The danger of idiocracy

Since Stockton’s fiscal crisis, I have argued that incompetent or ethically checkered leadership simply cannot be tolerated. Even if it is gussied up as charitable intent or concern for the common man.

The revocation of the charter of the Boys & Girls Club of Stockton shows why. Anthony Silva, his hand-picked board, and his hand-picked successor, Sharon Simas, destroyed that club. The gym stands empty much of the time. Recreation programs that could get at-risk kids into a constructive activity have been cancelled. Donors are reconsidering. Stockton Unified, the major client, is bailing.

Silva’s suporters on the board — his friends, who command a big board majority – have blocked every reform. They covered for Silva when he ignored the law, accepted overcompensation and even declined to apply for upside of $50,000 for the kids in order to avoid an audit.

Simas’s response to this calamity is so typical of the Silva faction: “Simas said that until receiving the letter announcing the revoked charter, she saw no signs of a problem.”

Pure, raw incompetence.

Not only did Simas not see a problem … there still is no problem! “Simas said that she sees no reason that the club – minus the national affiliation – can’t carry on as normal.” 

This sounds like the ostrich defense. But it it something worse. It is the public denial of repsonsibilty by people so desperate to stay in power that they constantly deny problems instead of solving them to deflect political fallout.

This is a tragedy for the Boys and Girls Club, and for the youths it is supposed to serve.

Simas is the mayor’s trusted lieutenant. The very people who have run the club into the ground have a foothold in Stockton government. Silva and Simas want to expand their control by picking a complaisant city manager and running a slate of Silva enablers to replace the intelligent, educated, high-functioning council members now in office. They want to restore the Stockton idiocracy.

That era simply has to be over. Silva and his unqualified, dubious associates must be given a glass of warm milk and a plate of cookies and led gently out of the room. Or led forcefully.

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  • Blog Author

    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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