STOCKTON -- In his inaugural state of the city address, the youngest and first African-American mayor of Stockton took center stage to roaring applause inside shed 20 at the Port of Stockton.
“But now we’re not perfect, but we’re turning the page, we’re trending upwards. Crime is down, we’re in the top 100 cities in this country to live,” Mayor Michael Tubbs said.
As the mayor quickly outlined the city’s progress since he took office in January, resident Don Maszewski says he’s noticed a positive shift within his community.
“There’s a lot of the past of Stockton is kind of ready to forget, you know… controversy, bankruptcy,” Maszewski explained.
Now, that the city is out of the red, Tubbs said they have a reserve of $32 million. However, it’s been a challenge for Stockton to shed its rough image.
“We certainly have more work to be done around violent crime reduction, specifically,” Police Chief Eric Jones of the Stockton Police Department said.
The mayor also said residents should support cannabis shops because they can bring thousands of jobs to the city. He added, a transformation could take place in some of the more problematic neighborhoods.
“We’ve been in talks with the U.S. Soccer Federation. They reached out to me about coming to Stockton and rehabbing some of our blighted areas to make more soccer fields, especially given our demographics in our community,” Tubbs said.
Cindy and Chris Matteuci were among those who attended the luncheon. They were especially excited to hear Tubbs' address. One of the major concerns the mother and son real estate team has is the revitalization of downtown.
“We’re going to have to clean it up a little bit first and find facilities to house some of the homeless,” Cindy Matteuci of Stockton said.
The Matteucis said they see the promise downtown can bring but they also see the challenges.
“You know, incentivizing outside businesses to come to town. Creating a more diverse job market here for the population,” Chris Matteuci said.
“A lot of rebuilding needs to be done and encourage businesses to move back into the area,” Cindy Matteuci said.
In his speech, Tubbs said this area is definitely ripe with potential, and he and city officials have been working to bring more businesses into this part of the city.
“Reduce fees in the downtown infrastructure fees, we work closely with one developer in particular, TEN Space and make sure their open windows project is successful so it’s a catalyst,” Mayor Tubbs told FOX40.
No matter what lies ahead, families who have lived their lives in the "City of Second Chances" remain optimistic.
"You know it’s part of the fiber of who we are as a family,” said Connie Cochran, a city spokeswoman.
"A fresh outlook and a more positive mentality can benefit everybody and that’s a great start,” Maszewski explained.