Stockton’s fiscally incompetent government allowed our historic City Hall to fall into acute disrepair for the same reason it allowed everything else to fall to smash: overcompensated public employees, overspending on redevelopment projects and staggering bond debt ate up all the money.
Now city leaders want to find new digs. Just my opinion, but the public should not allow it. True, the leaders occupying City Hall these days are not the ones whose fiscal policies caused the problem. They’re the fixers. Still, the reward for fiscal incompetence should not be a new house. They should make do.
And not just to be punitive. City Hall is a historic treasure.
Arguments that it cannot be restored are false. Later I’ll respond in detail to arguments that the cost is prohibitive and that the public can better be served by new facilities. For now suffice to state the obvious: San Francisco restored its City Hall. Americans restored the White House. The Sorbonne in France dates back to the 1200s but still functions as the University of Paris. All over the world, palaces, cathedrals and other historic structures are bolstered and refurbished and preserved.
There is no public call for city employees to get a new headquarters. It’s something leaders want for themselves. In so wanting, they prepare to repeat Stockton’s tragic history of architectural self-destruction. To leave City Hall is to admit to another civic failure. That’s not a new era for Stockton. That’s the old era.
–Photo courtesy Bank of Stockton