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In our fanciful tale, Galt and Lodi have their wishes fulfilled in 2012

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Posted: Saturday, December 31, 2011 12:00 am | Updated: 6:06 am, Sat Dec 31, 2011.

Maybe this sounds like an old joke to you, but what if it really happened?

Lodi Mayor Joanne Mounce is giving Galt Mayor Barbara Payne a walking tour of the Eastside.

On a Central Avenue sidewalk Mayor Mounce picks up a tarnished brass lamp. Mayor Payne can't quite read an engraving on the lamp's side so she gives it a quick buff.

Poof! Out pops a nine-foot man wearing shimmery satin pantaloons, gleaming rings on every finger and a blazing white, hemispherical turban three feet in diameter.

"Where'd he come from?" asks Mayor Payne, startled.

"You see the turban? He's from India. He's a Sikh," says Mayor Mounce, trusting her knowledge of her constituents' dress and customs.

"Madam, I am not a Sikh from India nor a Muslim from Pakistan."

"Are you Catholic?" asks Mayor Payne, very confused now.

"Forget the turban, your honors. Your clue is the satin pants. I am a genie."

"Imagine that. Do you grant wishes?" asks Mayor Mounce.

"Indeed. I am here to grant two wishes." The genie grins broadly, flashing a gold-capped tooth. "One for Lodi, one for Galt."

"Hey!" says Mayor Mounce. "Shouldn't Lodi get two wishes. We're bigger."

"We should both get two wishes," Mayor Payne says. "We've both been through some tough times in the last year."

"Ladies, better start wishin' before you lose your allocations." The genie's voice is grim.

The mayors close their eyes and start to wish, wish, wish. The only thing mayors like more than general fund tax revenue is free wishes.

"The C Street interchange is taking forever. Unemployment is nearly 18 percent … only one wish?" says Mayor Payne.

"ONE," the genie intones.

"Well then," said Mayor Payne. "We are really pushing our little downtown. Think we could get a dozen new businesses down there next year, including boutiques, salons and eateries?"

"You are not unreasonable," the genie says. "Consider it done."

He turns to Mayor Mounce.

"And you?"

"Well, Mr. Genie, the wish is a little complicated, I admit. My wish is that Google moves a major research and manufacturing operation to the old Goehring packing plant site just north of town. They will provide hundreds of new jobs — including jobs for gang members who can make technology instead of mayhem."

The genie is perplexed.

"Complicated? It is impossible! Even for me. Turn an old meatpacking plant into a high-tech campus? Ridiculous. You must come up with another wish."

Mayor Mounce ponders for a moment.

"Well, then, genie, I wish for a greenbelt around Lodi, one that would be fair to all residents and landowners and surround Lodi with a luxuriant and beautiful buffer zone forever and ever."

The genie sighs.

"OK, OK. You win. Let's go check out that Goehring property."

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