There are several “young” candidates running for two seats on the Lodi City Council this fall, and all have said they want to bring a new voice to city hall.
But Cameron Bregman — the youngest candidate in the race at the age of 21 — said he is running because Lodi needs not only a new voice, but someone wit the energy and tenacity to get things done.
“There’s two things I believe that make the American dream as we know it,” he said. “There’s a work ethic and a vision. Without a vision, you’re going nowhere. But without the work ethic, you can’t move it. So that’s what I bring to the table for the council. A new voice and a vision for what Lodi can be and work ethic behind it.”
Bregman is running for the council’s District 3 seat against incumbent Doug Kuehne and challenger Rita Mashni in November.
He said he wants to use his energy, tenacity and work ethic to solve the city’s homeless problem, make housing affordable for all Lodians, and reduce its crime and improve its safety, all of which he said was not being addressed correctly by today’s council.
“I think the access center is great, I think it needs to be tweaked a little,” he said. “I see numerous things id do differently, and that’s where I think a new voice will help.”
While he believes the access center will ultimately work once it’s up and running, Bregman said the temporary shelter operating at the North Sacramento Street site could be of better benefit to those it is designed to help.
“The access center has TVs, couches, speaker systems, but no job training at that site,” he said. “They don’t plan to have job training at the center for two years until the permanent center is built. That’s not an access center. To me, saying those three things together, that sounds like your making homelessness complacent.”
In his campaign materials, Bregman says Lodians can’t afford to live in Lodi. He believes improving some of Lodi’s historical structures in Downtown for both residential and commercial space would remove blight and attract more people to town.
He also believes more affordable housing should be built concurrently with some of the larger homes planned for future development.
“We need to work with developers to create one and two-bedroom houses, along with all the other buildings they build,” he said. “If you have somebody that’s low income, they can’t afford these five, six-bedroom houses that are two or three stories. They’re beautiful, but they’re mansions. Of course they can’t afford them, so they’re forced to rent.”
Bregman said Lodi’s safety issues are related to its homeless situation, and noted the office where he works — Bregman Financial Insurance — has been victim to broken glass doors, vandalized security cameras and human waste left on the property.
He added that residents are hesitant to visit city parks because the homeless use them as campgrounds, and would like to see the city recruit and retain more police officers to step up patrols.
“I whole-heartedly believe in the safety ambassadors,” he said. “I actually don’t know anyone who’s said anything bad about them. They go above and beyond. They even call when they see a door open in the middle of the night. They’ve even been polling and educating people about the access center.”
If elected, Bregman said he would strengthen communication with District 3 residents, as well as with residents throughout the city.
He said he sees a lack of communication between the council and the residents they serve.
“Instead of going out and knocking on doors when it’s time to get elected, I’d be doing it every single year, asking people what do they see. I’d be going out to the business owners,” he said. “We need a heavy new voice, because for the most part, the city council — not all of them — are not going out and seeking people’s opinions. People come to them, but they’re not outreaching.”
A Lodi native, Bregman graduated from Tokay High School in 2019 and attended Delta College. At the age of 18, he started his own landscaping business, Bregman Services, Inc. He obtained an insurance license and currently works at his family’s business overseeing employee benefits for clients.
“I want to serve the community but bring a new voice to Lodi,” he said. “And I don’t think anyone who’s running for city council does it for other reasons other than wanting to serve. It’s not a very rewarding job. There are massive problems in Lodi not being checked correctly, and ultimately I will bring a new voice.”