Reader: If tax incentives good enough for new businesses, what about those already here?

I wrote recently about a business-tax incentive that has attracted a new company to Stockton, a clear victory for the city’s department of economic development.

But reader Paul Verdegaal, a University of California Cooperative Extension specialist in grape and almond cultivation in Stockton, raised some interesting questions in an email. In part, he wrote:

“The plan and expected results really raise the question in my mind of why elected ‘leaders’ at the County, State and Federal levels fail to see or simply ignore the obvious.

“If tax incentives encourage new business establishment and create jobs and increase tax collections (revenues); why aren’t lower taxes good for all businesses and individuals?

“It’s not a coincidence that Gov. Rick Perry is ‘stealing’ business from California; with the highest taxes and most regulations. I visited Texas not too long ago and it’s booming like I remember California once did, when I was a younger taxpayer.”

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Recycle your used electronic equipment and help the Stagg High student newspaper

Recent Stagg High graduate Adrianna Owens recently shared a way to generate some funds for the student journalists who work for the Stagg Line newspaper.

She wrote, “If anyone has any old/broken electronics they can either call (800) 317-3112 or go to http://ewaste4good.com in order to schedule a free pick up and the money from the items will be given to The Stagg Line.”

So if you have stuff sitting around that you want to get rid of, call the number or visit the website for more information.

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Mayor Silva’s full response to the grand jury: ‘Dirty politics’

Mayor Anthony Silva has made it clear for months that he does not agree with all of the findings of the 2013-14 San Joaquin County Grand Jury, and he has made it clear this week he does not agree with the city’s legally-required response to the grand jury.

At last night’s City Council meeting, Silva submitted a document for the record (not for The Record) with his objections to Stockton’s response. He chalks the whole thing up to “dirty politics.”

You can view Silva’s two-page response to the response here.

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City Council live — School board candidate Sales makes homophobic comments

Nothing to report out of closed session, on to public comment already.

Diane Buettner: She ripped The Record for “the same stuff that can’t be substantiated.” She said she does not buy it. She was not specific about what she was criticizing.

Vincent Sayles, who is running for the SUSD board, shared a Bible passage and said it was for “normal children,” then changed the adjective to “typical.” Now he is speaking about how the Supreme Court has legalized “homo-marriage.” Michael Tubbs called a point of order for Sales’ comments. Sales then said “homosexuals” are “going after children.”

Two 20-year-old speakers spoke about their belief that police officers should wear body cams. One, Michael Vallete, said, “I look over my shoulder not for gang-bangers but for police officers.”

That’s the end of public comment. In consent agenda, Item 12.7 was removed. A youth event Saturday has been postponed until Sept. 20.

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Grand jury responses

As reported today, Mayor Anthony Silva is not in total accord with the proposed city response to the 2013-14 grand jury report.

The proposed response in question is here. The City Council also has to consider this response to a second grand jury report. The City Council is scheduled to vote at tonight’s meeting.

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City Council candidate forums scheduled

Election Day is Nov. 4, less than three months away, and the League of Women Voters has announced it will hold candidate forums for Stockton City Council from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. on Oct. 1 at City Hall.

I’m not sure if they realize it, or if it even matters, but that happens to be the same day the fate of Stockton’s plan to exit bankruptcy is expected to be determined in federal court in Sacramento.

The contests are as follows:
Area 1: Challenger Rick Grewal vs. incumbent Elbert Holman.
Area 3: Challengers Gene Acevedo vs. Susan Loftus for the seat being vacated by Paul Canepa.
Area 5: Incumbent Dyane Burgos Medina vs. challenger Christiana Fugazi.

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Court document: Anonymous writer cites bank robbery tragedy as reason to impair CalPERS

This letter was filed in federal bankruptcy court last week. It was written by a “concerned Stockton resident” who chose not to provide his or her name. Judge Christopher Klein is expected to rule on Stockton’s plan to exit bankruptcy on Oct. 1.

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Former city manager: Leave Stockton’s CalPERS contract alone

Bob Deis penned an interesting piece for the Sacramento Bee:

“Virtually all local government employees in California are receiving a CalPERS or similar pension plan. How many large employers can ignore their de facto labor market standard and recruit substandard compensation? Knowing this, Stockton pursued a surgical plan that cut employee pay by 9 to 23 percent, completely rewrote labor contracts to save millions, and eliminated retiree medical benefits. We also restructured the massive debt the city owed and the financial service companies screamed about it, as have their allies at Moody’s. But what they ignore is that employees gave up 34 to 70 percent of their future retirement packages, depending on when they were hired. Many retirees gave up 34 percent of their retirement package, and many of them are not eligible for Social Security. What more do people want from them, and why?”

The city’s bankruptcy trial is scheduled to resume Oct. 1. Judge Christopher Klein is contemplating whether Stockton should “impair” its CalPERS contract as part of its plan to exit bankruptcy. The city did not alter its obligations to CalPERS in developing its Plan of Adjustment. Officials have said that if Stockton terminates its CalPERS contract, it could cost the city $1.6 billion.

Read Deis’ entire column here. 

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More on the slow pace of Measure A hirings

As reported yesterday, achieving a net gain of 120 police officers over three years — as called for by Measure A — will be a daunting task for the city, which is not exactly what voters want to hear after approving the three-quarter cent sales tax last year.

The tax went into effect April 1; the police department is hoping the first Measure A officer will be hired in August. The department is only 12 officers larger than it was a year ago at this time. Before a Measure A officer can be hired, the department has to increase its size from the current 358 to 365.

Read More »

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Public forum on General Plan amendment

This from Stockton’s Community Development Department:

“The first public workshop will take place at the Planning Commission Meeting of July 24, 2014 at 6:00 pm in the City Council Chambers at City Hall at 345 N. El Dorado St. The topic of the meeting will be Communities and Neighborhoods and attendees will be invited to help define the City’s various existing neighborhoods and to explore the role of community in the City of Stockton. The Community Development Department of the City of Stockton invites you to participate in this workshop and to become involved in the continuing General Plan amendment process. More information, including the staff report, will be posted at www.stocktongov.com/generalplan as it becomes available.”

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