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Redevelopment foe Phyllis Roche has concerns about debt

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Posted: Friday, February 13, 2009 10:00 pm

For Phyllis Roche, it's easy to explain why she became so involved in the campaign against Measure W and redevelopment.

"I'm just a citizen," is her first response, and one could easily add "concerned" to that self description. Roche is a relative newcomer to the city of Lodi, yet she is a key player on the team that not only collected enough signatures to force a vote on the city's redevelopment plans, but may overturn them as well.

The former school teacher recently earned "Golden Grad" honors from California State University, Sacramento in recognition of the 50th anniversary of her graduation from that school. Roche lives in a cozy condo off Lakeshore Drive, and in her free time she plays the piano and cards.

On a recent afternoon, Roche sat in her spotless home, which is decorated with family portraits, religious statues and scenic watercolors, and talked about her why redevelopment worries her.

She's worried about the crushing debt that she says will come with redevelopment, as well as the power it grants developers working with the city.

"We're so awash in debt in this nation and in California," she said.

She agrees the city's Eastside needs improvements. But what needs to get fixed are the area's streets, water mains and pipes.

"There's no reason why the city can't do the infrastructure," she said. This could be accomplished through better budgeting on the city's part, she said, rather than taking out millions in debt to help developers plan elaborate shopping malls.

And at the very worst, Roche is worried that although Lodi has pledged to not use eminent domain to seize private property for redevelopment projects, the city could always change its mind.

"It sounds like you don't have control of your real property anymore," she said.

Roche has been interested in politics and government for most of her life. She recalls when she was in eighth grade and was assigned to take the position of Democratic Presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt in a mock debate.

She was a Democrat for most of her life until 1952, when she and her husband listened to each party's convention on the radio, and she chose to go with Eisenhower.

Roche's husband was a crop duster during the week and on the weekends flew jets out of Naval Air Station, Alameda. When he retired in 1970, he was the commanding officer. About 20 years ago, he passed away.

Roche would later become the president of the Republican Women of Lodi and a member of the San Joaquin County Central Republican Committee, and even spent a term on the state Republican committee.

Most of Roche's political interests lay beyond Lodi, as she lived outside the city limits on Tecklenburg Road for nearly 50 years. She moved within the city limits a few years ago and became curious about the redevelopment debate. After learning more, she had more questions about the plan and eventually decided it wasn't the right step for the city.

Roche teamed up with other redevelopment critics and helped get the issue to the voters by convincing more than 4,000 people to sign a petition.

If that is any indication, Roche said she's pretty confident heading into March 3 special election.

"I just kind of feel this is the wrong time to get involved with anything to do with money."

Contact City Editor Andrew Adams at andrewa@lodinews.com.

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  • posted at 4:30 pm on Thu, Feb 19, 2009.


    danielh I am against Measure W and voted accordingly. Sorry if I gave the impression I am in favor of the RDA, I most definitely am not. When it comes to cleaning up the Eastside so that it is more "investment" friendly, I say fine the heck out of the property owners that never fix a darn thing, don't maintain their property, let renters hang clothes in the front yards, let rotten sofas sit in the yard, never repair a fence, paint their houses, etc. I try to keep my home as nice as possible (doesn't cost much to mow, paint and clean) and it disgusts me when I look around the neighborhood. With fines and warnings in place, I bet the Eastside would clean up in a hurry. They can fix all the sewers and waterlines they want and Eastside will still look the same. Hit property owners in the pocketbook to get some action.

  • posted at 9:55 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    "Conversely, if CC could retreat and surrender, that would be incentive for investment."I'm not sure what you mean by that statement. There MUST be an incentive for improvements to be made in the designated area. No one other than the City can provide those incentives. Fees would be higher than the purchase price of the property.

  • posted at 8:40 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    Oops, Diede, who else gets ALL the city contracts and who's always one of the higher bidders in Stockton and SJ county yet seemingly ALWAYS the low bidder in Lodi? Why?

  • posted at 8:27 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    DanielH, does anyone think that suede built that new building in the vineyards with his own money and without pulling any strings? I'd bet some CC connections are investors in yet another piece of the elaborate redevelopment scheme?

  • posted at 7:42 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    I contacted the state controller office and asked how much money from Lodi property taxes go to southern california. They laughed! Because $00000 dollars of Lodi's property tax goes to the State. The Yes people's lies are showing.

  • posted at 7:40 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    I think Mounce said it best with," The proposed redevelopment plan needs to guarantee that the Eastside infrastructure will be the first project completed with tax increment dollars. If the RDA plan did so, it would result in the creation of those good-paying jobs and directly increase our tax basis. We do not need to gift this money to the developers and the special interest groups, and hope that by doing so we will create successful businesses."

