Does paying out no-strings cash do any good?

Mayor Michael Tubbs unveils Stockton's experiment in basic income.

Here’s the Roosevelt Institute’s study of unconditional cash transfer programs — of giving people basic income, no strings attached.


If you want to educate yourself, read the whole thing. If you just want the gist, most of the executive summary is posted below.

What I find remarkable are the people dismissive or outraged. Stocktonians bellyache that the status quo sucks. But when a better leader tries a fresh approach, they instinctively fight it. It’s not the “five families” who hold Stockton back. It’s people who can’t tell good leaders from charlatans, or good policy from corruption, or their own petty grievances from beneficial civic contributions.

Labor participation: Did participants stop working, work less, and/or earn less?

• Overall, the programs analyzed suggest either no effect on labor market supply or a slight reduction in work and earnings. The evidence does not suggest an average worker will drop out of the labor force when provided with unconditional cash, even when the transfer is large.

• The effect on employment in the negative income tax experiments was generally not statistically significant, except for the largest experiment site, which saw a 4 percentage point decline in the employment rate. On average, the reduction in hours worked for all experiments was between two weeks (for husbands) and four weeks (for youth) of full-time employment over a year. People who participated in the largest experiment experienced a 4.6 percent reduction in employment and 7.4 percent reduction in earnings ($1,800 annually) for treated individuals over many years after the experiment ended, perhaps due to earlier retirement.

• The casino dividend had no impact on the labor supply of participants.

• The Alaska dividend has no impact on the employment-to-population ratio in Alaska compared to control states. The program increases the share of Alaskans who work in part-time jobs by two percentage points.

• Because neither the casino nor Alaska dividend programs provide sufficient income to replace earned income, we augment the negative income tax research on labor outcomes with an analysis of lottery winners. According to this body of work, recipients of windfall cash disbursed annually do not drop out of the labor force. While many lottery winners reduce the number of hours worked, the majority remain in the labor force.

• The research finds a $100 increase in income leads to an $11 decrease in earnings based on lottery winners and negative income tax experiment participants, or no decrease at all in the case of the casino payments.

Consumption: Did participants purchase more goods and services, and if so, which?

• The negative income tax experiments in two rural states showed positive impacts on the quality of nutrition, suggesting an increase in spending on food. Otherwise, data on consumption was not collected. • Receiving an Alaska dividend affected the timing of consumption, as recipients consumed significantly more on non-durables and services the month they received a dividend.

Education: Did participants attain more schooling?

• School attendance, grades, and test scores for the children of negative income tax recipients were typically higher than the control population, especially for younger and poorer children. The Canadian program lowered dropout rates for 11th graders. • An additional $4,000 per year for the poorest households in the casino dividend program increased educational attainment by one year.

Health: Did participants have improved health outcomes?

• The Canadian negative income tax was the only experiment to track health outcomes, and it found that recipients experienced an 8.5 percent decrease in hospitalizations compared to the control group, especially for mental health, accidents, and injuries.

• Casino dividend payments improved mental health among Native American recipients relative to non-Native participants in a longitudinal study. Once they reached adulthood, children who received casino dividends were significantly less likely to experience alcohol or cannabis use or dependence.

• There is little to no impact on health outcomes for Swedish lottery winners, likely because of the universal healthcare system in the country.


• For the Gary, IN experiment, fertility decreased and birth weights increased. The original analysis of the IMEs showed an increase in divorce, but these findings were later strongly disputed. • Self-reported criminalized activity decreased among recipients of the EBC casino dividend, particularly for minor crimes and drug-dealing activities. Children also reported more positive interactions with parents. Casino payments did not change household composition or marital status.

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Stockton’s Black leaders continue their roll

Advertising Director Deitra Kenoly, The Record's new publisher.

The promotion of Deitra Kenoly to president and publisher of San Joaquin Media Group not only gives The Record its first female president and publisher in its 122-year history, it adds yet another Black leader to Stockton’s ranks.

As I wrote here, Stockton has:

• A black mayor.

• A black vice-mayor.

