Stockton ranks only above municipal basket case San Bernardino with second worst recovery from the recession among 150 U.S. cities, a new report says.
Reasons why: the bankruptcy, which earned extra ranking demerits from the surveyor, Wallet Hub; fundamentally, the Central Valley’s low-wage agrarian economy; a long-time city government of underachieving, business-unfriendly bureaucrats; Stockton’s terrible press.
Meanwhile, San Francisco is California’s top recoverer, 20th nationwide. Geographically, Stockton is 85 mies away from San Francisco, yet economically it sometimes seperated by an ocean of space.
Bob Deis, Stockton city manager 2010-2013 replaced ineffective department heads. The new team has established a pro-business climate, but has not lured many jobs. That may have as much to do with California’s regulatory climate as with Stockton’s administration, judging by reports about the Tesla plant. In fact, recovery is lagging in many California cities.
Still, the city has entered fiscal 2014-15. The bankruptcy should soon be behind it. The economy, even here, is recovering. The city faces big challenges, but still it is reasonable to expect the new executive team to make substantial progress in economic development this year. If they don’t, they can explain how they are different than their prececessors.