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Downtown merchants fight against loitering and vandalism on Elm Street

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Posted: Friday, April 9, 2010 12:00 am

Adorned with a stylish sunburst embedded in the street and an array of lights above, the block of Elm Street east of the Downtown theater was supposed to be a haven for shoppers and diners.

Instead, merchants and residents say, it has become a magnet for hard-drinking vagrants and aggressive teens. Some spout profanity, vandalize businesses and use an adjacent alley as a lavatory. Several of the denizens lounge away their hours on Elm Street benches, scaring away shoppers and movie-goers, say business owners.

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Welcome to the discussion.

34 comments:

  • posted at 4:19 am on Sat, Apr 10, 2010.

    Posts:

    It seems to me that the lodi police concentrate too much on bicycle and traffic tickets as if they are worrried about raising revenue for the city. This probably comes from the administration. The administration should change their focus and concedntrate on penal code violations. It is not hard to see these violation occuring downtown. There also seems to be real problem on the east side with the recent gang shootings. Maybe we need to redeploy when our manpower is at its peek and where they are deployed to take care of some of these more important situations. The purpose of law enforcement should not be to raise revenue.

     
  • posted at 4:38 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    No need to be cruel teo pelon to those who stand out...but you are right....there are other activities those teens could be doing. Driving down the street and yelling unca stinky sent us will not do a thing. If the police can effect no change we definitely have to address this in a whole new fresh way. Just because the drunks and vagrants have been around for 20+ years does not mean it's ok and nothing can be done to clean up that part of town. That is a copout and will not help downtown Lodi to be a destination point for locals or those from out of town hearing how quaint and beautiful our town is.

     
  • posted at 4:31 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Any one think about challenging the bizarre ruling on these scum?????? Ooops sorry, you guys voted for Osama and his leftist hench people.

     
  • posted at 3:14 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Come on there are only about 20 loser teens including the fat chick that hang out down there , hundreds of teens find something to do. As I type 20, 15 year- old kids, at a B day party are playing a ball game on my street and no one is smoking or spiting or pissing in the street. If you really want to get rid of that trash just drive by and wave to them. Tell 'em Uncle Stinky sent sent ya!

     
  • posted at 2:48 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    nerb, sounds like you got a head start on the week-end. Hope you find the sidewalk nice and warm. Looser

     
  • posted at 2:20 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    you can find me wasted in downtown on the weekends!!! suck it up pansies

     
  • posted at 1:04 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    trista wrote on Apr 9, 2010 2:28 PM:" Hey I got an idea for store owners that may get people to stop using alleys and buildings as a restroom......Take the "restrooms for customers only" sign out of your window.Gotta give a little to get a little right? Give a little hospitality to all human beings (even the ones who cant afford or dont take interest in your store) and keep a little sh*t from hittin your fan (literally!- Yuck!) "That's when the little vandals vandalize your bathroom. So that is when it hits your fan, your walls, your doors. Dumb idea. I have seen these kids sitting in the middle of the sidewalk, and that should be ticketed as loitering.

     
  • posted at 12:47 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    That Mini Market at the Corner of Elm is where they buy their cheap booze, then find a place to "Squat" and have a wonderful day in Lodi!

     
  • posted at 12:09 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    To comment #23, Civil Code Section 3479-3484, states that what these folks are doing is illegal. They are breaking the law! Love the idea of removing the benches until we have an event because 98% of the time it's the drunks, vagrants and young punks abusing the use of them. Hanging out is one thing but these kids are damaging property, harassing all kinds of people, blocking the sidewalk so that people do not want to walk down that side of the street. Then they go to the other side and have to dodge the drunks. There are many other cities that do not have this issue because they enforce the law and find ways to have folks like this move elsewhere. And, as for comment #21, try being a business owner down here in a tough economy and you WILL have something to whine about. I asked one of the kids about the 180. It's not cool enough and too boring. If we had other activities for them to do, I do believe this is what they would choose to do. They get off on the power it gives them. Web cams would be proof in the pudding.

     
  • posted at 12:04 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Ummm....how about picking up some of the teen-preverts, taking them home and having a little chat [and information booking] with their scum parents who allow them to de-sanitize the downtown area.

