After winning reelection to the Lodi City Council in November, Councilman Mark Chandler was recently voted to a second term as mayor.
He has been on the city council since 2014 and first served as mayor in 2015.
The News-Sentinel recently caught up with Chandler, former executive of the Lodi Winegrape Commission, for a question-and-answer session that helps our readers get to know the mayor a little better.
Do you like Merlot or Chardonnay?
I like Merlot better, but in full disclosure, I prefer Zinfandel over both.
What is your favorite local getaway?
Oak Farm Vineyards.
What are your plans to make Lodi a tourist destination?
The addition of the bowling alley coming to Lodi is going to boost tourism, and we have plans in the works to expand our wine industry, which will help increase Lodi’s visibility in the wine industry.
We are looking to get a new hotel built in Lodi, as well as the addition of developing an indoor farmers market that we can open year round.
What are your plans to help alleviate homelessness in the community?
We received a million-dollar grant that allows us to build tiny homes to help move people off the streets and into shelters or into the new homes.
Social media yes or no?
Are you a little more country, or a little more rock and roll?
Definitely a little more country.
What is the biggest responsibility?
As mayor, the biggest responsibility is being responsible for the funding of the community taking taxpayer dollars and applying them to programs that benefit the whole community.
Who do you think is the funniest council member?
I think we all have our moments.
Do you prefer pancakes or waffles?
What is a unique talent or skill that you have that will not many people know about?
I'm a certified wine judge, and I have judged the California State Fair.
What was your greatest accomplishment this year as a city counselor?
The passage of Measure L. it helped secure funds for our public safety department and our parks department and our library.
If you could teach a class about anything what would it be and why?
I would teach people about wine tasting. I think people are very apprehensive at the topic and I think that I can help them to appreciate wine and taste.
First car you ever owned?
1963 Ford Falcon.
How do you relate to all the people of various backgrounds in the community?
I really enjoy meeting new people and having conversations with them and getting to know them. During my campaign I would go door to door and meet people. I think that getting to know the people in this community is what makes me connect with them.
Why did you pursue local politics?
Lodi has been good to me and I would like to return the favor.
What is the rarest or most expensive wine you have in your collection?
A 1988 Robert Mondavi Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon.
What is your brand of wine and what types of wine do you make?
Burlington Chandler, which is a mix of both my wife's last name and my last name, and we produce Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, and a little Zinfandel. We are currently in the process of developing a rosé.
What are your plans to increase the police department ranks?
We are currently looking to employ 10 new officers. Public safety is a huge concern of mine so it's something I'm very passionate about getting done.
What are your plans for local economic development?
We are developing a hotel and a retail complex. There are also the projects for the Dancing Fox Winery, and the multi-million dollar expansion of the World of Wonders Science Museum, which is going to bring in a lot of young people.
Where is a place you haven't visited that you would really like to go?
What is the last book you read?
“Trinity” by Leon Uris.
What are some of your major goals as mayor?
Enhancing the parks department and getting more involved in the library. I am a huge advocate for literacy. I plan to be actively involved with both.
Do you think that having districts will hinder the progress that Lodi council members make? Do you think they may become more involved in district decisions rather than citywide issues?
I think all of the council members that currently sit on council are all on the same page in doing what is best for the community as a whole. It's unfortunate that we were threatened with litigation over the districts.