Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

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 »


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 »

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).