Open Letter to Roger Coover, Publisher of the Stockton Record. 

Opinion 

February 27, 2017

Roger Coover,
Since the Record like quotes:
Mark Twain once said, “Never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel”. That makes sense, but there are also the old adages of “Never pick a fight with someone who has nothing to lose” and “You shouldn’t throw stones if you live in a glass house“. 

We’ve never met before, although I’ve been featured in the paper you publish several times over the years. The same paper that now takes two back to back op-eds to explain how “irrelevant” I am. But I could care less what they think and their mediocre adjectives don’t hurt me. Instead I’m writing to bring to your attention some matters I think you should be interested in. I am not going to address the impotent insults levied my way by a bunch of fuddy duddies who run your paper. 

Record editors Mike Klocke and Donald Blount

 
The greater concern is accuracy in its presentation of the facts or lack thereof. You see, regardless of what the out of touch old men who run your paper think about me personally, they should refrain from making news up. Rather than present the facts, as evidenced by actual video footage and transcripts, past practice, and protocol, they would rather target myself and others as scapegoats. 
Instead of investigating the true root causes or even reporting what actually happened they have chosen to erroneously present myself as some mastermind hell bent on an “insatiable” political vendetta to cause a riot that never occurred and when I was not even in attendance with Black Lives Matters activists, but to speak on a sanctuary city resolution your reporter Roger Phillips also falsely reported on. 

Counter proposal I drafted to present to city council

 

The truth is I had the right to speak at a public meeting for which I turned in a “request to speak” card, I was not kicked out of city hall, only one person was asked to leave yet over 20 were kicked out despite no warning or order to disperse and whether they were chanting (during a break) or not. I was eventually called to speak first once the meeting reconvened on the agenda item which was out of order for which should have been my second chance to speak during the meeting, not first. The truth is the mayor consciously chose to create a conflict with the audience once he denied me the right to speak during open public comments. Then he stood in the back laughing about it while women and elderly disabled were physically pushed out and hit with batons. 

Mayor Tubbs laughs as residents are forced out by riot police.

This gas lighting by your employees has in turn brought threats my way. Threats I hold you personally accountable for.

Fathers & Families employee who works with Stockton police as part of a $600,000 grant to “improve police community relations” issuing threats.

The former head of the Weston Ranch Association issuing a death threat.


We expect your reporters and editors to simply do their jobs and report what really happened the last two Stockton city council meetings even if that truth is inconvenient for their endorsed elected officials. 
This is important not only for the interest of real news, but because the public deserves to know what is really happening with their elected officials and if the situation is to be alleviated, what the real underlying motivation is for the families and their activist allies attending these meetings. Meetings that have even caught the attention even from the likes of CNN. While local affiliates like KCRA 3 and ABC10 news dedicated an unheard of nearly 7 minute segment to the factors precluding these events, including glaring inconsistencies in the Stockton police department’s official story and lack of body camera footage, The Record instead doubles down on protecting the image of their endorsed mayor and blaming scapegoats such as the mother of a 16 year old slain by police 7 years ago, whose trial against the city just barely began and even the district attorney has apologized to for “torturing” her. 

Is this who the Record editors refer to as “clowns” in their “clown show”?

Children, family and friends of Colby Friday.

Autopsy photos of 16 year old James Rivera’s body published at the request of his mother Dionne Smith-Downs

 
This of course wouldn’t be the first time their bias regarding local politicians, especially Michael Tubbs, has been obvious to the community. The Record didn’t even report when Tubbs was convicted of his DUI even though Sacramento news sources did. Nor have they reported that it’s been expunged with fines zeroed out last June during the election. There’s been a clear pattern of Michael Fitzgerald, the Record’s opinion columnist who writes stories like he’s reporting news while Roger Phillips the city hall reporter writes like he’s an opinion columnists (you can’t even tell which is which anymore), have continuously written articles praising mayor Tubbs while attacking political rivals. 

Michael Tubbs fanboys Roger Phillips and Michael Fitzgerald

What you should also know is that Fitzgerald has done so while failing to disclose the fact that his step daughter Jasmine Leek was a paid consultant on Tubbs’ election campaign. 

