Studio Sacramento: Stockton's Future - KVIE

Uploaded by KVIEvideo on 14.12.2012


At Five Star Bank,
community is at the heart
of what we do.
Every day we strive to have
thoughtful solutions
for our customers and
help our communities prosper.
Honest dialogue about the issues
affecting the region is vitally
important to that prosperity.
We are proud to be part
of the conversation
and hope you'll join in.

Stockton, California
has taken a number of hits
over the past few years.
the foreclosure crisis and
increased crime and violence.
But is the Stockton region
beyond the point of recovery?
A group of committed civic
leaders are on a mission to
remind us all that Stockton
has weathered many storms
since its formation in 1850
and that there is another
story to tell of recovery
and reinvention.
Joining us today to talk
about Stockton's future are
two leaders of
Stockton Forward,
Ron Addington of the
Business Council San Joaquin
County and Bob Gutierrez of
Food4Less markets.
Gentlemen welcome
to the program.
Thank you Scott.
So you have a bankrupt city,
you've got a mayor that was
just turned out of office
and the California Highway
Patrol is coming in to
assist your law enforcement
agencies who were on this
show several months ago in
trying to restore order and
reduce violence.
Some would say that you all
have more important things
to do than the public
relations campaign.
What say you?
Well basically it comes down
to this.
I mean what you see
nationally as far as the
conversation is concerned
has been skewed one way.
And I think people of.
Describe what that means.
Well it's been more of a
message of concern.
We've talked about the crime
and the other challenges
that we've faced over the
years that have led up to
this point of bankruptcy and
the other significant crime
issues that we have.
But one of the things that
we need to get back to are
the basics and what Stockton
has to offer.
What type of job
opportunities are there?
What type of education?
Well you know just to,
just to interrupt you for
just a moment.
The, among the
most infamous things
that I recently saw
was that Forbes magazine
described Stockton as the
third worst place in the
country to live.
Exceeded only by I believe
like Cleveland and maybe it
was Detroit.
I honestly don't recall and
I was down in Stockton the
other day and it didn't seem
quite that bad.
One wonders Scott,
where Forbes would,
what kind of criteria they
were using and we have not
been able to get the criteria
to see how we can refute it.
All I know is that I had a
business leadership summit
and I had Steve Forbes in as
one of our speakers and he
loved the place.
And then all of a sudden
we get this.
Did he not like the
food or something?
Believe me he got treated
better in Stockton and
enjoyed his time there and I
get a Christmas card from
Steve Forbes every year.
So it doesn't add up.
Hmm, getting back to
what the real story is.
We do read about a lot of
the issues that you faced.
In Washington D.C. constant
conversation over the
past few years.
Stockton, California
ground zero for
the worst housing crisis in
the entire United States,
from a crime perspective
that on a per capita basis
that Stockton generates a
greater amount of crime than
Chicago does.
And we've seen recently all
of the problems that
Chicago has had.
And so when you're trying to
change the story again some
would say that instead of
working on the story you all
need to work on the
fundamentals and the story
will take care of itself.
I agree and one of the
things that we've been doing
is education is probably the,
really a key to at least
starting to work on that
crime situation because you
know we have recidivism of
about 70% in our county jail
right now and we believe
that we've got to get
children where they can read
by the 3rd grade.
If we don't,
we say they learn to read
from kindergarten to
the 3rd grade.
They read to learn after
that and if they get to the
3rd grade and can't read
then they're going to find
themselves in a libe or they
can look at gangs as an
opportunity where we don't
see that as an opportunity
for those children and the
University of Pacific with
their Outside the Gates
program that Pamela Eibeck
has put together as the
president of the University
is coming right alongside
San Joaquin A plus which has
been doing this for years.
So we're trying to maximize
those programs and take it
into all the sectors of the
City of Stockton.
Now I spoke with President
Eibeck of California Pacific
yesterday and she said to me
that the story of Stockton
is so completely off the map
in terms of the reality.
