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With courageous officers, we will beat Lodi’s gangs

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Posted: Saturday, February 11, 2012 12:00 am

Gangs are flat-out scary. And it is certainly not reassuring to learn that, at least in Lodi, gangs are attracting younger and younger members. As today's front-page package by reporter Katie Nelson pointed out, solutions are neither swift nor simple.

Effective responses will likely involve alliances among community stakeholders such as parents, teachers and clergy members.

In the meantime, the police are scambling to fight this scourge — and that fight is ugly and bloody, and it is on the streets.

This week, a 21-year-old man was gunned down on Central Avenue. Two police officers, Leo Ramirez and Jim Pendergast, were nearby. They gave chase and ultimately arrsted a 16-year-old boy.

Sometimes, a police officer's job includes quiet heroics.

Officers Ramirez and Pendergast chased an armed suspect and captured him. They did so at no small risk to their own safety.

We don't know the solutions to the gang plague.

We do know that with officers like Ramirez and Pendergast on the side of good, we will eventually prevail.

Guys need help dealing with Cupid

Face, it, guys need help with Valentine's Day.

It's not that they dislike romance. There's just a gender barrier between romantic thought and romantic action. We contend that a caring guy energized by a romantic plan of action can be a St. Valentine's home run hitter. What is lacking are the brilliant ideas, the practical solutions, the just-right romantic ritual.

And in this Internet Age where better to turn to for a bright idea than the Internet? Why not go to, drill down on the opinion section until you find this editorial and tell the world how you suprised your one-and-only with fresh roses on a High Sierra ski trip, or pulled up in a limo when she got of work?

Tell us your best idea about creating a spark in your love life. But please — keep it G-rated.

Ladies, help your men. They love you. They just can't think like you do. Give them your ideas. They'll surprise you.

Gentlemen, you love the ladies in your lives. A few of you have a clue, don't you?

It's time to share the love!

Landlords might be key

The idea of getting landlords involved in creating a vibrant Downtown has some promise.The Downtown Lodi Business Partnership, which is financed and run by retail and service business owners, is struggling with a meager budget.

DLBP manager Jaime Watts, supported by some local landlords and the city, is exploring the possibility of forming an assessment district run by property owners.

Retailers are wired with competitive DNA.

Landlords, not so much.

Retailers come and go. Landlords tend to be in business for the long haul.

Will a new group bring a steadfast commitment to maintenance, better marketing skills or more financial horsepower to Downtown? That needs to be seen.

Can all Downtown landlords afford an assessment district? That will become an issue.

But we're staying close to this proposal and hope it works to make Lodi more liveable and loveable.

On the rise of charters

Last week, we presented a package of stories by reporters Jennifer Bonnett and Sara Jane Pohlman on the rise of charter schools in the Lodi area.

There remain legions of charter skeptics. They raise fair questions about the academic consistency of these schools and whether they pull some of the best students — and the most involved parents — away from mainstream campuses. No doubt the critics play a healthy, kind of antiseptic role here.

Yet the success of some charters, most notably the Aspire charters in Lodi Unified, is undeniable.

All three of the Aspire schools located in Lodi Unified — Aspire River Oaks Academy, Aspire Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy, and Aspire Vincent Shalvey Academy — received a 10 out of 10 in similar schools ranking last year.

The Aspire campuses, by nearly all measures, have talented and dedicated staff members. They are integrating innovative curriculum, teaching techniques and technology.

There are certainly less successful charters, and every year charters around California simply close.

Is there a Darwinian benefit to this?

It appears that charters in Lodi and elsewhere, at least the best of them, are here to stay.

That competition is healthy.

Public education is in a state of flux now, as demands for reform resonant from Lodi, Calif., to Lodi, N.J.

No doubt some of that reform can be drawn from a charter system that is gaining new believers as it achieves greater success.

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