Having been born & raised in the city of Stockton, California gives a person like me insight to some of society's greatest ills. There's the ever-present class warfare played out in our local courts, in our streets, in our schools. There is the complete detachment of elected officials from the populace, resulting in the ludicrous budget decisions that leave the community high and dry so that City Council can worship at the alter of the All Mighty Real Estate Developer(S). Our economic stagnation and sky-high unemployment rates leave many Stocktonians in poverty, still others barely keeping their heads above water, and even our middle class is stable at best. The housing crisis led to record numbers of home foreclosures here, so many brand spanking new housing developments look like ghost towns. Our city is unique in it's racial diversity, yet anyone that lives here will attest to the fact that our neighborhoods are clearly segregated along racial & ethnic lines. The local police department is notorious for it's callousness, it's corruption, and it's selective application of law enforcement. Our schools under perform on standardized achievement exams (meaning the district's federal funds will be reduced) and our high school dropout rate is one of the state's worst. In the center of the city, the University of the Pacific sequesters itself off from the actual Stocktonians (new students are assured that nothing of interest to them is found south of Harding Way & it's best that they stay north of March Lane whenever possible). All the while, the local newspaper, The Record, fans the flames of our discontent by reporting on gang violence as if it were a natural phenomena rather than a matter we expect the police force to address (if not solve). Our very own Billionaire Bush Supporter, A. G. Spanos, is practically royalty in these parts (treated as such by the regional news media, city & county politicians, the business elite, and anyone that is anyone 'round here). Yes, Stockton is a political dissident's wet dream. A place where enough dirty underhanded crap goes on & actual glaring problems are ignored that one can't help but comment on the stench of bullshit.
It's not enough to complain about it, though. Anyone that has spent any extended period of time here has a knack for talking shit about Stockton and all of us natives want little more than to escape our valley town, one way or another. This attitude has gotten us nowhere and it's about time people realized it. Why don't we start thinking about solutions, rather than excuses? How about endless tirades about the positive aspects of our community, instead of always reminding each other about it's shitty moments? We need to expect more than piddley-shit gestures & half-hearted excuses from our elected officials & law enforcement personnel. We need to see Stockton as a community, however temporary we intend our stays to be. Like it nor not, you're here now & that makes it home. Thoughts?