Lodinews.com

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Joe Guzzardi Since I've been gone, Lodi has changed for the worse

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Joe Guzzardi

Posted: Saturday, September 18, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 6:14 am, Sat Sep 18, 2010.

Two years ago, I gave up on California — of which I was a third-generation son. I left my Lodi home that I had owned for 25 years. As I drove toward Pittsburgh, I swore I would never go back.

Some things, I reasoned, are better left as part of one's memory. California is one of them.

Unfortunately, tenant problems in my worthless mortgage meltdown house forced me to return last January. Too bad I had to go back. America's unwritten Open Borders policy has made Lodi barely recognizable to me compared to the sleepy agricultural community it was in 1985!

I was born and raised in Los Angeles in the 1950s when the city was more a small town than a metropolis. The Los Angeles of my youth was untainted by the immigration wave that would engulfed it only a decade later.

Californians spoke English, a short drive took our family through the nearest orange groves or to the unspoiled public beaches where we could spend the day without worrying about a possible assault from one of the ethnic gangs that now have mapped out that turf for themselves.

Moments after I arrived in Lodi, I could see how badly conditions have deteriorated.

The Lodi Wal-Mart provided a horrifying look at what California's diversity means.

I heard more foreign languages than English. California has always had an abundance of pregnant women pushing strollers. But the recession seems to have encouraged even more child bearing, thanks in part to California's generous welfare programs.

Not even the local Lodi library, where I dropped in to kill a couple of hours, could provide shelter from the shifting demographics.

Young "students" gathered in groups, talking loudly on their cell phones, and sat three or four to a computer despite signs limiting the numbers of users to one at a time.

On my way out, I asked the librarian what happened to the age-old "Quiet, please!" standards.

Her reply: The library directors informally decided, with the encouragement of school administrators, to ease the regulations.

The theory is that if the kids are in the library, disruptive as they may be, they're not roaming the streets getting into more serious trouble.

I had depressing conversations with my former teaching colleagues about the increasingly unachievable demands made on them in part by the ceaseless English language learners' enrollment against the backdrop of California's financial crisis.

Because of its multicultural enrollment, Lodi Unified has "earned" a 61 score on the newly developed Ethnic Diversity Index, ranking it as one of California's highest.

How do Lodi and other small California towns go from perfectly desirable places to live to one with more challenges than they can cope with?

One reason: No immigration law enforcement. Failure to deport aliens leads to anchor baby citizenship that ultimately results in the creation of Hispanic enclaves. At the San Joaquin County General Hospital, mothers who are illegal aliens deliver 70 percent of all births.

Years of ignoring the immigration mess is one reason many California cities have deteriorated. Because friends warned me off of visiting my old neighborhood, I didn't. Houses, they cautioned, still had foreclosure signs with all the attendant decay of unmowed lawns, peeling paint and decrepit roofs.

I also didn't drive by my favorite haunt of all —the irrigation canal where, for nine months of every year, my dogs romped and swam until they collapsed, exhausted.

Going back to the Lodi where I spent 25 happy years broke my heart.

I wonder: as California goes — so goes America?

In 2008, Joe Guzzardi retired from the Lodi Unified School District. Currently, Guzzardi is a Senior Writing Fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization. Reach him at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don’t pretend you’re someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don’t threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don’t insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the ‘Report’ link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.
  • 9 Don’t be a troll.
  • 10 Don’t reveal personal information about other commenters. You may reveal your own personal information, but we advise you not to do so.
  • 11 We reserve the right, at our discretion, to monitor, delete or choose not to post any comment. This may include removing or monitoring posts that we believe violate the spirit or letter of these rules, or that we otherwise determine at our discretion needs to be monitored, not posted, or deleted.

Welcome to the discussion.

22 comments:

  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 5:49 am on Sat, Oct 2, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Shame on the city of Lodi for having people who speak in foreign languages, for having pregnant women and for teenagers talking in the library…

    Here is what Joe actually said; “I heard more foreign languages than English. California has always had an abundance of pregnant women pushing strollers. But the recession seems to have encouraged even more child bearing, thanks in part to California's generous welfare programs”.
    He was making a comment about social programs, not Lodi.

