Lovin’ Stockton: A preview

Many thanks to all of the Stocktonians who responded to my request to send in what they love about the city. Many of the submissions will be included in a full-page package on the Sunday (Aug. 22) Opinion Page.
Unfortunately, we couldn’t fit everything on the page. Here’s a submission from Stocktonian Gene Beley about his love for Stockton’s waterways:

Statue of Liberty House-film size (2)

Stockton is like actor Tom Hanks’ face that has both a bad guy side as well as a leading man’s side.
One of my greatest joys today in retirement years is taking out-of-town guests on our 28′ Bayliner Contessa Flybridge on a waterfront cruise. We leave from Village West Marina with two outstanding waterfront restaurants, proceed out 14-Mile slough, and go south on the San Joaquin River/Stockton Deep Water Channel and turn left by Wndmill Cove down to the Calaveras River.
On the point there, our boat guests can see Joe Faso’s riverfront mansion that has a Statue of Liberty facing the Stockton Deep Water Channel. Two doors down, they see Adam Farrow’s 110′ yacht that began life as a Navy vessel before it was sold to race car driver, Carol Shelby, who transformed it into a private yacht.
Shelby then sold it to a famous attorney who died. Adam bought it out of the attorney’s estate and has been busy restoring it. After cruising up the river by Brookside water front homes, past the contrasting old houseboats on the opposite bank, I show them the Stockton Yacht Club and turn around just before reaching the 5 Interstate freeway. After we return to the Stockton Deep Water Channel, the boat swings into Atherton Cove to show guests the ultimate waterfront homes in Stockton on that small bay with a variety of yachts parked at private docks.
At that point, every guest I’ve had usually exclaims, “Wow! This changes my perception of Stockton!” The problem with Stockton is the good side of the city’s face does not show its side to visitors unless you get in a boat and see it from the water. From there we usually go up Smith Canal, then return to cruise downtown to the new City Marina. On the way, they ask questions about the Klamath Riverboat that is the corporate headquarters for Duraflame. And of course, they ask more questions about the Port of Stockton and gasp at the large ocean cargo ships docked there.
Our waterfront tour apex is visiting the new Stockton City Marina and having lunch at either the wonderful deli there or Chivitas’ Mexican Restaurant where we dine on the waterfront patio. My nephew from Sacramento thought it was much better there than Old Town Sacramento’s tourist trap. He could not believe we were the only ones sitting outside that day with the umbrellas on the patio overlooking the marina! Since then more people like the “go-fast” boating crowd last weekend on a poker run, who stopped there for several hours, are learning about Stockton’s best-kept secret and will hopefully spread the word.

I can’t close without adding Stockton is the most under-rated medical center in California for seniors with several outstandng hospitals with good supporting doctors and services within five miles of where we live on Lake Lincoln. We also respect we have a good Medicare supplementary Senior Advantage program (SCAN) with no monthly payments and $10 to see a primary doctor. As a boater and five year resident, I find all these amenities of the lake, the many good marinas, the nearby Marina Marketplace shopping center, medical facilities, and the climate hard to duplicate anywhere in the nation.

And the sunsets are sen-sa-tion-al!

We need to promote the good side of Stockton’s face now that all these amenities are in place. The city has spent millions to get this far with the redevelopment downtown with the City Center Cinema, the remodeled Fox Theater and the new marina, but one city official told me they couldn’t spend money now to promote it. Word of mouth and social network advertising today is perhaps the strongest advertising tool, so let’s all work together to promote this future star, Stockton, rather than emphasize the bad side of the face that gets far too much publicity.
Give this city a starring role for its good guy side and it will get at least a People’s Choice Academy Award!

Gene Beley

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