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Editorial: We may have problems with government, but we still rely on its services

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Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 12:00 am

According to the “Popular Stories” widget on Lodinews.com, our readers were captivated late this week by these four stories:

  • “New owners bringing life back to former Geweke Chrysler-Dodge site.”
  • “Highway 12 collision kills 39-year-old man.”
  • “Lodi business owners upset about homeless residents at Lawrence Park.”
  • “San Joaquin County supervisors deny building permits for St. Jorge Winery.”

As the debate in Washington rages over government spending and the role of government in people’s lives, it strikes us there’s an important common thread to these four local stories — government.

Bryan Smith and Kimberly Mullen are taking a big business risk to reopen Lodi’s Chrysler franchise. And they tell us the City of Lodi has been a booster and a expediter in their endeavor to create 30 or more jobs.

Highway 12 has been an outsized killer for decades. The death Thursday of the driver of a pickup truck is the third traffic death on the dangerous stretch between Lodi and Rio Vista this year. The accident appears to have occurred on Bouldin Island, right where the California Department of Transportation is about to begin a $47 million project to install cement barriers that might prevent the next accident of this sort.

Homeless people have been congregating at Lawrence Park for years. When you have no home, and the homeless shelter is closed for the day, public parks are one of the few places you’re welcome. On the other hand, some of the homeless bring drugs and prostitution to the park. Neighbors expect government to do something.

St. Jorge Winery was accused of abusing zoning laws. The owners want to promote their product with music and food. Some neighbors want that “urban” activity staged outside the agriculture zone. It was left to government, in this case the Board of Supervisors, to settle the dispute.

Here’s our point:

We sometimes blame government for the ills of the day. But law enforcement, public works and social welfare are just some of the things we rely on government to provide us.

Sometimes the service is less than ideal.

And now is a good time to debate the size and role of government in our lives.

But it’s shortsighted to think government and taxes are going to be easy to cut deeply and permanently.

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