After three weeks, the City of Lodi has removed bars which were illegally installed on City of Lodi benches. City transparency is still lacking.
Near the beginning of April, a number of metal bars mysteriously appeared bolted into several city of Lodi benches following a rally to support the unhoused community in the town. These benches are located in the downtown area in front of the United States Post Office and several small businesses.
On April 29th, the City of Lodi Public Works Director notified the community that these bars have been removed since they were not approved by the City, and the responsible parties reimbursed the city’s costs.
However, the responsible parties have not been identified for the community. This has sparked further outrage as it would appear the city is protecting those responsible for these inhumane installations.
Numerous people have accused the owner of Lodi Beer Co, Roger Rehmke, for installing these anti-homeless bars, as he can be seen speaking out during the rally to support the homeless community, his business is directly across the street from the post office, he allegedly had told those from the Women’s March Lodi that he was working with the City to install the bars before they had even appeared, and he can be seen with a measuring tool in his hand and attached to his hip in video taken during the rally. The Grape Vine reached out to Mr. Rehmke for comment last month, but have yet to hear anything back.
While this is a victory for those who see this type of architecture as callous, two City Council Members have stated that they would be willing to approve similar anti-homeless bars in the downtown area. A Lodi City Council meeting is scheduled for May 5, 2021 at 7pm on the Lodi City Hall Facebook page. The issue of anti-homeless bars will be on the agenda for discussion. The other three City Council Members and the City Manager are expected to finally comments on the issue.