Mayoral candidate Anthony Silva continued stretching the truth in his debate with Mayor Ann Johnson last night. Silva blames Johnston for Stockton’s bankruptcy, pinning it on her years on the council.
Silva seems to be taking a page from Mitt Romney’s campaign playbook: if something appears to work with voters, keep repeating it, even if it is false.
So apparently the truth has to be repeated, too.
Johnston bears only a small share of responsibility for Stockton’s bankruptcy. As a council member in the 90s, she voted to give police the enhanced retirement and lifetime retiree health care. Those were indeed over-generous, unsustainable benefits. But that was all. She did not vote to give these benefits to the Stockton City Employee Association, the city’s largest rank-and-file union, or any of the other bargaining units that ultimately won this plum.
Moreover, after her term on the council, when she was a private citizen, Johnston spoke strongly against the Events Center as unaffordable. She later campaigned for mayor on the theme of redevelopment’s “misplaced priorities.”
She did not sit on the council that doubled down on debt by floating the risky $125 million pension obligation bond that blew up in the city’s face.
And since coming to office she has spearheaded tough reforms.
Attacking a politician’s record is fair game. Stretching the truth till it snaps says more about the attacker.