Jasmine Leek attending Tubbs campaign event


Now if you think it’s only me noticing this it’ll be to your detriment. You already know your paper is having issues which is why there’s a community advisory board you attend. And since your editors are such fans of numbers, I’m sure you also know the Record has plummeted in value since 2003 when it was sold for $144 million to 2013 when it was acquired for much less and their management company had to declare chapter 11 bankruptcy a month later. If you’re doing your homework then you’ll also know your circulation is declining and the Record’s online presence lacks not only behind industry averages, but even lacks behind the Modesto Bee. If we know that then surely you must. 


What you should also know is that if I am half the mastermind the Record pegs me as, what do you think I’m going to do next? Be quiet? No. I would expect an apology, but no one my generation and younger reads your paper anyways. Plus I take pride in the disdain of the likes of your guys, (guys I didn’t even get into how out of touch they also are with the “minority majority” community of Stockton, culturally and socially. Your subscribers are literally thinning out more every year). 

Ethnic demographics of Stockton.


No. I’m not going to waste time on guppies. I’ll instead go after the big fish. The Crown Jewels. Of which there are fewer every year. Both of us know exactly what I’m referring to. And your “reporters” can be the ones to come out and report it. We’ll see how accurate they are then. How many more advertisers can you afford to lose? You decide. 

Yours truly,

Motecuzoma 

Local Comedian Goes Big

By Motecuzoma Sanchez

February 25,2017

Stockton, CA – Reggie Galindo, who goes by the stage name “Thuggdork”, hosted a comedy bash last weekend at the San Joaquin Fair Grounds drawing an audience of approximately 900 people. Such a large turnout for a local comedian is unusual and some see as a game changer. 


Born and raised in Stockton, Reggie has seen his share of hardship much like the city itself. As an escape a positive way to focus his energy he began doing comedy in 1997 at a convention as a opener for theatre . Since then he’s done a few shows a year in Stockton and has developed a big folllowing of friends and family, also bringing in comedians from out of town and local favorites like Insane Wayne. 


His goal is to combat the misery in Stockton through comedy,”If we can laugh together , we can live together”, he says as the motto of what he calls the  Thuggdork Movement. 

His next move is to do a free show at the Alano Club as a way of giving back to his community and is also planning an even bigger event he expects to exceed a thousand in attendance. 

Black Lives Matter Activists Demand Apology from Michael Tubbs

By John Moreno

February 21, 2017

Stockton, CA – After the last city council meeting when police were called in to escort mayor Tubbs to his vehicle as a result of members of the community demanding release of video evidence and answers for their loved ones killed by Stockton police officers, family members and activists will be back to city hall. 



They will again ask for answers, but this time they will also be asking for an apology. The day after last council meeting mayor Tubbs told the media that he did not call the police to escort him, but that they demanded it as “protocol”. This answer surprised many since he’s the mayor and previous mayors had never had the police escort them besides larger protests occurring. In addition to statements downplaying the effects of the meeting…

… he also retweeted a tweet from his friend, who had been previously arrested for suspected rape at UOP, referring to activists and family members as “haters” while capturing a screen shot of Tubbs looking disinterested during a news interview on the meeting, as they perceived it as they were the only ones he reacted to in calling the police. 

Black Lives Matter, Stockton representative Dionne Smith, who lost her 16 year old son to Stockton police and a sheriff deputy in 2010,  says, “We expect an apology. To refer to us as ‘haters’ only goes to show that he doesn’t support the same community who supported him when he was running for office. If he’s really about uniting the community he should know better to dismiss us and make it about him when we came to him for help and he turned his back on us.”

Smith says Black Lives Matter will return again with even greater numbers to the next council meeting tonight. “Even the police told us they want to work with us..they want to build unity, but with Tubbs acting the way he does it’s no telling where this city’s gonna be six months from now. Because we’re not backing down from demanding justice and answers”, said Smith. 

Stockton City Council Outlook, February 21,2017

By Jemal Guillory 

February 21, 2017

Stockton, CA – The City Council will have its first meeting following the much-publicized showing, earlier in the month. On Feb 7, Tubbs’ constituents called for pending investigations of homicides involving Stockton Police and unarmed Black youth. The most recent incident occurred in August when Colby Friday was shot by Officer David Wells. 

