The mayor, police chief and city manager say things are looking up for the beleaguered City of Stockton that went into bankruptcy two years ago.
Addressing several hundred Chamber of Commerce members, business people and community leaders at the state of the city event, Mayor Anthony Silva said “Stockton’s stock is on the rise” in urging businesses to invest in the city.
Police Chief Eric Jones said shootings have gone down 20 percent and homicides 50 percent this year and said an infusion of new police officers paid for by a 3/4 cent sales tax increase will used in creative ways to stop crime.
New City Manager Kurt Wilson even hinted at a small surplus in this year’s city budget, even though bankruptcy proceedings are still on-going. He told the audience that there will be lots of pressure to spend any surplus to restore massive cuts to city services. He said the city should resist the temptation, not because it wasn’t deserved, but because the city is still not on sound financial footing.
The city council has had its share of controversy including a recent reprimand by the San Joaquin County Grand Jury for the leaking of information during the city manager hiring process. But the major and city council members say the council has worked well together over the last year and half despite inter-council clashes.
“The business climate is improving, the council should be focusing on that. It’s O.K. to disagree but not now and in an appropriate manner,” said businessman Fran Aguilera.
“The people of Stockton will work with the city council if they will work together and move forward,” said Stockton Chamber CEO Douglass Wilhoit.
Still, the mayor says he will likely get involved in several city council races for open seats as we get closer to the November elections. The major in Stockton has only one vote on the seven-member council and he has a chance to increase his influence.