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.
Read the release that just arrived in the Inbox a few minutes ago. Note: The “steps of City Hall” thing is not happening but the rest of the information in the release stands, Allen Sawyer said at 10:06 a.m.
Yes, “meetings” plural — at 4 p.m. tomorrow and noon Wednesday. So far, very little information. Both are closed session and both contain agenda items related to the Stockton bankruptcy case, upon which federal Judge Christopher Klein is expected to rule Wednesday.
The Wednesday meeting is scheduled for only two hours after Klein is expected to gavel session into order that morning. More to come if we find out the scheduling of these meetings is more than a procedural move.
Martha Pulido: Wants speed bumps by Rosa Parks Elementary. She has grandchildren there.
Sarah Williams: She spoke of the recent sale of a building and mosaics installed on building. Very upset. “The mosaics were finished under the direction of an official artist.” Her family was proud of its contributions and thought they would be part of a new police headquarters, but she wanted to know about the status of the murals that were created. “No one can tell me if any effort was made to remove or preserve the works. … I feel like our work has been thrown away, secretly, behind closed doors. … Every mural represents at least one person who put their faith in Stockton.” Mayor Silva said he was unaware but will look into it.
Bob Appler: Here for the VFW, invited audience to re-dedication of Veterans Monument by Civic Auditorium. Oct. 11, 1 p.m. He said it will be a chance to honor veterans from all wars.
Ahmed Salim: He spoke about the library. “It’s a pressing issue. We look forward to working with the City Council in a serious and purposeful way. We hope to work together to structure our library system to get the best results possible.”
Group of young people with Community Partnership for Families … he said he once went downtown with his father and saw homeless people, and his father said he would have his back … and then things went downhill and the young man ran away. “Being homeless turned me into a criminal … I did it because I was desperate. This story is one story out of many. It happens every day.” And a young woman invited the council to an event at the “Voice for Change” event at University Park gymnasium from 5-8 p.m. Nov. 1. … It’s to support young people who are homeless.
Sergio Quiroz: He spoke in support of Merlo Gym and keeping it open.
The city’s second meeting of the month is Tuesday (Sept. 23). View the agenda here.
Here’s a look at a few things that will be happening:
* The council is asked to approve spending nearly $50,000 to repair rain damage at City Hall. If you remember the downpour at the Asparagus Festival (and, actually, even if you don’t remember it), that’s when the damage occurred. It figures the one time it rained here in a decade, it would cost the city $50,000.
* The council is asked to affirm Mayor Anthony Silva’s appointments of five to the Handicapped Access Board of Appeals: Don Aguillard, Charles Faraci, Dennis Yamamoto, Jim Hanley and Pat Hague.
* The Council is asked to adopt a resolution declaring a Stage 1 Water Shortage Emergency in response to a Governor’s Proclamation.
* The Council is asked to develop a procedure for replacing outgoing Councilwoman Kathy Miller when she heads to the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors at the end of 2014.
* City staff is asking for council direction on the use of $350,000 in Strategic Priorities funding. Seven priorities have been identified: Public safety, fiscal sustainability, organizational development, economic development, youth, infrastructure, and improving the city’s image.
The Planning Commission heard tonight a proposal from Community Services Deputy Director Forrest Ebbs on a proposed neighborhood map for Stockton. For background, read the staff report. The proposed map is here.
Ebbs began by going through the proposed neighborhoods, which are outlined in the staff report. Ebbs’ department also is including three proposed “expansion areas” for Stockton: the far north/northwest corner of the city; Bear Creek East, West and North project areas; and the Mariposa Lakes project area, which is in southeast Stockton.
“We anticipate urbanization of these areas,” Ebbs said.
The goal of the city as it amends its General Plan is to create complete neighborhoods, meaning that a determination be made of where more infrastructure is needed, more safe routes for schoolchildren, more markets, more retail, more housing. In so doing, the need to drive to get places would be reduced and the environment would improve. At least that’s the plan.
Judge Klein may confirm Stockton’s plan on October 1, but what happens if he does not? The Judge could find that the City’s plan discriminates unfairly against Franklin, and he may also reach a conclusion that opens the door for Stockton to reduce pensions but he can’t compel the City to go through that door. Even if the Judge gives Stockton an opening to impair pensions, City leaders have made it clear that they have no desire to go in that direction. It is most likely that the City would simply amend its plan to offer Franklin a repayment of around 50%, roughly proportional to the recovery from fixed payments in the City’s settlement on its over $100 million in unsecured pension bonds. The City would have a strong case that such an offer is fair, and would hopefully be able to still avoid a long and costly court battle over the pension issue.
Regardless of the decision on October 1, the bankruptcy case is costing the City more time and money than it originally planned when it put forward its plan and the City’s voter approved the ¾ cent sales tax last November known as Measure A. The City continues to have problems retaining its experienced police officers, has not yet been able to increase its police force with Measure A funds, and is facing pressure to increase compensation to bolster its recruitment and retention efforts. As a result, it appears that Stockton will have a difficult time increasing its police force by all of the 120 officers promised to voters in the Measure A campaign.
The San Joaquin Taxpayers Association will host a forum Sept. 25 featuring the Stockton City Council candidates. The forums will start at 6 p.m. that day at Central United Methodist Church, 3700 Pacific Avenue.
For more information, call David Renison at (209) 608-7693 or visit www.sjtax.org.
Appearing will be Elbert Holman and Rick Grewal (District 1); Gene Acevedo and Susan Lofthus (District 3); and Dyane Burgos Medina and Christina Fugazi (District 5).
Roger Phillips covers Stockton City Hall for The Record. He has been at The Record since 2006. After spending most of his time at The Record writing about education, he has moved into the city government beat. Read Full