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Lodi sees only minimal impact by nationwide boycott

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Posted: Monday, May 1, 2006 10:00 pm

Sixty-six-year-old Roberto Cervantes was unloading hefty sacks of peanuts and boxes of apples for his farmer's market booth from a van on Central Avenue on Monday afternoon.

Construction worker Chano Graciano took the day off and stopped by El Mulcajete Market a block away to buy a CD and an energy drink at lunchtime.

All around them, doors were locked and lights were off at many of the businesses on Central Avenue and nearby Cherokee Lane, home to a number of stores that cater to, or are owned by Hispanics.

While hundreds of thousands of immigrants took part in protests across the nation, Monday's "Day Without an Immigrant" boycott caused little disruption in Lodi, with the city's larger firms reporting only a few disturbances in their labor force and just a handful of small businesses shutting their doors.

Schools in the area also did not report any widespread absenteeism, with Lodi High reporting only a slight attendance slump from the average for this time of year.

One of the stores that did close Monday was the Rancho San Miguel Market on Cherokee Lane.

The nationwide boycott was an effort to show immigrants' contributions to the country by suspending purchases and work. Estimates show the action could cost the county as much as $15 million in output, depending on participation rates and other factors.

Lowering a sack of peanuts onto a dolly, Cervantes said he supports the immigrant cause - he came to the United States illegally in 1976 - but out of necessity, he said could not participate in the day of protest.

"I have to work for my family," said Cervantes, who with his son sells produce at weekly farmer's markets in Galt, Stockton and Napa. "We don't come here for trouble. We come here for work."

Around lunchtime, a few residents were surprised to find the doors locked at Angelo's Mexican Restaurant in downtown Lodi.

Breane Boyer, who works at Blue Shield of California, said she understood the point the boycott sought to make, but questioned whether it would have a positive effect.

Boycotts in history

Many countries refused goods and services from South Africa to protest that country's racist "apartheid" policy while in place.
The United States and more than 50 other countries refuse to send athletes to the Moscow Olympics to protest the Soviet invasion and occupation of Afghanistan in 1979.
Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers union organize a boycott of grapes to draw attention to the plight of migrant workers.
Black residents of Montgomery, Ala., refuse to use the city's bus system for months after Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her bus seat to a white person.

"By boycotting, it's going to make some people not want to come back," she said before she left to find another restaurant for lunch.

Organizers of the boycott had urged immigrants to not buy gas, food or other items, but El Mulcajete Market saw a steady stream of customers at midday.

"Some people are coming in because the other stores are closed," said Mohammed, who was behind the register and declined to give a last name.

Mohammed said he did not know what to expect of the boycott, as did representatives of other businesses in Lodi.

Two Hispanic employees called in sick at plastics manufacturer Schaeffer Systems, but it was unclear if it was related to the day of protest or not, said manager Mark Phillips.

Only a few workers were absent from the ranks at Valley Landscaping, said controller Lorne Truscott, adding that the company wouldn't know exactly how many of its 100 employees didn't come to work until time cards are due.

Both Phillips and Truscott said there were no interruptions to the work day.

Lodi High Principal Bill Atterberry said last year this time, the average absentee rate was about 12 percent. This year's total is 8 percent higher, officials reported, but not high enough to indicate any particular trend.

Staff at Joe Serna Jr. Charter School in Lodi said they noticed a few kids from each classroom did not show up for school. Whether that had any ties to the boycott were not clear. Public schools in the Lodi Unified School District earn an average of $34 each day per student. Government funding would be affected if large groups of students failed to show up at school.

The total output of San Joaquin County is an estimated $60 million a day, said Sean Snaith, director of the Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific. As much as $15 million could disappear from that figure If all of the county's Hispanic residents were to participate in the boycott and if spending was evenly distributed among all residents in the county, Snaith said.

Some businesses altered their production schedules or closed for the day to avert financial losses or a one-day work shortage.

Cottage Bakery moved an equipment maintenance day from Sunday to Monday so few of its staff of 600 would be needed.

Bakery president Terry Knutson wondered if the action would lead to any backlash against the immigrants' plight.

