One was on view last night, at a grass-roots gathering of citizens reclaiming the crime-torn streets at Fremont Park.
“We love, love, love our city,” said We Own the Night organizer Jason Roth. “This is happening on our own. We’re taking our city back.”
Thus the silver lining of the Great Recession and the city’s nightmare of insolvency and crime: people coming closer together, neighborhoods bonding, a growing sense of individual responsibility and community.
The second ingredient: Good government. Although swept up in pre-bankruptcy, thus left with little fiscal wiggle room, City Hall has made some positive steps.
The city secured grants to pay for DUI checkpoints and multi-agency gang sweeps. One sweep netted 500 guns.
The SPD stopped responding to certain calls. It put cops into hot spots instead.
The Marshall Plan Task Force cleverly found money Operation Ceasefire, which was a proven tool for curbing gun violence in Stockton in the 1990s. The Marshall Plan has yet to produce a comprehensive law and order strategy. But that was a good first step.
City execs have fired or ushered out the door numerous bureaucrats and replaced them with business-friendly administrators tasked with attracting business and jobs, not repelling them.
And of course, numerous severe but necessary fiscal reforms.
Stockton is better governed now than it has been in decades. The irony is the city was already bound to pitch off the cliff when they ramped up their reforms. That should not detract from their actions.
The third, and final, ingredient needed for this city to come back is for the country to recover from the recession. That is out of our hands.