  • posted at 3:19 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    Observer: redevelopment cannot attract investment.redevelopment restricts business only to those which are specially selected by CC, and these are known in advance, 2-years ago.Conversely, if CC could retreat and surrender, that would be incentive for investment.

  • posted at 2:21 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    Daniel, I'm a firm believer that the City needs to provide incentives to encourage redevelopment/fixing up/attracting new development etc. I believe that an RDA can be one of those tools but I'd be curious about the incentives you may be aware of that could accomplish the same thing without a RDA.

  • posted at 2:03 am on Mon, Feb 16, 2009.


    pooreastside: The fatal flaw which will undermine your support for RDA is that the money is secured by speculation, and there will be a loss of police and fire protection in all of Lodi to fund the CC friends and buddies.If you think east side looks poor now, wait until RDA puts the city into debt.Wouldn't it be nice if there could be a set of CC policies that would make it attractive for businesses to invest in Lodi?

  • posted at 6:08 pm on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    Loadeye and dogs4u, are you real? You really want Flynn and Vallow back? Who do you think was responsible for many of the problems we now face? Let's guess-- Flynn and Vallow! And for your love of Mounce, is she really motivated for what is right for Lodi, or more concerned about how her friends and financial supporters feel on this issue? The other four Council members seen to agree on what is best for our City regarding approval of the RDA, but Mounce states she cannot support "an ill-conceived plan to give our City Council a blank check to establish another layer of bureaucracy that fails to provide for Lodi's aging neighborhoods". Doesn't she realize she will be part of the RDA's Board that will decide on how and when funds are spent WITHOUT any additional "layer of bureaucracy?(The Council IS that layer!) Isn't she the Eastside advocate for infrastructure repair and maintenance? Doesn't she realize the means to this end is throught an RDA?

  • posted at 2:58 pm on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    dogs, I was referring to the other four jokes from the "dark side" of the council and manager King. They're the reason my no vote on W has already been sent by absentee ballot.

  • posted at 2:56 pm on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    Dogs, I agree with you on that one. The other four councilteers have been trying everything in their power they can to get JoAnne frustrated enough to throw in the towel, but she's got so many supporters that support, love and pray for her that the "dark side" will have to wait and try another strategy. Mayor Mounce is very honest, outspoken and everyone knows she's been fighting for the eastside and those projects that redevelopment will bring that the other four four idiots now suddenly decide they want now that they can get someone else to pay for it. Hansen is responsible for the blight and gangs by looking the other way when he was chief of police and now that he's mayor, all of a sudden wants to fix another one of his own blunders now that he sees that his business partners will get the money and contracts. I say recall Hansen!

  • posted at 10:21 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    loadeye makes the statement, why doesn`t someone on the CC stand up, it is evident that City Counsel Woman Mounce did and is standing up as she voted NO for redevelopment and I would think is taking some heat for her decession. Give me 2 more Mounce`s and s*** can the rest.

  • posted at 10:20 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    Oh, if we only had Manager Dixon Flynn and LEUD director Alan Vallow back. They had Lodi so flush with cash until Hansen became the one-man wrecking crew and look at Lodi now. Hansen, remember your noontime city paid and sponsored events like the sports banquet that spent $500 or so for mini-jockstraps for all the drink glasses at the luncheon? Those were the days until you ruined them all by yourself. And now you, of all people, ask for $400 million to start the party again at taxpayers' expense? Are you going to give us a rebate on our electric bills on your 2005-2006 blunder? That's why I urge all to vote no on W. Let's have an objective plan that everyone understands with a clause that has accountability for those on the RDA board and a citizens' group with a mix of representatives from different ethnicities and financial status. After all, if it's the eastside you keep talking about, shouldn't those owner-occupied residents there have someone, and Pakistanis, Hispanics, African-American and a low-income each have a budget oversight member? Or will they be all white, well-off Lodians like our present city council?

  • posted at 10:08 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    larprez, I insinuated that the real estate and loan business were just part of the problem. I figured House of Cards was a tv program and I'll see when it's on again and be sure to watch it. I'm not a tv watcher so that explains why I didn't know what you were talking about. Again, I don't think redevelopment is a bad investment except there's no plan, no projects as manager King said there was, the fact that the three ayemeegos on council tried to sneak it through and that with the financial turmoil it's not time for an RDA to give those four council persons, who will certainly be the RDA board with the authority to spend that $400 million of our money after already spending Lodi $250 million in debt since 2005 when Hansen bought that electricity and our electric rates skyrocketed and still continue to climb. If this RDA plan were to have been thought out and presented to the citizenry without so much secrecy, it would be a much different outcome. Why doesn't someone on council just stand up and tell us this is manager King's plan and that they're just puppets?