Is this from your
perspective is the reporting
that's going on more about
piling on to something where
it is that sort of people
just follow certain echo on
and on what they've
heard before?
I think so yes.
I think you know like we
were talking about before
about the crime issue.
I mean those are real issues,
foreclosure is a real issue.
You can't avoid
talking about them.
But one of the things that
we need to focus on in order
to do what it is we need to
do long term in the future
rebuilding our city and
working collaboratively with
the other organizations in
the city is working with
those partners like
University of the Pacific,
focusing on early education
with San Joaquin A-Plus,
getting involved with
Community Partnership
for families,
it's a neighborhood program.
So there's a variety of
different options that I
think is going to get us
back to our core which is
doing what we need to do for
our own community.
And then that way from a
business perspective we can
hopefully reinvest in our
community as well.
But there's a story to be
told there about our history
and what we bring to the
table as a city and I think
that that's been remissed
given all the negative
issues that are going on
with bankruptcy because I
think that's more of a,
it's a big story,
that's a big story to be
told as well.
Why does a city get to
Speaking of bankruptcy,
you just tossed out of
office your former mayor who
I guess was part of the
founding of Stockton Forward
or at least was
supportive of it.
She was, yeah.
She was supportive of it?
She was supportive of it.
Your new mayor has put
together a proposal where he
wants to do a tax increase
in the midst of bankruptcy
which has a lot of people
scratching their heads
because typically during a
bankruptcy if you raise
money the creditors are
going to come in and
snatch it all.
What's he thinking?
Well I think his heart might
be in the right place.
He understands and has
identified an issue be it
the crime issue and I think
he's looking for options.
I don't think that at this
point we should throw any
options off the table.
But I do know that having...
But the law is the law.
I mean bankruptcy law is
bankruptcy law.
I mean I can say that the
world is flat but its round.
It's not something that's
going to happen overnight.
Uh huh.
The new mayor elect needs to
understand that we have to
go through this process and
I think that's something
that he'll be educated on as
he begins his term and goes
through that process but
long term I think we're
going to have to look at
some tough issues in order
to get to where
we need to be.
So neither of you think that
this tax increase is
necessary while you're
willing to look at everything.
But from where,
what you understand now do
either of you think that
this is viable?
Not at the moment, no.
To bringing out of
And one of the things
that we want to do,
the mayor elect Anthony Silva
is really new to the
political arena and
Stockton Forward is going to put
their arms around the new
mayor and the new council
people to bring them up to
speed because they're going
to have a very steep
learning curve right now as
to what the issues are in
the city of Stockton.
They could read the paper
and see what was going on
but until they're there
every week at the city
council meeting and the
meetings behind closed doors
and the meetings with city
manager Bob Dice,
they all have to get
together and pull in the
same direction and the
private sector with Stockton
Forward is going to
try to be a part.
Well actually I might one up
you and go a little
further on that.
What's interesting about
your initiative is that in
many locals its government
that is pulling the train in
order to generate the
economic recovery in terms
of the energy and business is
sort of outdoing its thing.
In your community business
is stepping up.
In addition to yourselves
you have folks from the
Spanos organization which
long time investors in the
region, Groupie,
you do have the Universities
on board but there's a lot
of private sector activity
which is notable.
What's in it for you guys?
We all do.
Why are you here?
We all do business here so
we have a vested interest in
making sure that not only
our community thrives but
our businesses thrive too.
Because without that we can't
give back to our community.
Those folks that you listed
have all been contributors to
that community for decades.
And I assume will continue
to do that but one of the
things that we want to make
sure is that we have a
community to work with and
so we have a vested interest
in making sure that we can
continue that long term.
It's just interesting in
that the private sector in
many locals is not as
aggressive as how you all
are sort of putting,
leaning forward
into this issue.
I mean when I hear about
business executives getting
involved in parenting
training at local
correctional facilities
which I'd like you to speak
to if you don't mind.
