The final meeting of 2022 made history with new Council Members sworn in and a new Mayor elected. Plus, read the drama as Mayor Pro Temp gets elected.
On December 21, 2022 the Lodi City Council bid farewell to long-time Council Members Mark Chandler (District 2) and Doug Kuene (District 3), both who were first elected in 2014.
The two newly elected City Council Members, Lisa Craig and Cameron Bregman, were then introduced. Council Member Craig will be serving District 2, while Council Member Bregman will be serving District 3. It is worth noting that Council Member Bregman is now the youngest City Council Member in Lodi’s history at 21-years-old!
The Government then chose to reorganize for the new year. This can be seen around the 47-minute-mark of the Council Meeting video on Facebook. Lodi’s Government Reorganization is when a new Mayor and Mayor Pro Tempore are elected from the five current Council Members. Lisa Craig was the first to nominate Mayor Pro Tempore Mikey Hothi to be the new Mayor. The Council then voted unanimously to elect Council Member Mikey Hothi as Lodi’s Mayor for 2023, and history was made again as Mr. Hothi is now the first Sikh Mayor in Lodi’s history! He was sworn in by District Attorney Elect Ron Frietas, who was previously on the Lodi School District Board of Education.
Mayor Pro Tempore (Vice Mayor) was then elected by the Council. Mayor Hothi nominated Council Member Khan, given that he has been on the Council for two years and has seniority beneath Council Member Nakanishi, who has been on the Council since 2010 and is currently 82-years-old. Unfortunately, Council Member Nakanishi disagreed with the nomination and had the following to say:
“You know, ugh. The wise and prudent manner at this point is… I’m not seeing the reason why, okay. As everyone serves as Mayor Pro Temp, we compliment each other, right? I don’t want to [inaudible] why that’s the best choice. I would suggest that… that I would be counted as… voted as Mayor Pro Temp. [inaudible] more than that. I think most of us understand why [inaudible]. I never have asked for a nomination, but I think it’s appropriate at this point.”
Council Member Craig then followed up on those comments and made a formal nomination for Council Member Nakanishi for Mayor Pro Tempore. Council Member Nakanishi was going to second the vote, but the rules made it so Mr. Nakanishi was the first to nominate himself and Council Member Craig was the second.
Council Member Bregman than broke from the group and nominated newly elected Council Member Lisa Craig for Mayor Pro Tempore. The reason was because of the change in the city and because she has experience working with the city as a business owner.
Council Member Khan attempted to second himself, but Mayor Hothi changed his original nomination to second Council Member Craig for Mayor Pro Tempore. Council Member Nakanishi then had more to say before the voting commenced.
“You know, throughout my years here in the City Council, I tried to make this amicable, rotational, right? And we start here, [Council Member Nakanishi speaks towards Council Member Bregman] that’s not a good way to start. I’m just making a comment. When you come here, I’ll tell you like it is. So, I plead with you. [inaudible] Cameron, let me be Mayor Pro Temp. [inaudible] but let’s make this first vote amicable [inaudible].”
Council Member Khan then attempted to extend the Olive Branch by saying we should follow tradition, send a message of unity, and keep things rotational as we have in the past. He also said it takes at least two years to learn the issues before becoming Mayor Pro Temp.
Council Member Bregman then commented on the fact that former Council Member Mark Chandler was nominated as Mayor Pro Tempore in 2014, the same year he was first elected to the Council, and he got that position because he had prior experience. Moreover, Council Member Craig wants change, and the city voted for change.
After further back and forth, Mayor Hothi continued to back Council Member Craig as the new Mayor Pro Tempore. Council Member Nakanishi withdrew his nomination, and Council Member Khan seconded Council Member Craig for Mayor Pro Tempore.
One final comment was made by Council Member Nakanishi:
“What’s happened right now is…. I think is, what I’m trying to say is we shouldn’t know what we’ll be saying here, right? And I have not spoken to anyone about what’s about to happen here. So be leery my City Councilmen about colluding and so forth. I’m not saying anything, but you should come into a meeting with not having spoken to anybody [inaudible] making a decision.”
Mayor Hothi then shot back at the accusation with this comment:
“So, per the Brown Act, you’re only allowed to chat with one of your colleagues about any agendized item. And I think everyone is aware of that. And for new council members you’ll get training on it if you’re not. But I think we’re aware of that. Thank you.”
Council Member Bregman stated for the record that he had not spoken with Council Member Craig, and she did not know Mr. Bregman would be nominating her. The group then voted unanimously for Lisa Craig to become Lodi’s Mayor Pro Tempore for 2023, and the meeting concluded.