October

Hi Folks,

Sorry about the hiccup. We had some technical difficulties over the last few days but they are resolved now. We will be posting again soon!

The Strawberry

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September Strawberry Snippets

Hello folks! I am sorry for not posting earlier, but so far I really don’t have much news for you regarding my stay in Lodi. So what I am going to be doing for the next few weeks is a little series on property rights and how that affects each of us, both town and country. Many people have been asking about that and how it relates to keeping our strawberries in Lodi, so I want to spend some time addressing that issue. Please feel free to comment in the comments sections if you like–all comments are posted unless they are spam!

 

 

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August Updates…Maybe!

Hi Folks!

Still in legal limbo..but something to think about! With the global economy so bad, and so many people losing their jobs, we have a greater need to take care of our own local communities. That means food security, and how much food can we grow in cement, buildings, and asphalt? Right now Somalia is suffering a horrific famine, and the pictures are truly heartbreaking. We are trying to stop that here!

Thanks!

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It’s Been A Long Time…But I Have Some News Now!

Hi Folks!
First of all, I want to say a tremendous “Thank You” to all of the positive comments, the letters to the editor, and the many people who took the time to sign our online petition (there is still room for more signatures–see the link to the right). It is heartening to see all of the friends of Lodi who love our city and our farmland, and want to preserve the unique characteristics of both by keeping them separate! Your support helps us to keep fighting for what is good for Lodi. Especially now when so many people are struggling, it is so important to have local food and produce that wasn’t trucked in from thousands of miles away. It is less expensive, more healthy, and shows that we really care about our food safety for us and for our kids and grandkids in the future.
Since there are legal issues going on, there isn’t too much I can say right now. But I can say that all legal efforts are being made to keep the Strawberry in Lodi! As soon as I am able to say more, all of you will be the first to know–and there even may be some homework assignments! One thing I can tell you is that the City Council did adopt a resolution to continue with the pre-zoning process to take my home; I am not sure how that fits in with the legal order to stop this annexation, but I am a strawberry, not a lawyer!
Thank you, Lodi!

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News from the Strawberry!

Hi everybody! Well, take a look at the Lodi-News Sentinel today–Saturday, June 4th. In it you can see what some fine folks are doing to help me stay in Lodi and keep you supplied with fresh local produce! We all love Lodi and we care so much about our beautiful land and the benefits it gives us, whether we are in the city or on the farm. We care about a healthy Lodi and we want to do everything we can to keep it that way. Who wants food trucked in from thousands of miles away when we have so much potential right here? This is true progress–that we appreciate what we have been given and do not throw away the great benefits that are literally in our own backyards.We know that there is plenty of land all inside Lodi that is undeveloped and there should not be a rush to take irreplaceable farmland. And, why pick on the strawberry? So stay tuned for the next stage of this project–more exciting news will be added to my blog next week!

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Sign Our New Petition!

Hi Folks!
Nothing much to report at the moment, as the City of Lodi has not presented the South Hutchins Annexation Project to LAFCO. I just want to take this opportunity to thank all who have done so much to help me stay. I appreciate all the letters to the editor and the words of those who love our town and our farms. And we now have an online petition that you can sign! Just click on the link to the right. Thank you and great job, Lodi!

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Update From the Strawberry–Good and Bad News

Hello Everybody! Well, this was quite a bad week for me. I have to tell you what happened at the City Council Meeting, and then what our next steps will be. First, the meeting on April 20 was pretty eye-opening, even for a strawberry. It was clear from the beginning that the members of the City Council (with the exception of JoAnne Mounce, who was absent), were all in favor of the development and were unwilling to hear testimony from those of us–more than 20–who were opposed to the annexation. They shut down the meeting before everyone who wanted to was able to speak, and mysteriously “lost” cards with people’s names on them who were ready to testify for me. So now we are going to regroup and keep fighting. First of all, thank you so much to all who have written letters to the City and to the Lodi newspaper and who have commented on our blog. We all understand the great value of farmland and appreciate having our own local fresh and clean food to eat! We are not going away! Now here’s what you can do:

1)Keep contacting the City and writing those letters! The annexation still has one more hurdle to cross–it has to go through the County board known as LAFCO (Local Agency Formation Commision). This board takes into account not only the decisions of the City but also the voices of its residents. They want to hear from you, because they realize that any project of this nature disrupts many people. We will have more information on that as it becomes available, so keep checking the blog.