That's a little bit of a
shift maybe on a one off
basis that happens but not
typically where it is that
businesses getting strongly
involved in that
type of activity.
Well the business council
back in about 1990 formed
another corporation called
The San Joaquin Partnership
and that was a
private/public sector
organization to attract new
businesses to San Joaquin
County and it's about 75%
maybe 65% private sector,
35% public sector.
And that has been probably
skedco here in Sacramento is
very similar to that.
We have been more successful
in San Joaquin County with
that public/private sector
effort marketing the county
to the world.
And we've had a number of
great successes.
Just recently South Bay
Auction Company is coming to
town with about 50.
We've got another company
that is coming in
with 100 jobs.
So these jobs are very
Now to go onto what we're
calling malakye dads,
this is a program we're
starting at the county jail
in the honor farm with men
that want to change their
lives because a lot of times
we have 70% recidivism in
our county jail.
Meaning they serve their
time, they get out,
go back into the community
but they don't have anybody
to help them.
They're not going back into
the faith based community.
They're not going back,
they can't get a job,
they've got a record and
this program is going to
show them there is
a better way.
There is an opportunity to
ask their children for
To ask their Mom and Dad for
forgiveness and ask them
please accept what I'm doing
right now.
And this malakye project is
indicative of the types of
programs that you all want
to expose a bit more broadly
to the community.
That's right
I want to go a little bit
further on that point in the
chair that you're sitting in
several months ago I had on
a former gang leader who was
here with your police chief
in Stockton and also the
sheriff for San Joaquin
County and he said to me,
he says,
the word on the street
because he goes into the
homes and works directly
with these young men who
don't know a better way yet,
he said that things are so
bad in terms of the coverage
that there's now,
there was at that point
chatter among the criminal
class that said hey it's
open season because there
are no repercussions.
In order for projects like
yours to take root and for
people to see a better path
there has to be basic
order restored.
What's going on and what
role is Stockton Forward
playing in making sure that
people feel safe in
Sure, well one
of the big things that's
going on right now in Stockton
is operation cease fire.
Which is a collaborative
effort between all the
different agencies and the
county and then the city.
Most recently the California
Highway Patrol has been
brought in to go ahead and
expand our coverage area for
law enforcement and so forth.
So there's a number of steps
that have been taken
recently to combat that.
Is it something that you can
fix overnight no.
It's going to take some time
but we have new officers
being sworn in.
We have CHP that's going to
be augmenting some of those
services as well and then we
have operation cease fire
which is again that
collaborative effort that's
bringing agencies together
to communicate and find out
what is going out on the
streets right now,
what is happening and how
can we combat it.
Whether it be gang violence,
random crimes or other
homicides and so forth.
Okay, for the programs
and the message that you
all want to get out,
if help us understand what
three or four things would
you like to accomplish
Stockton Forward in the next
year or so that if you
achieve them you would say
we've moved the
ball forward.
And how are you going to
measure those?
Well what we're going to try
to accomplish and we will
accomplish this is it's
Stockton Forward right now
is a fairly small group of
people that have invested
some time and dollars into
this effort but we want to
move this effort so that
everybody is on the same
page in Stockton.
That you know the police
department is always
looking for people,
neighborhood watch sorts of
organizations but I really
think personally because I
come from that faith based
organization side of the
world is we've got a lot of
churches in Lodi or not Lodi
but in Stockton and a lot of
those are in South Stockton
where an awful lot of the
gang violence is going on
right now.
And they're going to
work with us,
we're going to
work with them.
In some cases they're going
to need some financing and
we're going to be the
catalyst I think to change
the complexion of
the city of Stockton.
Now as far as other things
are concerned I know Bob and
I we talk almost every day
about new ideas and things
that we can do.
