Thank you and a big salute to Sgt. Mike Kermgard and the Lodi Police Department, Caltrans Maintenance Regional Manager Rick McComb and the Caltrans crew, City Manager Rad Bartlam and the Lodi City Council — especially JoAnne Mounce and Bob Johnson — for their work on Operation Transient. During the past two weeks they have performed beautifully, hopefully meeting two serious issues in the area by the Highway 99 bridge over the Mokelumne River. The issues are fire safety and sanitation.
The first is regarding fire safety. Two fires have happened adjacent to the transient area — one in August 2012 near Casa de Lodi (why I became involved) and a recent fire west of Mokelumne Village on the river. Both began where the transients resided. Fortunately, the Lodi Fire Department extinguished them before they were serious.
Second is regarding the sanitary issue. You can’t have a multitude of people living in a particular place without thinking about sanitation. I’ve seen the result of those transients who lived near me. For firsthand inspection, go underneath the south part of the 99 bridge to discover the sanitary facility. Anyone living down stream, going to Mokelumne River parks and beaches or Lodi Lake would be affected by this sanitation (pollution) issue.
I know many are concerned about what to do. Fortunately, we have the Salvation Army and their staff doing a great job. And concerned citizens feed transients weekly. Maybe we need to follow what Seattle did — finding a large piece of land and putting the transients there with sanitary facilities. What about the piece south of the Salvation Army on Stockton Street? Seattle also had churches use their property for tents and facilities for a month or two.
In time, all problems get solved. In the meantime, thanks again to all the people mentioned above who listened and acted.
Oh yes, and special extra thanks to the police, who are following up with checks to be sure the transients don’t reappear in the same location (my neighbors said this wouldn’t happen, but the police are here regularly).