• A black city manager.

• A black fire chief.

• A black editor of the city’s biggest newspaper.

• And now a black publisher of that paper.

Considering that African-Americans make up only 13.3 percent of Stockton’s population, not to mention the obstacles black people face, that’s remarkable. And there’s no turkeys in the flock. I’m simply not familiar with the performance of the fire chief, but as an observer of the other leaders I’d say they range from excellent to extraordinary.

Who’ll be next?

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Sacramento: Roof Rat City

"I prefer the basement."

Some press releases I just gotta share:

“This Halloween, that sound from the attic might be something scarier than a ghost or ghoul – it could be a roof rat. This species of rodent is known for its incredible climbing skills, hairless, scaly tail that can grow up to a foot long, and tendency to sneak inside where homeowners might not expect an invasion – through roofs and attics.

“Today, Terminix released its ranking of the most roof rat-infested cities in the U.S. Sacramento residents have the pride of ranking #4 on the list. I’d love to arrange an interview for you with a local Terminix technician or pest expert to talk about the news and prevention tips.

“The top 15 cities for roof rats in 2017 are:”

  1. Savannah, Ga.
  2. Memphis, Tenn.
  3. Miami, Fla.
  4. Sacramento, Calif.
  5. Fort Myers, Fla.
  6. Los Angeles, Calif.
  7. Tampa, Fla.
  8. Dallas, Texas
  9. San Diego, Calif.
  10. San Francisco, Calif.
  11. Honolulu, Hawaii
  12. Phoenix, Ariz.
  13. Houston, Texas
  14. Jacksonville, Fla.
  15. San Antonio, Texas

“The list was created by compiling service data from the more than 300 Terminix branches across the country.”

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CSU Stanislaus’ Stockton campus comes alive

Faimous Harrison.

Famous Harrison, dean of Stanislaus State Stockton Center, writes:

“Before accepting the position as the Dean of Stockton last year, I read some of your past articles and watched some of Assembly member Susan Eggman’s news and media specials regarding wanting a CSU Stockton to serve the San Joaquin County.  Recognizing how big the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County is, I think most people will agree that the need is great, and a lot more needs to be done to provide access to public higher education ….

“With the support of our new leadership and President Junn, I have the autonomy, drive, and interest to make sure that local voices and stakeholders are at the table to help both myself as the new Dean of the Stockton Center to advocate for the right and additional support here in Stockton.

“President Ellen Junn is action oriented and supporting the city of Stockton is one of her top priorities …

  • We are hiring three additional full-time faculties to teach at the Stockton Center.
  • 50-70 faculty members teach at our Stockton campus each semester.  Many of them, and approximately 50% of my direct reports live in Stockton.
  • We are also in the process of hiring additional employees and adding services at the Stockton Center.
  • We call the campus a center, but I am on record to say we are a branch campus that is in the infancy stage of being something much bigger.  This is where the community is crucial, and the University leadership needs the communities support.  We offer undergraduate and graduate degree complete programs locally.  With additional support and resources, I can see us reach 1,500-2,000 students in the near future (within five-years).  This is important to point out because even before the budget cuts and past leadership that pulled resources from Stockton, the highest milestone was less than 1,200 students.
  • The Stockton Center currently serves less than 1,000 students.  However, the building is over 200,000 square feet.  In due time, we will need to invest additional resources in infrastructure before we hit the 2,000 headcount milestone.
  • We are currently investing in infrastructure, including updating technology, Wi-Fi capabilities, adding classrooms, community spaces, learning commons, and reaching out to the City of Stockton, San Joaquin County, and the business community to explore public-public and public-private partnerships.  We landed our first partnership with Dignity Health in 2017, and we are in discussion with other organizations and small business regarding other possibilities at this time.
  • Here is the link to our academic program offerings.  As I share with you, we are adding additional programs that will start Fall of 2018:
  • Here is the link for our Stockton Center upcoming events:
  • Here is the link to our Wellness WORKs! program which serves 300-500 local community members a year:
  • During the 2013/14 academic year, there were only 251 state-side students taking classes at the Stockton Center.  By Fall of 2018, we may reach the 1,000 total student milestone.  This is a remarkable improvement and supports the consistent message that I have heard from the City of Stockton and San Joaquin County, that more needs to be done.  A 500% (plus) growth in less than a decade in a city that recently came out of bankruptcy is pretty remarkable.  This is a story that I hope to discuss with you in the future.  Until then, this new leadership at Stan State lead by President Ellen Junn, and we are pro-Stockton and action-oriented.  I would not be here as the Dean of the Stockton Center if I thought any different.