     
  • posted at 12:03 pm on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    My husband and I love to walk downtown on a nice cool Spring/Summer's evening, however, lately the teens that do hang around the sidewalk chain smoking have been making the leisurely evening stroll a bit uncomfortable. For starters, the teens stand right smack in the middle of the sidewalk and they won't move out of the way even if you do say excuse me as you are holding your breath so as not to inhale tons of second hand exhaled cigarette smoke. And I don't drive down Elm St, or downtown, for that matter due to the increased discourteous traffic like people not coming to a full and complete stop at the stop signs, not yielding to pedestrian traffic (a very good reason not to walk the downtown area almost got hit by a car on several occasions) and the fact that prices are so high in the stores. Make downtown a little more shopper friendly, and a safer environment to walk and drive around and perhaps people will start to want to come downtown. We don't even go to the movies anymore due to discourteous people who are on the cell phones constantly. It's better to rent a movie.

     
  • posted at 9:31 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Furthermore, It warms my heart to read about my home town from rough and tumble Jersey City, NJ, that the place hasn’t been Disneyfied beyond recognition and some of that cheap and gritty Lodi is still around. I look forward to coming back for visit to be a bit of a vagrant downtown and maybe take part in a game of chess or sip a bit of that good ole cheap Lodi wine.

     
  • posted at 9:30 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    It seems most folks have a bit of amnesia regarding downtown and the past. It was part of my formative years in the early 1980’s as a News Sentinel paper boy on Sacramento St. to School St. and then from Locust to Lodi ave. It was a great way to learn about what to be and not to be. The bums who stole your papers and pissed on the walls taught you how not to be and places like Henderson’s bro hardware, Cottage bakery, and Blewett’s taught you how to be. It doesn’t seem like there is anything wrong with seeing a little bit of both sides of the tracks to teach some life lessons and learn how to follow the middle of the road. Instead of hanging out and painting my face like a freak, I was fortunate enough to have a job that made me a freak with stained hands from the papers, maybe that is what kids need more of instead of mommy and daddy buying them the things they don’t really need. Trust me there was plenty of piss, vagrancy, and I remember well where I had to hold my breath.

     
  • posted at 9:28 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Hey I got an idea for store owners that may get people to stop using alleys and buildings as a restroom......Take the "restrooms for customers only" sign out of your window.Gotta give a little to get a little right? Give a little hospitality to all human beings (even the ones who cant afford or dont take interest in your store) and keep a little sh*t from hittin your fan (literally!- Yuck!)

     
  • posted at 7:43 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    All this and no mention of WalMart.wezzer, Freddie never left.

     
  • posted at 7:39 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    said Jaime Watts, executive director of the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership. "If you want to be a tourist destination, you need to have benches and places for people to sit there."True. How about removing the benches until the DLBP has an event there, then put them out for people to use. Better yet, how about putting a few benches in front of the DLBP office. Pine St. could use some help with being a busier "tourist destination" also...along with many other downtown side streets.

     
  • posted at 7:35 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    "Elm Street was designed to be a center of entertainment," said Jaime Watts, executive director of the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership. Why are all the events the DLBP put on, located at the so called Post Office "Plaza" if Elm St. is the designated "entertainment" area? Elm Street is a great area but seems to be forgotten by the DLBP.

     
  • posted at 7:34 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    How about a bench compromise like Sacramento did on the K Street Mall? Simply remove the backs off the benches.Either that or enforce vagrancy codes.

     
  • posted at 6:45 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Misleading title for an article.It should have read,Nightmare On Elm Street.Welcome back, Freddy!

     
  • posted at 6:30 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    City Manager Blair King responded to this problem during the cc meeting Wednesday night. He said he was unaware of the problem and promised there will be a meeting within the next two weeks to resolve these issues. Mission accomplished!

     
  • posted at 6:18 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    LAST Comment #4 We ARE the second highest unemployed county in the state of California. Unless the city officials, police and businesses work together it will only get worse before it gets better. No blame placing here – it’s all about business and working together…

     
  • posted at 6:15 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Comment #3 Don't get me wrong. I get the exciting adventure every morning to see if some one as defecated, urinated, littered or a few weeks ago tried to set fire near my business front door. Let alone the break-in around 11am by busting my car window in the alley between Pine & Elm. All I can do is laugh anymore...I simply go to the phone and make another report to the LPD.

     
  • posted at 6:14 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Comment #2 I love the city's attempt at what they wanted to create Elm St. to be. However, now the city needs to clean it up and made Elm St. become a reality not a dream that has now turned into a nightmare.

