The Resignation of Denise Manning Signals Major Blow for Stockton’s Failing Office of Violence Prevention

By Motecuzoma Sanchez

July 31, 2017

Stockton, CA- In a move that can only be construed as a major shake up, Denise Manning has resigned her position as Community Engagement Coordinator in less than 2 years. This announcement, which came via social media from Manning, came as a surprise to many in the community. The lingering question remains as to why. 

Manning was brought in with fanfare in 2016 along with Latosha Walden who was hired as the new manager nearly a year after the original manager, Jessica Glynn, of the OVP was fired after just two months on the job at 8 months pregnant, triggering a discrimination lawsuit against the City. 

In her time as Community Engagement Coordinator, Manning became the public face of the OVP, setting up community meetings, attending Measure A oversight meetings, and creating a young women mentorship program. Her efforts carried the weight of the OVP and the Measure A oversight committee recognized that by recommending additional funding to support her efforts as an anti-violence action. 

Her suden resignation came prior to those funds being approved and amidst rumors of internal turmoil with the OVP under the lack luster, and at times ill prepared, leadership of Walden including the overwhelming appearance that Walden as the manager of the OVP was not in charge,but being  directed by assistant city manager Christian Clegg whom Glynn’s lawsuit targeted for discrimination. 

Allegations of turmoil, pay disputes, discrimination in promotion opportunities, and complaints filed against management among Peacekeepers, the workhorse component of Ceasefire and the OVP, have also been a constant backdrop to the office and its mission. A mission after three years in operation is not producing the desired results. Since the creation of the OVP and implementation Ceasefire, which it is tasked with managing via the Peacekeepers as funded by Measure A, the trend of violent crime in stockton has actually increased significantly over the last three years. 

*OVP/CF/Measure A Took effect in 2014

Manning alluded to this concern in her resignation statement: 

“OVP doesn’t have a strategic plan for violence. I don’t want to bash anyone but although I’m leaving to make a larger impact I do have growing concerns about the growing crime rate and lack of Violence Prevention plan for the community. I also have concerns about the lack of support for the programs implemented. Measure A recommended $125,000 in an effort to assist me with preventing violence with our youth however the steady focus for OVP is ceasefire.”

In regards to those programs and mayor Tubbs’ controversial proposal to pay $1,000 monthly stipends to suspected shooters in the community not to shoot people she says: 

“Until there is an audit on the funds allocated for violence prevention (requested by measure A) & of the effectiveness of the ceasefire program & other programs in place or lack thereof & until the office of violence prevention manager can inform the stockton community of the violence prevention plan in place to prevent violence & answer the questions presented by the Measure A committee & community citizens, I’m strongly against paying anybody anything and more in support of paying for the resources high risk individuals may need on a case by case basis.”

Manning says her focus now will be her retail store and mentorship non-profit for young at-risk women in Stockton with a focus on restorative justice; something she did not feel was being impacted by the city’s “Marshal plan”, Ceasefire, Peacekeepers, or Office of Violence Prevention. 


Who’s Burning Down Stockton? 4th Playground Set Ablaze

Part 1 of a 2 Part Series

By Motecuzoma Sanchez 

July 20, 2017

Stockton, CA – In yet another mysterious fire to hit Stockton in the last year, the 4th playground at a public park has been burned. 

If this is the work of multiple arsonists or a serial arsonist remains to be discovered.

Photo credit Wendi Maxwell
 The city of stockton is claiming each playground costs the city $100,000 and that they are insured. How long it takes to replace the playgrounds also remains to be seen. 

Arson is up 67% in Stockton this year compared to the previous year. 

After 7 Homicides in 9 Days Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs Wants to Use Tax Payer Money to Pay Criminals to Behave. 

July 5, 2017

By Motecuzoma Sanchez

Stockton, CA- After 4 homicides in as many days, bringing a total of 7 in 9 days, (including several more shootings including one targeting police officers) Mayor Tubbs finally makes a public statement tells reporters he wants to explore using tax payer funding to pay criminals not to commit crime. 

He alludes to a controversial program in Richmond, CA which pays a stipend to criminals based on how well they behave per month. The less crime they committ, the more they are paid- up to $1,300 a month. 

Currently Stockton has the highest sales tax rate in California due to Measure A and B which takes $27 million annually from the tax base for the purpose of hiring more police officers to fight crime and pay for the historic bankruptcy. Except after 3 years the promised number of police officers has not been hired and logistically will not during the time promised to voters. 

Mayor Tubbs also alluded to Detroit’s Greenlight Project which forces small business owners to install security cameras to aid police and make them available after 10PM. What has residents scratching their heads about that plan is the fact that many of these shootings have occurred in broad daylight including today’s which was in front of a popular pizza parlor in traffic on one of the city’s main streets and days earlier at a park.  

In December of 2016 as mayor elect, Tubbs told reporters that his “new plan” to combat crime would be Ceasefire. This statement was surprising considering the fact that Ceasefure had already been in effect during his council term since 2013 and is funded by Measure A. A new Office of Violence Prevention was even created to oversee it, yet four years later they still have no strategic plan and violent crime increased every year consecutively since its implementation. 

Meanwhile, after millions of additional dollars through taxes have been paid by residents, Stockton remains the second most violent city in California with its police department being the 5th most violent in the nation over the last 4 years; all of the recent victims (92% since 2010) have been Mexican or Black; the Office of Violence Prevention has no strategic plan; in the last 4 murders in the last 4 days not a single arrest has been made; and Mayor Tubbs urges that “overall crime continues to trend downward” alluding to a 1% drop in property crimes over the last several years.