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Lodi business leaders, pundits have mixed views on whether recession is finished

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Posted: Tuesday, September 1, 2009 10:00 pm

With information from the Institute of Supply Management saying manufacturing has grown for the first time since January 2008, many experts are suggesting that the worst recession since the Great Depression is coming to a close. What do local entrepreneurs and financial experts think?

Frank Alegre - Operator of Frank C. Alegre Trucking:

Frank Alegre

"It's not over. We went about this whole thing (stimulus package) the wrong way. We gave money to bail out banks. Does that create jobs? We need to invest in highways, dams and our infrastructure. That puts contractors and laborers back to work. California is the worst. If I could conduct my business out of state, I would. I've never seen it this bad in 47 years; there is no work. It may be getting better in the nation, but not California. We're in a bad situation. People need to vote for candidates who say things they don't want to hear."

Pat Patrick - President, CEO of Lodi Chamber of Commerce:

Pat Patrick

"Everybody's business is down. The best is down 11 percent while the worst is down 60 percent. Business is down but holding steady. If it doesn't get worse, we will start to pull out. There are three pieces of legislation that, if passed as they are right now, will negatively affect the future of the economy. First is health care. Businesses will pay a tremendous burden. Second is the Cap and Trade. Small businesses would shoulder the financial burden. Third is the card check bill that will make it easier to organize labor unions. If passed, these three bills would put a lot of small businesses out of business. The only way out of this is to create revenue, not add taxes or costs."

Larry Underhill - Former President, Lodi Association of Realtors:

Larry Underhill

"We're still in the trenches here. Everyone has a personal recession experience. I'm helping some people take advantage of the best buyer's market, and I'm helping others sell their homes under unfortunate circumstances. The media is giving us permission to hope. The economy depends on people's attitudes. We're on our way back from the bottom. It's not like flipping a switch. It's painful, but it's going to be healthy in the long-term. People are rethinking their values. They are developing mental toughness, increasing their faith and have reevaluated what matters."

Steven Haley - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President, Farmers and Merchants Bank:

Steven Haley

"Saying the recession is over would be premature. Unemployment is still high and it needs to stabilize, at the very least. The stock market is the leading indicator of our economy and it got ahead of itself. We gotta get people back to work. We are fortunate in the Central Valley that we have agriculture to support us. We remain hopeful. Ultimately, the economic structure of the Northern Central Valley is as good a place to be as anywhere in the state."

Jennifer Nesbit - Owner, City Girl Boutique:

Jennifer Nesbit

"Globally, I don't think it's over. Our business has stayed pretty consistent. My customers are generally 20 to 30 years old and haven't been affected by the recession. People are still buying things for themselves. The store is holding its own very well."

Jamie Watts - Executive Director, Downtown Lodi Business Partnership:

Jamie Watts

"The worst is over, but we're not out of it. Things are looking up. I've seen a lot of businesses pulling together and combining resources. People are getting creative. Four winetasting rooms in Lodi are cross-promoting and cross-marketing and trying to network. Everyone is moving forward."

Jeff Michael - Director of Business Forecast at the University of the Pacific:

Jeff Michael

"It's coming to an end. I'm not willing to say it's over, but indicators on the national level are showing signs of bottoming out. There are still mixed signals. Employment and labor numbers continue to get worse and the positive signs are pretty weak. The Dow sometimes gets ahead of itself. It will get back above 10,000 and then it will go down. It's gonna be a long, long recovery. Foreclosures aren't over by a long shot. It's gonna be a long, slow trudge. But we will get out of it."

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  • posted at 10:33 am on Sat, Sep 5, 2009.


    We can't see the corner let alone turn it. This things going on for at least another year, maybe two. Then, it's going sideways unless Washington can get their head out of their ....You can't say we are coming out of a recession until we quit loosing jobs. We continue to lose jobs. You do the math. Solution: Give the billions to small business not big business. If 60% of the jobs arise from the world of small business, that's your fist clue. Take the next 100 Billion they (the Govt) is going to piss away with big business and give it to the little guy.The real estate problem is quite easy to fix. Lower interest rates on 30-year fixed to 3% by using the cheapest money on the planet T-bill money. Isn't their cost of capital the lowest, isn't it fully guaranteed? Everyone who can prove he can pay his current mortgage on time gets the money and every new non-investor first time buyer gets the money. The real estate market would rebound within 8-months.Think about...I am right, yes?

  • posted at 9:19 am on Wed, Sep 2, 2009.


    t jefferson. The way I see it, we are still at about a 50-50 chance of either going into an economic depression, or phase two of a ten year long recession.People are wary of cheerleaders, they know from experience that everyone can't be a millionaire by flipping houses and that some day, it will be time to pay your debts. The cheerleaders are hiding out counting their money hoping they can blow another bubble with other peoples money.The solution is to shut down the GSE's as well as FHA. We need to require a minimum of 20% down at at least 8% per year mortgage interest rates. When that happens MOST of us will be able to really afford a house, instead of using the government to take the long term leverage risk. Next we need to take the MLS associations and put them under an independent agency. No more pocket listings and lying on would be allowed on the "sheets". Transparency will clear the fog of obfuscation by our little housing cheerleaders (developers, builders, mortgage finance, appraisers, local taxing authorities and Real estate salesmen.

  • posted at 4:24 am on Wed, Sep 2, 2009.


    Wasn't it the HOUSING BUBBLE and unqualified buyers bidding up the prices of houses to BUBBLE levels? Who helped them and promoted the bubble? Hhhmm---lets see house built in 1916. It must be worth at least $400,000, that was five years ago. But that fiction never stopped Real estate salesmen from grabbing their commissions. Oh-0--so prices are dropping. You mean that house WERE overpriced. This is much more than a "small correction". Look at the LAR market charts. It looks like Mr NO money down buyer has lost ALL EQUITY and owes more than the house is worth.This is ALWAYs THE BEST to BUY---is what caused this tragedy. Greed, speculation, using OPM, no income, no credit buyers are still buying, subsidized by TAXPAYERS.When houses drop back down to $65/sq ft (before the bubble price), and the house is not riddled with termites and wood rot it MIGHT be worth it. But only if its not across the street, or on the other side of the fence, from the SEWAGE TREATMENT PLANT.LOL Do I smell something? I see all this activity creating more activity?

  • posted at 2:54 am on Wed, Sep 2, 2009.


    Ah yes a virtual plethora of economic giants here. Especially the guy from the university south of Target. Though this place was completely discredited with Snaith and his housing souffle analogy. No the "recession" isn't over, the data is being manipulated by the government to try to make it look better. Get ready for a few more years of tough time. As far as real estate, the 2nd hammer is about to fall...



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