     
  • posted at 6:13 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Comment #1 Well, well, well...let's get one thing...it all starts in the H-O-M-E. It's called, "respect, foundation and morals". It is not the city's responcibility to give these children/teen something to do. However, let's keep in mind these great resources that have come & gone (bowling, skating, 5 theatres, etc.). It's called liability and these kids have become one. Business can no longer afford the damage & distruction they cause. I feel extremely bad for the 'good' kids trying to fit in where there are 1-2 bad kids hanging out in their group ruining it for them.

     
  • posted at 6:03 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Need a couple of new laws:No sleeping,sitting or lying on ground.Stop the sell of high volume liquor sales.( the stuff bum's drink )Break the law get a one way ticket to Modesto.

     
  • posted at 5:55 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    The DBLP does not like the idea of removing the benches because it is a temporary solution to a long term problem. So even DBLP admits that removing the benches would help temporarily.Why won't the DBLP advocate for the businesses then? What use is the DBLP if they won't help?Perhaps the DBLP is a temporary solution to a long term problem?

     
  • posted at 5:38 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    There seems to be no real answer to the age old question, whats a teen-ager to do, the answer always comes up, nothing to do in this town. For young people to walk around town not causing a disturbance seems to be the thing to do since no laws are being broken. The old statement, give a job to a teen-ager since they know everything, well they won`t be teen-agers forever, and when they leave the teen years, the reality of what am I going to do with my life might settle in. The days of roaming the streets and wizzing in an alley come to an end. To fast forward their lifes, perhaps a visit to Gospel Center Rescue Mission to show what and does happen to people who have little or nothing, and when they die a white van will pick them up, a red tag put on their toe and buried in potters field, not much to show for a wasted life. The military is one place to turn, there are endless possabilities to turn a life around. Stay in school, everything to gain and nothing to loose.

     
  • posted at 4:19 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    Lodi lost some of the things for kids and teens to do. The bowling alley is gone. The skating rink is gone. As a teen who lived outside of lodi it used to be a treat to go downtown. Now, I rush from the movies back to my car as fast as possible due to the bums. Most of the kids/teens dressed as goth have been regular teens.

     
  • posted at 4:00 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    I agree with bcbybecky. Teens don't have very many options in Lodi. They don't all skate, or go to the 180. And when they go to the movies, they just hang out in front cause they have nothing else to do before or after. If you don't want them to loiter or cause a ruckus give them a place to go!

     
  • posted at 4:00 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    I wondered where all the goths, tweakers and bums went; they used to hang out at Twin Oaks park. There are still 2 drug dealers that live around the corner that supply meth to the tweakers, but that's about it.Good luck on doing much to get rid of these people. LPD refused to chase them off here and they won't arrest the dope dealers either. I've watched them urinate and defecate on the sidewalk, spray-paint the walls and damage the playground equipment, and I don't even bother reporting it anymore. What's the point? These people have RIGHTS, you know.I don't shop downtown because of these lowbreeds. They stink, they're ugly and they're annoying. And frankly, I don't give a rip about their "rights." Make life miserable enough, and they will chose another city to call home.

     
  • posted at 3:41 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    How about more police visibility in the area?Even just one on a bicycle should be enough.Can we afford that?

     
  • posted at 2:00 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    When I read this article it makes me sad & empathize w/ the teens of this city. I remember when Lodi was known to be a "FAMILY" town not just a 21 & over Wino & Arts. I remember growing up here it was cool, we kids look forward to the weekends. There was always something to do. We had choices, bowling alley, skating rink, and like 5 movies theartres to meet up w/ friends not just one. Kids can't even hang out at the skate park after hours, but if your into tennis you can. Certain things in the town does not make sense. Don't get me wrong I love wine, my husband & I monthly support & invest in our local wineries. This town though NEEDS to invest & bring back the "FAMILY" feeling, give these local children from hell something to do. Then maybe just maybe the owners of downtown won't have anything to wine about!!!

     
  • posted at 1:11 am on Fri, Apr 9, 2010.

    Posts:

    I like those teens from hell. Sometimes I load my kids in the car and we go look at the fat chick smoking, you know the one. She seems to have enough money to eat and smoke. I wonder if they would be allowed to hang out in front of the Lodi Visitor Center?

     
  • posted at 11:13 pm on Thu, Apr 8, 2010.

    Posts:

    yea right LPD is working on the problem there are bussness on main street as well I called LPD to handle the issue of people just standing around. LPD stated that there was nothing they could do even though there is a law in lodi. I hope the Police help these people its bad for busness.

     
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