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Review: CNN’s Inside Man takes a superficial look at Stockton’s bankruptcy

In Opinion on August 13, 2013 at 7:00 am
Morgan Spurlock tries on the uniform of the Stockton chapter of the Guardian Angels on CNN's Inside Man via CNN

Morgan Spurlock tries on the uniform of the Stockton chapter of the Guardian Angels on CNN’s Inside Man via CNN

When word broke that Morgan Spurlock was going to do an episode of his new CNN show Inside Man on Stockton’s bankruptcy saga it’s safe to say everyone kind of freaked out. It was a somewhat appropriate reaction since financial problems rarely bring the best out in people, let alone an entire city, and there was a good chance that whatever Spurlock discovered in his time here wouldn’t exactly paint the town in a positive light. It shouldn’t be painted any other way obviously, but when you have to live with the screw ups of the past every single day you don’t exactly get excited when some outsider comes in to poke at the open, festering wound.

I’d been a fan of Spurlock’s for a while (30 Days was a vastly underrated series) and was looking forward to watching him wade through all of the interested parties and dig down deep into what caused the problems that have essentially defined Stockton for the past decade. While he did a great job of side stepping the sideshows that cropped up during his visit, I couldn’t help but feel disappointed after the hour-long show finally aired on Sunday. Read the rest of this entry »

Danger Zone for 5/13-5/16

In News on May 17, 2013 at 11:30 am

The Danger Zone is the name of the Port City Sun crime reports. All information is pulled from the Stockton Police Department’s twice daily watch reports which you can sign up for at stocktongov.com/police or by following the Stockton Police Department on Facebook. These are not the complete reports, just the ones I find interesting. It’s a very scientific process.

Monday May 13th

Battery on an Officer/Resisting Arrest 4500 block of N Pershing Ave 10:12am

Officer pulled over a 20-year-old male and cited him for traffic and vehicle violations. According the the report the driver was angry and yelling while being cited and almost hit the officer’s motorcycle while backing up. The driver then began sounding his horn while continuing to yell. When the officer approached the vehicle again the driver threw his license out the window of his car at the officer. Officer attempted to take driver into custody and driver resisted. Driver was taken to the ground where he continued to resist and kicked the officer while reaching into his pockets. Another officer arrived to assist and tased the driver. The original officer was injured during the arrest and was taken to a local hospital before returning to duty. 20-year-0ld Ansel Besabe was arrested.

Tuesday May 14th

Robbery Martin Luther King Blvd at American St 7:42pm

A man was panhandling at MLK Blvd and American St when 3 Hispanic males approached him, struck him with a pipe and took his wallet. Victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment to cuts on forehead and torso.

Wednesday May 15th

No significant incidents reported

Thursday May 16th

Homicide 6700 block of Plymouth Rd 12:49am

Officers responding to a call of a person shot discovered 30-year-old male Albert Wright of Fairfield suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to a local hospital where he died.

Person Shot California St at Worth St 8:00pm

A 25-year-old male had pulled over to the side of the road near his friend’s house when a grey 4-door car that had been following him pulled up in front of him and stopped. A 5’9″ black male in his 20s got out of the rear passenger seat, approached the car, and fired at the driver through the door, striking the driver in the leg. The suspect got back in the vehicle and the car drove off. Driver fled and was then taken to the hospital for treatment to non-life threatening injuries.

Nick Diaz is going to War

In News, Sports on May 17, 2013 at 7:00 am
Splash image from nickdiazpromotions.com

Splash image from nickdiazpromotions.com

Retired Stockton mixed martial artist Nick Diaz may soon be getting back into the sport that made him famous. Sherdog.com reported on Tuesday that Diaz intends to start his own MMA promotion entitled War Mixed Martial Arts which would be based in Stockton. Sherdog was also able to confirm with the California State Athletic Commission that Diaz has applied for a temporary promoter’s license which, if approved, would allow Diaz to promote one event. Afterwards he would be allowed to apply for a full promoter’s license if the initial event goes well.