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Two Stockton angles on the NorCal fires


Kathryn Clickner and her fiancé embrace in the front of their home in Fountaingrove, Santa Rosa, Calif., Tuesday. (Kent Porter/The Press Democrat via AP)

• Jerry and Jane Butterfield, perhaps best known for owning the Twin Towers, Stockton’s new City Hall, kept a second house in Sonoma County. The fires erased it.

The picture Jane Butterfield posted on Facebook is of a completely flat lot fire-scrubbed of even debris.

“This is our driveway and what used to be a house behind it,” Butterfield posted. “Hard to get my head around it.”

• Another Stockton-Sonoma tie is Bob Deis. Stockton’s city manager 2010-13 semi-retired to Santa Rosa with wife Linda. They live in a 1928 bungalow on the edge of the McDonald neighborhood.

“We were about a mile and half from the apocalypse,” Deis said. “About three blocks from the evacuation area.”
On Sunday towering flames named (wait for this) the Tubbs Fire reared over hills to the northeast. The wall of flame advanced down the slope towards Santa Rosa.

Deis said it was a mesmerizing spectacle.

“The flames coming down the hills in the dark at 2 a.m., it was kind of an eerie but mystical thing,” Deis said. “It was just really weird.”
High winds flung firebrands all over, sparking new fires which swelled into fast-moving infernos.

“There’s so much debris that came down,” Deis said. “Leaves caught on fire. Winds came up and carried leaves into area.”
As residents ran for their lives, the fire bounded over Hwy. 101 and chewed its way through suburbs.

“We had all- night watches, people looking for floating embers,” Deis said.
Deis drove into the evacuation zone in the wee hours to get his daughter and grandson out. Other media described fire trucks rumbling through residential streets, public address systems ordering people to evacuate, a tangle of panicked motorists, many of whom ended up in evacuation centers, fire ruining entire subdivisions.

Many people made harrowing escapes.

“My step-grandson has 20 friends that lost their homes,” Deis said. I’ve got a close friend, he’s a rock ‘n’ roller, he lost his cars, his house, his guitars.”

Whole neighborhoods are charred ruins.

Countywide, “There are schools gone, hotels gone, wineries gone,” Deis said. As well as farmhouses and barns. Nine people are known dead in Sonoma County, 17 in the region. The count may rise.

“We haven’t seen the sun since Sunday,” Deis said. “It’s weird. Since the smoke is covering the sun, it’s cooler,” with a heat-lamp warmth emanating from the sun’s place in the sky.

“We ended up being OK,” Deis said. But it’s not over.

“There are fires starting up all around us. Out in the country. There are sirens popping up all around us. We don’t understand why they can’t get their arms around this thing.”

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Silva case boggles author’s mind

Author Eric Schlosser (“Fast Food Nation”) visits Stockton from time to time, interested in everything, and asking questions as curious, investigative authors do. At lunch yesterday, I told Schlosser about former Mayor Anthony Silva’s indictment on felony embezzlement charges. After lunch, I sent him the hard news story.

Schlosser’s reaction:

“That’s insane … if you were writing a novel, your editor would say tone it down, that’s too implausible—I mean, stealing from the boys’ and girls’ club…”

Allegedly stealing. But, yeah.

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Maritime historian: The Fir is a historic treasure


The Fir, right, moored at Herman and Helen's Marina at the west end of Eight Mile Road, along with The Aurora, left, and Chaleur, tied alongside.

