Report: sprawl is not sprawl

I didn’t have time last week to rebut the delusional report that put Stockton on the list of Top 10 most compact mid-sized cities.  

Anyone with a pair of eyeballs can plainly see the ranking of Stockton as a moderately sprawling city is completely bogus. Stockton’s growth during the boom made San Joaquin County one of the fastest growing in the nation. And that growth was enirely at the four corners. Outward, outward! If that isn’t sprawl, what is?

“In the Central Valley, we are absolutely not sprawling,” John Beckman, the head of the local building industry, said in the Record story, enhancing the surrealism. “When folks talk about sprawl, they’re not talking about us.”

R-i-i-ight. If Beckman can say that about Stockton’s recent history, he’ll be saying it when Stockton sprawls to Lodi.

Stockton City Limits pinpointed the flaw in the study’s methodology: It examined metro areas, not cities. You look outside other cites you see suburbs. Which got cities ranked higher on the sprawl-o-meter. You look outside Stockton you see farmland preserved by codes prohibiting ranchettes and by farmland preservation laws such as the Williamson Act and by natural barriers to sprawl such as the Delta.

But of course that doesn’t mean Stockton has not sprawled. Take it away, Stockton City Limits.

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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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