… while I explain why Stockton’s “State of the Air” ranking is worse than I portrayed it in yesterday’s story.
On the surface, Stockton this year appeared to have dropped off a list of the 25 cities in the United States most vulnerable to particle pollution (dust, soot, smoke, etc.).
Last year, Stockton ranked 12th on that list. So this was “good news,” I said.
Wrong. It turns out the American Lung Association, which compiles the annual data, did not mention a change in methodology.
In past years, Stockton has been evaluated on its own, as a metropolitan statistical area. Which means the ranking actually refers to all of San Joaquin County.
Now, apparently, the Office of Management and Budget has lumped Stockton in with the Bay Area to form a larger population unit, referred to as a “combined statistical area.”
So while Stockton itself doesn’t appear on the latest list, it is now hidden under the auspices of “San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland.” (It finally happened! We belong to the Bay Area.)
San Jose-San Francisco-Oakland, incidentally, soared higher on the list to No. 10 this year, largely because of the inclusion of dirtier San Joaquin County.
So we’re not exactly a positive influence on our friends to the west. Though it should be noted that 27 percent of the pollution that hangs over Stockton can be blamed on the Bay Area, so some might say it’s poetic justice that Stockton’s inclusion has harmed the Bay’s ranking.
Anyway, I didn’t want to mislead anyone that Stockton has suddenly been washed clean of particle pollution. It’s simply a matter of lumping us in with the Bay. We’re still on the list.
In other news, I guess I can call myself a Bay Area resident. I wonder how the Office of Management and Budget would explain its decision. Does this mean Warriors games won’t be blacked out anymore?