2) How about a petition? This is vital because each signature is so important in showing LAFCO that we love our strawberries and don’t want more farmland taken away. We don’t have a standard form, but here’s how to make your own–Just write or type “Please don’t let us lose our strawberries–vote NO on the South Hutchins Annexation Project” across the top, and then fill the rest of the paper with signatures. Even a few are OK! Pass it around your neighborhood, your church community, your apartment complex, your office, your school (it would be a great project for a classroom, as you could have your kids maybe plant their own strawberry patch), and your gym–anywhere you can think of. We will tell you where you can drop off the signatures soon.

3)Finally, support our strawberry patch and tell the proprietors that we want to see them there for a long time. We all love our local, healthy food and we all have a stake in keeping it here in Lodi.

Thank you so much, everybody! Your hard work and dedication to the strawberry make it wonderful to be a resident of Lodi!

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Setback for the Strawberry…

Well, this is live-blogging from the City Council and it looks like Round One is not going to the strawberry. The Strawberry has lost 4-0, with Mayor Johnson, and CouncilMembers Nakanishi, Katzakian, and Hansen voting for annexation. Well, we are packing up for the night but we will have more information in the morning. Don’t give up–we can still save the strawberry if we work together!

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Rally ‘Round the Strawberry!

Well, the big day is here! April 20, 2011, when the Lodi City Council will decide my fate. Please join me tonight at 7 pm at the City Council Meeting–Carnegie Forum, 305 West Pine Street, in Lodi. Here the Lodi City Council will vote on the proposed South Hutchins Annexation Project. Rally with me and let’s show Lodi that we love our farmland and our berries! There are plenty of open lots and spaces to build all over Lodi, but only one strawberry patch, and when I am gone, I am gone–concrete and asphalt don’t make good growing conditions. Let’s tell our Council Members to develop somewhere else–not on our ag future. Bring your family, friends, neighbors, kids, and even your family friend’s neighbor’s kids. See you there!

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The Strawberry’s Legal Team Weighs In

Statement on the South Hutchins Annexation Project

 

After consulting an attorney on the recent annexation approved by the Planning Commission, it is our belief that the City of Lodi may be trying to circumvent the law by, among other things, adopting a mitigated negative declaration in lieu of compiling a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR).  The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) absolutely prohibits segmentation, and it appears that that is what the South Hutchins Annexation Project is doing, especially given the amount of agricultural land that has been converted to urban uses in Lodi in recent years.  It is clear from the record that the City of Lodi is annexing one part of land at a time in order to avoid having to comply with CEQA’s requirement that projects such as this require an EIR.  CEQA requires that the project include all elements of an overall plan in its totality.

Furthermore, there are agricultural landowners in areas surrounding the annexation who are not at all pleased by this loss and conversion of agricultural land and the locating of urban uses within their midst.  Consequently, if the City Council intends to pursue this project without reassessing the City’s position on what is required for CEQA compliance, we will work with other concerned landowners to make sure that the City of Lodi conforms to the requirements of the law.

Please be aware that we are not opposed in principle to property development, and we are sympathetic to developers who wish to develop property without the costs and delays caused by undue bureaucratic red tape.  Furthermore, we certainly understand the need and desire of the City of Lodi to attract and keep businesses, as well as encourage new employers to operate their businesses and hire local residents.

However, we also strongly feel that there are other measures that the City of Lodi could, and should, be taking to encourage private industry in Lodi that do not involve expanding the city limits to increase its property tax base, as well as remove more and more acreage from agricultural uses, which have been instrumental in contributing to the history and character of this area of California. We cannot believe that Lodi city officials lack other means, or lack any more intelligent ideas, on how to encourage the economic welfare of Lodi, than simply paving over more farmland.

 

 

 

 

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