Supervisor Carlos Villapudua, who is running for mayor of Stockton, is working to get a police retention initiative onto the November ballot. The initiative’s supporters include former City Councilman Dale Fritchen. You can view the initiative here.
Meanwhile, mayoral candidate Jimmie Rishwain called in today to put in his 2 cents on Villapudua’s proposal. Rishwain, 86, was mayor of Stockton in the 1960s before voters recalled him from office.
“I don’t think you need initiatives,” Rishwain said. “You need some leadership up there on the City Council. Leadership is the mayor and council. The city manager and the city attorney work for them. The council does not work for them. The city manager and city attorney give opinions. Policy is made by the City Council.”
Asked what he would do as mayor to solve Stockton’s employee retention problem, Rishwain said, “I would project some leadership ability. It would be mandatory that we keep our promise to the people of Stockton. The promise to the people of Stockton has been broken.”
Though Rishwain argued passionately for the powers of the mayor this afternoon, it’s worth noting why voters recalled him a half century ago. In a column earlier this year, Michael Fitzgerald wrote, “So why was he recalled? Contemporary newspaper accounts say Rishwain exceeded his authority. He began ordering department heads around, usurping the city manager’s authority. Voters rebelled.”
Fitzgerald continued, “Rishwain sees it differently. He says he was a people’s mayor. He fought to counter the aloofness of unelected city managers. To make city government responsive to citizens.”
By the way, Rishwain finished third in the mayoral primary four years ago behind then-incumbent Ann Johnston and Anthony Silva, who went on to win in November. Rishwain received 15 percent of the vote in the 2012 primary.