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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Only explanation we’re likely to get from Bank of West re: settlement with Holt-Singh’s family

Two days ago, the Record reported that the family of Misty Holt-Singh had reached an out-of-court settlement of an undisclosed amount with Bank of the West. Last night, in response to our request, Bank of the West issued the following statement explaining the settlement:

“The safety and security of all of our customers and employees is paramount at Bank of the West. We are pleased to have worked in cooperation to resolve the claims by the family of Misty Holt Singh relating to the tragic events of July 16, 2014, to the mutual satisfaction of the family and the Bank.”

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City attorney issues statement on eve of tragic Holt-Singh anniversary

As reported today, the family of Misty Holt-Singh has reached an out-of-court settlement with Bank of the West. Tomorrow is the one-year anniversary of the tragic bank robbery/shootout/hostage siege. Holt-Singh’s attorney yesterday said his filing of a lawsuit against the city is imminent. This afternoon, City Attorney John Luebberke issued this statement:

 “One year after the robbery and hostage-taking that resulted in the death of Misty Holt-Singh, the City of Stockton continues to examine its response to this terrible crime and participate in the legal process surrounding claims filed in the wake of it.

“Three heavily armed gunmen robbed the Bank of the West in north Stockton on July 16, 2014, took three hostages, and led police on an hour-long pursuit throughout much of the city, firing at pursuing officers throughout the chase and putting entire sections of the city at risk. At the conclusion of the pursuit, the suspects opened fire on police officers, and Mrs. Holt-Singh, the sole remaining hostage, was killed in the ensuing crossfire.

“The death of Mrs. Holt-Singh, an innocent victim, was profoundly tragic. Like everyone in Stockton, we were deeply saddened by her death and we continue to express our sympathy to her husband and children.

“In the weeks following this tragedy, the Stockton Police Department commissioned an independent review of the incident by the Police Foundation, which has independently examined all aspects of the July 16, 2014 events and is expected to issue an advisory report later this summer.

“In February, the attorney for Mrs. Holt-Singh filed a legal claim against the City of Stockton, alleging negligence in the police response to the bank robbery and in the use of force at the end of the pursuit.  That matter has been turned over to a taxpayer-funded risk-sharing pool of California cities of which the City is a member.

“In the months since, the City has participated in mediation sessions and settlement discussions; however, resolution of that issue is not within the City’s control, and the claim is not yet resolved.  The City will continue to participate in the legal process surrounding the claim and any further discussions.”

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“Stockmarket II” downtown Saturday: food, music, local goods

Local entrepreneurs Amy Sieffert and Katie Macrae put on the first “Stockmarket” back in May.

They are back from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday with their second market, again at 630 E. Weber Avenue in downtown Stockton. Often, thoughts of “coolness” in downtown Stockton are of the cryogenic nature, as in preservation of the dead. But the Stockmarket is meant to be cool, as in hip.

Here’s a list of the 60-plus vendors and food purveyors expected Saturday (more than 20 more than last time) and here’s a video with Sieffert and Macrae.

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The latest Fair Oaks Library letters

In case you missed them, there are two more Fairs Oaks Library letters to the editor in today’s Record:

Elephants of pale variety

Who appreciative of Keats’ poem about the beauty of truth can forget its tingle on reading last week’s letter to The Record from William Maxwell?

Namely, that reference to the white elephants still casting their shadows of bankrupting buildings across Banner Island?

“Money pit monuments” is indeed the accurate name for blunders made by city staff members in command of calamitous constructions at the wrong time in the wrong city!

A bitter thanks — even a medal for courage of conviction — to Mr. Maxwell for his searchlight into Stockton’s past!

Nick Volpi



Support libraries, not arenas

I agree with Bill Maxwell’s recent letter (July 6) concerning the city’s lack of library support while continuing to support the arena.

The argument has been that public support of the downtown waterfront and entertainment venues would bring much needed revenue to our community and put Stockton on the map. However, Stockton was robbed by those who felt we needed to have an arena and a sports stadium. What happened was monies were taken from south Stockton, municipal utilities and other services such as public safety, tree trimming, repairing pot holes and supporting our libraries.