If I were to say I would
like to see that even though
our jails are overloaded
right now I want to see
those men coming out of jail
getting back into their
community in some fashion
where they'll have a job,
they may get into
that local church,
they may become pastors and
little kids look up to
people that have gotten
out of jail.
Now a lot of times they look
up to them and find out gee
he was a bad guy,
I'm going to be a bad guy.
But if he comes out with a
different perspective,
he's been touched in that
jail situation that little
kid can look at him and that
little kid is a future great
person or not so great.
And we want to see
him be great.
When you look at the future
of Stockton if in order to
turn around the mindset and
all the reporting
that's going on,
Stockton needs a message in
terms of what is its value
proposition and if a business,
if either one of your
business was looking at
Stockton as a place to locate,
what's the 30 second
elevator pitch or the 15
second elevator pitch that
tells why Stockton as
opposed to any other place
in the Central Valley
or in California.
Well we're the epicenter
here for agriculture here in
the Central Valley.
We've got a marine highway,
we've got transportation
Right now we're going
through an expansive
transportation upgrade if
you will through I-5 and so
forth that's going to expand
our ability to move
traffic commercially.
We've got a port that's
doing excellent that's
expanding and recruiting new
businesses that come
in here.
So we've got a variety of
different opportunities from
a business standpoint.
The next thing is some of
these programs that Ron
San Joaquin A-plus and other
educational efforts those
are the future that's we
would go ahead and look at,
is this a location that's
going to give us
future employees?
For all sectors
of our business.
So not just working in the
grocery stores but working
in the offices as well.
So there's a number of
different opportunities I
think from that standpoint
and Stockton seems to be
growing in a very
traditional manner in some
cases and then it's got its
challenges and others.
So I think that using those
different resources I think
we'll be in a good spot in
the future.
Sacramento recently branded
itself as the farm to fork
capitol of the world.
In fact you all are closer
to the action in Stockton.
We have UC Davis but you
have all the farms down
there in your region.
What's the promise of your
biggest industry in terms of
being a part of Stockton's
Well they already are some
of our investors in Stockton
Forward because even though
they may be on the outskirts
of Stockton,
most of their people
live in Stockton.
They want to see Stockton
thrive and they're willing
to invest their time and
dollars in that effort.
It's when we look at our
agriculture it's billions of
dollars every year and of
course water is a big issue
and we're working on
that also.
Ironically just as an aside
yesterday when I was with
the president of University
of the Pacific,
she said that when she lived
in the bay area
25 years ago or so,
maybe it's a little bit
longer than that
with her husband,
that Jerry Brown was the
governor and water was the
biggest issue facing the
region and that now she's
the president of the
University of the Pacific,
Jerry Brown is the governor
and water is still
the big issue.
That it is.
And it will continue.
It's been a big issue
since the 1840's,
you know when California or
1849 whenever we became a state
and that hasn't changed.
We've got a number of other
things that are not
necessarily under the
umbrella of Stockton Forward
but are looking at...
Like what?
We have eight counties in
San Joaquin Valley,
from San Joaquin to Kern ok.
We have five counties around
the delta.
San Joaquin County is on
both sides of that fence.
Okay so we've got twelve
counties and we have been able,
they haven't even
talked to each other.
We've been able under the
California partnership for
the San Joaquin Valley to
bring those eight counties
in collaboration with the
five counties over here and
all of the elected officials
in those areas,
we're having a meeting on
the 11th in Lodi at Wine and
Roses where we're going to
bring the electeds,
the supervisors,
the friends of the San
Joaquin Valley which are a
bunch of private sector
people also that want to see
San Joaquin County thrive.
San Joaquin County,
San Joaquin Valley and the
delta and it's absolutely
amazing how we've been able to
get everybody on the same page.
The only issue that we have
left off the page is the
peripheral canal or tunnels.
Because that one we said we're
not going to deal with that.
Smart man.
We want to deal with things
that we have some control over.
And we've got probably
twenty water projects right
now that would affect the
State of California that
we're talking to our
legislators about there's
funding in Sacramento.