  • posted at 9:26 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    House of Cards is a very insightful documentary on CNBC re: some key factors that got us into the current financial mess. Look, there are plenty of bad contractors, attorneys, doctors, acountants, real estate agents etc. But to hang the blame on any one entity is riduculous. What about the people who never bought a home but just refi'd at every rate drop and continued to pull $50k at each time to buy jet skis, vacations and Escalades. Who do they get to blame. I'm FOR W, because I favour local accountability, local monies for local isssues. Lodi cannot and should not wait for the state or county to help our schools, police or fire. If you mistrust our 5 local leaders, then vote them out - you stand a better chance than the ones in Sacto.

  • posted at 7:54 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    larprez, what's house of cards? I was referring to the general corruption and trickery of some of our local realtors, developers, brokers and those who misled and blatantly lied to clients about the contents of the contracts they were signing and for lying to loan agencies to qualify clients for loans they couldn't afford with those ARM's by overstating their incomes. You're young, intelligent and pretty common sensical and you know who those unscrupulous and unethical agents, brokers, bankers, family and corporate realty companies are. Most Lodians know who the scammers are, too. I assume there was a plan to this madness shared by everyone and greed was the motivating factor. The real estate industry is still under the microscope and I'm hoping that the coming FBI investigations into Modesto, Stockton-Lodi, Galt, Manteca, Elk Grove and Sacramento will reveal who some of those unscrupulous people are. The Bee reported the FBI hired an additional 60 agents for their Sacramento field office to investigate just this issue, with banks and lenders being their prime objective and whose records will lead them to the responsible parties.

  • posted at 7:36 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    RUreal, maybe you should've bought one of those $400,000 eastside estates there on the 500 block of Locust? I still don't see many handicapped accessible sidewalks on the eastside, but every sidewalk on the westside has them. Why is that? They've been collecting federal funds to do those on the eastside, too haven't they? Where has that money gone? Before giving these thieves another penny, let them account for all the missing money no one can seem to find. Where is manager King transferring this money to? Does F&M bank have a bottomless basement vault?

  • posted at 7:28 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    loadeye that smell you are talking about is your breath blowing back into your unionized face. Never talk about PG&E and lazy in the same sentence, perhaps those union dopes that don`t have to worry about keeping a job can. Working 60lbs. plus of blowing natural gas or working off a bucket truck or even hicking a 70' in a wind storm takes men of deadication and balls to match to get the job done. As far as the unions go, so goes the UAW, a thing of the past, greed brought them to their knees, you can only go to the well so many times untill the well goes dry, now the UAW is ready to go under and if I were the current administration I would let them. They were a fat hog to long.

  • posted at 3:35 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    pooreastsideare you real does not mention whether or not he has a swimmingg pool that requires extra water.

  • posted at 1:03 am on Sun, Feb 15, 2009.


    loadeye - let's not cast stones here. I am not aware of any Realtors or Real Estate Co's. that created Mortgage Backed Securities, thes MBS and CDO's AND plenty of good ol' fashioned greed in every sector of the world got us where we are today. Don't make general and unsubstantiated statements....go watch house of cards on cnbc...

  • posted at 5:12 pm on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Phyllis Roche had concerns about debts and rightfully so!! No on measure W. Right on MP, Amen to Loadeye, and Smoot what is your problem. You are boarderline disrespectful. Are you Real, don't blame Eastside for your $15 water. You made me pull out my City of Lodi bill. For a 900 sq. ft. home on the Eastside, I pay water $33.61, wastewater $22.19 and solid waste $21.94 each month.Smoot, why build projects on the Eastside we don't need? For example, when Interlake closed shop in Lodi and moved to Mexico from the Eastside, the buildings on the Eastside Victor Rd. are still vacant after over 3 years. There are plenty more business properties around that empty also. With measure W, which we can't afford to gamble on in the 1st place, the ---- developers are really going to line their pockets.

  • posted at 2:38 pm on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    dogs, I can smell your BS right through my computer. I hate to break it to your feeble thought train, but the unions are doing all the large projects in the country right now. There are very few non-union contractors that can get a high enough bonding to do these massive projects. You must be talking about those lazy CalTrans or PG&E union workers. They're the brunt of every hard working skilled craft construction of every job I've been on for the last 20 years. There were six of them running a 2" short run of welded gas line in Woodbridge and only 1 working at a time. Would you rather your redevelopment taxes go to the non-union for the same bid , but take twice as long to complete a project? By the way, what is the lost of life and who mentioned that? Start early today, dogs?

