An anonymous — of course — opponent of City Manager Bob Deis has set up a Facebook page called “Bob Deis has to move.” The page portrays Deis as a liar and a hack who puts politics before policy.
“This man has divided our city,” the site says. “He has attacked anyone that doesn’t agree with him. He uses fear and intimidation to run the city.”
What an odd site. Deis has announced his resignation as of Nov. 1. He is going. A site calling for him to go is pointless.
The site splashes a “Bankruptcy” headline by Deis’s photo as if to imply the city fell apart on Deis’s watch. That is backwards. The city hired Deis because it was falling apart. The bankrupcy is no more his fault that it is Miley Cyrus’s.
The letter from State Controller John Chiang”s lieutenant, posted on the site, is fair game. Deis resented the state controller’s untimely intrusion, which came at the crunch time of the city’s bankruptcy. Chiang’s audit was valid, as were his findings, and those who called for it were not out of line.
But some of them are among the formidable ranks of unelected people in this community who want to run the city. Worse, some of them suffer Stockton Derangement Syndrome, a post-traumatic distrust of City Hall so abiding that they cannot tell the disease from the cure.
Finally, former City Councilman Dale Fritchen, who broke ranks with Deis and the reformers over bankruptcy, and whom Deis regards as a Judas who caved to the police union, is among the fiscal watchdogs supporting the audit. It was probably the source of the audit as much as its inconvenience or its findings that bothered Deis.
More to the point, most of the fiscal policies and practices Chiang audited were not created by Deis.
As for the rest of the site … it’s just dumb venom. I won’t speculate as to its creator, but if I were a gambling guy, my money would be on a certain city kook who combines ignorance of the true state of affairs with a “shame on you” ridicule to embody Stockton at its worst.
And most self-defeating. Inordinate influence by public employees, developers and self-serving business elites, combined with fiscal foolishness, not only drove Stockton into bankruptcy, it bankrupted the civic culture. Citizens of Stockton became mere spear carriers in a play in which these actors hogged the lead roles for themselves. Mayor Ann Johnston’s council changed that. Deis was, and remains, the point man of their reforms.
People who treat good leaders like this will have only one effect: to drive out good leaders. The website, the person who created it, and the people who support it should be seen as what they are: the pustules on Stockton’s sick body politic.