Does anything strike you as telling in this graf from today’s story about Mayor Anthony Silva’s proposed tax hike?
“Under the plan, Silva will lead a voter initiative, first gathering 10,000 signatures to put it on the ballot in June or November. The special tax would require two-thirds voter approval, as opposed to a general tax, which would require a simple majority and go into the city’s general fund.’
Hint: It’s in this phrase: “first gathering 10,000 signatures.”
Did you get it? A mayor with council support has no need to gather signatures; a council can vote to put a measure on the ballot by referendum.
That Silva has to go out and gather signatures means he doesn’t have four votes on the council.
I’m of two minds about that. On the one hand, funding cops through tax is premature. The city has filed for bankruptcy. It may well be that Stockton’s creditors will claim any new revenue. Or the judge will deny Stockton’s bankruptcy filing because of the new revenue.
Also, the plan doesn’t dovetail with the Marshall Plan, which is carefully thought out and just coming to fruition. It’s off the rez, which is why Council member Kathy Miller called it ”an ego trip.” Meaning she believes Silva’s motivation for forging ahead without council support with a parallel effort is a macho act of defiance toward his enemies.
But he also has a mandate. Stockton sent City Hall a message loud and clear: You dithered. We want safety. A big cohort of the citizenry doesn’t know about the nuances of the Marshall Plan and doesn’t care. They want cops, however simplistic and half-baked the solution might seem to others.
Silva defeated Ann Johnston in part by traducing her. People in City Hall deeply resented that. They are a tight-knit bunch committed to tough choices and soldering on together. That’s why they ostracized Dale Fritchen for breaking ranks. That’s why they don’t support Silva, aside from their doubts about his qualifications. Silva is paying for his campaign tactics with political isolation.
The question is, what’s the cost to Stockton of divided leadership?