  • posted at 2:18 pm on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    AreYouRealI didn't like it years ago when my rates were raised to replace or repair any pipes in the city that needed it. No pipes were replaced or repaired anywhere that I know of. I was dumb enough to believe the city council when they said that's what the money was to be used for. They can't seem to account for all the money that was collected, as sky King plays his endless shell games. So if the city can't fix the infrastructure with the money they've collected oh well. If the fifteen a month is really a drain, perhaps you should have bought a less expensive home where the air isn't so rarefied.

  • posted at 9:08 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    To OTH,Yeah, I live here in a newer home and I don't like paying over $15 a month for water and wastewater replacement when it all goes to the RDA area. Why not let RDA pay for it? East Lodi didn't pay for my new pipes. Without RDA I guess I'll have to give up services in my neighborhood just so the east side can suck all the money out of the city. Maybe the alternative to RDA would be a community district so the property owners can pay more taxes to fix things. Oh, wait. RDA can do that without a tax increase.

  • posted at 8:50 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    So you No votes are OK with Lodi subsidizing public services in Stockton, Manteca and Tracy? Because that is what Lodi has been doing for years!!! They all have RDAs and are benefiting at Lodi`s expense!!! Whether you choose to believe it or not, a greater percentage of Lodi`s property tax $$$ go to support county social services than the other cities. If you want to be a martyr, be my guest! But don`t ask ME to pay for better services in Tracy!!!

  • posted at 7:57 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    loadeye don`t give me the lost of life pertaiing to those jobs. If the unions were going to build those projects today, they wouldn`t be built.

  • posted at 7:55 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    loadeye if redevelopment passes and the unions get their hands on the instalation of the new sewer pipes and everything else that is preopsed, you can add millions of dollars more to the project. If a worker is needed out of a union hall, you take what you get, can`t send him home. Hire a contractor who is fimilar with that type of constriction, a good backhoe operator is the most important person on that job, the work goes as fast or slow as a good operator. Not really that much knowledge needed to put sewer pipes together, or anything as far as redevelopment is concerned. A good lead man or foreman can teach a person that is willing to learn anything in a short period of time. The Empire State building, Golden Gate Bridge and Hover Dam are examples of non union work and are sill standing.

  • posted at 7:43 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    I'm sure that before they print the next batch of signs they'll be sure to consult with you, after all, you've demonstrated what a reasonable, thoughtful person you are.

  • posted at 6:33 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Smoot, any entity that wants to get jobs done on time or early with skilled, trained craftsmanship always uses a Union contractor. They know they can go anywhere in the world and get qualified, skilled craftsmen from a local union, not having to hire out of temporary recruiters, employment agencies or bars like non-union contractors often do. Why doesn't Lodi list all projects back to January 2008 and show the bids made by the contractors on those projects like Stockton and SanJoaquin county do? Go to the public works link at either of these organizations and see just how absurdly higher your local contractors here in Lodi are than even the less reputable companies' bids? So you're telling me they are the ones getting most of the contracts here? Someone please tell me why Lodi doesn't have those online? They make you call to get a list. Wonder why? Perhaps these local contractors are allowed to make one last oral bid that, just by chance, happens to be lowest and tens of thousands lower than their original bid. If redevelopment is passed it should require all bid openings to be done at public offices with citizens as witnesses.

  • posted at 6:20 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Who's responsible for the signs proclaiming "keep our taxes in Lodi"? What taxes are you talking about? Are you deliberately misleading everyone? Why don't you tell the truth and say PROPERTY taxes generated by the redevelopment only? And how do you expect to generate taxes when you have to first borrow that same money and generate income on debt to see a benefit? How do you generate income on debt?

  • posted at 6:19 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    ru4realI don't know where you live in Lodi but the eastside has been there long before Sunwest, Rivergate and anything north or south of Kettleman. It has been ignored for DECADES while the afore mentioned areas were built. Why shouldn't you help pay for it? You do live in the city don't you?

  • posted at 5:48 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    and while we're on the subject, I guess you must also oppose all that CDBG money that Joanne is so fond of spending on the Eastside - where do you think CDBG money comes from? Cows? It's the same government money you seem to oppose using for redevelopment - the difference is, CDBG money is a handout - redevelopment tax increments are paid by the property owner - those evil developers you're so afraid of...By the way, those public projects you oppose are largely UNION jobs - just like yours. Why are you so intent on depriving brother union members from the chance to make a living?? Or are you a scab?

