The incredible disappearing effort to amend Stockton’s General Plan is about to reappear

There’s a public workshop Aug. 27.

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The fees that did get cut

After what we heard last night, there’s going to be a lot more discussion if and before home-builders’ public-facilities fees are slashed. On the other hand, a long-time-coming streamlining and cut to permit fees was approved.

Included in last night’s agenda packet was a table showing sample scenarios of fee reductions for various potential projects. You can view it here.

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City Council public comment on police

In the aftermath of the release of the report released this week on the Bank of the West shootings, several critics of the police spoke at tonight’s City Council meeting.

One was Carey Downs, whose 16-year-old son, James Rivera, was shot and killed by police in 2010.

Downs said, “These officers need better training and should stop shooting because someone else is shooting. We need a change in the city, man, and it starts with better training. They need to show more control instead of recklessness.”

Regular police critics Teresa Smith and Aaron Paradiso also spoke.

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Bestolarides: Will he or won’t he?

Supervisor Steve Bestolarides still has not announced whether he will run for mayor against incumbent Anthony Silva in 2016, even though he formally began to explore the possibility nearly two years ago. And he probably isn’t going to make any announcements until at least Sept. 16, based on his bid to be the county assessor.

If Bestolarides decides to run, he is well-prepared to do so, and has been for a while.

Currently, though, he is awaiting resolution of his assessor’s bid, as reported today.

The assessor’s job, incidentally, pays more than four times as much as Stockton’s recently reduced mayoral salary of $72,000. Currently, the 2016 mayoral candidates are Silva, Supervisor Carlos Villapudua and resident Gary Malloy. If Bestolarides ends up not running, it will be interesting to see who else might step forward.

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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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