Jon A. Ottman, a Detroit maritime historian/historic preservation professional, writes:

“I read with interest your recent op-ed piece on the large vessels moored at the former Herman and Helen’s Marina. It’s been shared frequently across various maritime-related social media pages.

“I am wondering about the former CGC FIR, as she was only mentioned briefly in the cut line and story.

“She is a very important ship as the last US Lighthouse Service Tender to serve the US, having been retired in 1991. FIR is a National Historic Landmark, the highest designation for a historic property in the US.

“After having been for sale since at least 2013 by former owner Curt Lind, FIR’s sale was finalized earlier this year to an unknown buyer for an unknown future use/purpose.

“I’ve heard she was being considered for a static bed and breakfast in LA or use as a yacht by a wealthy European. I have also heard a new rumor recently that she may have been purchased by a Virginia man who intends to use her to run to two lighthouses he owns on Chesapeake Bay.  I am trying to confirm that.

“Recent work on the vessel is apparent, such as new paint visible in the photo that accompanied your column. The broker handling the sale didn’t return inquiries asking about the future plans for the ship. It would seem likely that the new owner, having gone through the trouble to acquire the vessel and start work on her, would not abandon the ship so quickly after acquisition.

“I am wondering if you may know of what the future holds for FIR. Unlike the CHALEUR or AURORA, FIR  is capable of moving under her own power and she would likely draw less water than the cruise ship or the minesweeper. Hoping she can be extracted from the mess there at the marina…”

I did not research The Fir as part of the column, the subject being complex enough with a dozen defendants, most of whom are not eager to talk. I have met Lind, who tried to dock The Fir at Stockton’s marina but was refused a berth, or so he said.

Though the situation is far from clear, I’d call the status of the three vessels like this: The Aurora is undergoing a slow but steady remodel and may have future, though the owner says that future will be elsewhere; The Chaleur is in the hands of owners in over their head; The Fir looks to be removed by its new owner.

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Watchdog: City spent even more that you think


Stockton police recovered this loaded gun after stopping an 18-year-old near Ophir and Eighth streets.

Ned Leiba, a member of the Measure A Advisory Committee, writes:

“You wrote a good article “Five years $94 million later, gun violence still high.”

“I think the article could have been strengthened and readers more informed by referring to the recent 2016 and 2015 Measure A Committee Annual Reports. See attached.  Then you could have discussed the issues raised in those reports with the Mayor and others.

“Indeed, the two reports, showed the independence of the Committee since it resisted efforts from staff to water it down.  I urge you to read both reports and view the 9/20/2017 meeting where you will see Measure A Committee member Susan Bartman stand up to staff that wanted the Committee to change their report.

“In your article, you seemed to use the staffing numbers urged by the City and rejected by the Committee.

“Also, there is disagreement on the crime statistics.  The statistics should start as of 4/1/2014 to coincide with the start of receipt of Measure A revenues.  I believe the City has Measure A revenue of over $101 million (vs $94 million), but the important question, recited repeatedly at the 9/20/2017 Measure A Committee: where are the outputs, the metrics that shows that the $101 million really improved the crime situation.

“Incidentally, in addition to Measure A funds, the City also received grant revenue to support the Police Department.

“The Measure A Committee should be publicly thanked.  I know of no other City appointed Committee that has written their own annual report vs. rubber stamping a staff report.  I know of no other City appointed Committee that exhibited the independence of the Measure A Committee and offered some meaningful evaluation and criticism.

“Oh yes, both annual reports call for a full audit, you know, like an audit conducted under Government Auditing Standards where the auditor is call upon to report on waste, fraud and abuse.

“Again, I have attached both annual reports.  You can watch the Measure A Committee report (here).

Measure A report 14-15

Measure A report 15-16

We can read the Measure A Committee annual reports and see if they add to our understanding. But surely the main proof is in the pudding of gun crime statistics that show the city has not cracked the hard nut of gun violence in Stockton despite higher taxation and a multi million dollar infusion of resources.

If this stark fact doesn’t impel the City Manager and Council to make changes, I can’t imagine what will.