Much more aggressive work needs to be done to reverse the damages by the previous administrations that willingly allowed illegal transfers of funds in order to build the waterfront arena and downtown ballpark. Such projects would have been admirable and great for Stockton had the money been there. But the truth is that money was not there, and thus, the city suffers.

For most of us, the above is not new information. The shame is that there is not a consensus within our community on how to solve this dilemma. The responsibility lies with those of us who believe in a government and a community that works for the benefit of all. Most of all, our children deserve it.

Gale Stockton


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Picture gallery: Code enforcement department shares before-and-after photos

The reaction to Sunday’s story on code enforcement in Stockton has been mixed, ranging from continued complaints that the department is heavy-handed to comments from residents that not nearly enough is done by the housing-quality enforcement arm of the police department.

One thing lacking Sunday was the space in the newspaper to show a lot of the before and after photos that were provided by Stockton code-enforcement manager Peter Lemos. Ah, but space is never a problem on the Internet.

Below are 18 before-and-after photographs, all but one provided by Lemos. The 18th shows Shaker Ahmed in a house he rehabbed on Pershing Avenue and was taken by Record staff photographer Calixtro Romias. Click on any image to enlarge it. The first four photos are of the Pershing house, followed by three of a house on Monte Diablo Avenue, two on Rosemarie Lane and nine on Weber Avenue.

Read More »

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Holman pens letter to the editor

It’s in today’s paper. The focus is Measure A. You can read it below:

“In 2013, Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva, council members Michael Tubbs, Moses Zapien and I made a promise to Stockton residents when we asked them to support Measure A. The promise was Measure A funds would be used for two purposes: assisting the city in emerging from bankruptcy and, most importantly, that 65 percent of all money would be spent implementing the Marshall Plan on Crime, including an additional 120 Stockton police officers.

“On Feb. 25 our city exited bankruptcy. With the assistance of Measure A funds, we have been able to put bankruptcy behind us and start looking to our future. Promise kept.

“The primary focus of the City Council is, and will remain, implementation of the Marshall Plan on Crime, including the hiring of 120 new officers by June 30, 2017. As of today, we are ahead of schedule, with a net gain of 41 new officers. This is in addition to another 39 new officers who replaced officers recently lost to retirement or relocation. Once more, a promise kept.

“As we move into our next fiscal year, we are poised to begin training new recruits and accelerating our 2016 timeline of adding another 40 officers. The Stockton Police Department is doing a fantastic job recruiting new officers while retaining current staff. Retirements and relocations have slowed significantly, stabilizing the department.

“As a retired law enforcement officer, I understand the sacrifices of those who put on the uniform every day. Stockton is truly blessed to have such fine men and women protecting our neighborhoods. They are the reason we have seen a marked decrease in crime these past few years. I am committed to ensuring our officers have the resources and support needed to protect our streets and be safe.

“I am proud of the work this council has done to keep our promises to the residents of Stockton. We are rejecting the politics of the past and embracing a new day in Stockton. We will continue to keep our word. That’s a promise.

Elbert Holman

Stockton City Council member

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Of subsidies and services

Two letters to the editor in today’s paper (below) neatly sum up the crux of the discussion we are likely to hear at tomorrow night’s City Council meeting regarding the shuttered Fair Oaks Library.

On the one hand, the city’s recently adopted budget for the new fiscal year includes a subsidy of nearly $3.5 million for SMG, the private corporation that manages Stockton Arena, the ballpark, the Bob Hope Theatre and the Oak Park Ice Arena.

On the other hand, the Fair Oaks Library remains closed five years after the city shut it down at a moment when Stockton’s finances were heading into their death spiral.

There’s a lot more detail on the Fair Oaks issue here, here, here and here. For their part, SMG and the city also argue that the city’s subsidy more than pays for itself because the facilities managed by the corporation produce a $17.4 million economic impact for Stockton.

In any event, the two letters in today’s paper do a good job of advocating for the anti-”Circus Maximus” point of view. Here they are:

City Council’s big IOUs

As of late, the Stockton City Council and City Hall remind me of the type of friend who owes you money, hasn’t paid you, yet every time you see them in public they have new stuff.

New clothes, shiny new jewelry, new expensive shoes, even a new car (in this case a black and white gas-guzzling SUV with flashing lights). They borrowed money from you to help them through hard times and every time you see them and remind them about the money they owe you, they quickly explain how they’re going through a bankruptcy, waiting for their tax return, spent all of their paycheck on “bills,” etc.

