Mayoral meetings

Mayor Anthony Silva has shared a list of community meetings in February, with topics including people with disabilities, animal services, the homeless, and resuscitation of the Asparagus Festival. The complete list, including dates, times, location and contact information, is here.

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Midtown Neighborhood Community meeting this afternoon

Vice Mayor Christina Fugazi invites you to share concerns at this afternoon’s gathering.

Interested in going? Click here for details.

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Mayoral moolah

Early in every odd-numbered year, the city’s salary-setting commission convenes to make a recommendation to the City Council regarding mayoral and council salaries. This being 2015, the salary-setting commission is back in business, at least for a little while, and city staff has compiled some interesting data to support the body’s discussions.

You can look at the history of mayoral and council salaries since 2001 here.  You can view how Stockton’s mayor and council salaries stack up in comparison to 16 other California cities here. 

The Stockton mayor’s salary has soared since 2001. The council salary has stayed pretty much unchanged. This year, though, the commission has additional discretion. The reason is a charter amendment approved by voters last fall that untied the mayor’s salary from the salary for the chairperson of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors.

The salary-setting commission is meeting this afternoon and could make a recommendation for 2015-17  sometime in the coming weeks.

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Former library chief pens letter to mayor, council re: Fair Oaks Library

East Stockton’s Fair Oaks Library was shut down by a city plummeting toward financial ruin in 2010. Advocates, though, continue to push for its reopening, most recently during a City Council meeting on Jan. 27.

Colleen Foster, the retired director of the Stockton-San Joaquin County Public Library, wrote last week to Mayor Anthony Silva and the City Council regarding Fair Oaks. In her two-page letter, Foster noted that when Fair Oaks was open, it was every bit as much a community hub as a library:

“The Main Street Merchants met there regularly. Adult Literacy tutors and learners used the library. Staff proctored exams for patrons taking certificated tests, families came to holiday school concerts and to Summer Reading activities. Programs for children and families were packed; many programs were presented bilingually.

“When the City is deciding the feasibility of reopening the Fair Oaks Library, I hope it is not just the ‘bottom line’ of dollars and cents that is considered but the true value of this Library to the community of Stockton. Libraries, like minds, are a terrible thing to waste.”

Read Foster’s entire letter here.

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Stockton retirees: Your checks will soon be in the mail

The city learned this morning that Judge Christopher Klein has signed the order confirming Stockton’s plan to exit Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

What does this mean, you ask?

City Manager Kurt Wilson said just now it means that following a mandatory 14-calendar-day stay on implementation, Stockton will be free to execute the agreements and settlements in its Plan of Adjustment. This involves a massive coordinated effort, Wilson said, to simultaneously execute all aspects of the plan. So it might take 15 days or 17 days to put things in effect, but it won’t take more than 23 days, Wilson said, because it will be done in February, he said unequivocally. Today is Feb. 5.

So what does the plan going effective mean, you ask?

It means that Stockton should officially exit bankruptcy within one month. And it also means that within a month, long-awaited settlement checks should be mailed out to 1,100 Stockton retirees.

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Links and videos re: Singh claim against Stockton

Read the article on yesterday’s news conference by Paul Singh’s attorney and the subsequent response from Stockton City Attorney John Luebberke here

We also have documents for you. The claim filed by Singh attorney Gregory L. Bentley is here.

You can view the exhibits Bentley displayed yesterday here, here, here and here. 

Also, here are complete policies of the International Association of Chiefs of Police on vehicular pursuits and bank alarm responses. And here are the vehicular pursuit and bank alarm response policies of the Stockton Police.

Finally, view videos from yesterday of Greg Bentley, John Luebberke and Paul Singh.

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Misty Holt-Singh family files claim for damages

Paul Singh’s attorney held a press conference this morning announcing the claim.

Here’s what Stockton City Attorney John Luebberke said this afternoon in a statement (he did not answer questions):

“It’s very common when a claim or lawsuit is filed for a claimant’s attorney to come forward with his own opinions or interpretations of the facts. In the course of processing this claim or defending a lawsuit, the city’s attorneys will certainly differ with many of the interpretations and characterizations made today by the claimant’s attorney.

“We, cannot, however, engage in a public debate with the claimant’s attorney on the validity of the claim or the accuracy of its allegations. The police chief has requested a thorough, independent investigation of every aspect of our response to this robbery and to the related crimes. We will wait for the results of this investigation before reaching any conclusion.

“The city is self-insured for amounts up to $1 million. When the claim or lawsuit seeks an amount in excess of this, the city’s provider of risk coverage becomes a key player in any discussions or settlement negotiations. We have participated in a mediation session with the claimant’s attorney and we will continue to follow the claims and litigation procedure in all hopes of resolving this claim in a way that is acceptable to all parties involved.

“We understand that after a critical event, our actions and responses are viewed critically. Aided by hindsight, opinions are offered regarding what we should have done differently and conclusions are drawn about what would have happened if different actions were taken. Police departments accept this as a part of their job.

“Nevertheless we must dispute some of the suggestions made today. It’s clear that the suspects had at least one hostage when they first appeared outside the bank. To suggest that officers should have hidden and allowed the suspects to leave with their hostage is not responsible, in our opinion. Similarly, we do not agree with the characterizations made regarding the investigation of a previous robbery at the bank.

“We believe the facts regarding this investigation will differ in important ways from the descriptions offered today. What is clear in this case is that officers faced suspects who were intent on violence, firing hundreds of rounds from an automatic weapon and showing every potential for taking their rampage to any number of locations, including schools or private homes. The officers acted to stop this threat and did so with bravery.

“That the pursuit ended with the tragic death of an innocent hostage is profoundly sad.”

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Petition started in support of reopening Fair Oaks Library on east side

As reported last week, citizens turned out at last week’s City Council meeting asking for the reopening of the east side’s Fair Oaks Library, closed amid Stockton’s fiscal woes in 2010. The city’s position: They’ll take a look but the cost of reopening Fair Oaks would have to fit in with Stockton’s long-range financial projections. Stay tuned on that.

In the meantime, Motecuzoma Sanchez, on behalf of the SEMILLAS group, has started a petition in support of the library. You can view it here, and, if you so choose, you can sign it.

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The two cellphone videos (WARNING: Graphic language and images)

Today’s paper includes this story about two cellphone videos obtained by The Record of the deadly late Tuesday night encounter between a north Stockton man and police. You can view the videos below, but a warning: They contain graphic images and language.

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City manager, police chief to attend town hall at home of Ralph Lee White

Former City Councilman and activist Ralph Lee White said this week he will host a town-hall meeting at his south Stockton home at 7 p.m. Monday. Officials from the city have confirmed that City Manager Kurt Wilson and Police Chief Eric Jones will be on hand.

White held a town hall in early December that reportedly attracted a turnout of about 70. Jones attended that meeting, too. Law-enforcement issues are expected to be the main topic next week, as they were last month.

White said those interested in getting more information about the town hall can call him at (209) 271-2466. His home is at 2201 E. Eighth Street in Stockton.

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