    I too think Lodi is a great place to be and consider myself fortunate to live in such a wonderful community. However, as I graduated from Lodi high back in 71, and have lived here all my life, I have noticed changes. Joe is right that there are many more people who do not speak English in Lodi compared to back then. He spoke the truth. Joe, does not like those changes. I do not mind the changes. I feel sorry for him as he is missing out on a good thing. I think if you are going to write an article complaining about Joe, you should at least attempt to complain about something he actually said. I find your article misleading and inaccurate. I do agree with you about Lodi though, it is a pleasant place to be and come back to.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 1:34 pm on Thu, Sep 23, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Interesting... many occasions I have visited my son who lived in San Francisco, where I first hand observed many activities, events and cultures. I also spent months in various countries observing wonderful cultures in rural villages, especially in China, India and Thailand. However, I have never felt the diverse culture and people in Lodi with its Mosques, temples, churches and other distinctive attributes as being deprived of culture. How unfortunate that Kristan thinks that anyone in Lodi is culturally deprived. I think if anyone has a superiority complex in these blogs, it Kirsten. I think a better slogan for Lodi is" A peaceful place to raise a family" rather than stuck in Lodi. Kirste,. May I ask, have you ever been to a big city like LA and San Francisco? I know you claim you have, but its hard to believe

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 10:44 pm on Wed, Sep 22, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2350

    As our little tête-à-tête comes to a close Ms. Marquez, am I to understand that big words notwithstanding, accuracy in what you put forth here (or anywhere else for that matter) means little to you owing to your hectic schedule?

    While I find that difficult to fathom, I must thank you for that information. Since I enjoy at least a little competitive give and take on this forum, I'll steer clear of you from now on.

    Good luck.

     
  • Kristin Marquez posted at 8:48 pm on Wed, Sep 22, 2010.

    Kristin Marquez Posts: 7

    Dear J. Kinderman,
    Like you, I am entitled to my opinion, I hope my children don't go to school with your children. Big words like "temerity" don't scare me. I am college educated, but I don't need a big word to prove my credibility. I took debate and even a class titled "The Rhetoric of Hate."

    Do you have a real job, or is it to respond to 275 comments on this website? I read Joanne's comments and others who disagreed with Guzzardi. I'm even more in shock you are from a state where I a big part of history took place. It worries me that American's like yourself move from one part to another and still can't open your eyes to the change or should I say assimilation around you and accept it for what it is.
    I don't have time for your rhetorical commentary or keep track of what you wrote. I have a job, I pay taxes and I have children that need attention. There's so many other issues out there ruining California's livelihood, illegal immigration in my opinion, is not that high on the priority list.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 7:52 pm on Wed, Sep 22, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2350

    Ms. Marquez, I have a few words for people who begin an argument with questions such as, "...ignorant and stuck in Lodi all your life? Have you recently visited a big city like San Francisco, LA, or San Diego?" Those words would be: loss of credibility. Clearly you're very much like our U.S. Congress - you fail to educate yourself even when the information is right in front of you. How embarrassed you should feel once you read my comment posted at 9:55 p.m. on Saturday, September 18, 2010 wherein I make it quite clear where I'm from. Philadelphia, Pennsylvania is hardly like little ol' Lodi.

    What you term as an "unwritten open borders policy," many of us view as laws being violated – not only by those who enter and remain here illegally but by those who were sworn to uphold those very laws. Still, your response to those who have the temerity to disagree with you is to what, "Get over it. It is what it is?"

    Now that's what I would identify as someone being purposefully ignorant.

     
  • Kristin Marquez posted at 7:11 pm on Wed, Sep 22, 2010.

