Author Archives: Michael Fitzgerald

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.

Stockton’s most powerful man

The 5th most powerful person in California lives in Stockton. He’s Joe Nunez, head of the California Teacher’s Association, the state’s most powerful union. Nunez, a former Stockton teacher, was named the 5th most powerful in Capitol Weekly’s Top 100 ranking. One observer told me a story about a meeting between Gov. Jerry Brown, the [...]

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One more star for the walk of fame

A Stockton luminary I forgot to include in today’s column is Harriet Chalmers Adams. A female trailblazer, she was an intrepid explorer who circled the globe, sharing her discoveries with National Geographic. A scholarly piece on her here. Her Wikipedia entry here.

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Besto gets his appointment

I never held with those who cried foul over the $5,150 in campaign contributions Steve Bestolarides made to his fellow Supervisor Chuck Winn, who voted to appoint Bestolarides county Assessor Tuesday. The contributions were transparent. So voters who think Winn sold his vote are free to vote against Winn come next election. What bugged me [...]

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The grueling battle for pension reform

A bellwether case of pension reform is heading towards a negotiated settlement. In June of 2012 San Jose voters overwhelmingly approved Measure B, a pension reform measure. San Jose had to do something. The cost of pensions rose from $73 million in 2001 to $245 million in 2011. Over the last two decades, the cost grew [...]

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Before the train comes the pain

California’s high-speed rail system may be 8-10 years from reaching Stockton. If it ever does. But the railroad has reached Fresno in a big way. The High-Speed Rail Authority has purchased scores of properties right through the heart of Fresno — or seized them by eminent domain. That amounts to a whole bunch of drama, [...]

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Stockton billboard’s last day

Since 2012 this billboard has greeted people entering Stockton from I-5 north at Lathrop: “Our original thought process revolved around a welcome sign as Stockton does not have any official welcome signage,” said Wes Rhea of Visit Stockton. Today, the contract for the billboard lapses. “So it will soon be gone I am sure,” Rhea [...]

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Another brother in bankruptcy

Hillview, Ky., population 8,000 has filed for bankruptcy, only the second city since Stockton (and Detroit) to do so. The straw that broke the little city ‘s back was losing a multi million dollar lawsuit. But, like Stockton the city was badly overextended. It lists $10 million in assets and $100 million in liabilities. There [...]

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Further “assessing” the mayor/Assessor races

Former Assessor Robert Shellenberger writes: “Your comments are right on. The mayor situation couldn’t be better described. My vision, however, is myopic: The Assessor. “I am hugely disappointed that the Record hasn’t been more emphatic on this shenanigan. You have made it clear for me to see the other part of this circus. But one [...]

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New study casts doubt on pension reform

There are no articles of faith in my position on pension reform. There are only bitter experience and fact. The bitter experience remains of a city that overspent on public employee compensation and went bankrupt. The way public employees astutely fought to retain special privilege during that crisis, and the way CalPERS bullied the city [...]

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Why city golf courses lose money

Competition, mostly. Poor maintenance. And design of the city’s two courses was bungled, too. That emerged during Stockton’s bankruptcy trial. The manager of Stockton’s courses, Tom Nelson (quoted in today’s column), gave a direct testimony declaration full of details explaining what’s wrong with the courses physically and economically. Economically: • ”Shortly after Kemper took over management [...]

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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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