Grand opening of Stribley Library upcoming

If you’ve been following the ongoing debate over reopening Fair Oaks Library vs. placing library services at the Stribley Community Center, here’s some tangible action. Stribley is holding a grand opening next week, details of which are here. As for Fair Oaks, its future remains uncertain.

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Dawn Holt, R.I.P.

Misty Holt-Singh’s older sister, Dawn Holt, died today after a four-year battle with cancer. She was 44.

Here’s a story on Dawn from an interview about six months ago, given at a moment when she realized her time was running short.

Here’s a quote from the transcript of the interview, something that did not get in the story, something she said about her relationship with Misty:

“There was a way about us that we could look at each other and a lot of times know what the other one was going to say without saying it. I remember getting the phone call that she was one of the hostages in the bank robbery and it was about 3:10 and I remember just losing it and usually when I am faced with anything that is turmoil for me, I usually hold it together, I don’t break down, I don’t cry, I’m calm, cool, collected until I get to that point where I can break. I broke. I broke. As soon as I knew it was my sister I broke. And I think down deep in my heart, but my mind couldn’t collect it. Because as soon as I heard it was my sister I just broke and that’s just not me, that’s not normally how I behave, how I react, but I had to tell myself, ‘Shut up. Stop it. Pull it together. You don’t know.’ Then when I showed up on the scene even showing up on the scene and seeing that none of the other girls’ families were there, it had to be Misty that was dead because the other girls’ families would be there looking for their daughters if they didn’t know they were alive, right? Still my mind didn’t collect that information and process it. I was still trying to hold. And I know now looking back what was it that stopped me from actually seeing what was there. It was basically me not wanting to accept it. It’s your sister. Your little sister is not supposed to go before you, and especially when you have cancer and you’ve already been told you’re lucky you’re alive. It was just very difficult.”

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A different kind of water shortage at Barkleyville Dog Park

If you bring your dog(s) to the city’s Barkleyville Dog Park on Feather River Drive, you may have noticed that the water fountain is not working, which might not seem too big a deal except that the forecast calls for temperatures ranging from 275 to 432 degrees in the next few days.

According to the city there is a leak in the water line, necessitating the shutting off of the water. The problem is still being diagnosed, so it’s uncertain when the repair will be made and the water turned back on.

In the meantime, if you take your dog to Barkleyville, you may want to bring some water for your four-legged pal, and perhaps even for yourself, though you no doubt realize that tending to your own needs is far less important than taking care of the creature(s) you anthropomorphize.


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Letters to the editor: of arenas, ballparks and libraries

Rick Goucher and William Maxwell, have at it:

Goucher (July 20)
Ballpark, arena positive

Is it just me, or are there more people who live in Stockton who are tired of certain individuals blaming the ballpark and arena for everything that is wrong with Stockton?

They need to get over it, as the facilities were completed more than 10 years ago. Their rage comes to a boil every year about this time when the City Council approves the shortfall by SMG to manage the facilities. The facilities (arena, ballpark, Oak Park Ice Arena and the Bob Hope Theatre) lost $2,860,965, which is a big number when you see it in print like this.

I prefer to look at it like this. Based on a population of 300,000, that would be $9.54 per citizen per year or based on 90,605 households in Stockton; it would be $31.58 per year per household. I suggest that the 90,605 households commit to attending one additional event per year. That would solve the problem, and you may just have a great time.

I suppose that the people who complain about the ballpark and the arena are the same people who claim there is nothing to do in Stockton. By the way, though, I technically don’t live in Stockton but I will be happy to do my part by attending additional events this year.

Good money after bad

Letter writer Rick Goucher thinks I’m obsessed with the annual SMG million-dollar subsidies and that I “need to get over it.” It’s not just that the annual subsidy could easily fund the reopening and operating of the Fair Oaks Library. Nor is it because the City Council blithely ponies up the millions of dollars to SMG (which includes $290,000 in “management fees”) with scant discussion or analysis, meanwhile spending hours and hours studying and discussing a few hundred thousand dollars to reopen a library.

No, my main objection concerns sound fiscal policy and getting the most bang for the taxpayers’ buck (among which taxpayers Mr. Goucher admits he is not). It is simply “throwing good money after bad.”

My belief is that taxpayers should not foot the bill to build playgrounds for billionaires. But now that we’ve got this albatross around our necks, how do we get rid of it? Not by pouring more money into it. If we can’t unload it, at least do whatever it takes to fill the never-occupied retail space along Fremont Street and generate a few sales tax dollars, and auction off the naming rights to highest bidder. That income will be a drop in the bucket, but at least it will put a small dent in the debt.

If we can find the money to subsidize SMG every year to the tune of $3,000,000, we can find the $700,000 to operate Fair Oaks Library. It really is that simple.”

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Stockton takes a header in rankings of soccer cities

National publications in the past have called Stockton the most miserable city in the country, the least literate, and one of the most crime-ridden.

But now, some website that is seeking attention (so we won’t even bother to name it here) has gone too far. It has called Stockton the 172nd and worst city for soccer fans. Salt Lake City is best, according to the website.

Here’s some of what made Stockton worst at soccer, the website says: the 167th worst-performing college soccer teams; 169th in “teams and performance” rank; and 170th in “costs and fan engagement” rank.

You already thought Stockton had enough problems? Clearly it’s worse than any of us could have imagined.