Gulwinder Singh, President of the Sikh Temple in Stockton will be recognized with a commendation from the dais. The Sikh Temple of Stockton is North America’s first of its kind. The temple was first constructed in 1912 after Sikhs bought land on South Grant Street and erected one of two buildings that still stand today. 

For the consent agenda, the Council will seat new commissioners to various committees. 
Community Development:
District 6: James Gorman

Measure A:

District 2: Karl Miller 

District 4: Joseph Johnson 

District 6: Ernesto Gonzalez 

At-large: Dwight Williams

Planning Commission:

District 2: Waquar Rizvi 

District 6: Kimberly Warmsley 

District 4: Anne Mallett 

At-large: D’Adrea Davie

Water Advisory:

District 2: Mark Kendleberger 

District 4: Paul Sensibaugh 

District 6: Scott Winn 

At-large: Phillip Merlo

Other matters requiring Council approval are included for the City Manager. Public works projects that were approved in the Capital Improvement Plan and FY16-17 budget that will benefit Stockton Fire, San Joaquin Council of Governments, and the Animal Shelter. 
New Business is filled with appeals from Planning Commission decisions. The Planning Commission has not been uniform in denying alcohol permits, most notably, in the Downtown region. The Planning Commission approved another liquor license to a vacant lot on the corner of El Dorado and Swain, bringing the number of permits to 20. The previous Council Meeting confirmed the denial of Sharma’s Market in Downtown, who was just the 6th active liquor license in his census tract. The lacking uniformity of granting and denying liquor licenses are expected to be brought forward tonight. 
Things are known to get heated when appeals to the Planning Commission’s decisions are brought to the Council. Gregg Meath, Sharma’s representation for the appeal, made a sound argument to expose the skewed evidence of the City’s facts, but they were not enough, as the Council still sided with the Downtown Stockton Alliance and the Huddle. It is worth noting that the Huddle was the campaign headquarters for Tubbs’ mayoral campaign.

The prince and pauper

Stockton, CA- At the first meeting of the new year, the Stockton city council voted to approve a $10,000 spending allowance for newly elected mayor Michael Tubbs to redecorate his office. This caused some consternation amongst residents as the city is not only recently emerged from historic bankruptcy, but there is a surplus of office furniture the city already owns. 

Well a resident recently took notice of how much a priority the city actually places on its residents as exemplified in the furniture offered for them to sit in in city hall right outside of city council chambers where the $10,000 furniture allowance for the mayor was approved. 

City of Stockton Now Hiring, (For Friends of Michael Tubbs Only). 

By Jemal Guillory 

February 11, 2017

NOW HIRING: City of Stockton, CAMonthly Salary Range: $12,500-$13,500

Annual Salary Range: $150,000-$162,000

Tentative Interview Dates: TBD

Job Title: Secretary, Office of the Mayor
Sounds like a good gig? It sure does, but don’t be so quick to apply. The job is already taken. That’s right. Mayor Tubbs, in his first Council meeting on business, pushed to initialize funding for two new city positions. Tubbs believes he needs a PERSONAL Public Information Officer, even though the City already has one, Connie Cochran. 


The proposed salary for Tubbs’ personal PIO will be the 3rd highest in the State, out of all listed Public Information Officers.


 

It is also worth noting, it will also be the 13th highest on the City of Stockton’s payroll. That’s more than all Stockton Fire and Police Captains. That’s more than every County Supervisor in California. Tubbs made it quite clear, that “Reinvent” is a code name for a possible return to “bankruptcy”. Does $1.2 million in new salaries over his mayoral term seem beneficial to Stockton residents? 
What was the Council thinking when they approved this agenda item? It surely wasn’t part of the Long Term Financial Plan, and City Manager Kurt Wilson also admired the salary will put us under our projected reserve needed to stay if our bankruptcy, from here on out. That means services like police precincts, holiday fireworks, and community swimming pools must wait until additional funding is cleared. 