That event is rumored to take place at the Stockton Arena on June 22nd, but all of that is contingent on Diaz getting his temporary promoter’s license approved. It’s unclear who would appear on the rumored card. June 22nd is an ambitious start date for a promotion that hasn’t legally formed yet. Diaz would have a pool of talent to pull from at his local gym that he runs in the area and Northern California has never had a shortage of aspiring mixed martial artists. A six-week training camp would be on the low end of typical fight preparation, especially if Diaz plans on tapping regional rookies.

One person who you can probably count on not fighting would be Diaz himself. Diaz, who retired after losing a lopsided decision to UFC Welterweight Champion Georges St. Pierre back in March, likely has at least one fight left on his UFC contract and would have to be released from his contract by UFC President Dana White in order to come out of retirement to fight for another promotion. His decision to start his own promotion makes that unlikely.

Dream job or dreamiest job?

In News on May 15, 2013 at 7:00 am
A screenshot of Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva's ad

A screenshot of Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva’s ad

Public Information Officer for the City of Stockton isn’t the only position Mayor Anthony Silva is trying to fill, he’s also been looking for a live-in personal assistant/aupair to help with his affairs according to a posting on the website GreatAupair.com. In the ad, which features a picture of Silva with his son (who I blurred out in the screenshot), Silva boasts of his position as CEO of the Stockton Boy’s and Girl’s Club and production of “modeling events and pageants” (really?) but fails to mention his position as Mayor. Although, that could be owed to a poorly curated profile as the University Plaza Hotel’s most notorious resident  mentions his five bedroom home where his part time assistant is to live.

Yes, he stated "Females only" twice.

Yes, he stated “Females only” twice.

Silva’s perfect candidate doesn’t require much experience. The ad provides options for the amount of experience required in multiple categories that typical assistants would have such as light housekeeping, event/travel planning, and administrative support. Silva’s ad doesn’t necessitate experience in any of that. He only asks applicants to have more than one year experience in shopping and errands. That doesn’t mean Silva doesn’t care who applies for the job. The Mayor’s ideal candidate would be required to speak English and be female (which I guess is better than his PIO requirement of “like me”). In addition to those requirements, the female candidate would preferably be young and single. His reasoning for these preferences isn’t stated.

So if you meet the stringent criteria of being an 18-26 year old single female with a year or so of shopping under your belt and you don’t mind living with a single 38-year-old dude at his five bedroom house/hotel condo, you too could earn $200-$300 a week working for the Mayor of Stockton. Nobody can say he’s not a job creator.

El Rey says “Adios”

In Entertainment on April 15, 2013 at 8:00 am
Vicente Fernandez Sr performs in front of a sold out Stockton Arena

Vicente Fernandez Sr performs in front of a sold out Stockton Arena

You’re underestimating how popular Vicente Fernandez is. I sure did. I thought I knew what I was getting in to. The 73-year-old Latin sensation has released over 60 albums with a majority of them achieving gold status or better and is the undisputed king of ranchera music. He has sold out arenas all over the world for decades and has sold out the Stockton Arena three times since its opening. His latest effort was to be his last as he embarks on the final leg of his farewell tour, a string of makeup dates for shows he had to cancel after a lump that was later revealed to be benign was discovered on his liver. He is insanely, incredibly popular and one of the music industry’s true legends. Knowing all of that still doesn’t really prepare you for the moment he arrives on stage.
Read the rest of this entry »

Stockton is Frustrating, why attempts to rebrand Stockton are always doomed

In Opinion on October 24, 2012 at 4:30 pm

With CNN’s Morgan Spurlock in town to film his new show Inside Man everyone with a vested interest in Stockton has come out of the woodwork to try and bring their narrative to the forefront.

