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Lodi Chamber Recognized for Advocacy Efforts

Lodi Chamber Recognized for Advocacy Efforts

Lodi Chamber Recognized for Advocacy Efforts

I was fortunate enough to attend the Cal Chamber Capitol Summit on Wednesday, May 8th. The Chamber was one of 13 in the state recognized for the our Lobby Force advocacy efforts, including local advocacy and joining in various state-wide coalitions opposing ‘Job-Killer bills working their way through the California legislature. I accepted the Cal-Chamber’s Advocacy Champion award on behalf of the Chamber, and participated in the day’s activities, that included an informative and entertaining presentation from Beacon Economics, a sobering discussion on the effects of Prop 47, and meetings with local and state leaders.

Lodi Chamber - Advocacy Champions
Here at the Chamber, we take our responsibility as business advocates very seriously. We participate weekly in discussions at the city level with our council members and city staff about how we can make Lodi a better place to do business. Currently we are sitting on the steering committee for a downtown specific plan, co-hosting a meeting series between business owners and the building department, and are working hand in hand with Luis Aguilar, the city’s new Economic Development Director, on supporting small businesses.

At the state level, we have joined on with state-wide coalitions to fight against the following bills:

I would like to thank Cal Chamber for the recognition, and I look forward to working together to represent Lodi’s businesses and workers.

Finding Solutions with Assemblyman Heath Flora
In the afternoon, I met with Assemblyman Heath Flora for a discussion around issues affecting public safety and our local winegrape industry. Mr Flora has taken leadership in keeping our children safe from sexual predators through introductions of bills AB 1898 & AB 1892. The bills work in tandem to make it easier to catch perpetrators of these terrible crimes, and ensures they serve out their full sentence upon conviction. It is a huge challenge to get pro criminal justice bills through the system right now, but Mr Flora has demonstrated the conviction necessary to bring both sides of the aisle together in support of especially bill AB1898. He brought Democratic Assembly members along for a sting operation back in February that changed hearts and minds on this issue. As a father of two elementary school children, I greatly appreciate Mr Flora’s dedication to this issue.

We also discussed the economic challenges facing our winegrape growers. As a life-long farmer, Mr Flora is very sensitive to the issues affecting family farms. The Chamber is looking at how we can partner with other local organizations such as the Lodi Winegrape Commission and Visit Lodi to educate consumers and create higher demand for Lodi wine. Mr Flora recognizes the importance of the winegrape industry not only in his district, but also the state, and will be working with our local industry leaders to support this vital industry.

Narratives Regarding California’s Economic Reality
The keynote presentation of the summit was given by Dr. Christopher Thornberg from Beacon Economics. He focused on how narratives drive political decision-making and legislative agendas, as opposed to real data and analysis. This leads to us tackling issues that are often ‘perceived’ crisis’s and ignoring the real important issues.

A few main takeaways from his presentation included:
  • Despite our population decline in CA, the number of households increased, putting additional pressure on the housing market.
  • Covid 19 caused a $1.2 Trillion disruption to the economy, but $6 Trillion in stimulus was pumped into the economy, causing inflation (too many dollars chasing too few goods).
  • The CA budgetary crisis is a spending & fiscal management problem, as general fund and special fund expenditures have increased to 10% of CA workers personal income (a 25% increase from pre-covid levels).
  • Consumer demand will remain strong due to high liquidity and low private debt levels across a wide swath of the population.
  • Our housing issue is one of availability, not affordability.
  • We need to upskill workers to higher wage jobs, not artificially increase pay for low skilled work.
  • We need to control the narrative to keep our politics to devolving into chaos.
We at the Chamber are trying to be proactive by working with our local elected officials about the impacts of proposed policy at the city level. We need your help in controlling the narrative and providing solid data to support sound pollical decision making.   

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