    Kristin Marquez Posts: 7

    Mr. Kinderman, I have a few words for you: ignorant and stuck in Lodi all your life? Have you recently visited a big city like San Francisco, LA, or San Diego? There are so many ethnic groups in these cities and yes there is probably a great percentage that didn't get here the right way with a green card. I'm not from Lodi, I came here from the Bay Area, where I believe diversity thrives. The issue of illegal immigration will probably never go away; however, I can't sit around and read comments like "Californians spoke English" and "abundance of pregnant women pushing strollers". Comments like that make me feel ashamed to ask my ethnically diverse friends with their children who are four or five different ethnic backgrounds to come visit Lodi.

    Yes I know Mr. Guzzardi is from California and frankly I could care less if he lived in my neighborhood, his theory of the downfall of Lodi is simply absurd!
    I don't agree with illegal immigration, nor do I enjoy paying my taxes for those who weren't legally born here...but I don't stand around in my local grocery store and become a hater. Stop bashing. Get over it. It is what it is.

    I grew up in a town similar to Lodi, agricultural farming was all around me. I am U.S. Citizen. My parents both worked very hard to get were they are at today, and they legally immigrated from the Philippines to find that all American Dream. Look around Mr. Kinderman, what does it mean to be an American living in Lodi? The unwritten Open Borders Policy doesn't make Lodi a bad place to live; it just means your neighbor might not like it and should move to Arizona.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 1:45 pm on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2350

    Regarding a different subject raised by you, Ms. Marquez, your notion that "California thrives on diversity" isn't completely true. In fact, I would submit that rather than diversity, assimilation is what has made this entire nation thrive. As a natural-born United States citizen that has in my ancestry grandparents born in Wales, Ireland and Germany, I’m interested in where my roots began. But never during my many decades living here have I ever thought myself as anything but an American.

    This whole hyphenating of America is tearing it down; not building it up.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 1:25 pm on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2350

    Ms. Marquez, since your comment was your first online since the revamping of this online forum, you should be aware that Joe Guzzardi is originally from California. Therefore you're remark to have him go back where he came from might find him right around the corner from you; unless of course you're not from Lodi.

    And while you are correct regarding immigrants' role in the populating of our nation, keep in mind that the majority of them entered legally. Mr. Guzzardi's angst, which is shared by millions of other Americans - natural born as well as naturalized, is directed at those who enter our country illegally.

     
  • Kristin Marquez posted at 12:38 pm on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    Kristin Marquez Posts: 7

    Dear Mr. Guzzardi, It's a sad day when you realize that a retired School Administrator lives in a bubble! Do us all a favor and go back to where you came from; California thrives on diversity and by the way if you can't deal with the various languages being spoken at Walmart, try going to Costco. The United States was built on the foundation of immigrants, have you not read your history books?

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 7:33 am on Tue, Sep 21, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2350

    Ms. Bobin ponders, "Why the LNS continues to print this man's [Guzzardi] nonsense is a mystery to me."

    I think it's no more a mystery than why they permit your postings to be "printed" online. He simply has something to say.

    Now, while he is considered one of the paper's local columnists and is given wider latitude and a larger profile, you also have the ability to have your opinions printed in the newsprint version as well. The only difference being that you'd be limited to 350 words (more or less) and your picture won't necessarily appear with your printed letter.

    I for one would be very interested in reading one of your letters to the editor, but I cannot recall any printed with your name attached. Of course, I could have missed that particular issue.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 2:06 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2825

    http://vdare.com/guzzardi/index.htm

    Whoops, This the the right link.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 2:05 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2825

    http://vdare.com/guzzardi/100430_haitians.htm

    Joanne,

    Here's a link to the many columns Joe has written. I suspect it will just fan
    your flames of hatred for him even more. You seem to have a knack at hate mongering.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 1:35 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2825

    Joanne,

    Perhaps you might just find out your assumptions about Joe are false if you were
    to reqest his bio and or read his many columns on immigration. But even if you did do so you'd find something else about him to gripe about. And, please explain to us
    how the undeniable fact that many neighborhoods that are mostly Hispanic are a general low income demographic is somehow a racist remark? And I'd sure like you
    to point out where he says all of his students were garbage? That's quite a STRETCH and quite a slap in the face to the many Hispanics that regard Joe as
    a great teacher. Perhaps you get your jollies smearing people you obviously aren't interested in finding the truth about. From what I gather about how you feel he put up quite a front in the school system in Lodi, don't you think his superiors at the time
    should be made aware of this inside scoop you have on him? I should warn you
    that you'll be in for quite a laugh and maybe a good kick out the door from his superiors about your assumptions.