"It's hard to say how this is going to come out," he said.

News-Sentinel staff writer Sara Cardine contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Jake Armstrong at jakea@lodinews.com.

First published: Tuesday, May 2, 2006

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  • posted at 2:33 am on Fri, May 5, 2006.


    To Observer, I do not support any illegals coming illegally. I speak from experience. Not every country is as gifted as the U.S. Understand their reasons for wanting to stay here legally. Let them wait in line to get citizenship..if thats what they want..

  • posted at 4:56 pm on Thu, May 4, 2006.


    If we do not stop this invasion our infrastructure will collapse and it will be the end of our welfare system, schools and hospitals. Do the numbers!

  • posted at 4:54 pm on Thu, May 4, 2006.


    To To Nukem; 25.4% of the illegals in the United States are on welfare and food stamps. Another fact, 93% of all street homicides are perpetrated by illegals. These are FBI stats!

  • posted at 11:01 am on Thu, May 4, 2006.


    Dont need to pick anything, your people help in that area as well by putting them into cans...And never made an arrest huh, yeah that's coming from someone whose in denial for being arrested! Oh and I don't steal I make enough money where I work.

  • posted at 3:29 am on Thu, May 4, 2006.


    Oh and also you are right, there are American's who are in jail on foodstamps and welfare, and thats fine let my taxes pay for them, but I forbid to pay for you damn greasemonkeys who just want a free ride here in America

  • posted at 11:07 am on Wed, May 3, 2006.


    So Unamercian:

    To American/Hispanic wrote on May 02, 2006 1:03 PM: "Say I have been in this country 30 years became a citizen in that time, retired, but never learned or needed to learn english, I would not quilafy for welfare, come on now, don't be so stupid!!"

  • posted at 9:10 am on Wed, May 3, 2006.


    ***Todays Headlines***
    Half-ton man seeks life-saving surgery in Italy
    Doctors offer to perform free intestinal bypass for 40-year-old Mexican

  • posted at 8:27 am on Wed, May 3, 2006.


    RA- You are right the orgin of the language comes from Europe, but that is not what we are talking about, you are clearly missing the point.

  • posted at 1:32 pm on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    You are breaking the law by taking the money under the table!

  • posted at 1:30 pm on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    Hey LodiChica, if farm labor is so hard why don't the illegals become brain surgeons? do something where they can make some money! Or Tax accountants, or attorneys. don't complain about how hard their job is. Become a citizen legally and do the job you want!

  • posted at 9:53 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    I do not have a problem with these brothers being here, they contribute to this country like every single one of us. I do not understand why Mexican people are the only ones being targeted when immigrants are of all kinds.

  • posted at 9:49 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.



  • posted at 9:42 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    Working illegally and complaining about low wages, is the same as, breaking into someone's house (Illegally) slipping and falling on the floor, then turning around and suing.. If you had not been there in the first place, that wouldnt have happened.

  • posted at 8:03 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    Say I have been in this country 30 years became a citizen in that time, retired, but never learned or needed to learn english, I would not quilafy for welfare, come on now, don't be so stupid!!

  • posted at 4:53 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    You do not qualify for Social Security if you don't speak english.Keep it real!

  • posted at 4:43 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    Anchor babies qualify for social services INSTANTLY!

  • posted at 4:39 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    Yeah you moron AMERICAN/HISPANIC your one or the other American= Born in the US, HISPANIc/MEXICAN= NOT FROM THE US its that damn simple, maybe if you had an AMERICAN education you would know the difference, go back home!!!

  • posted at 4:18 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    Screw the mexican resturants, there is always El Toritos that's an American dinesty with the taste of authentic food. It's like this if your that damn tired of the rules in the USA then run jump and swim back in the sam direction you came from and stay there!

  • posted at 2:03 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    RA: Great idea. I would agree. Actually it was nice in the stores yesterday, everyone spoke English for a change. I like it without Mexicans.

  • posted at 1:47 am on Tue, May 2, 2006.


    Boycott Rancho San Miguel forever!



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