CNN is in town this week to film a new show, “Inside Man.” The star is Morgan Spurlock. Suspecting a hit piece, the community booster group Stockton Forward wrote CNN a letter.
Here it is:
407 Broome Street, Suite 7B
New York, NY 10013
“To Mr. Spurlock and Warrior Poets:
“We write you today as representatives of a newly launched coalition comprised of business leaders, community organizations, and citizens who want to work together to ensure Stockton is presented for what it truly is: a proud community working together to get through these tough economic times.
“We understand you will be producing a special for CNN on municipal bankruptcies. As the nation’s largest city to declare bankruptcy in history, we understand the relevance of including Stockton in the piece.
“However, given what we have seen out of national media coverage, we want to ensure you have what you need to give CNN’s audience the whole story. Inevitably, as national media have reported on the bankruptcy they have focused disproportionately on aspects of the city that do not represent the full picture of what is happening here. To be sure, our city is out of money and needs to solve its problems. But we encourage you to also examine the incredible resilience and determination in this community. This is a city that intends to bounce back, and we want to be able to show you that.
“It’s important to also document how Stockton is addressing these issues. Stockton has an infrastructure and a base of business that is very engaged in changing the direction of this city, ensuring its residents, community partners, and investors there is hope for a brighter future. Local community institutions, growth opportunities, and a long pioneering history are an important element of who we are and will help move Stockton Forward.
“To present a richer story, we encourage you to add the following to your agenda:
“• Tour the University of Pacific campus with the school’s president, Dr. Pamela Eibeck. As leader of the region’s leading center of higher learning and the oldest university in California, she can tell you about her “Beyond Our Gates” initiative where the university has partnered with community organizations to launch education, literacy, science, math and music programs designed to help increase local high school graduation rates and college attendance. Additionally, on Wednesday, the 24th, Pacific will host its annual Safe Trick-or-Treat event Wednesday night, considered to be the nation’s largest university-sponsored Halloween event as it serves thousands of families in the region.
“• Visit the facilities of El Concilio, a non-profit organization with comprehensive programming geared toward the low-income population, individuals who have social, mental or physical barriers to obtaining services. This organization houses many successful programs, but two of them may interest you in visiting or taking part in their experiences: 1) El Concilio provides transportation for 1,200 individuals every month to help them get to and from work, and the organization has welcomed you to join them on their route. 2) El Concilio runs two pre-schools for children of migrant farmworkers in Stockton, serving 180 students who are getting a jumpstart on education otherwise not offered to them. You are welcome to schedule a time to visit these facilities with President/CEO Jose Rodriguez.
“• Listen to a panel discussion on Friday, October 26th hosted by the Visionary Home Builders of California, spearheaded by founder and CEO Carol Ornelas. The purpose of this event is to continue dialogue on how best to address the housing crisis with industry experts looking for solutions on how to serve the community and bring closure to this serious local issue. With the support of the National Council of La Raza, VHB has been able to provide families resources for down payment and closing costs, instruct clients on how to improve financial management skills, and educate consumers about the home buying process.
“• Tour a construction site with the president and CEO of the San Joaquin Partnership, Mike Amman. The San Joaquin Partnership is an economic development corporation serving all of San Joaquin County and its seven incorporated cities, including Stockton. Clients are national and international developers, corporate real estate representatives, and brokers, who are evaluating communities for potential company expansions, relocations and new ventures. Mr. Amman can discuss the specifics on these critical public and private projects, as well as the positive general economic outlook for corporations in the region.
“We ask you to consider these additions to your already busy week in Stockton. To really understand our community and the issues we face, we ask you to look beyond the attention-grabbing headlines and the easy soundbites to find the real stories that make this city great, that make this city forward-moving.
“To schedule any, or all of the suggested appointments above, please contact Tiffany Moffatt at 916-837-0643.
The authors of this letter are to be commended. But I wouldn’t bet the farm CNN will bite. Touring a construction site with the head of the San Joaquin Partnership to hear about “the positive general economic outlook for corporations in the region” isn’t how television rolls.