Infill Stockton should have

David Garcia of Ten Space writes:

“Great article on the General Plan fight.

“On the same front, you might be interested to see that in other cities, Grupe actually does build/invest in some cool urban infill, I see no reason why they can’t do the same here. Check out what they’re doing in Sac.”

One of two midtown Sacramento projects in which Grupe Co. is investing $33 million.

Here’s a partial answer to Garcia’s question. The recession killed Grupe’s south bank development. As to why they didn’t pick up the project where they left off when the economy recovered, we’ll have to ask.

But Garcia should be careful what he wishes for. Were Grupe to build such mouth-watering housing downtown, Ten Space would have some real competition on its hands!

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So wise in principle, so hard in practice

Vegetation and rust overtake an abandoned trailer in Marion, Ala.

Dan Schnur had a wise column in the SF Chronicle Friday that’s a sort of counterpoint to the Sunday column I wrote about Ann Coulter.

“I have written previously about the economic, political and moral need for immigration reform,” Schnur writes. “But the increasingly heated debate on this topic has made it clear that reform opponents are unlikely to be persuaded by a strategy that relies on sermonizing, insults and condescension.”

He goes on to explain why. “The vast majority of those who oppose immigration reform — and expanded free trade, for that matter — are not hateful or angry. They are frightened.”

California — and perhaps both coasts — have a culture of condescension towards the Midwest and the South. And the surest way to get them to harden their positions is to indulge in it. I’ve made this argument at my family table: don’t insult people whose minds you want to change. Try to understand them. Then give them information.

“The challenge of explaining to the economically dispossessed that the threat to their jobs comes not from immigration and trade but from advances in technology is a considerable one, made even more difficult by the likelihood that the necessary audience is more likely than not to own a smartphone that provides a steady stream of contradictory information. But it has to be done,” Schnur writes.

A huge swath of America is afraid it has no place in the 21st century. They want to go back to the 20th. To indulge in superiority at the expense of these citizens is to miss the economic mailaise that’s tearing their regions apart — and to make them hate us. We in the San Joaquin Valley should understand this. We bear the brunt of the same snotty coastal superiority. To do it to others belies any superiority we claim.

Unfortunately, Trump’s proposals, such as slashing Obamacare, will actualy exacerbate the plight of the suffering. It’s going to get worse before it gets better. But we don’t have to pile on. It’s hard, though, isn’t it? Not feeling superior, I mean. But the mentality that someone needs to beneath you lies at the root of so many American problems.

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The whole “land grab” thing

Terry Hull, seen in this 2004 photo, was Anthony Silva's strongest opponent on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton.

I imagine many observers are baffled by today’s story about former Mayor Anthony Silva’s oblique reference to a conspiracy and a “land grab” as being behind his indictment. I’m a bit puzzled myself.

To better understand , you have to go back to 2013. Anthony Silva was mayor and still CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton. There were two hostile factions on the board. A majority of Silva’s hand-picked friends let him do what he wanted. A minority of scrupulous dissenters thought Silva was mismanaging the club.

They were right. Later that year Stockton Unified withdrew a huge contract for Club services, the national Boys & Girls Club yanked the Stockton club’s charter and Silva resigned under pressure.

By the way, I love this passage from a story of that time about Sharon Simas, Silva’s right-hand woman. “Simas said that until receiving the letter announcing the revoked charter, she saw no signs of a problem. “This was shocking,” Simas said. “Totally shocking.”

Yes, national organizations always revoke charters out of the blue.

Anyway, the point is that the honest faction on the board had its knives out for Silva. So he may be saying these enemies contributed to his downfall by going to the District Attorney with allegations. I, too, was in communication with the board reformers and what I heard informed my opinion of Silva.

As to where Modesto comes in, your guess is as good as mine.

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Silva’s kooky conspiracy theory


Stockton's former mayor Anthony Silva answers question outside the San Joaquin County Jail Wednesday.

As he left jail yesterday, former mayor and alleged embezzler Anthony Silva said the charges against him are part of a nefarious plot.

“Silva said he could not speak about details of the case, aside from an oblique mention that the “whole thing is nothing more than a land grab,” the story reports.

He added, “There’s more than meets the eye. … It’s a small group of people that are attempting to seize a facility and an organization and give it to another group in Modesto.”

And this group is so powerful, so well-connected, that its members could persuade the San Joaquin County District Attorney to fabricate, through the services of a forensic accountant, extensive evidence of alleged embezzling.

And the D.A. is so corrupt that she would devote all these months, all these resources, to sending an innocent man to prison … so that a Modesto group could take over a crippled nonprofit.

Defense theories should at least be plausible.

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Ralph: If Silva runs, I’ll catch him

Ralph the bounty hunter.

Activist Ralph Lee White told me he’ll not only post a property bond for jailed former Mayor Anthony Silva — as he implies in today’s news story — he’ll personally chase Silva down if he jumps bail.

