By 8 p.m. on election night in Stockton, volunteers will have made 10,000 calls in support of Measures A and B.
The big question is: Is anyone in Stockton listening?
“We’re just calling the booth household to remind you that tomorrow is a vote day in Stockton,” says one caller at a phone bank set up in support of a new tax for the city.
And with each call, the dialers envision a brighter future for Stockton.
They’re pushing a 3/4 cent sales tax increase and controlling policy package that some say could infuse life back into a city bled-dry by bankruptcy.
The increase would push the city’s total sales tax rate up to nine percent.
“This is critically important to our city. We want to make our streets safer, our neighborhoods safer,” said Stockton City Councilwoman Kathy Miller.
But the promise of more than 100 new officers in an infamously violent place isn’t as straightforward as it sounds, according to the San Joaquin Taxpayers Association.
That’s the group opposing the tax.
“They’re not telling us the truth,” Malloy said.
Malloy says Stockton could have the officers it needs if its leaders would just lead.
“No where does it say we have to own an arena and all these other properties. Get rid of these properties and let the private enterprise take care of those,” he said.
Aside from public safety, supporters look to the extra $28 million the new tax could raise annually to fill a huge budget hole that even bankruptcy didn’t fix.
“We’re looking at an $11 million gap,” said Miller.
Malloy says that shows bankruptcy wasn’t done right and that this effort won’t be either.
“If you and I went bankrupt and went to judge $4,000 short but I say I think I’m getting a raise next year … What do you think the judge would tell us? We’re doing the same thing,” he said.
Despite all the campaigning on both sides, only 25 percent of Stockton’s registered voters have turned in their requested absentee ballots by election eve.
The registrar says that number’s usually 65 percent.
Both camps claim low turnout will be good for them, with only the most informed casting a vote.
To allay fears about how this money could be spent in Stockton, the tax proposal includes a community oversight committee.
Polls open Tuesday at 7 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.