In addition to the new PIO and “policy analyst” even though the mayor position is ceremonial and has no authority to enact policy, Stockton is now paying some 26-year-old kid, with no formal experience, a high salary for which he is not qualified. That’s right folks, you are witnessing Donald Trump politics right here in Stockton. 

 

 
The 26 year old kid is not Michael Tubbs, but Cameron Burns who has been on the job since Tubbs was sworn in, just one week earlier. It is unclear what the City was paying Burns for meager tasks like grabbing coffee, snapping photo-ops, and lint rolling the Mayor’s suits. Burns was promoted to the new position Feb 1, which is quite an upgrade from the $2,000 salary as a Tubbs’ campaign consultant. 



Even more surprising than the proposed salary, is the resume of Mr. Burns. Burns is from Carlsbad, CA, a coastal city in northern San Diego County. He graduated from Berkeley in 2013 with a B.A. in Political Economy. He was arrested in 2010 after disobeying police orders, when he joined anarchist groups blocking traffic on Oakland interstates. 

Burns claimed he was told to “get the story”, but he was arrested having no press credentials and his position with the Daily Californian was not a reporter.

He was released on a $3,000 bond and arranged for a hearing which did not occur because disgraced and convicted former state senator Leland Yee negotiated for his charges to be dropped. It appears birds of a feather, flock together in this situation. 


From there he moved on to J. Crew where he was essentially a cashier at the mall  and then interned for an insurance company and hustled time shares for Hilton. 

It appears he really hit the tax payer jackpot once he and others from Tubbs’ campaign moved to Stockton, to “reinvent” their pockets. Also hired, or selected rather, for “policy analyst” for a figure head mayor with no authority and who issues no policies (that’s the city manager’s job who is currently paid $338,000 a year), is another personal friend of Tubbs from Stanford, Patrick Cirenza, also not from Stockton. 

Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs Abruptly Runs Out on Meeting In Response To Black Lives Matter. 

By Motecuzoma Sanchez

February 7, 2017

Stockton, CA – Tonight at the city council meeting, community members, representatives of Stockton Black Lives Matters, and family members who have lost loved ones to Stockton PD came out to address Michael Tubbs as mayor, believing in the hope preached by him. They came to seek answers and camera footage.

 

Their disillusion and disappointment quickly turned to anger and disgust as mayor Tubbs abruptly stood up after a series of passionate speakers, announced a break and left the chambers to a back room as unrest unsued. He was the only member of the council to do so. 


Upon returning, he closed public comments further bewildering the stunned audience. He moved the agenda to the next item, a report from Moss Adams Analyst on Risk Assessment who gave an opening speech in near tears about how the commotion caused him to reflect on how he was, “so glad my family lives in a safe area”. 


Attempting to disregard the audience by moving on with a business as usual attitude, the crowd responded with angry chants of “No justice! No peace!” Mayor Tubbs rather than address the crowd decided to call police in to escort people out from the chambers regardless of if they were chanting or not. They left even angrier than when they arrived and vowed to return stronger. 

At the end of the meeting during council comments, councilmember Christina Fugazi called for open dialogue with the community in a hope to resolve these long standing issues. Mayor Tubbs barely mentioned the commotion or issues, instead announcing he would be speaking at an engagement in Sacramento with state senators later this week. 

He was escorted after the meeting to his vehicle by over a dozen police officers armed with batons at the ready, included some in riot gear. 

Photo credit: Carmen Slaughter

Glynn v. City of Stockton Trial Begins. 

By Motecuzoma Sanchez

February 6, 2017

Stockton, CA – Today in the 9th Circuit Court in Sacramento, jury selection and instruction for the high profile lawsuit brought forward by Jessica Glynn against the city of Stockton began. 

Jessica Glynn, an attorney, was hired by the city to head the newly created Office of Violence Prevention (OVP) in October 2014. She began the position of Manager in November 2014. This was a high profile hire complete with a press conference with Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones announcing her as the right fit because she spoke “two languages”.

Thinking this meant she spoke Spanish in a city that is primarily Mexican and an out of control gang problem, Chief Jones actually meant she knew how to read data- like any high school graduate should. Surprising everyone she would be fired less than 2 months later. She was 8 months pregnant. 

