The Lodi News-Sentinel’s front-page headline, “Downtown Lodi sees increase in visitors” on April 19, had an article with comments made by Bob Johnson (one of our longtime council members). His comments tried to give the illusion of prosperity in Downtown as he talked to the employees of business owners.
Sure, the employees had a boom in sales (for that particular store) as the Easter holiday approached, but how about the business owners’ bottom line?
Notice that Bob talked to the employees, not the business owners, as his qualifications to make an intellectual fiscal analysis are about the same as those who are employed. It is doubtful that he could truly understand the fiscal bottom line, as he has never been in an entrepreneurial position.
Yes, it is nice to once again see the many people walking in Downtown, but are they buying the many items available or are they just window shopping? One can recall in the 1950s and up until the 1980s how local family businesses supported their own family as well as pay employees at a scale that could also allow them to support their families, purchase a home and send their children to universities. Some were fortunate enough to purchase the small business they had worked at for years.
When our city government decided a larger tax base was needed to collect from for their future higher wages, they forgot the populace of Lodi and allowed the big-box stores to come in, and then watched as the small Downtown businesses became bars, secondhand stores and tasting rooms. City employee wages increased in increments over the years, but the hard-working people of Lodi lost theirs and continue to make do with the slave-wage part-time jobs that came along with those big-box stores.
So the question is: Is this really a boom, or simply a part of this council member’s illusion?