So you might have expected fireworks rivaling the Fourth of July when current Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva and challenger Councilman Michael Tubbs sat down for a short candidates forum at Delta College - but not so much.
"I'm proposing restrooms and once a week showers for them. That total cost for me is $12,000 a year. But the city comes back - the city officials that are supporting this guy right here - and say mayor for those same totals it's $181,000 a year," said Silva.
That was one jab Silva got in as he answered a question about his city's homeless problem and the health concerns embedded in it.
While a packed room looked on Tubbs fired back with his own strategy.
"I've been working with our development office and our building code folks to change our zoning codes, so if folks want to have tiny houses and micro-apartments for homeless folks, they're able to do so," he said.
Silva picked up his familiar drumbeat of outside forces trying to run Stockton's agenda when asked about his support for Measure M, a sales tax that would eventually fund $9 million worth of library and summer programs for kids.
Confessing he was 'caught in the middle' on the idea based on other city taxes he didn't see working well, Silva pointed to what he sees as the problem.
"There's some people that don't live in Stockton They live in lodi. They live in Sacramento and they call the real shots around here." he said.
"I find it ironic you want to be the mayor of the city where you don't actually call the shots," said Tubbs.
Tubbs also went after Silva for being a flip-flopper on the city's financial health and security.
"If you look at the tape, we voted to increase our reserve policy to 15 percent. The mayor voted against it. When it came to Measure A and B, to get more officers on the street and create the office of violence prevention, the mayor was not only against it but put forth a competing measure that threatened to derail the whole Measure A and B process," he said.
"Yeah, I'm not sure even what he was referring to there so I can't really comment. I really don't know what he's talking about," offered Silva.
With only 30 minutes for questions the audience was warned not to shout out or applaud in order to maximize time for the candidates to share their answers.
Forum watchers decided not to follow the rules only once, during an economic question about possible job improvements for minority communities.
A ripple of applause floated through the room as the mayor called out two city departments.
"Stockton police and the stockton fire department can't be hiring people that actually live in Stockton? Why do we have to keep going to Oakdale and Escalaon and all of these Timbuktus and all of these crazy places? It's time we start hiring people here," he said.
Almost 180 packed into the Stockton mayoral race's one and only candidate forum Friday evening.
So what did they think after listening to the moderators, current Mayor Anthony Silva and his challenger Councilman Michael Tubbs?
Phillip Merlo is a teacher in Stockton:
"I think it was informative in the sense that you got to see a little bit about how the candidates react under pressure. In terms of the questions, the questions were very broad and did not allow for the candidates to make statement about concrete policy issues."
Alondra Preciado is a student at the University of the Pacific:
"I had came in support of Michael Tubbs and I'm still supporting Michael Tubbs. iI really like what he had to say."
Eric Brown is a Stockton teacher:
"I don't think Silva's done. He's done better than his predecessor so he has that going for him. The bankruptcy is going as well as it could, not too negative for him, but no I haven't made up my mind."
Gustavo Medina is a candidate for San Joaquin Co. Supervisor:
"I think we have a clear choice as voters here in Stockton. I think Mr. Tubbs said it best, we have a lot of potential. Our city has a lot of potential and Mr. Tubbs has great ideas."
One other voter quickly added that, while Tubbs did a good job, Silva "won the debate."