Bankruptcy ruling: One day out

A full story will appear online and in Thursday’s paper, but here’s some of what a few people had to say today on the eve of federal Judge Christopher Klein’s expected ruling in the Stockton bankruptcy.

FORMER CITY MANAGER BOB DEIS
“I can’t imagine it would be a thumbs-down scenario. I am hopeful that it’s thumbs up. It’s time for the city to be able to move on and get this difficult chapter behind it. I guess there’s always a chance there might be a piece of the plan that he might want to see addressed but I would be completely shocked to see a thumbs down on the overall plan. The judge from the outset encouraged the city to negotiate deals and we got deals with everyone but one creditor (Franklin Templeton Investments). And what’s interesting, this is the one creditor that was the last one to loan money to a city that was already showing fiscal distress (in 2009). … I just find it ironic … I think there were enough signs that should have given them pause.”

MICHAEL SWEET, BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
“I think given how far the case has come, it’s unlikely the judge will deny confirmation, although he has expressed from the beginning of the case serious concerns about how the city has dealt with its pension obligations through the bankruptcy so I suspect we will hear more about that.”

“I think it’s highly unlikely confirmation will be denied … if he doesn’t confirm the plan it will be because he wants to see the city and Franklin work something out.”

KAROL DENNISTON, BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY
“I still think it’s a close call. I think the court was hoping the parties might talk settlement in the intervening period but there’s absolutely no evidence of that. I’d be willing to bet that within the first two or three minutes of the hearing we’ll know which way this is going.”

“The bankruptcy code clearly allows a city to decide its own destiny. The court’s only choice is up or down. So many factors have to be weighed. I think it’s impossible to know all of the competing factors.”

“I think tomorrow you can expect a for-real ruling on confirmation. But I have to give the caveat that this is Chapter 9 and anything is possible.”

“If the court denies confirmation, essentially Stockton will be back at square one. It will all be a do-over in terms of whatever the court’s findings are in terms of why it did not confirm the plan.”

JEFF MICHAEL, DIRECTOR, UOP BUSINESS FORECASTING CENTER
“I think barring a last-minute settlement I think he’ll reject the plan based on what I’ve heard so far … primarily because it’s unfair to Franklin. I think Franklin would have a case for it to be unfair. The plan treats them very poorly compared to other unsecured creditors.”

“It’ll be interesting … the big question to me is if he does reject it, what’s next?”

“(If the plan is confirmed) the city will have a lot more certainty over its future budget, which will help it a lot with future planning. There’s definitely a cloud hanging over everything now. It certainly can be a boost to the city’s image. … The city will still be suffering consequences. All will still not be well with the city. It still will be a very tight budget. It certainly doesn’t mean we’ll start to see money flowing into city services but it will allow the city to move forward.”

Here’s what Franklin had to say most recently.

For their part, City Manager Kurt Wilson and attorney Marc Levinson have been attending the School of Loose Lips Sink Ships recently.

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Bankruptcy ruling: Two days out

Stockton is now two days away from Thursday’s potentially climactic bankruptcy hearing in Sacramento. If Judge Christopher Klein approves the city’s exit proposal (Plan of Adjustment) at the 10 a.m. hearing, the wheels will be in motion for Stockton to officially exit bankruptcy in the weeks ahead.

But if the judge approves Stockton’s plan, it seems certain he will be doing so without an agreement between the city and its one recalcitrant creditor, Franklin Templeton Investments. For those wondering, at this point it does not appear likely such an agreement will be reached. Here’s the most recent company statement from Franklin, sent to me yesterday:

Read More »

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Student artists: Your chance to spruce up downtown Stockton

The Downtown Stockton Alliance and the Stockton Mural Art Resource Team (SMART) are sponsoring a contest in which student artists can submit designs to be painted on utility boxes along Weber Avenue. Young artists, you have until Nov. 17, so get to work and email your creations here. 

A first round of designs was painted onto utility boxes near Janet Leigh Plaza in June. You can read about the first phase of the utility box contest here.

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Videos: Sawyer plays ‘cricket’ with Holman, Burgos Medina and Miller; Miller fires back

Election Day is 11 days away, and videographers are very busy. Watch for yourself:

Political consultant N. Allen Sawyer’s Stockton Safe Streets shares three on Facebook:

Miller posted this response today:

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Bidding preference change keeps police-vehicle purchase local

Just about 13 months ago, the city purchased 48 new police cars from an out-of-town dealer rather than one from Stockton because its rules forced it to accept the lowest bid.  The following March, the council adopted a local bidding preference which gives Stockton businesses a 5-percent edge and San Joaquin County businesses a 2-percent edge.

