The Stockton Record Remains Complicit on Corruption 

Opinion

Frank Gayaldo

August 16, 2017

Fitzgerald and The Record Go Complicit 


When it became obvious the Sheriff of the largest county in the United States was corrupt, the Los Angeles Times pulled no punches, providing the most powerful checks and balances to the system as our great nation’s Founding Fathers intended. Thanks to the free press, Former Sheriff Lee Baca is now a convicted felon. 

A few days ago the Bakersfield Californian came out with an opinion piece that rightfully pointed out how outrageous that a couple dope dealing Kern County deputies only received probation for stealing pot plants from the sheriff’s evidence room. At least they were convicted of something.


However, here in Stockton, one of the most violent, poorly ran and corrupt cities in the entire nation, the local newspaper’s “star” columnist, Mike Fitzgerald,  has a “Record” (pun intended) of often praising corrupt and incompetent officials; or at least giving them a free pass. 

It’s a fact that our District Attorney, Tori Verber-Salazar,  has reluctantly admitted that San Joaquin County Sheriff Steve Moore and a few select deputies have “stripped, sold and then purchased evidence guns at substantial discounts”.

 The DA admitted this was “of concern” and “a practice that should not continue”, but in a surprise twist that even the best Hollywood screenwriter could never dream up, she said that this was “not illegal”. 

Don’t believe a DA would have the audacity and or stupidity to suggest public embezzlement is only “of concern” but, not illegal? Read Tori Verber-Salazar’s bizarrely love letter to Sheriff Steve Moore here.


Yes, this letter is crazy. So in short the DA says the Sheriff stripped, sold and then purchased evidence guns at “substantial discounts”, and even personally obtained an evidence gun himself, and although this should not happen, it is not really illegal, just kinda sorta wrong and should not continue. To make matters even more interesting, Sheriff Steve Moore told numerous media outlets including the Record (before the DA love letter came out) that his office “never sold evidence guns to the best of my knowledge”. Huh????

Is the Stockton Record’s Mike Fitzgerald too frightened to ask the DA and the Sheriff to reconcile their stories, or does “Fitz” or his editors think it’s just not newsworthy enough to follow up on the irrefutable fact that either the Sheriff or the DA (or both) are lying? 

As 209 Times has reported in the past, District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar graduated from a now defunct law school with a dubious record. (The Record refuses to report that also.) But it doesn’t take an educated law professional to understand that Moore lied on television and also to the Stockton Record. Lying to the media is not a crime, but stealing evidence absolutely is. 
Moore is in clear violation of the sheriff’s own written policy that was in place at the time of the illegal evidence gun sales, 12028(C) PC (public auction requirement that is even mentioned in Moore’s written policy) 514 PC (public embezzlement) and 1090 of the Government Code (government employees cannot buy government property when they negotiated the sale, AT ANY PRICE.
The Record’s Mike Fitzgerald disagrees. In fact he says a local attorney and law professor agrees with the DA that Moore did not break the law. Apparently Fitzgerald believes an attorney who allegedly said public embezzlement is perfectly legal, as long as it involves evidence guns? Did the attorney even really say that? 
The Record itself, who has endorsed Sheriff Moore during his last two elections, has failed to push the Sheriff or DA for answers to such basic questions as:
1. How much were the ‘substantial discounts’ Moore and others received on evidence guns?     
2. Why doesn’t the Sheriff know about an Uzi, serial MC01240, that was sold against court order on 7/11/12 for $750 that was once owned by Danny Ray Morrison, whose investigation led to the death of Deputy Dighton Little? (The DA, the Record and 209 Times has all the documents to prove this.) 

In what bizarre universe is public embezzlement legal? 

The San Joaquin County Grand Jury which is heavily influenced by the District Attorney, is currently allowing the Sheriff himself to complete an audit of the evidence room. As usual, the Stockton Record is being complicit. 

Read this Sheriff interoffice memo from 2015 and decide for yourself if the Sheriff should be allowed to conduct an audit on the very same evidence room that if you believe the DA, Sheriff Moore himself is already known to have somehow “legally” stolen from…

It is no secret the Record is hemorrhaging subscribers, advertisers and sadly journalists at an alarming rate. They’ve even lost their editor and publisher. While the newspaper industry as a whole is having challenges, the Stockton Record is severely underperforming compared to its nearby colleagues. 

Mike Fitzgerald recently and accurately wrote in one of his blogs that I cursed and went “ballistic” while discussing San Joaquin County corruption. I was thankful he didn’t also falsely accuse me of “stealing millions”, but I digress. Maybe if Mr. Fitzgerald would be more passionate about defending Stockton from corrupt local officials, more people would be inclined to read his newspaper column and less people like me would be so prone to cursing when talking about Stockton and all its problems. 

If it were not for social media, Stockton residents would have two choices: read the Record and be misinformed, or not read the Record and be uninformed. The Record’s failing business model shows the public is sick and tired of pedantic sycophants who keep praising our clearly corrupted local elected officials. 

“Fitz’s Stockton” deserves better. 

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Trump’s AG Calls Tubbs’ Bluff on Stockton’s Sanctuary City Status.

