What a difference

Mayor Michael Tubbs’ first State of the City Address provided a complete contrast to any done by his precedessor, Anthony Silva.

Silva, of course, donned a weird medieval helmet and waved a mace around during his first address. Leaving many to wonder what kind of Bozo Stockton has put in the mayor’s office.

But the real difference was policy. Of Tubbs, this paper reported, “The mayor said he is convening an affordable-housing task force, launching a small business roundtable, and joining in a partnership with University of the Pacific to study how to boost the lagging job skills of residents to meet the demands of the 21st-century economy.”

In that one paragraph, Tubbs announced more initiatives than Silva did in four years in office. And those aren’t even half Tubbs’ initiatives.

Also what stood out for me was Tubbs’ ability to discard bad ideas. The golf courses are a prime example. They are money sucks. The Council had to approve a $750,000 subsidy to them in the current fiscal year, including $200,000 okayed last month.

Which makes you wonder if Council members fully absorbed the lessons of Stockton’s bankruptcy. Tubbs did; he cast the lone vote against the $200k expenditure.

“With so many challenges, I believe subsidizing golf to the tune of $700,000 a year is something that we simply cannot justify,” Tubbs said in his speech.

And he added, “This year, I plan to bring to the council and the city manager’s office a discussion on repurposing golf funds to establish a Housing Trust – a dedicated stream of funding that will help make affordable and infill projects pencil out and increase the availability of housing stock in our city.”

That is not only fiscaly prudent, it shows proper priorities by addressing a civic need. And it’s good politics, since taking golf asway from the addicts is more politicaly palatable when the money goes to the less fortunate Stocktonians.

By the Time Silva gave his first State of the City address it was already clear to insiders that the city had elected a cipher with unsettling proclivities. Now the city has a mayor who is addressing civic challenges with real policy.


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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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