… Was a manufacturing base that gave thousands of Stocktonians upward mobility, or at least a middle class wage.
And how did this city come to have such a big manufacturing sector? A writer at the San Joaquin County Historical Museum ticks off the ingredients: inventors/entrepreneurs, geographical blessings, proximity to raw materials, investment capital and (to use a contemporary phrase) a tech-savvy workforce.
Read the article here.
The Los Angeles City Council on Wednesday voted unanimously to regulate the sales of e-cigarettes.
Meanwhile, if I’m not mistaken, Ashley Davies (the daughter of Bruce Davies, owner of French 25) and her partner Nathan Grefe are opening their 3rd Stockton e-cigarette store
. Another entrepreneur reportedly has plans to open a 4th on Pacific Avenue.
I’m following this story for two reasons. The e-cigarette industry has outpaced regulation. The product is just too new for there to be deep clinical studies on it. So when L.A.’s council calls it a “potential health threat” it is unclear what they base their assessment on. And a gateway to smoking? Based on what empirical data? Do they know something we don’t? Or are they being the nanny state?
The other reason is the parallel to the American tobacco industry, which is in on vaping bigtime. I still have only one radical position: I support the death penalty for tobacco company executives who knew their product was lethal and addictive and conspired to hide the truth. If the leaders of Genocide Inc. like e-cigarettes, I’m deeply suspicious of vaping.
The SacBee’s Dan Walters reports (subscription) that San Bernadino — bankrupt San Bernardino — has to give its police a $1 million raise. A provision in the city charter says the city must keep up with certain other cities.
That’s laugh-out-loud ludicrous. Salary surveys linking public employee pay to other regions (inevitably more affluent regions) should be the first thing to go when a city spirals toward insolvency.
The situation is analgous to Stockton’s Fire Department. Years ago, the Fire Department managed to insert language into the city charter (or other agreements) requiring its staffing remain at 75 firefighters 24/7 regardless of need or cost. The cost of this provision was burdensome enough, but firefighters learned to play the system for overtime — $6 million one year.
City leaders put Measure H on the ballot on 2010 to undo this budget busting provision, and voters approved it. San Berdoo, are you listening?
“It’s like you’re trading baskets when you’re already down 20 points.”
— Jeffrey Michael, director of the Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific, talking about California’s uneven recovery.
Bay Area jobs grew at rates such as 2.5 percent (Santa Clara County) or 2.3 percent (San Francisco metro area).
But Central Valley job growth struggled upward at 0.5 percent.
This gap is not widening. But it is not closing either. Hence Michael’s quote in this story.
A reader, seeing today’s column on alternative Christmas gifts, sends along one from Pinterest: hairy leg nylons for women, to reduce unwanted attention from men.
When you see them, I’m sure you’ll agree they would work!
Dan the Man sorts it out in the Modesto Bee:
“The potential fallout is immense,” he writes. “If pensions can be reduced in bankruptcy, California cities, struggling with ever-increasing demands for pension fund payments, will use it as leverage to demand concessions from their unions.”
More than that; knowing they can now lighten their largest millstone, more cities will opt for bankruptcy. And emerge fiscally stronger, thus better able to serve the public good. Detroit may have done them all a favor.
Speaking of Stockton’s botched waterfront revival (see item, below), here is a Top 10 list of the most screwed-up public works projects of all time.
Stockton is not on the list. Our distinguished neighbor by the Bay is, though.
In the past, the citizens of Stockton shrugged when leaders such as Mayor Anthony Silva won office. They had a curious tolerance for inept and demagogic leaders.
The Council were Bozos, Council meetings were a circus, city government was incompetent and possibly corrupt; that was just Stockton. People lived their lives entirely outside of the political sphere.
That has changed.
Most leaders and, I do hope, most citizens of this city, this city which has been through the wringer in the last five years, have learned the painful lesson that Stockton simply cannot tolerate politicians whose only qualification for office is good will and the conviction that they belong in office.
Substituting Silvas for educated, principled, seasoned leaders led directly to Stockton’s bankruptcy. Before that, it sabotaged waterfront redevelopment. Before that, it kept downtown a bleak disgrace for decades. Before that, it allowed high, tenacious crime. Overall, it has thwarted this city’s potential and made it a scary laughingstock.
That’s the bigger context for tonight’s vote to censure Mayor Anthony Silva, one that transcends his characteristically inept handling of the city manager hire. The council is demanding better. It is isolating Silva to minimize the mayhem he unwittingly causes. This is not, as Silva contends, a distraction from good government. It is good government. The government we long deserved.
Because the state constitution allows it in municipal bankrupcy, the New York Times reports.
So now we have a comparitive experiment in Chapter 9. Detroit will cut pensions. Stockton will not. Over time it wil be possible to see which city emerges in better fiscal condition.
I’m moderately confident the course Stockton chose will work. I’m just doubtful it will work better than cutting pensions. Cutting Stockton’s public employee pensions, however, would have condemned thousands of retirees to reduced circumstances, if not poverty. Only time will tell whether sparing them compromised the city’s fiscal future.
The confidential personnel files of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles were released this year as part of civil lawsuit settlements. The L.A. Times says they portray Cardinal Roger Mahony as “a man who was troubled over abuse but more worried about scandal — and how it might derail the agenda he had for himself and his church.”
Mahony had the makings of a great man. But he simply could not confront the sin in his own church. Until forced to, much too late. Many lives were destroyed because of him. The church he sought to protect from just consequences was, ironically, severely wounded.
I believe in forgiveness. But I can’t get there with the man who lied on the stand for Oliver O’Grady and covered for others of his ilk.