     
  • Steve Schmidt posted at 12:55 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Steve Schmidt Posts: 2299

    This town has suffered greatly due to the invasion from the South. Would that we could rid ourselves of both the illegal aliens and the LA transplants that have blighted our neighborhoods.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 12:06 pm on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Funny (as in strange) was, beside the inherent racism expected of every one of this man's columns, was the fact that he began by stating that he was, in effect, forced to come to Lodi to take care of his property due to "tennant" issues, but then states, "Because friends warned me off of visiting my old neighborhood, I didn't. Houses, they cautioned, still had foreclosure signs with all the attendant decay of unmowed lawns, peeling paint and decrepit roofs."

    Besides being an inconsistency, unless of course Mr. Guzzardi has had multiple "old neighborhoods," he admits that his property, managed apparently by himself, an absentee landlord, is included in this "attendant decay." Notice he does not name this "neighborhood." Perhaps it is similar to the neighborhood around Washington School that he declared was "predominently" Hispanic and low income. I think that may have been news to residents in that area. The only conclusion I can come to is that Mr. Guzzardi makes up "facts" to suit his columns. Why the LNS continues to print this man's nonsense is a mystery to me.

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 11:49 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    Let's put it this way, Mr. Dockter, a man who spends 20+ years of his life in very close contact with students, presumably Hispanics, who are learning English, would have a somewhat different attitude toward that population if he invested time in learning their culture, motivation, way of life, values, etc. Mr. Guzzardi has never demonstrated knowledge of his student population beyond what any ignorant (let's be kind and say "uninformed") person on the street could tell you about Hispanics.

    Therefore, one must conclude that he has not invested an ounce of himself in anything beyond the classroom. He has accomplished his goal of retiring, quite nicely I'm sure, at the expense of the garbage that he refers to as his "students."

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:45 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2825

    Perhaps Joanne feels all Joe was interested in was putting in his time so he could get his pension. Unlike her, I feel Joe went above and beyond the call of duty. His accomplishments are undeniable in not only his time as a teacher in Lodi but also throughout his life. Perhaps Joanne is not aware of his Bio. I'll give her the benefit of the doubt on this occasion.

     
  • Brian Dockter posted at 9:34 am on Sun, Sep 19, 2010.

    Brian Dockter Posts: 2825

    Joanne Wrote:

    It still amazes me how Joe Guzzardi complains on and on about all of the Californians who don't speak English, but enjoys a nice retirement based on his years of teaching immigrants to speak English. Is there some sort of disconnect here?

    -Hmm. Joe knew the advantages of being fluent in English. He thus was motivated by this to make sure as many people as possible could benefit from this. Many are thankful
    for Joe. Even if there was immigration reform we would still need people like Joe to teach English. So where's his disconnect with the reality of CA? I don't know. It seems to me his complaints are valid. Why Joanne feels he should not complain about the fact that many of his concerns and solutions for immigration reform
    have fallen on deafs ears is beyond me.

     
  • Jerome Kinderman posted at 9:55 pm on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Jerome R Kinderman Posts: 2350

    Mr. Guzzardi attributes the following statement to a Lodi Librarian: "The theory is that if the kids are in the library, disruptive as they may be, they're not roaming the streets getting into more serious trouble."

    Clearly this mindset is not limited to Lodi, California. Being from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (albeit practically a world away from Guzzardi's Pittsburgh, but nearly identical with regard to its deterioration), I remember the conduct of its residents nearly everywhere during the 1970s. Perhaps it just took a little longer for this part of California to catch up.