Groups attempting to speak for Stockton as a whole isn’t anything new, it’s been going on for the better part of a decade. At the City Council Meeting last night though, those groups all pretty much jumped the shark. It was pretty depressing to watch, and not just because Mayoral Candidate Anthony Silva basically turned the public comment portion into a 2-hour filibustering campaign speech.

It should be no surprise to people that Stockton’s going to garner attention from the national media. We’re the largest municipality to declare bankruptcy and the poster child for inept government spending. If you’re doing a piece on cities struggling in this economy we’re probably the first place people are going to take a look at. Looking at the problems this City has faced, is facing, and will face going forward isn’t a “hit piece.” It’s straight news. We are undeniably screwed for a large part of our foreseeable future. Trying to pretend otherwise just rings false. Read the rest of this entry »

Danger Zone for 9/28-9/30

In News on October 1, 2012 at 11:26 am

Friday Sept. 29th

Shooting 1600 block of E Sixth St 2:33pm

A 21-year-old male was in a parking lot when he heard some gunshots and was struck by one. He said he saw a dark green car drive away at the time but was unsure of its involvement. Victim was taken to hospital and treated for non-life threatening injuries.

Assault with deadly weapon arrest 400 block of S Stanislaus St 2:40pm

A 54-year-old man was walking his dog when he was shot by a BB gun. Police arrested a 13-year-old male suspect and the victim was treated for minor injuries.

Person shot Lincoln St at Sonora St 7:30pm

A 32-year-old male was walking down Lincoln St when he witnessed a Hispanic male in his 20s exchange gunfire with a heavyset Hispanic male in his late-50s. He sustained a non-threatening gunshot wound during this exchange and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

Saturday Sept. 29th

Assault with a deadly weapon Sierra Nevada St at Weber Ave 12:05am

A 53-year-old male was sitting on the curb when he heard some shots from a pellet gun. After one pellet grazed his head he witnessed 4 Hispanics flee northbound in a gold Toyota. He was taken to San Joaquin General and treated for a small laceration to his head.

Arson EWS Woods Blvd at Boardwalk St 12:25am

A 32-year-old female heard an explosion outside of her house and looked out her bedroom window to see her car on fire with a black male in his teens playing with a lighter next to it. Suspect fled on a bicycle.

Robbery 2500 block of Plantation Pl 1:10am

A 26-year-old male went to a residence to meet a female he met on the internet. As he approached the door he was cut off by 3 black males and a black female. One suspect brandished a handgun while the others went through his pockets and car, taking his wallet and cell phone, before telling him to leave.

Gold chain robbery 1700 block of S Hunter St 3:23pm

A 28-year-old female was standing on the sidewalk when two black males in their mid-20s approached her. One suspect grabbed her by the neck while another pointed a gun at her head. They then ripped her gold chain from her neck and fled south on Hunter in a black car.

Sunday Sept. 30th

Person stabbed 400 block of S Hunter St 3:40am

A 52-year-old male was arguing with a 30-year-old Hispanic male who goes by “Bon Bon” when Bon Bon stabbed him. The victim walked to the 300 block of S Center St where he collapsed. He was transported to the hospital where he was in stable condition.

Arson 1700 block of S American St 5:23am

A 72-year-old females car was parked outside of her house when her neighbor heard an explosion and witnessed a tan truck fleeing the scene. Fire Department discovered evidence of some sort of accelerant.

Robbery Plantation Pl at Branstetter Pl 10:45am

A 40-year-old male was riding his bike when he stopped to text a friend. Three black males aged 20-30 walked up to him and took his phone. When he attempted to take it back they pulled a gun on him and went though his pockets, eventually taking his phone, wallet, and bicycle.

Shooting Maude St at John Townsend Pl 4:30pm

A 23-year-old Hispanic male sustained a non-life threatening gunshot wound after engaging in a gun battle with the occupants of a black Honda Accord. At the conclusion of the shooting he jumped into the passenger seat of a gold Honda and fled, eventually ending up at a local hospital.

