Taking Stock In Stockton

Stockton, California is just about in bankruptcy and that means they are almost out of progressive political control. And that is a good thing in a way.

Stockton has a city manager and city council form of government so it is possible only about two or three people really run the place.

The union heads who exist beyond the terms of the elected officials and the city manager who works with one or two councilors are all it took to run Stockton into a financial wall.

From the article on Stockton found here:

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-stockton-bankruptcy-20120627,0,2285815.story

“How Stockton found itself so mired in debt can be seen everywhere in the city's core. There is a sparkling marina, high-rise hotel and promenade financed by credit in the mid-2000s, mere blocks from where mothers won't let their children play in the yard because of violence.

During the economic boom, this working-class city with pockets of entrenched poverty tried to reinvent itself as a draw to Bay Area refugees and a popular site for conventions. It offered generous city employee pension plans and benefits.

Vast housing tracts of two-story homes were built at the city's edges. Private citizens, like the city, bought on credit. Those neighborhoods would soon have among the highest rates of foreclosures in the nation.

Indeed, when the bust came, few places fell as hard as Stockton. The city has the second-highest rate of foreclosures in the country and the second-highest rate of violent crime in the state.”

Are there enough grownups in Stockton to run the place, or are there too many city employees and retirees running professional political campaigns in their own self interest for Stockton to emerge from this mess?

The moral of the Stockton story:

The farther you are away from taxpayer control of a municipality, the sooner the tax and spenders take over.