    Nevertheless, this type of tolerance of bad behavior is directly attributable to a society that has nearly done away with the concept of personal responsibility, self-respect and respect for others. Of course there may be those who would suggest that higher numbers of abortions might have curbed this situation to a large degree, but I think we simply need to return to basic common decency and parental attention during our kids' formative years.

    I do however share his dismay for the refusal to enforce immigration laws. And PLEASE before I’m labeled a racist or bigot for even bringing up the subject, I’m talking about ANYONE who enters this country illegally. This notion that all these illegals do here is perform the jobs that Americans refuse to do is utter nonsense. When anyone is able to break the law with impunity, what naturally follows is what other rules, regulations and laws might they get away with breaking. It comes down to respect - and once we stop respecting the rule of law, we are doomed.

     
  • Darrell Baumbach posted at 9:21 pm on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Darrell Baumbach Posts: 9405

    Congratulations Joanne on your son’s ability and good fortune in attending an elite university that costs over $50,000 a year. You must be proud of him.
    As far as Joes article, he is just seeing things from his world experience which I do not share. My wife is Mexican and my son ½ Mexican so this topic is applicable to our situation. Though I think he is off base, his comments do not bother me as he is already suffering since the world he loved is gone… I know that many Mexican people are wonderful people and conclude he has lived in a bubble where he did not experience what I did. That’s why I should be more patient with you, as you have lived in a different bubble that excluded you from my experiences which results in you seeing me as an enemy… so sorry for all the unpleasant blogs and conflict… TC

     
  • Joanne Bobin posted at 6:19 pm on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Joanne Bobin Posts: 4488

    It still amazes me how Joe Guzzardi complains on and on about all of the Californians who don't speak English, but enjoys a nice retirement based on his years of teaching immigrants to speak English. Is there some sort of disconnect here?

    BTW, Joe. My son just moved to Pittsburgh to attend graduate school at Carnegie Mellon University and, due to the restrictions on the type of language allowed in this forum, his opinion of Pittsburgh is unprintable.

     
  • Joe Baxter posted at 11:07 am on Sat, Sep 18, 2010.

    Joe Baxter Posts: 1845

    Visit Mexico sometime...I men the REAL Mexico. Not the clean and protected tourist towns. You don't have to go far to see the blight that is commonplace. Illegal immigrants are now doing the same thing to America. Between the latino gangs, welfare recipients and illegals using every entitlement that American taxpayers are forced to support we are in a world of hurt. Nobody picked up the hospital bill when my child was born. Nobody fed him breakfast and lunch for free. As a responsible citizen I raised my own family without government assistance. I am at a loss as why we are obligated to pay fo any programs for illegals. But, as long as we do, they will keep coming, keep having babies and keep their hands out for "freebies".

     

Recent Comments

Posted 15 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: La Raza does support illegal im…

Kevin: I think with a one party system, only 1/3 of America would never have any representation in the oval office. But really, the what e…

More...

Posted 15 hours ago by Mike Adams.

article: Letter: Friend’s car was wrongfully tow…

I think it's just the geography of the way the page is set up. With the "Twitter" and "Marketplace" and "Calendar&…

More...

Posted 16 hours ago by Brian Dockter.

article: Letter: We should reconsider using firi…

Eric, I can just imagine where we would be if the military hadn't gone to war when there was no other solution.

More...

Posted 16 hours ago by Brian Dockter.

article: Letter: Evolutionism is a hypothesis, n…

Simply put. Evolution is gradual change over a period of time. Humans are evolving. Plants are evolving. Animals are evolving. Relationship…

More...

Posted 17 hours ago by Bob Dirocco.

article: Letter: Evolutionism is a hypothesis, n…

Is the "law of gravity", one of the many scientific principle of physics next?

More...

Video

Popular Stories

Poll

Loading…

Your News

News for the community, by the community.

Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists