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.

Chuck Reed keeps it real

Pensions are killing the state’s finances and driving municipalities towards insolvency, the former mayor of San Jose writes in the Sacramento Bee. “Failure to act means more cities will go bankrupt (emphasis mine) as they run out of ability to raise taxes or to cut services to pay for benefits,” Reed writes. What more need [...]

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Lowell Jeorg still “spreading happiness”

I got a call this morning from a woman in Springfield, Mass. Claudette Bertrand, a staffer at Mercy Medical Center of Springfield, says the hospital received one of those delightful, out-of-the blue postcards Stocktonian Loewell Jeorg sends to “spread happiness.” Jeorg (it’s pronounced George), who is around 88 now, “combs antique shops and online sites [...]

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Third City’s latest podcast

  Third City Coalition, a group of Stocktonians interested in the community part of community redevelopment, has released its second podcast. This episode, “Building Together,” “seeks to uncover challenges faced by Third Cities when trying to build consensus among a diverse group of stakeholders,” te blurb says. “From the recent Stockton Bicycle Master Plan Update [...]

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A most uneducated city

San Joaquin Valley cities are among the least educated in the nation, and Stockton is no exception, a new study says. WalletHub ”compared the top 150 metropolitan statistical areas based on the percentage of adults with a college education and other factors such as the quality of the area’s public schools and universities,” its press release [...]

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The mayor’s half-baked homeless plan

City staffers and local homelessness experts politely and respectfully dismissed as utterly unworkable Mayor Anthony Silva’s plan for the city to purchase an apartment complex and use it as housing for the homeless. Silva’s plan is “admirable in many ways” wrote City Manager Kurt Wilson diplomatically … BUT … a “series of issues” hampers the plan. [...]

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Tubbs, tiny houses (and red tape)

Council member Michael Tubbs’ proposal for tiny houses to help address Stockton’s homelessness problem goes before the council tonight. An admittedly quick read of the council agenda item suggests Tubbs’ original vision ran afoul of the absurd red tape that complicates things in Stockton and California. “Early on,” the staff report reads, “there was a [...]

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More criticism of the Fair Oaks decision

Sacramento Bee columnist Dan Walters alluded in his Sunday column to the unwise recent decision by a Stockton council majority to fund the Fair Oaks library. “Michael Fitzgerald laid Stockton’s budget-busting library decision on Mayor Anthony Silva, who is facing a tough re-election this year.” Walters quoted my column. “We have had enough talk and [...]

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Why Stockton’s future requires fiscal discipline

With apologies to regular readers of this blog, I’m re-posting a city fiscal chart I posted just last week. The lavender bars represent the projected balance of Stockton’s General Fund from 2012 to 2050. The “V” of a big drop in reserves to which I allude in Friday’s column is clearly visible in the center. [...]

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Walkscore and the glacial General Plan

Telling us what we already know, Walkscore.com says Stockton is a “car-dependent city.” The website, which ranks cities for walkability, gave Stockton a 41 out of 100. The city got a slightly better 54 for its bikeability, and a meager 28 for transit. San Francisco, by comparison, got a walk score of 86. It’s 2016 [...]

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Stockton’s dismal library funding

Without further comment, Mas’ood Cajee, a strong library supporter, sends this graphic: The graphic makes a strong point. Stockton’s libraries are dismally funded. But there are two differences between Stockton and the other cities in the “Greater Silicon Valley:” Stockton, which is really part of the San Joaquin Valley, suffers from near-Appalachian poverty. So City [...]

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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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