  • posted at 5:42 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    MP - Four posts in a row! I must really have gotten under your skin. I'm still puzzled how you and your ilk can reconcile the claim that there's 400 million dollars in debt with your other claim that there are no approved projects - which is it? If there are no projects how can there be $400 million dollars in debt?By the way, I'm sure, with your vehement (big word - look it up) opposition to debt, that you bought your house with cash...HAHAHAHAHA!

  • posted at 5:16 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Vote NO on W and force this crazy city council to put checks and balances in place with private citizen (not developer or special interest groups) as oversight.Write a plan that takes care of the eastside instead of the money all going to economic development.Write a plan with specific goals not just a wish list.Tie the hands of this council and future councils to do what they promise the people.

  • posted at 5:11 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    You must be drooling at the mounth with the possibility of governement give-a-aways.

  • posted at 5:11 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    I am not afraid of anything. I just don't think a bunch of developers should get rich off improving the eastside. Or get rich of the poor people is sickening.

  • posted at 5:09 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    You call government subsidys free enterprise? What! Are you from Canada?

  • posted at 4:06 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    areyoureal? After your assinine blog, your screenname fits you beautifully. What the heck does religion have to do with this?

  • posted at 4:03 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    RU4real, did you read the rest of the links on the left hand margin? I didn't think so. What's the difference about redevelopment corruption then and now? Seeing the word republican tells me you're against spending and debt? Why do you want RDA to incur debt? And what difference does it make who this person is as long as it's the truth? So a republican governor returned his contrubution? You're suggesting that fact designates him as a liar and incompetent? Please give us a real argument. And the money was there once for fixing those sewer pipes and now tens of millions of it can't be accounted for because it's been spent or misappropriated. Why should fixing these sewer lines, water pipes, sidewalks and alleys be fixed by redevelopment when the money has still got to be there somewhere in city hall or F&M bank? Why should our property taxes fund them a second time? That RDA money should be going to police, fire, schools, etc., not to projects that were paid for long ago and not even started to this day. I still don't see many handicapped sidewalk ramps on the eastside either? Why?

  • posted at 3:52 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Mr. realtor prez, you were one of those entities that collapsed this US economy that is headed for a depression and you say borow, borrow, borrow? Isn't that what you and your realtors were saying while your real estate companies stole most of the money as fast as it came in?http://www.coalitionforredevelopmentreform.org/references/morrreport.php

  • posted at 3:24 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Poor MP - your so afraid someone else MIGHT make a buck on the deal you'd allow this opportunity to pass us by. It's called FREE ENTERPRISE and it's what built this country. Let's face it, no one is flocking to build projects on the Eastside the way things are - which is the way they'll stay if we follow your stirring "leadership".

  • posted at 3:16 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Did you know that MORR report was funded by a fellow who believes the U.S. Constitution should be replaced by Old Testament law? That a Republican candidate for Hawaii governor returned his campaign contribution because he is too extreme? That he doesn't believe it is immoral to stone people to death for religious sins? Interesting that the No people want to fix the rotted pipes in east Lodi through higher rates for everyone in Lodi rather than redevelopment.

  • posted at 3:00 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    " THIS IS A GREAT QUOTE! - In studying the redevelopment plan, there are many provisions for developers and land owners to receive government subsidies. In fact, the council at a February meeting recently discussed that the city could reimburse costs to developers for construction expenses, architectural and design fees, off-site improvements, parking lots, equipment costs, fixtures and furnishings, facade improvements and land acquisition costs. If you believe in free enterprise, these are costs that a developer or land owner should be absorbing themselves. Such land owners or developers should not expect the poorest of homeowners to subsidize them through property taxes

  • posted at 2:14 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    " Lodi has always looked out for Lodi. Our own County has a budget surplus and yet Stockton has to lay off police officers, Lodi PD has to get concessions from our officers in order to keep them on the job. Our own County has many other interests and people pulling at the budget strings. Yet where does Lodi stand in line? Lodi needs to take care of Lodi and ensure that the dollars generated here STAY here. Lodi PD, Fire and Schools will all get money directly from where it was generated. The State and the County will not help us with our infrastructure - let's take control of what is ours. "

  • posted at 1:06 am on Sat, Feb 14, 2009.


    Here's a simple document explaining your opposition against redevelopment.http://www.coalitionforredevelopmentreform.org/references/morrreport.php



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