The City of Lodi removed Shakir Khan from the City Council on Tuesday evening before the regular meeting on Wednesday. Khan marched to the chambers and called it a coup. Special Meeting on March 7th!
The past two weeks have been hectic for the City of Lodi. Council Member of District 4, Shakir Khan, was arrested for a third time in three years and resigned to the Mayor while in custody. The resignation was then called premature within 24 hours, and the status of the City Council Seat was left up in the air.
All informal shirtsleeve sessions were cancelled by the City of Lodi. Late in the evening of February 27th, Shakir Khan posted info to social media of a peaceful march. It was set for the evening of March 1, 2023, the same evening of the next regular city council meeting. His instructions were to start at the former Roundhouse Bar–which he had purchased years ago in hopes of renovating the establishment–and to march to Lodi City Hall.
The following afternoon at 4pm on February 28th, the City of Lodi posted a press release regarding the District 4 seat.
“This afternoon, the City Council discussed the threat of litigation against the City by former Councilmember Shakir Khan in a closed session. The Council directed staff to set a special meeting for March 7, 2023, at 7am in Carnegie Forum to present options for filling the vacancy in District 4.”City of Lodi Press Release
While visiting the small rally at 104 E. Lodi Ave, we noticed the vast majority of supporters were Pakistani and/or Muslim, and the crowd wasn’t large enough to fill the room. We asked Mr. Khan for a statement, but he told us he was waiting for more people to show up. No speech was made until after 7:00pm, which was when the City Council meeting began a few blocks away.
During his speech, Mr. Khan claimed all the accusations were false, and what happened was a coup against him and the people of his district. He also stated that what the Mayor and the City of Lodi did, forcing him to resign while in a booking lobby, was very dirty. Khan had asked for his attorney and for a phone call but didn’t receive one at that time. He went on to say that the City did this to scare his people so no one would stand up next time. His goal going forward is to fight for his seat with his community. The full video of his speech can be found below.
Before leaving, Shakir Khan stated his lawyer would be filing a federal lawsuit against the City of Lodi if they were not to let him back on the Council. The short questionnaire can be viewed below.
The crowd marched to the Carnegie Forum around 7:15pm, and arrived just before 7:30pm. A small ruckus was made, and the Mayor and City Manager asked for silence and respect for the speakers. Mr. Khan chose to submit a comment card and give another speech.
Mr. Khan stated that what the City had done was very dirty, and they took away the rights of people from his district. Khan then chastised what the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office did by asking people who they voted for. He also claimed the ballots in his home were apart of ballot harvesting, a legal process in California where a vote-by-mail voter can designate someone to return their ballot. Click here to read the California law on Ballot Harvesting.
Shakir Khan then explained what happened on February 16th when he was arrested by the San Joaquin Sheriff’s Office and “forced to resign by the Mayor.” Mr. Khan went on to talk about his accomplishments as District 4’s City Council Member. During his two years in government he put in sidewalks on some of the streets where none previously were, he pushed for code enforcement in his district, and he was in the process of getting CCTV cameras around the business district to combat crime. Khan then mentioned the story of the Pakistani man who was arrested 20 years ago and charged with being a terrorist in Lodi. The man was in prison for nearly 20 years and was proven innocent.
Mr. Khan ended his speech by saying that if a special election is held, he would run for his seat again. Shakir Khan and the crowd then went into the lobby with the news reporters. Only a few stood for the remainder of the City Council Meeting.
Once again, a Special Meeting will be held on March 7, 2023 at 7:00am at the Carnegie Forum (307 W Pine St, Lodi, CA 95240) on what will happen with the vacant District 4 seat. Online comments will no longer be read or submitted to the record, as the City of Lodi stated on February 23, 2023.
“Council meetings will remain available for live online viewing on Comcast and The City of Lodi Facebook page. Public Comment will be available in person at each meeting. Written comments related to an agenda item or non-agenda item can be mailed or hand-delivered to the City Clerk’s Office or emailed to email@example.com. Public comments submitted by email, mail, or hand-delivered are forwarded to the City Council. Written public comments will not be read aloud during the meeting, but will be included in the final record.”City of Lodi Press Release