Tom Peterson, Lodi’s former city manager, passed away recently at age 81.
Peterson was a gentleman, a man of grace, and a man of grit.
Peterson was a wonderful racantuer, an effective and well-liked manager, and a fellow who never held a grudge.
We recall one episode when a reporter published the names of finalists for the position of Lodi police chief. Peterson had declined to release those, and he wasn’t happy about the publication. He had a very direct conversation with the journalist. And he moved on.
He provided initial momentum for a Downtown revitalization, which was carried through to fruition after his retirement.
He also had a vision for the expansion of city operations across Elm Street. That, too, became reality after his retirement, in the form of the new police and courts building.
We appreciate this, as well: Though he had the dream of a complex that straddled Elm Street, one of Peterson’s advisers told him not to discuss that dream with the press.
A private company, the adviser said, would never disclose what land it was interested in. It might drive up the price.
But Peterson let us tell our readers — the citizens of Lodi — what the city was up to. “The City of Lodi is an American government,” he said. “We have to play by different rules.”