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.

The “B.O. Stage”

When deciphering the notes on John Muir’s journal #50, one that took some guesswork was a reference to the “B.O. Stage Wed Fri & Sunday.” I guessed — and a couple historians agreed — “The B.O. Stage” was the Big Oak Flat stage. The days were the days it ran. Here’s a Yardley drawing of [...]

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The “bleeding edge”

This weekend story perfectly captures downtown Stockton circa early 2015 — and the fate of urban pioneers. An attorney who moved his offices downtown has suffered thieves, burglars, taggers, substance-abusing street gamblers and urinators. “It’s never easy for the earliest pioneers,”  Cindi Fargo, the head of the Downtown Alliance, is quoted saying. “They’re beyond the [...]

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The joys of transcribing Muir

Bill Wadsworth writes: “My cousin Neil Lark, a retired UOP professor in Stockton, forwarded me your column about transcribing a page of Muir’s journal. It describes perfectly the fun of doing this. I’ve transcribed all of journal 58 which was the first of three for his trip with many famous scientists, naturalists, and others on [...]

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A mixed review for body cams

Stockton Police are adopting body cameras. But it is not clear that body cameras are a good thing, this NPR story says. “The people who like body cameras always point to a study done in Rialto, Calif., in 2012,” the story says. “Researchers found that officers who wore cameras used force less often — incidents dropped by [...]

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The naked man of the Delta, and other comments

Dave Parker writes a letter as bizarre as the subject of today’s column: It starts with a lyric from Randy Newman’s “Naked Man:” Pull down the shades cause he’s a comin Turn out the lights cause he’s here Runnin hard down the street through the snow and the sleet On the coldest night of the [...]

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Boxer calls out secret, unilateral water talks

Senator Barbara Boxer just moved up a notch in my esteem. Boxer called out House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield for holding secret water talks, locking Northern California out of the room, then blaming her for sabotaging any deals.   The S.F. Chron has it. “Boxer said she would not be party to secret negotiations [...]

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“Where the San Joaquin River died in the 1960s”

A Fresno Bee reporter went there. It’s a fork in the river in Merced County called the Sand Slough Control Structure. One channel is the river bed. The other is a bypass. Both are dry. Both are testaments to the Owens Valley of San Joaquin — the illegal and greedy destruction of the river and [...]

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Franklin, get a clue

“We intend to continue to fight for a fair and equitable recovery for our fund investors.” —A statement from Franklin Templeton Investments, the lone creditor dissenting from Stockton’s Plan of Adjustment. Give me a break. Though negotiations between the city of Stockton and its creditors were confidential, it has become clear over time that Franklin [...]

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Insurance for original neon

Gordon Martin writes: “Nice article on the neon signs.  Remember many of the signs you mentioned. … The original neon sign on the Medical-Dental building was an insurance sign.” The Bank of Stockton archive has a photo of it. The sign says, “California Western States Life,” and something I can’t make out. Writes Martin, “Stockton being [...]

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Speaking of unique signs …

Chuck Barnard writes: Enjoyed your recent piece on Stockton “neon”.  If you should choose to follow-up on other Stockton “signs” you might want to consider the three “toy soldiers” standing guard at the Children’s Museum. “These were originally created by Ad Art in 1975 for a mega toy store in San Jose, the Magic Village.  … The [...]

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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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