This article contains opinions and/or editorial content
This noon (2020-02-12), Lodi High School hosted a mayoral forum sponsored by the Lodi Optimists. For an event held at noon on a Wednesday. It was quite well attended: 22 community members (including City of Lodi staff participating) and 26 students (plus their teacher).
Even if we assume that every student is eligible to vote–and discount that probably half of them live outside the city, and could’t vote for mayor–a little over 1.5% of voters were present.
Most of that, I would say, is because of timing. I had to take off an entire day of work to attend. Anyone with a job outside of Lodi (which is most of us) would likely have to do the same. We shouldn’t have to use PTO or lose out on work in order to hear what our candidates are saying.
Lodi High School has professional-grade video cameras and a professional-grade video editing studio. When I asked LHS Principal Vince Breunig if the event would be recorded–because this is an excellent opportunity for students to gain experience with a live event–I was told:
We also do not currently run a video production class.
So why did we pay for all those facilities and equipment?
Why is it gathering dust when it can be used to connect citizens with their candidates?
Why–in this age of digital media–are we not actively and aggressively teaching our students the skills they need to succeed?
Because LHS couldn’t record the mayoral forum, I attempted to do so with my laptop and a low-end webcam. It failed. Not only did my laptop battery die 40 minutes into the forum, the audio quality was terrible.
LHS could have recorded this event with professional-grade equipment. They chose not to. This event is lost, forever. All the knowledge, skills, insight, and experience the students could have gained are lost, forever.
LVC Steps Up
In response, the Lodi Valley Chronicle has purchased1I have purchased, out of my own money. a digital video camera that will will be available–for free–for anyone recording events for the Chronicle.
The cost (including tax) was $94.942That’s twice my monthly phone bill, more than my monthly internet bill, and most of my monthly utility bill. It’s also enough to keep the Chronicle online for 9 months. If you would like to help offset the cost of this purchase–or donate to the Chronicle in general, see the “We Support” section on the homepage side bar or contact us directly.
A Lodi native, Blaze attended the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay where he graduated with a degree in theatre technology & design. He has traveled extensively throughout the United States and the world–including a 6-year stint in China. He has been a teacher, a writer, a designer, and is the founder of the Redleaf Consulting Group.