By Motecuzoma Sanchez 

August 3, 2017

Stockton, CA – Stockton is being targeted by president Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions as one of several cities to lose federal funding to fight crime for being a “sanctuary city” for undocumented immigrants as announced in a new memo for the Justice Department. The catch is- Stockton is not even a “sanctuary city”. 

Earlier this year in February Roger Phillips of the Record wrote an article claiming Stockton under the leadership of mayor Michael Tubbs would be passing a resolution declaring Stockton as a “sanctuary city”. Sanctuary status is a policy by cities that declare by policy that their bars funding for any law enforcement agencies to engage in seeking to determine the immigration status of people they encounter or cooperate with federal authorities in enforcing federal immigration laws and policies. Stockton police chief Eric Jones even made a show of this by publicly declaring support of the sanctuary city policy, which critics saw as simply being a politically motivated ruse.  This ruse, as presented to the public by ardent Tubbs supporter Roger Phillips in his article for the Record even admitted the resolution lacked a single mention of “sanctuary city”. They promoted it to the community as such nonetheless. 

Resolution below:

The federal funding at risk is specifically for cities with higher than average crime rates to help fight their criminal elements. As the 2nd most violent city in California this puts Stockton in a bind, especially when the declaration of Stockton as a sanctuary city was a ruse and not even true. As a result under Tubbs and Jones’ leadership, Stockton will lose funding to fight rising crime and undocumented immigrants still won’t be protected from ICE using local law enforcement. 

Below is a copy of that DOJ memo and its requirements:


To keep in line with mayor Tubbs’ ruse to fool the public into thinking Stockton is a “sanctuary city” and maintain liberal support he’s issued the following statement on twitter, deceptive in its nature, that only mentions one aspect of the funding requirements, attempting to satisfy conservatives and residents concerned with Stockton’s high crime rate and deceive them into thinking nothings at risk: 

Tubbs’ statement on twitter

The key word in the entire statement is “current federal funding. The grant is for funding the city had applied for, but not yet received. And unless the city assures the Department of Justice that it will fully comply with Trump’s mandates it will be eliminated from consideration and those funds will in fact be denied. To comply is to also definitively abandon the very tenets of being a “sanctuary city”. 

Currently Stockton Police do not have a specific agreement with the DOJ in a program callled 287(g) which also ensures compliance with federal enforcement. 


However, as usual regarding business, government, and politics- the devil is in the detail. Such a policy does not also restrict such cooperation, which is a tenet of sanctuary status. The key statement in Jones’ memo being “solely on the ground that he or she may be a deportable alien” with the keyword being “solely“. Again, it’s deceptive. 

So you understand the difference between Stockton’s ploy and what an actual Sanctuary City is, below is the text of San Francisco’s actual ordinance, not just a resolution:

Stockton residents deserve to know not just the difference, but the truth. 

Mayor Tubbs Doubles Down on “Cash for Criminals” for Stockton in Community Presentation 

July 31, 2017

Stockton, CA – At a church this evening Michael Tubbs presented his idea to deal with the city’s high crime, particularly violent crime. 

To an audience of about 30, most of whom were city staff or non profits funded by the city who supported Tubbs’ campaign, Advance Peace was presented. 

After the first 20 minutes, which was a presentation of recent news coverage of Tubbs, including recognition for the “mayor  who tweets the most in the nation” by his Public Information Officer Daniel Lopez, 

Michael took the microphone briefly to say The program from Richmond, CA was being “explored” for Stockton and was a “results based” program. This happened to also be what he said about Ceasefire when it was implemented in 2013 as he began his term as a city councilmember. Since then violent crime has instead increased consecutively over its three years. 

The claim of “exploring” Advance Peace would be immediately contradicted by his PIO Lopez whom he again turned the microphone back over to to present the program in a slide show which included a Next Step of applying to have the city selected as one of two cities in California. 

When audience members were invited to ask question, Motecuzoma Sanchez who completed a program evaluation of Ceasefire as a graduate student at USC asked Tubbs how AP would be differ from Ceasefire which is not producing the desired results. Tubbs responded that Ceasefire only focuses on parolees and AP would focus on active shooters and not gangs. However, Ceasefire is not designed to focused on parolees which seemed an odd statement as it was incorrect. 

In fact the only comparable difference Richmond seems to have (besides being ⅓ the size of Stockton and differ demographics) is that AP pays a monthly stipend of up to $1,300. With a supposed 85 “clients”‘ that the Peacekeepers have as part of Ceasefire and the Office of Violence Prevention the theoretical cost annually would be $1,326,000. Tubbs also claimed that AP would also be differ because it would have a more intense mentorship component. Yet, mentorship was supposed to already be one of the selling points for the Peacekeepers who currently do pay for things such as gas cards for clients and do house visits. When asked by another audience member if police chief Eric jones was in support, Tubbs claimed he had not yet discussed it with him. 