A tangible result of the change will be visible at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting, assuming the council approves the $1.5-million purchase of 52 new police vehicles from Big Valley Ford in Stockton.

Big Valley Ford submitted a $1.565-million bid to sell the vehicles to the city. Tracy Ford ($1.549 million) and a Redwood City dealer ($1.541 million) submitted lower bids. But because of the new bidding preference, the business will go to Big Valley Ford and will remain local.

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Clearing up today’s City Council campaign funds story (UPDATE)

An omission by me in today’s article on contributions to the campaigns of Stockton City Council candidates:

As was reported, Armoto Partners this month made a $5,000 contribution to Rick Grewal, who is challenging District 1 incumbent Elbert Holman. Armoto Partners’ principal is the Arnaiz development corporation. But it also should have been noted that Holman this year received a $250 contribution from Matt Arnaiz on Feb. 11 and a $1,000 donation from Armoto Partners on Aug. 6.

Additionally, on a day of self-flagellation, candidate Gene Acevedo’s largest donor ($3,000) was misidentified due to a typo and should have been referred to as the San Joaquin Labor Coalition.

Regrets on both counts and on this update: Armoto donated $400 to the campaign of Christina Fugazi: $250 on March 13 and $150 on Aug. 27.

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Upcoming meetings: City Council; pedicabs; Measure A

City Hall is closed Friday, which means agendas for next week have been getting churned out yesterday and today.

The City Council meets Tuesday. You can view the agenda here.

At noon Wednesday, the legislation/environmental committee (Moses Zapien, Dyane Burgos Medina and Michael Tubbs) is scheduled to take a look at the city’s restrictions on pedicabs on Stockton promenades. The item comes after pedicab operator Elizabeth Wong Fontana spoke on the issue at last week’s council meeting. She wants more freedom to operate her pedicab business at city events.

Also Wednesday, at 6 p.m., the citizen’s commission reviewing the Stockton charter will hold its organizational meeting, and a work plan going forward is scheduled to be discussed.

The meeting of the Measure A citizen’s advisory committee at 9 a.m. Thursday could yield some interesting information. Included on the agenda are a review of the implementation of the Marshall Plan against crime and a presentation on the sales tax proceeds collection process and sales tax trends for Stockton.

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Silva on the crime rate: Now and then

Only hours after five people were killed in a four-hour span yesterday in Stockton, Mayor Anthony Silva used his Facebook page as a forum to accuse the current city council of soft-pedaling the city’s crime woes and to urge citizens to cast anti-incumbent votes in the election on Nov. 4:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last December, though, the mayor sent out a four-page mailer in which he claimed a share of the credit for Stockton’s precipitous decrease in crime during 2013. He shared one page of the mailer last Dec. 29 on Facebook:

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Bizarre moment tonight with anti-gay zealot Vincent Sayles at tonight’s City Council meeting

Here’s an approximation of what just happened at the City Council meeting tonight:

SUSD candidate Vincent Sayles, who for years has posted anti-gay religious statements on his pickup truck, got up to make his biweekly comments. He said he chose to run for SUSD not because he thought he could win but because a local conservative encouraged him to do so.

Then Sayles made some odious remarks about former Councilwoman Susan Eggman, who is gay, and how her political success is an indicator of the decline of Western Civilization. He also made more general anti-gay remarks.

When Sayles was done, Councilwoman Dyane Burgos Medina asked, “At what point do we stop allowing something like that to be said?” City Attorney John Luebberke said it’s the “prerogative of the chair,” meaning the Mayor. Ralph Lee White called out, “It’s freedom of speech.” And, then, Sayles left for the night.

The consent agenda, by the way, has already been approved.

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Stockton Ports reach new agreement with city on ballpark use

A full story on this will be on the website tonight or tomorrow, as well as in tomorrow’s paper, but here are the basics:

STOCKTON — Though the city’s bankruptcy angst will continue for at least a few more weeks, one side issue in Stockton’s ongoing Chapter 9 recovery has been resolved.

After months of negotiations, the city and the Stockton Ports have agreed to amend the minor-league baseball team’s contract to play at Stockton Ballpark. Stockton officials say the changes will reduce the city’s current $400,000 annual subsidy to the team by about $112,500.

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