They say, “Oh these are just one-time purchases.” This is not the first time you loaned them money, either. You’ve been fooled once (Measure W) and even though they promised this time would be different, it’s happened again (Measure A/B).

This friend does not only seem to be dishonest, but they also don’t seem to have their priorities in prudent order. They have money for concerts and ballgames (arena/ballpark), landscaping upgrades (“mission critical” Measure A spending on sprinklers), add-ons to their house (new City Hall/police headquarters), drinks out on the town at fancy restaurants (still paying for Paragary’s?), and meanwhile their kids have tattered clothes (grand jury report on south Stockton), need haircuts, shoes are too small for their feet, look like they haven’t bathed in weeks, no books for school (Fair Oaks Library), all while they accept Parent of the Year awards (All-America City).

With friends like these, who needs enemies?

Motecuzoma Sanchez


City’s insipid white elephants

Stockton City Manager Kurt Wilson and staff have found, and the City Council has approved, $3,444,000 for the annual subsidy of SMG’s “Circus Maximus.”

At the same time, Wilson seems to think that spending $700,000 a year to reopen and operate the Fair Oaks Library will break the bank. A library is an investment in the future. The white elephants built by Podesto, Lewis and Co. are little more than money pit monuments to their egos.

Which would you rather have your tax dollars spent on?

William Maxwell


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Gateway Court tenant: It’s not all the landlord’s fault

Several tenants sounded off today about living conditions at Gateway Court off Kentfield Road. The Adobe Hacienda complex has been in the news recently because of claims filed against the city by residents and the landlord over the police department’s “Neighborhood Blitz Team” program.

Just now, another resident called to defend landlord Ravi Sanwal. She did not want to be identified, but here’s some of what she said:

On an air-conditioning outage last summer: “They sent an air conditioning guy out. He couldn’t fix it that day. He had to order parts. The owner sent him to buy us a window unit until the A/C was fixed a few days later.”

Some residents are culpable: “People live there for two months and then they stop paying rent. (Sanwal) evicts them and when they move out they’ve trashed their apartments. … (Sanwal) is not as bad a guy as everybody makes him out to be. Everybody wants to blame the owner when it’s not entirely his fault.”

Her Neighborhood Blitz experience: She declined to let code-enforcers into her unit several times. They finally came with a warrant. She said they searched her unit, checked the pilot light, checked to make sure the smoke detector worked, and left within two minutes. She added: “This is my home. I shouldn’t have to let you in. No crime was being committed.”

On the speed with which repairs are made at her complex: “It may take a little while to get it taken care of … but it does get taken care of. No, the place isn’t perfect. But we don’t pay enough rent to make it perfect.”

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Mayor Silva permitted to breathe without having to recuse himself

In today’s story, Mayor Anthony Silva gave me this quote: “If I breathe the same air as everybody else, they want me to recuse myself.”

But last night, a suggestion that Silva recuse himself from the charter review process was denied by Cynthia Summers, chair of the committee studying amendments to Stockton’s governing document.

The item was on the Charter Review Advisory Commission’s agenda, placed there by one of the body’s members, Peter Viri. Citing comments by Silva at a recent City Council meeting, Viri asked the commission to consider suggesting that Silva recuse himself from the council’s charter review committee.

Silva recently commented that if he did not like the direction of the charter-amendment process, he would circulate petitions and put his own charter changes before voters.

The Mayor did not back down from that position during a conversation yesterday. And last night, Summers pulled the item off the charter-review commission’s agenda.

“I do not believe it is in our purview to tell the Mayor what he can say or not say,” Summers said. “I conferred with the city attorney and I shared my views with him and he concurred.”

Here’s Viri’s agenda item and a transcript he provided of what he viewed as questionable comments by Silva.

Silva said yesterday, “I don’t intend to recuse myself from that committee. When I’m ready I’m going to figure out what’s left in the charter that still needs to be amended and walk neighborhoods myself and when I’m ready I’ll present something to the city clerk, I’ll have a petition and go from there.  I have an idea (of what will be in the petition) but I’m not at liberty to say right now.”

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