In her lawsuit many concerns come to light including:

-Discrimination from assistant city manager Christian Clegg who as a Mormon would constantly compare her to his wife and imply that she should be home as a mother since “family comes first”.

-Christian Clegg would constantly undermine her as “overreacting” when she would raise concern for issues such as OVP outreach workers aka Peace Keepers, not being paid by the law.

-Ceasefire, the anchor of the OVP and the city’s “Marshal Plan” to combat crime, was being compromised by the Stockton Police Department who would have secret meetings with Peace Keepers who were acting as informants divulging information from OVP clients and Ceasefire targets, putting the program at risk as well as possibly violating their due process and the 4th and 5th Amendments.

-Salary and the working environment was an issue since day one.

After her termination it would take the city a year to hire another manager, which was done in haste after community members questioning the lack of accountability and spending of Measure A used to fund the OVP. Christian Clegg, who himself is not even qualified to apply for the position of OVP manager, continued to operate the office. 

With the hiring of Latosha Walden, many suspect he is still running the OVP using her as a front for the community. Such perceptions are encouraged when incidents such as Walden being questioned at a Measure A advisory committee meeting about the performance of her office and it appearing she not fully know. Such an outstanding example is her not knowing her office was operating 40% under budget while applying for outside grants to hire more staff.

Questions about the effectiveness of the OVP remain as violent crime increased in 2016 for the 3rd year straight, or every year the OVP ans Ceasefire have been in operation.

The full text of the lawsuit can be here: https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-caed-2_15-cv-00529/pdf/USCOURTS-caed-2_15-cv-00529-1.pdf

Michael Tubbs’ Priorities as Mayor Questioned at First Council Meeting. 

By Motecuzoma Sanchez

February 6,2017
Stockton, CA-At the first city council meeting of 2017 the newly elected mayor of Stockton, Michael Tubbs and newly elected council members vote to increase city spending by up to $300,000 annually for him to hire two personal staffers. 

This move has baffled many residents in a city that only recently emerged from historic bankruptcy. It has also shown a level of hypocrisy as well as priorities for the new mayor, as Tubbs was the sole member of the previous city council who voted NO five times, refusing to support the re-opening of the Fair Oaks Public Library. 

The library is located in one of he most economically depressed areas of Stockton with high crime and low education rates and a population that is primarily of Mexican decent and highly immigrant. His reasoning for each vote was that it was too expensive for the city to afford. Advocates settled for part time operation at a cost of $155,000 a year. Tubbs claimed that would drive the city into bankruptcy again, yet now that he is mayor, only 3 months later, has no problem with spending up to $300,000 a year on personal staff. Tubbs voted against re-opening community pools in the summer for children in the areas he proclaims to represent and “reinvent”. He also voted against funding military veterans for the annual 4th of July parade, which had been shut down due to the city’s refusal to waiver expensive permit fees. But now that he is mayor and his rival is out, he seems to be much more willing to spend tax payer money. 


These positions will be new hires, expanding Stockton’s bueareacracy at a time when city services have yet to reach pre-bankruptcy levels. These positions will also make the office of the mayor the most top heavy in Stockton’s history and their very necessity has been called into question. Also to be taken into consideration is the fact that Stockton is a council-city manager run city, not a strong mayor-council run city like San Francisco, Los Angeles, or Chicago. In this system the mayor has no real power, but acts as a figure head and the only full time council member of seven. 

In an interview with the Record, City Manager Kurt Wilson, who predicted a doomsday scenario if the Fair Oaks Library re-opened part time, admitted that the new positions with salaries and benefits costing the city up to $300,000 a year would take the city reserves below the needed threshold to stay out of bankruptcy. 

This vote was conducted during the same meeting funding for summer youth jobs as a way to combat violence was slashed from $200,000 to less than $125,000. Meanwhile, Stockton’s sales tax is the highest in California, water rates increased last year by 18% with an additional 11% increase this year, 25% live below the poverty line, the city is the 2nd most violent in California, and the median annual income per capital is only $19,000 and $44,000 for families. 

$10,000 was also allocated by himself and the city council for new furniture allowance despite the city having a surplus of furniture. This is the first time in Stockton’s history the mayor’s office will have such a staff.