Strong arm robbery Oak St at American St 8:45pm

A 45-year-old male was walking when he saw a black male in his 20s that allegedly stabbed him in August. He confronted the man, who proceeded to punch and kick him until he was pulled off of his accuser. In the process the attacker took cash from the victim’s pocket. Victim went to the hospital with minor injuries.

With crime on the rise we need to fight our natural instincts

In Opinion on September 28, 2012 at 3:31 pm

Crowd gathers at the steps of the Haggin Museum in Victory Park for a Town Hall Meeting

For the longest time it was easy to ignore crime in Stockton. For many, it’s still easy to ignore. Maybe ignore is the wrong word, tolerate is probably more accurate. There’s always been some sort of imaginary line separating the dangerous pockets of Stockton from the areas perceived as “safe”. It’s never been anything set in stone, but you know to avoid those areas if you can. If you can’t, you make sure you lock the doors to your car on the way through.

Crime, for the most part, happened in the areas it was supposed to happen. If you get shot on the corner of 8th St and Lincoln at one in the morning, people aren’t going to wonder why you got shot. They’re going to wonder what the hell you were doing on 8th and Lincoln at one in the morning. Bank of the West gets held up again? Well yeah, they get robbed so much I’m pretty sure their idea of security is a sign at the front door that reads “Pretty please do not rob us.”

Lately, stuff like that has been getting a lot harder to compartmentalize. Not because the crimes being committed in 2012 are any more heinous than crimes in 2011, but because they’re crossing that lock down line.

When a 60-year-old man was gunned down for a gold chain in Victory Park and a 70-year-old stroke survivor was beaten with his own cane for the cash in his wallet at that same park, people were shocked that something like that could happen at a park that was generally considered pretty safe. It hit me especially hard since my fiance works in that park and walks the perimeter almost every day. My first reaction was a natural one, we need to leave.

Read the rest of this entry »

Bring it Bakersfield

In Opinion, Sports on September 17, 2012 at 11:01 am

Recently, one of the Stockton Thunder’s rivals, the Bakersfield Condors, released their schedule of special promotions for the upcoming 2013 season. Along with typical events like  half price beer and dollar hot dog night and a mini-knee sock giveaway are two events aimed at Stockton, “Our City Isn’t Bankrupt Night” (which promised a “Rolls Royce” “giveaway” and “Millions of Dollars“) and a Stockton voodoo doll giveaway (self-explanatory).

Stockton Thunder President Dan Chapman posted a response on his Facebook page stating that the Thunder were “deeply saddened that a fellow member of our league would stoop to such a low level to try and gain publicity or sell tickets.” Record Sports Editor Bob Highfill also chimed in with a column entitled “Only thing bankrupt is owner’s idea of comedy” in which he claimed that bankruptcy was “a sensitive topic around here” and that it was “beyond what any reasonable person would consider good-natured promotional fun.” I guess that makes me an unreasonable person.

I understand why Chapman is unhappy. As a formal City Council member he not only has a dog in the on going pension battle, he shares some of the blame for Stockton being in the predicament it’s in. Which is why, as a person who enjoys busting someone’s balls more than most, I have to admire the Condors for their awesome, multi-layered burn.

Maybe it’s because Stockton’s bankruptcy really hasn’t had any effect on me so far, but I don’t consider it anywhere close to the top of Stockton’s sacred cows. It’s not like they’re doing murder rate night or something. If our economic collapse was because of some sort of tragic, freak accident I could understand some level of indignation. The housing market collapse is hardly that. Stockton is in the place it’s in because they kept betting on black (the housing market), took out a huge line of credit while they were winning, and didn’t think to play the numbers before the roulette wheel went the other way. When you screw up at that massive of a level you kind of just have to sit back and take your lumps. Nobody likes the guy who loses big at the casino and won’t let his friends razz him for it. You’re supposed to take a swig of your drink proportionate to the amount of money you lost and remind them of the time they lost their rent money playing Pai Gow.

