The Detractor’s Club announces a recall


Brenda Vazquez, center, and a small group of other Stockton residents at Tuesday's press conference announcing a peitition to recall Mayor Michael Tubbs. CLIFFORD OTO

Granted, Mayor Michael Tubbs looked like a jerk Tuesday night. Why he blocked Council member Christina Fugazi so rudely from asking questions about the Advance Peace program as it came up for a vote I can’t fathom.

But a spasm of uncivil behavior is grounds for a fat “thumbs down,” not a recall.

Of course, the band of his opponents who announced their intention to recall him yesterday cited other reasons — just no good ones.

• “He was doing nothing to address crime in Stockton.” This, on the day he brought Advance Peace to the City?

• “He does not work well with constituents.” Through Reinvent South Stockton and other vehicles, Tubbs has formed innumerable grass roots partnerships, so I assume this criticism refers to his people skills with the rank and file. I’d be interested in hearing from members of the public on this one. If Tubbs can be arrogant or dismissive — which is what I think I’m hearing — that should be weighed against his accomplishments in three years if he runs for re-election. It’s not recall-worthy.

• “It’s all about him.” That’s demonstrably untrue. The critic’s meme — Tubbs is looking past Stockton — is counterfactual. He could have gone to D.C. like many of his classmates, or elsewhere. But he came back. He has a long agenda. Nor is it some sort of betrayal if a local politician aspires to rise up the ranks. If he does a good job, he may deserve a promotion, If he doesn’t he doesn’t.

That said, if Tubbs continues to pursue a national profile, to bask in Forbes-like articles, he’ll continue to get this admixture of criticism and jealousy from some quarters. His taste for the limelight is not illegal, or unethical, and the publicity has an upside of bringing good press. But from the local perspective it can be unseemly to some. Impolitic, given the populist resentment in Stockton.

But that’s their problem. It’ll be interesting to see how the recall unfolds. A principled recall is an act of constructive democracy. When I look at those behind this recall — those with whom I have some familiarity — I see few, if any, constructive contributions. I doubt they have the skills to succeed, let alone the support outside their echo chamber. But I’m going to resist the temptation to be dismissive. If I get a chance to listem to them, I will. Perhaps Tubbs should, too.

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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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