Why Silva won

Obviously Mayor Ann Johnston had baggage. She fumbled the Marshall Plan. She later moved the ball forward, but her reforms are slow and structural, designed to pay off in the long run. Voters saw too much crime in the interim.

How much? When you have three shootings on election night, your campaign has a problem.

Plus, many neighborhood activists were put off when the Marshall Plan comittee excluded them. That play was a classic city manager move, rational and designed to produce results, but politically aloof.

The bankruptcy. High unemployment. Foreclosures. Almost none of which she bears responsibility for, but which made for a discontented electorate.

She came off as unsympathetic in the Ch. 10 forum.

Her necessary reforms alienated labor. That’s a given.

I also suspect — forgive me — many voters were uninformed. Johnston’s courageous reforms took place outside their ken. They never read about Anthony Silva’s negatives. Many people in the growing Latino electorate, now the city’s largest ethnic group, may have thought Silva is of Mexican descent (he’s of Portuguese descent).

And they believed he has a plan to put more cops on the street through a sales tax increase, unaware than any additional revenues will be red meat for Stockton’s creditors in bankruptcy court.

Crime’s too high, vote the bums out. That was probably the syllogism. 

So we’ve elected a pro-labor mayor in the middle of a labor-induced bankruptcy. In doing so I fear we’ve moved closer to San Bernadino freefall.

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    Michael Fitzgerald

    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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