Watchdog: City spent even more that you think


Stockton police recovered this loaded gun after stopping an 18-year-old near Ophir and Eighth streets.

Ned Leiba, a member of the Measure A Advisory Committee, writes:

“You wrote a good article “Five years $94 million later, gun violence still high.”

“I think the article could have been strengthened and readers more informed by referring to the recent 2016 and 2015 Measure A Committee Annual Reports. See attached.  Then you could have discussed the issues raised in those reports with the Mayor and others.

“Indeed, the two reports, showed the independence of the Committee since it resisted efforts from staff to water it down.  I urge you to read both reports and view the 9/20/2017 meeting where you will see Measure A Committee member Susan Bartman stand up to staff that wanted the Committee to change their report.

“In your article, you seemed to use the staffing numbers urged by the City and rejected by the Committee.

“Also, there is disagreement on the crime statistics.  The statistics should start as of 4/1/2014 to coincide with the start of receipt of Measure A revenues.  I believe the City has Measure A revenue of over $101 million (vs $94 million), but the important question, recited repeatedly at the 9/20/2017 Measure A Committee: where are the outputs, the metrics that shows that the $101 million really improved the crime situation.

“Incidentally, in addition to Measure A funds, the City also received grant revenue to support the Police Department.

“The Measure A Committee should be publicly thanked.  I know of no other City appointed Committee that has written their own annual report vs. rubber stamping a staff report.  I know of no other City appointed Committee that exhibited the independence of the Measure A Committee and offered some meaningful evaluation and criticism.

“Oh yes, both annual reports call for a full audit, you know, like an audit conducted under Government Auditing Standards where the auditor is call upon to report on waste, fraud and abuse.

“Again, I have attached both annual reports.  You can watch the Measure A Committee report (here).

Measure A report 14-15

Measure A report 15-16

We can read the Measure A Committee annual reports and see if they add to our understanding. But surely the main proof is in the pudding of gun crime statistics that show the city has not cracked the hard nut of gun violence in Stockton despite higher taxation and a multi million dollar infusion of resources.

If this stark fact doesn’t impel the City Manager and Council to make changes, I can’t imagine what will.

A small point: I don’t agree that “The statistics should start as of 4/1/2014 to coincide with the start of receipt of Measure A revenues.” Measure A money started coming in towards the end of fiscal 2013-14 with $6.6 million in tax revenue. Granted, this is a small amount relative to the approximately $32 million the city anticipates in fiscal 2017-18, even smaller since one-third, or $2.2 million goes to bankruptcy debt reduction. Still. Does anyone want to argue that $4.4 million shouldn’t make a difference?



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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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