City Council contends over Lodi 2×2 Committee seats during appointments to boards, committees, and commissions

The City of Lodi’s government appointed members to various county and regional board, committees, and commissions during the City Council’s regular meeting on Wednesday evening, January 20, 2021. The list of committees and commissions are re-confirmed every year after the government’s reorganization.

The City Council began discussing the sixteen boards, commissions, and committee after an hour into the regular meeting. Each committee must have at least one delegate, and an alternative can take the place of the delegate if they are unable to attend. Note that a Council Member is not required to serve as a delegate, but some require the Mayor to act as delegate. All motions were unanimously passed.

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Before the Council went over the list, Council Member Kuehne mentioned the fact that the Executive Committee at the Council of Governments make the executive appoints to the San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and San Joaquin Regional Rail Commission. The Executive Committee had already affirmed Council Member Mikey Hothi to replace Council Member Doug Kuehne on both boards. These appointments will be ratified at their next meeting. Member Kuehne noted the fact that he was placed on these committees after Council Member Johnson passed away in early 2020.

The City of Lodi Risk Oversight Committee was first on the list for the Council to recognize. According to the City Manager, this committee helps make decisions on interactions with the Northern California Power Agency, such as what power to buy from third parties in the market. Mayor Alan Nakanishi stated that Mayor Pro Tempore Mark Chandler is currently the NCPA representative, and therefore should be on this committee. Council Member Kuehne then asked the new Council Members Khan and Hothi if they would like to be Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler’s alternative. Both had refused, and Council Member Kuehne took the position as alternative to the Risk Oversight Committee.

Next on the list was the Delta Protection Committee. Appointments to this committee are made by a City Selection Committee comprised of all seated Mayors in San Joaquin County. Mayor Alan Nakanishi was appointed by default.

The Eastern San Joaquin Groundwater Joint Powers Authority was the next board on the list. Mayor Alan Nakanishi has been serving on the board, and was nominated by Council Member Doug Kuehne to serve again given his outstanding performance in previous terms.

The League of California Cities Central Valley Division Executive Committee was next on the list, which is a committee made up of member cities from all over the central valley to improve cooperation, quality, responsiveness, and vitality among all member cities. Mayor Nakanishi nominated Council Member Mikey to serve as delegate with the City Manager as alternative.

The next commission is not active yet. According to Mayor Nakanishi, Lodi will be a member of The Local Agencies Formation Commission (LAFC) in 2027, but until then the Council will skip over any appointments.

Northeastern San Joaquin County Groundwater Banking Authority. Similar to the Delta Protection Committee, which has a similar outlook to the Delta Protection Committee. Mayor Nakanishi asked to be nominated on this board given his duties on related boards. Council Member Kuehne nominated Mayor Nakanishi.

Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler has been serving on the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) for a lengthy time, and Mayor Nakanishi suggested he stay in that position with Council Member Kuehne as his alternate. Electric Utility Director Jeff Berkheimer and Rates & Resources Manager Melissa Price also serve on the board.

San Joaquin County Abandoned Vehicle Abatement Service Authority was up next. Council Member Kuehne immediately nominated Council Member Shak Khan, saying he would be great for the committee since it’s not very active. Council Member Kuehne went on to say he could not remember the last time the committee met, and maybe Council Member Khan can get them to meet more often since there are so many abandoned vehicles in Khan’s District. Council Member Khan serves District 4 of Lodi, which outlines the downtown area.

Council Member Khan, we have more abandoned vehicles in your district, probably. So this is going to be important. Maybe you can stir that pot a little bit. Get them to meet more often.”

Council Member Doug Kuehne, Lodi City Council Meeting January 20, 2021 @ 1:19:30

San Joaquin Council of Governments (SJCOG) oversees all money that comes in for transit throughout the county. It oversees Measure K sales tax, gas tax dollars, and local transpiration dollars; and distributes money for transit agencies, street and road projects, and everything you can think of dealing with transportation. Mayor Nakanishi nominated Council Member Kuehne as the delegate. Council Member Kuehne then nominated Council Member Khan to be his alternate, given that Council Member Kuehne rarely misses a meeting, and can provide Khan a helping hand in navigating the system.

