Stockton, California: A Survival Guide (Continued)

As promised, the adventure continues…


One of the best Letters to the Editor ever published in the local paper was from a transplant resident that claimed our great city was the “most politically corrupt” he had ever lived in & he was shocked by how little uproar this causes. What the aggravated letter writer did not understand is that Stocktonians are well aware of how fucked up shit is, but the shame of poverty keeps us quiet for the most part. We have our very own, home-grown, rags-to-riches tale (The Legend of A.G. Spanos) to reinforce the idea that our lives suck because we don’t try hard enough. So many Stocktonians are barely staying afloat and, as popular mythology would have you believe, this has NOTHING to do with the misappropriation of city funds away from programs of social uplift and toward the pet projects of real estate developers or corporate interests. All sarcasm aside, think about it for a second. How many chain restaurants and big box retail stores do we need to subsidize with tax dollars before we kick down some feta for improvement of our shitty public transit system? Or how ‘bout local entrepreneur assistance on par with the millions we spent moving Paraguay’s into the Hotel Stockton? How is it cool to strip the library’s budget by 10% (no shit. See it HERE.) when we have the lowest literacy rate of any city in the NATION (pop. over 250,000), but in the same fiscal year we have enough money to earmark $22.4 million for a waterfront marina? Does that shit sound right to you? Me neither. I think the letter writing transplant was on to something.

It is true that this last election cycle replaced the mayor & several city council members, so it’s best not to jump the gun & assume the worse of them before they’re given a chance to fuck up. After all, these aren’t the dudes that gave Neil Diamond a million big ones to play at our arena & they aren’t the ones that stripped the Charter Way Renovation Project to fund the Downtown Revitalization effort & they aren’t the dingbats that sold waterfront land (site of the new Lexington Hotel) for a $1… you get the point.

My advice when it comes to the Powers That Be is to avoid buying into the bullshit they’re trying to sell you. Remember that Stockton has one of the highest sales tax rates in the state, that the city rapes local businesses on licensing fees & taxes, and that all the monies they collect are intended to fund the common good. If Stockton can fund a marina that most of us will never be able to use & we can kick down for yet another real estate development when most of the homes already built stand empty, don’t you think it’s about time our elected officials applied some financial aid to our wounded economy? Shouldn’t they at least pretend to fix our 13% unemployment rate? Or at least spruce up the shelter a little (since us broke fucks are headed in that direction soon enough)? You can ask the Budget Committee questions like these or get updates on the next meeting HERE. Power to the People, Bitches.



Anyone that lives here will tell you that our Boys In Blue don’t fuck around. They will shoot you. If the Stockton Police Department offers any explanation for gunning down a citizen, it will be a short victim-blaming statement (issued by Officer Pete Smith), repeated without question in the local paper, and then the issue will be dropped. End of story. For whatever reason, the SPD is granted the authority to play Judge, Jury, and Executioner as they see fit. Don’t get me wrong, I understand how dangerous this town is (I live here, after all) & I know that extreme situations may lead to justifiable homicide committed by a police officer (like the recent situation where that dude stabbed a judge & was promptly gunned down. What the hell was he thinking?) BUT Stockton’s cops are out of fucking control! Latest examples:

March 10, 2009: Police gun down a 60 year old man in a pick-up at 12th Street & Tiffany. According to SPD, the truck displayed lost or stolen license plates & when they attempted to pull it over, a three-minute high speed chase ensued. All four officers that were pursuing the vehicle got out of their cars, anticipating the perp’s escape, but the truck flipped a bitch & headed toward the officers. Two cops started unloading on the truck & it crashed into a police cruiser. The cops attempted first aid, but Dude was pronounced dead at the hospital.

December 10, 2008: Police shoot & kill 30-year old Melecio Arquines at his South Stockton home on Sutter Street. According to the deceased’s family lawyer, Arquines & his wife were woke up by noises outside their home at 2 am. Arquines grabbed his gun & went to investigate, only to be gunned down at his screen door by officers attempting to arrest a 16 year old that had ran onto his lawn. The cops then questioned his grieving widow at the station for hours, prompting the woman to initiate legal action against the department. Look how the local news media handles this one…

As a general rule, y’all, the police are not your friends ‘round here. Especially if you are African-American. Even my skinny white ass got knocked around by a law enforcement duo. I wasn’t charged with anything, but was detained for the evening & I think I got off light! Don’t play with these trigger-happy police. Seriously.

Most aggravating about SPD’s brutal attitude towards Stocktonians is that this kind of shit doesn’t ease the violent crime problem plaguing our community. When the citizenry doesn’t trust law enforcement, how can the city expect to effectively tackle the crime problem? Most of us see the SPD as just another source of Stockton’s violence; no better than the North Side Gangster Crips or the thugs out by Louis Park. That can’t be helping the situation.


(To be continued…)

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