The most frustrating part of this thing is that stuff like this is supposed to be the stuff that people can rally around. If there was ever anybody who need something to rally around and be proud of, it’s the people of Stockton. Sure, it’s just the Thunder, but it’s something. Stuff like this drives up attendance not only in Bakersfield but in Stockton too. Now when the Condors come to town the place will be filled with people frothing at the mouth to tell them Bakersfield sucks. It’s win-win. If you don’t want to bring everyone together through a bunch of Canadians and Russians beating the crap out of each other on ice then why did you bring us a hockey team in the first place? THIS IS WHAT SPORTS IS FOR.

Plus, we’re really going to let Bakersfield get under our skin? Bakersfield of all places? What’s next? Letting Fresno get to us? Have you ever heard of someone going to Bakersfield to do something other than take a dump at the gas station on the way to Disneyland? They’re a glorified rest stop with a mayor. Granted, we’re also well-known as being a town close to a lot of cooler places, but our cooler places are way more cooler(er). Bakersfield may be the gateway to Southern California but we have San Francisco, Napa, AND Sacramento (I guess). Reno, Tahoe, and Yosemite also deserve an honorable mention for being reasonably close. Down in SoCal is nothing but desert.

What I’m trying to get at, is that we should thank the Condors for playing the game and trying to ignite a good old fashioned North vs. South rivalry. Usually the antagonist isn’t the worst team in the conference (and 2nd worst in the league in 2012), but you have to sell tickets somehow. Stockton prefers an admirable playoff run. Looks like Bakersfield has to resort to offering pop singers contracts and trolling Raiders fans with football-themed ticket prices (Which, coincidentally, I also found hilarious).

Danger Zone for the Week of 12/19-12/25

In News on December 23, 2011 at 11:01 am

Monday Dec. 19th

Train Derailment Roosevelt St at Wilson Way 4:55pm

The rear car of a Stockton Terminal Eastern Railroad train derailed at Union on Roosevelt and continued eastbound, striking multiple cars and some trees, before stopping at Roosevelt and Wilson Way. No injuries reported.

Person Shot 1400 block of E Oak St 5:25pm

A 26-year-old male was sitting in his car when a bullet grazed his arm. Victim could offer no suspect information but other witnesses identified the suspect as a heavyset Hispanic male driving a black Nissan Maxima,

Tuesday Dec. 20th

Person Shot 800 block of Searchlight Ave 9:29pm

A 20-year-old female was opening the gate to a residence when a vehicle pulled up and fired upon her before fleeing east down Anderson St. Despite being struck several times her injuries did not appear to be life threatening.

Wednesday Dec. 21st

No significant incidents reported

Thursday Dec. 22nd

Homicide 800 block of Windsail Ln 6:23pm

Officers responding to a call located four Hispanic males suffering from gunshot wounds. One was pronounced dead at the scene while the other three victims were sent to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Friday Dec. 23rd

Person Shot Commerce St at Cleveland St 5:15pm

A 24-year-old male reported that a blue, late model Nissan Quest containing a Hispanic male and a White male both in their early 20s began following him. Eventually they fired upon him, grazing his back. He transported himself to the hospital for treatment.

Saturday Dec. 24th

No significant incidents reported

Sunday Dec. 25th

Person Shot 3200 block of Volney St 6:48am

An 11-year-old male was sleeping in the living room when an unknown vehicle drove by and fired at the house, striking him in the hand. He was taken to the hospital for treatment.

Person Shot W Ponce De Leon Ave and Lower Sacramento Rd 1:00am (technically 12/26)

A 20-year-old male was sitting in the back seat of a car at the gas station when the back window shattered and he realized he had been shot in the elbow. He was taken to the hospital by his family. Victim stated that the shooting was random and he and his family refused to cooperate with the investigation.