We just have to figure a way
to get it turned loose.
Bob I want to
ask you a question.
If you could correct two or
three misperceptions that are
generally held about Stockton.
Uh huh.
What would they be?
You know the two things that
have been talked about
you know Stockton being
the most miserable city.
I've grown up there.
Had the opportunity
to grow up there.
Went to local high school.
Went to local high school.
Raising a family there now.
Have two young kids.
So and we look to stay in
Stockton and being a part of
that process for as long as
I have it hurts to see it
being called miserable city.
So that would be the
first thing.
The other one is that the
city is unsafe.
And perception is reality
but at the same time we have
to think about where these
crimes are taking place and
how they're taking place and
we have to be more aware of
our surroundings as well.
So I think that if I could
change two things it would
be miserable city and the
crime perception.
And you know Scott,
I've worked in Stockton
since 1957 when I started
with Caltrans.
I thought you were 29.
Yeah and then some.
But and I've gone to hundreds
of city council meetings,
planning commission meetings
and these have all been in
downtown Stockton.
Uh huh.
Boards of supervisors
meetings and so forth and I
have never experienced a
problem in being in downtown
Stockton during all
those times.
And now I'm not saying that
within the city council
chambers there haven't been
some problems.
Uh huh.
But those are just
politically oriented and
community oriented perhaps
but it's not,
we're getting a bad rap.
If you were to name on the
part of the business
community and the others that
make up Stockton Forward.
What's the very succinct
marshal plan that you all
have for getting the city of
Stockton off it's back and
back on it's feet?
Pure and simple.
Jobs do solve a lot of problems.
They do.
Jobs solve a lot of problems.
I was going to take off on
that just a little bit ago
but the fact of the matter
when I was talking
to Pamela Eibeck
the president of the
University last night,
I said Pam we're going to
turn a mud puddle
into a stepping stone,
we're going to move forward
and one of the ways that
we're going to do that
sometimes one person's problem
is another person's opportunity.
Because we've had all these
problems with housing and
foreclosures and all of that
companies that want to come in,
what do they ask us,
number one what's your
workforce look like?
Well we've got one of the
highest unemployment
situations in the United States.
And so there's plenty of
employees for new companies
to come in and use.
Low cost to housing too.
Low cost of housing
and we've got,
then they want to know
will my employee
be able to find a house?
Well I know I live in Lodi
but my house now which is
worth about $300,000
it was $700,000
at one point in time and
that same thing is happening
throughout San Joaquin County.
Don't worry you're not alone.
In our last few seconds I
want to focus on this.
What do you think has been
your biggest win so far?
Very quickly.
Basically bringing everybody
to the table together.
The collaborative effort.
Working with all the
different businesses
and so forth.
I think it's been amazing
the partnerships that have
been developed since then.
Since we began so yeah I
think the partnerships
are a big deal.
And what would close out
2013 and you'd say that
Stockton Forward
had been a success?
One thing.
That we were able to help
the City of Stockton get
through their bankruptcy and
move and then move forward.
It sounds like that there is
plenty to do but at least
there's some committed folks
around the table
to make that happen.
Right, absolutely.
Gentlemen thank you much for
coming and sharing your
ideas and your plan for
Stockton with us and maybe
we can have you back in
about a year and check on
your progress.
You got it, Scott.
Thanks Scott.
Alright, well that's our show.
Thanks to our guests and
thanks to you for watching
Studio Sacramento.
I'm Scott Syphax,
we'll see you here next time,
right here on KVIE.

At Five Star Bank,
community is at the heart
of what we do.
Every day we strive to have
thoughtful solutions
for our customers and
help our communities prosper.
Honest dialogue about the issues
affecting the region is vitally
important to that prosperity.
We are proud to be part
of the conversation
and hope you'll join in.
All episodes of
Studio Sacramento,
along with other KVIE programs,
are available to watch online at