Obviously, it’s time for Stockton to invest, oh, $65 million or so in a state-of-the-art soccer stadium to attract an MLS team to downtown. It’s essential to lift the city out of the mire of the soccer misery rankings. Mark Lewis, are you out there? Maybe Neil Diamond can open the place with a $1 million concert. What could possibly go wrong?

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How to keep the Stockmarket from crashing

The second Stockmarket event downtown July 18 drew a crowd of 1,200,  organizers Amy Sieffert and Katie Macrae say. The entrepreneurial duo has its next Stockmarket scheduled for Sept. 12 and is working to make the funky urban event a downtown Stockton staple.

Sieffert and Macrae are asking for help in the form of contributions and simple spreading of the word via social media.

Read more here.

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Only explanation we’re likely to get from Bank of West re: settlement with Holt-Singh’s family

Two days ago, the Record reported that the family of Misty Holt-Singh had reached an out-of-court settlement of an undisclosed amount with Bank of the West. Last night, in response to our request, Bank of the West issued the following statement explaining the settlement:

“The safety and security of all of our customers and employees is paramount at Bank of the West. We are pleased to have worked in cooperation to resolve the claims by the family of Misty Holt Singh relating to the tragic events of July 16, 2014, to the mutual satisfaction of the family and the Bank.”

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City attorney issues statement on eve of tragic Holt-Singh anniversary

As reported today, the family of Misty Holt-Singh has reached an out-of-court settlement with Bank of the West. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the tragic bank robbery/shootout/hostage siege. Holt-Singh’s attorney yesterday said his filing of a lawsuit against the city is imminent. This afternoon, City Attorney John Luebberke issued this statement:

 “One year after the robbery and hostage-taking that resulted in the death of Misty Holt-Singh, the City of Stockton continues to examine its response to this terrible crime and participate in the legal process surrounding claims filed in the wake of it.

“Three heavily armed gunmen robbed the Bank of the West in north Stockton on July 16, 2014, took three hostages, and led police on an hour-long pursuit throughout much of the city, firing at pursuing officers throughout the chase and putting entire sections of the city at risk. At the conclusion of the pursuit, the suspects opened fire on police officers, and Mrs. Holt-Singh, the sole remaining hostage, was killed in the ensuing crossfire.

“The death of Mrs. Holt-Singh, an innocent victim, was profoundly tragic. Like everyone in Stockton, we were deeply saddened by her death and we continue to express our sympathy to her husband and children.

“In the weeks following this tragedy, the Stockton Police Department commissioned an independent review of the incident by the Police Foundation, which has independently examined all aspects of the July 16, 2014 events and is expected to issue an advisory report later this summer.

“In February, the attorney for Mrs. Holt-Singh filed a legal claim against the City of Stockton, alleging negligence in the police response to the bank robbery and in the use of force at the end of the pursuit.  That matter has been turned over to a taxpayer-funded risk-sharing pool of California cities of which the City is a member.

“In the months since, the City has participated in mediation sessions and settlement discussions; however, resolution of that issue is not within the City’s control, and the claim is not yet resolved.  The City will continue to participate in the legal process surrounding the claim and any further discussions.”

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“Stockmarket II” downtown Saturday: food, music, local goods

Local entrepreneurs Amy Sieffert and Katie Macrae put on the first “Stockmarket” back in May.

They are back from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday with their second market, again at 630 E. Weber Avenue in downtown Stockton. Often, thoughts of “coolness” in downtown Stockton are of the cryogenic nature, as in preservation of the dead. But the Stockmarket is meant to be cool, as in hip.

Here’s a list of the 60-plus vendors and food purveyors expected Saturday (more than 20 more than last time) and here’s a video with Sieffert and Macrae.

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The latest Fair Oaks Library letters

In case you missed them, there are two more Fairs Oaks Library letters to the editor in today’s Record:

Elephants of pale variety

Who appreciative of Keats’ poem about the beauty of truth can forget its tingle on reading last week’s letter to The Record from William Maxwell?

Namely, that reference to the white elephants still casting their shadows of bankrupting buildings across Banner Island?

“Money pit monuments” is indeed the accurate name for blunders made by city staff members in command of calamitous constructions at the wrong time in the wrong city!

A bitter thanks — even a medal for courage of conviction — to Mr. Maxwell for his searchlight into Stockton’s past!

Nick Volpi



Support libraries, not arenas

I agree with Bill Maxwell’s recent letter (July 6) concerning the city’s lack of library support while continuing to support the arena.

The argument has been that public support of the downtown waterfront and entertainment venues would bring much needed revenue to our community and put Stockton on the map. However, Stockton was robbed by those who felt we needed to have an arena and a sports stadium. What happened was monies were taken from south Stockton, municipal utilities and other services such as public safety, tree trimming, repairing pot holes and supporting our libraries.

Much more aggressive work needs to be done to reverse the damages by the previous administrations that willingly allowed illegal transfers of funds in order to build the waterfront arena and downtown ballpark. Such projects would have been admirable and great for Stockton had the money been there. But the truth is that money was not there, and thus, the city suffers.

For most of us, the above is not new information. The shame is that there is not a consensus within our community on how to solve this dilemma. The responsibility lies with those of us who believe in a government and a community that works for the benefit of all. Most of all, our children deserve it.

Gale Stockton


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