Silva’s bail, reduced to $350,000, requires $35,000 cash and the balance in cash or a property bond. I’m told when bail is property, the amount is double. So if someone comes up with the $35,000 White will have to put up a $630,000 property bond.

I asked White why he’d do that. “Because I don’t think its right,” White said. “And I realy don’t think he’s guilty of anything. And it’s not fair what they’re doing to him.”

Notably, White is unwilling to post the $35k cash. If additional charges are brought against Silva, as White well knows, being a bailbondsman himself, that money is not refunded.

But, “If they come to me with the money, he’s walking,” White said.

Walking, fine … but when it he runs? What if Silva were to jump bail?

“I got everybody else who ever ran on me,” White said. “I ain’t lost one since I went into the bail bond buisiness. I been some hell-of-a-places to get ‘em. I’ve been to Danville, Ky. I been to Seattle. I been to New York.”

“I went an got ‘em in bed while they laying there alseep,” White laughed. “They wake up and see me.”

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Ag opposes everything (cont’d)


Lodi Syrah grapes

I’m pro-farming, but I occasionaly lament how farmers seem to oppose everything. Which they do out of distrust of government, distrust of the public, our out of property rights fundamentalism. Or just ornery habit.

Subdivisions I can understand. Less so wildlife refuges, trails, events at wineries, and now a bed and breakfast.

In this story county Board of Supervisors fail to reverse a county Planning Commisson decision not to grant a permit to a couple would-be inkeepers who wanted to turn an old farmhouse north of Lodi into a B&B.

Granted the farmhouse was in the middle of a vineyard, not out by the road. But the applicants had worked out an agreement with the owner of the surrounding property. The owner had withdrawn his objections. He was on board.

But the Farm Bureau opposed it anyway.

Aspiring innkeeper Annette McKay is bitter. “In a few years,” she writes, “you will get to write a follow up article when McManis buys our property and rips this 102-year-old farm house down.”

Of course, farmers have every right to defend their interests against a public that doesn’t understand them. But leaders who weigh the broader public benefit of these proposals should occasionally support one. Never seems to happen, though.

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The scion of the Allen house

Walter Kendall of Terre Haute, IN, writes:

“I am writing to tell you that I really enjoyed your article on the house at 355 Lexington Ave. in Stockton. My brother in law who lives in Lodi sent me the article.

The house for sale at 355 Lexington Ave. was designed by architect Glenn Allen, who designed some of Stockton's most prominent buildings. Photo: Michael Fitzgerald

“The house belonged to my grandfather, Walter Kendall Sr. who stated Kendall’s Incorporated in 1919. My father, Walter Kendall Jr., was raised in that house. I spent many nights in that house while growing up as a boy in Stockton.

“My grandmother sold the house in the early 1980’s when she moved into Plymouth Square.”

Allen designed the Civic Memorial Auditorium, the Henry Apartments, the Christian Science building, the Municipal Baths, and this fun extravaganza.

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“It’s time to stop deceiving the public”


"These guys are bankrupting my city."

Says journalist Dan Borenstein.

The state pension Hogzilla, CalPERS, came after Borenstein with its policital consultants and fog machine after he recently wrote truthfully that Gov. Jerry Brown’s piddling pension reforms of 2013 have failed.

Which they have. “Things have gotten much worse since the changes were implemented,” Borenstein writes. “Total pension debt at California’s three statewide retirement systems has increased about 36 percent.”

“Add in local pension systems and the total shortfall across California has reached at least $374 billion — about $29,000 per household. The necessary payments over the next three decades to cover the shortfall will strangle many local government budgets.”

If you want to be literate — undeceived — on the issue of municipality-killing pensions, just read the lawyerly counter-arguments CalPERS made after Borenstein’s last column. Their devotion to falsehoods tells you everything you need to know about their unreconstructed greed.


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Protesters beat bystander

A video of the beating five protesters gave a bystander after last Tuesday’s Council meeting has been posted on Facebook.

Protesters always have a counter-narrative justifying their actions. In this case, the story is that several protesters offered a homeless man a slice of pizza; he responded by striking one of them with a stick.

No offer of pizza is visible in this video. No stick is visible. Only a pack of thugs.

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Silva embraces euthanasia

Former Mayor Anthony Silva’s jailhouse interview with this paper contains any number of remarkable statements.

There’s this one: “When I go back to my room, I curl up in a little ball, put my head inside my sweatshirt and breathe hard to warm the air inside to survive,” though a Sheriff’s spokesman said the thermostat is set at 72 degrees.

There’s the noirish, “I came back to face the music.”

But the one that I find most remarkable is his statement that he may sue the Sheriff because the inmates are anguished. “They need as much mental health (care) as possible. I look at their lives — I don’t know why they would want to go on. It’s changed my opinion on euthanasia.”


Yes, Silva appears to be saying that jail is so miserable that inmates should be put out of their misery. That sort of compassion they could probably do without. Though it would ease jail overcrowding.


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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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