It’s back, as promised. The city council is scheduled to consider today a new proposal by Waste Management to meet the state’s new organic waste requirements, which went into effect January 1. This is the law that says all organic materials, such as food scraps, must be separated from regular garbage that heads to the landfill. Instead, the organics will be turned into earth-loving mulch, they say. Waste Management will be pitching the elimination of smaller trash carts, a weekly pickup schedule of the lawn and garden container (instead of biweekly), and a $5 rate increase for those who currently have smaller cans, starting in April. Everyone will have either a 64 or 96-gal container starting next year. Those with larger cans already will enjoy a small rate reduction. If council approves, the city will send out letters to ratepayers explaining the proposal, and setting a deadline for residents to register a protest vote against the plan. You may recall that Waste Management had a similar proposal on deck late last year, but yanked it off the table just days before the council was to hold a public hearing on the matter. City officials say the biggest problem is with people throwing any old thing into their recycling cans, a definite no-no, and customers over-filling their garbage cans. The state wants cities to lower the boom on customers who commit such indiscretions, including fines. Happy New Year.

BACK TO NORMAL: The local real estate market is getting back to normal, says local Realtor Larry Underhill. He says with higher interest rates making it harder for borrowers to qualify, and more available inventory, it’s no longer what he calls a pure sellers’ market. “First-time homebuyers, among others, have a solid shot at getting seller concessions that were unthinkable a year ago,” he says. There are 45 homes for sale in Lodi as of 10 days ago. That’s still an historically very low number, but it’s growing. Underhill says 33 Lodi homes closed escrow in December, compared with 64 in December of 2021, a 48.4% drop. Days on the market has also risen to 45, the highest in recent history, he notes. Sellers are now netting, on average, about 92% of asking price, he says. Quite a change from a year ago when it was expected that buyers would offer more than asking price.

CLOSED: The Bordeaux Inn bed and breakfast on West Locust Street has closed permanently, according to a post on the Inn’s social media page. Owners Craig and Rebecca Forrest wrote, “We are looking forward to the next chapter! Thank you all for a wonderful six-plus years!” The property was listed for sale last summer for $1.2 million.

AS SEEN ON TV: Lodi area resident Susan Schmiedt helped prepare roses for the Kaiser Permanente float that appeared in this year’s Rose Parade in Pasadena. Susan said it was an “amazing trip,” including watching the parade in person. She said the parade organization involves thousands of volunteers who work all year to make the production happen.

THAR SHE BLOWS!: The city’s Measure L sales tax continues to gush greenbacks. Administrators estimated the city would collect about $7.7 million last fiscal year, which ended in June. However, the city raked in $9,176,719 for the year. Most of the money was spent on public safety salaries and benefits. Police got approximately $5 million and fire netted about $3 million. None of the money went to pay down the city’s unfunded pension liability. Parks got $765,547 of the pie, and the library, $198,917. Citywide, a total of 29 full time and six part time positions were funded from Measure L during Fiscal Year 2021/2022. It also paid for all public safety overtime, vehicle maintenance and fuel needs. The half-cent tax was approved by voters in 2018 on the promise it would pay for increasing or enhancing city services such as police, fire and parks, among other uses.

CASE CLOSED: You probably read that both Lodi courts will be closing for lack of cases and judges. Department L-1, upstairs in the Lodi Police Building, is set to close on March 1. The courtroom at 315 W. Elm Street closed last April. The closures will have a “significant” impact on the police department, according to Police Chief Sierra Brucia. He says victims and witnesses to crimes will now have to travel to Stockton to appear in court, instead of locally. He also said people who receive traffic citations will now have to go to Stockton if they want to contest the ticket, or if they can’t pay their fines online. Brucia also said, “Our court liaison will need to be upgraded from part time to full time to address the additional workload.” One key question is how the department will transport prisoners to the county jail, since they will no longer have court in Lodi. When the courts closed about 10 years ago because of budget cuts, the city spent oodles of money on overtime as officers shuttled prisoners to Stockton. The chief says if his officers have to leave town to transport a prisoner, it will leave the patrol shift shorthanded. “(It will require) us to adjust staffing on a day-to-day basis,” he says.

FLASH FORWARD: Last week we wrote about the sad tale of a Lodi high school athlete who collapsed and died following his wrestling match in 1969. Also mentioned was the boy’s father, a truck driver, who was involved in a terrible accident that wasn’t his fault a few weeks earlier that killed two Lodi teenagers. Daryl Weisser confirms this, writing, “One of the Lodi teenagers killed on that Thanksgiving Eve was my brother Larry Weisser and his friend Jerry Helwig. Evidence and witness testimony clearly shows another vehicle (was) involved that caused the accident.” … We heard from Greg Clark, who wondered if the Louis Hawkins Memorial wrestling tournament at Lodi High, named after the fallen wrestler, still exists. Unfortunately, no, it doesn’t, according to Lodi Unified spokesperson Chelsea Vongehr.

FLASHBACK: The year 1986 was a wet one. While Lodi escaped most of the dire consequences caused by relentless rainfall, the rest of Northern California wasn’t so lucky. Highway 99 was closed from Kettleman to Mack Road in Sacramento because flows from the Cosumnes River had washed onto the highway. Firefighters evacuated 35 families from a neighborhood in Galt after pumping about two feet of water from homes. A Galt PD officer said it was a losing battle because more water was coming in than going out. Some 2.67 inches of rain fell on February 17 of that year, bringing the five-day storm total to 5.06 inches. San Joaquin County and East Bay MUD officials were increasingly alarmed at the rising Mokelumne River. County Office of Emergency Services (OES) operations officer Mike Cockrell said the situation was serious and that it was only in the beginning stages. An East Bay MUD official predicted Camanche Dam would crest over the spillway if rain continued. And it did. The Mokelumne River levels were rising fast as releases from Camanche Reservoir increased. On February 21, the worst happened. A levee breach unleashed gushing floodwaters, which inundated the tiny community of Thornton. Its 1,300 residents had to leave. Fast. More than 100 evacuees found shelter at Hutchins Street Square. Floodwaters covered the town up to the tops of stop signs and building rooftops. Interstate 5 was closed for weeks between Peltier and Twin Cities Road until floodwaters receded. Damage in Thornton was estimated to be $14 million. Some families lost everything.

Steve is a former newspaper publisher and lifelong Lodian whose column appears most Tuesdays in the News-Sentinel. Write to Steve at