Gave up his principal's position and became teacher again.
1999: Retired after 37 years in education.
2005-present: Supervises 15 teaching interns part time for the San Joaquin County Office of Education in the Lodi, Stockton and Lincoln unified school districts, and for Options, a private firm in Stockton that serves court-ordered special education students.
Source: David Hinchman

"There was too much anti-Martin Luther King (sentiment) in the community," Hinchman said.

The city finally declared the late civil rights leader's birthday a holiday in 2004.

After about a decade on Lodi's Park and Recreation Commission, Hinchman took his first shot at the City Council in 1982, but he was soundly beaten in the election. He may have been discouraged to run again, but Snider called him two years later and said he needed to file for office. Hinchman did on the last day, and he ended up winning a seat. He was re-elected in 1988.

After leaving the council in 1992, Hinchman remained in education, continuing as principal at Lakewood for two more years before returning as a classroom teacher. He retired in 1999 after 37 years in education.

Hinchman contemplated running for the City Council again last year, but his wife, Kay, asked him not to run, saying she didn't enjoy the heat that elected officials endure.

"My wife never liked criticism about me," he said. "Somehow, it never bothered me that much."

Had he made a City Council run in 2008, Hinchman would have liked to see some changes. He opposes Lodi creating a redevelopment agency, especially with the present City Council and staff. He also opposed the Reynolds Ranch development before a new city General Plan is adopted to guide growth.

"I enjoy working with people to problem-solve, but I am probably too opinionated about things - the city manager, the way the streets are," Hinchman said.

The past four years, Hinchman has supervised teaching interns for the San Joaquin County Office of Education. He visits 15 interns Tuesdays through Thursdays in the Lodi, Stockton and Lincoln unified school districts, and for Options, a private firm in Stockton that serves court-ordered special education students.

Hinchman shared his passion for education with his wife, who was a kindergarten teacher for nearly four decades. She headed LUSD's children's center, first at Sacramento Street and Lodi Avenue and then on Pleasant Avenue.

Then it was on to Needham Elementary, where Kay Hinchman taught morning and afternoon kindergarten classes with some 40 children in each.

After the Hinchmans moved to Southern California in the late 1960s so that Dave could be a demonstration teacher for psychology interns at UCLA, Kay Hinchman started UCLA's first children's center across the street from where her husband worked.

After returning to Lodi in 1971, Kay was a kindergarten teacher, mostly at Parklane, Lincoln and Washington elementary schools.

Dave Hinchman plays golf at least once a week, is remodeling his house, enjoys working in his yard, sings in the choir at St. Paul Lutheran Church and helps seniors with yardwork, driving them to doctor's appointments and with other errands.

The Hinchmans have five grown children and 10 grandchildren.

Contact reporter Ross Farrow at rossf@lodinews.com.

Editor's note: This is the latest in an occasional series on people in the Lodi area who were once in the public spotlight.

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  • posted at 2:16 pm on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    If you criticize Dave you must not know him. I've known him and his family for close to 40 years, and he is a stand up guy.Read Dave's opinion on the RDA again, he opposed it because... "especially with the present City Council and staff." Translation: He too does not trust the 3-Majority and King King.Patton1, As I've posted many times, I love the RDA idea, just not as proposed in W. I want specific projects, budgets, time lines before I vote. And I want things like new east-side sewer lines and saving the Grape Bowl on the list, period.

  • posted at 1:37 pm on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    I've known Dave for years and although our politics may have varied a bit there was never a question in my mind that he wanted to do what was best for the City.

  • posted at 1:32 pm on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    DaveI can understand your wifes reservations about running for CC. Lodi needs you or people like you for our city council. Now we are left with dregs like patton1. :)P>S> You still lost. You can moan and wail about other people and their abilities or lack thereof. But you still lost. A year from now you will still have lost. Grow up and get over it!

  • posted at 12:35 pm on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    Dave is a great guy! But did he get a building permit(s), or hire a licensed contractor to remodel his house??????Gotta be careful of what you say in the paper Dave!

  • posted at 12:15 pm on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    I wish Lodi was as clean as it was back in the early 80's again.

  • posted at 12:06 pm on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    Whether you agree with Dave's position on a particular issue, his integrity is above reproach. Thanks for your service to our schools, community, and your church, Dave. And thank you to Kay, as well. A nice article about nice people.

  • posted at 10:25 am on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    mp, I agree 100%. Dave is a class act. He is honest, hard working and respects other people and their property.

  • posted at 5:28 am on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    The problem with Dave has always been that he doesnt have private enterprise experience.

  • posted at 5:25 am on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    Dave is a bit of a radical. Look at our economy today and how lucky we are that we kept and now grew Blue Shield and those very important jobs. He would have kissed all of that good bye because he doesnt understand of the general plan process works. He also doesnt understand the an RDA is for 45 years minimum. Over that time there will be lots of councils, some good some not so good. Again, in this economy, to turn down those property tax dollars that we could have had is negligent.

  • posted at 5:21 am on Mon, Mar 30, 2009.


    What a really great guy! I wish he would run for council again. We need someone with common sense.



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