A small point: I don’t agree that “The statistics should start as of 4/1/2014 to coincide with the start of receipt of Measure A revenues.” Measure A money started coming in towards the end of fiscal 2013-14 with $6.6 million in tax revenue. Granted, this is a small amount relative to the approximately $32 million the city anticipates in fiscal 2017-18, even smaller since one-third, or $2.2 million goes to bankruptcy debt reduction. Still. Does anyone want to argue that $4.4 million shouldn’t make a difference?



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Hef and the Stockton guy’s robot

Here’s the blurb that Playboy ran after High Hefner’s friends gave him “a new mansion staffer” made by Android Amusements, the company created by Gene Beley, now of Stockton.

For a website showing all by robots made by Android Amusements, click here.

You’ll see a couple human-like models. “The fist ones I toyed with was the android mannequin,” Gene Beley recalled. “Adam android. We had a mannequin factory nearby” to the Irwindale factory.

“I got hired by department store in Oregon. We’d have the mannequin, Adam. These old farmers would come in, and we’d have the head move. And it’d freak ‘em out.”

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Satan cakes for social justice

I receive all sorts of press releases. All sorts. Like this one about “Satan cakes.”

PR person Molly Jacobson writes:

“Hi Mike,
“The Satanic Temple encourages everyone to purchase Satan Cakes (image attached) to fight homophobia and stand for civil rights. Please let me know if I can provide more info or schedule an interview with a leader of The Satanic Temple. Thanks! ~Molly”

She includes this press release.


Religious Protection Means Satanic Cakes From Anti-Gay Christian Bakers
If bakers won’t make cakes for gay couples, The Satanic Temple declares, they’ll nonetheless have to make cakes for Satan

This fall, the United States Supreme Court will hear a case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a cake for a gay wedding. The argument has been contextualized as a matter of Free Speech versus Civil Rights. However, because sexual orientation is not a protected class under the Civil Rights Act of 1964, (whereas race and religion are), there is a good chance that the right to discriminate against gay couples will be affirmed as a constitutional liberty. Given the political persuasion of the majority of Supreme Court Justices, this outcome is even more likely. For this reason, The SatanicTemple (TST) has announced a plan for those who feel alienated or oppressed by the privileged status that religion holds over sexual orientation: Request your homophobic baker make a cake for Satan.

TST spokesperson, Lucien Greaves, explains: “Our organization has received a lot of concerned messages from people who are upset by the prospect of an environment in which the LGBTQ community are openly and legally treated as second class citizens. The laws of the United States require that no one may discriminate by way of refusal of service against an evangelical theocrat for their religious beliefs, but the evangelical theocrat may discriminate against LGBTQ people because of who they are. Because religion is a protected class, a baker may refuse service to LGBTQ people, but they may not refuse service based upon someone’s religion. If they aren’t willing to make a cake for same-sex unions, let’s have them make a cake to honor Satan instead.”

The Satanic Temple proclaims that if the right to discriminate against the LGBTQ community is codified into law by the Supreme Court, aggrieved parties who face discrimination should contact them. “If you can’t get a cake for your same-sex union,” Greaves said, “we’ll host a party in your honor at The Satanic Temple headquarters in Salem and order a cake that praises Satan from your offending discriminatory ‘religious liberty’ enthusiast.”

The Satanic Temple in Salem offers Satanic marriages performed by ordained officiants, regardless of the couple’s orientation.

About The Satanic Temple

The mission of The Satanic Temple is to encourage benevolence and empathy among all people, reject tyrannical authority, advocate practical common sense and justice, and be directed by the human conscience to undertake noble pursuits guided by the individual will. Civic-minded, The Satanic Temple has been involved in a number of good works including taking a stand against the controversial and extremist Westboro Baptist Church. For more information about The Satanic Temple, please visit

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    Mike Fitzgerald is The Record’s award-winning metro columnist. His column runs in the paper three times a week. Born in San Francisco, he was raised in Stockton. His column covers diverse beats including, sometimes, the offbeat. Read Full
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