San Joaquin County Flood Control and Water Conservation District – Water Advisory Commission was said to be a “very technical position” by the City Council, and thus they have had Public Works Director Charlie Swimley serve as the delegate and Water Plant Superintendent Travis Kahrs serve as the alternate.

Just like the previous commission, Mr. Swimley and Mr. Kahrs have served on the San Joaquin County Solid Waste Management Task Force due to its technical aspect. The City Council voted to keep these two in place for another term.

The San Joaquin Partnership works to bring businesses to Lodi and invests in advertising, which interested Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler and Council Member Khan. Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler asked the Mayor to nominate Mr. Chandler since he had served on the committee previously, and since Council Member Hothi took the delegate position in the League of California Cities, Mr. Chandler has more free time. Mayor Nakanishi then nominated Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler, Council Member Keuhne seconded it, and all voted for Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler to serve as delegate to the San Joaquin Partnership.

There was no option for the San Joaquin Valley Special City Selection Committee, as Mayor Nakanishi must serve on the committee.

Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC) was the final commission on the agenda, though not the final one in the meeting. According to TANC’s website, “The mission of the Transmission Agency of Northern California (TANC) is to assist its publicly-owned Member utilities in providing cost-effective energy supplies to their customers, through long-term ownership or contracts for service over high-voltage transmission lines within California and the western United States” (About TANC). The Council voted to keep the same members for another term: Electric Utility Director Jeff Berkheimer as delegate and Rates & Resources Manager Melissa Price as the alternate.

The final committee on the list was the City of Lodi 2×2 Committee, which allows three members from the Lodi Unified School District Board of Education to connect with two members from the Lodi City Council. The current LUSD BOE members in the committee include Mr. Ron Heberle, Mr. George Neely, and Mr. Courtney Porter. Lodi City Clerk Jennifer Cusmir noted that this committee wasn’t on the list for the past two years, and the listed members were Former Council Member Joanne Mounce and the late Bob Johnson.

“While looking at it, over the past three years, two years, for some reason that 2×2 committee dropped off of this list, and I’m not sure if there was some history behind that. But considering some of the conversation we have had this evening, we should probably re-establish that.”

City Clerk Jennifer Cusmir, Lodi City Council Meeting January 20, 2021 @ 1:10:00

Council Member Kuehne then said he met with the LUSD board of education last month, and the meetings are still happening. Four members showed interest in serving on this committee, especially after comments earlier in the meeting (around 1:00:00) from a Lodi Citizen living in the Reynolds Ranch area. She passionately stated that the Lodi Unified School District forced her to separate and enroll her children into different schools. She instead chose to enroll her children into a charter school.

City Manager Steve Schwabauer informed everyone that the City Council does not have jurisdiction over the issues raised, including the Lodi Unified School District boundary lines that extend throughout the county. He also said that he has been informed by the Board of Education that the Lodi Unified School District has been experiencing enrollment shortages.

Read the Lodi Unified School District’s Board of Education reorganization

Council Member Kuehne bowed out of the race, leaving three fighting for the positions. Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler stated he would be happy to offer his expertise from decades of working in the area. Mayor Nakanishi then said he would like to make a motion to have Mayor Pro Tempore Chandler and Council Member Hothi in the committee. Council Member Khan withdrew his nomination, and the five unanimously voted to have Council Members Chandler and Hothi on the City of Lodi 2×2 Committee.

The Lodi City Council regular meeting for January 21, 2021 concluded shortly after the vote for the final committee.

Hector Madrigal

Hector Madrigal is the founder of The Grape Vine. He strives to bring unbiased news and information to the people free of charge. Based in Lodi, Hector will be reporting on Lodi news first and foremost.

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