The real questions and concerns for many have been the lack of results with the current programs that are mirror images of Richmond’s except for the stipend. Programs that only have 85 clients ( a number that has been the same for over a year) after more than three years, no measurables, increased violent crime rates, and no independent audit of the millions of dollars ($26,000,000) its funding source Measure A brings in annually.  The Community Engagement Coordinator for the Office of Violence Prevention, Đenise Manning, resigned her position last week causing a major shake up, citing the city’s lack of comprehensive plans and lack of results. 
One community member in attendance at the meeting, Đenise Aguilar said:

“I grew up hanging out with gangbangers. It was a lifestyle I chose. It isn’t a circumstance or beyond my control. I did it because I wanted to. I knew the risk, we all do. We change when we are ready not when someone dangles a carrot. A lot of my friends from then are now dead, in prison or strung out. With a few that still dabble but for the most part grew up. 

What the mayor is proposing is insane, paying gangbangers to not shoot, having them babysat constantly and putting them thru school or relocate. You can do all of that without paying them. 

How about you invest that money into activities, after school programs, pools, libraries, parks and classrooms so kids have an option for a better future. You can’t pay someone to behave, but you can show them a different way that does not include bribary. This is a terrible idea for Stockton.”

Before closing the meeting Tubbs accused community members who criticized the notion of paying stipends to people suspected of shooting other people not to as “making up lies” Michael Tubbs has openly admitted to coming up with the idea after a wave of homicides in the city by a conducting a google search. 

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. 

DA Verber-Salazar’s Education Called Into Question 

By Frank Gayaldo

June 16, 2017

San Joaquin, CA

In reviewing Tori Verber Salazar’s State Bar information, it shows she graduated from the now defunct University of Northern California, Lorenzo Patiño School of Law (UNC), which was a private law school located in Sacramento, California. 

As of June 30, 2013, the State Bar of California Committee of Bar Examiners did not have UNC listed as a law school; and the University of Northern California’s website does not list the Juris Doctor as one of its academic programs. 

From 1997 through February 2011, 134 Lorenzo Patiño graduates took the California Bar Examination as first-time takers; of that number, 12 have passed the examination for a 9% pass rate. The state average is 62%. 

Tori Verber Salazar’s now defunct alma mater did not have professional accreditation from either the ABA Office of the Consultant on Legal Education or the State Bar of California Committee of Bar Examiners. Calls to the listed number for the school were met with a message that the number was no longer in service. 

Screenshot of Patiño website


It is widely rumored by detractors from within the District Attorney’s office that she took the Bar numerous times before finally passing it. 


Regardless if that is true or not, her judgment continues to suggest there are major deficits in her legal education and most importantly, her judgment.

Residents Who Lost Everything in 4 Alarm Fire Complain of Cityhall Neglect and Stonewalling; Have Proof Complaints Were Made With Code Enforcement Over a Year Ago

June 5, 2017

Stockton, CA – Residents who lost their homes, cars, and personal belongings directly across the street from a problem business in the 4 alarm fire May 25th are saying the City of Stockton officials are stonewalling their quest for answers and neglecting them only a week after the fire. 

A resident who wishes to remain unnamed for fear of retaliation from the city says multiple additional complaints have been called in complaining about the city’s lack of cleaning up the debris from the fire and are concerned of the residue left on the street and is blowing over to what’s left of the properties. 


Further adding to their frustration is the fact that they have been complaining about the property that caught fire for up to four years and the current business leading the property for over a year.

 

This revelation contradicts what city spokesperson Connie Cochran has told the media saying the property was recently cited May 9th and was being addressed with a scheduled action the week after it went ablaze. 


In a voicemail given to 209 Times it has been confirmed that Ron Martinez from Code Enforcement, part of the Stockton Police Department, returned a call about one of those complaints that the property was a fire hazard. 

Screen shot of voicemail transcript dated May 2016


Residents believe the city is dragging their feet and neglecting them out of fear residents will sue. Some of them have also confirmed that indeed that have retained legal counsel. To date the only elected official from the city who has visited them in the neighborhood is councilmember Christina Fugazi who is also organizing a spaghetti feed fundraiser dinner for the residents at the Civic Auditorium Wednesday June 7th. 

A meeting has also been had with mayor Michael Tubbs at city hall whom the residents had to set up and reach out to him last week. Mayor Tubbs had present at that meeting the assistant city attorney and told them the city has no resources to help them with and instead provided them with two 31 day bus passes. 


The city council will vote on the budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 with a record surplus this month. Funded will be Mayor Tubbs’ two personal assistants for $300,000 and the brand new “mobile city hall” RV for $100,000. 

In the meantime residents wait for relief with no more street lights at night as they retain a great view of the new $300 million dollar court house.

True Cost to Stockton For Mayor Tubbs’ Police Security Detail Much Higher Than Reported. $70,000 Not $18,000. 

May 9, 2017

Stockton, CA. – Last month it was reported that the City of Stockton under the direction of Mayor Michael Tubbs paid over $18,000 Stockton Police overtime costs to respond to residents voicing their concerns over police involved killings at city council meetings in February and March. As reported by 209 Times those meetings descended into chaos when Mayor Tubbs directed riot police to confront and physically remove residents associated with Black Lives Matter and family and friends of Colby Friday whose killing by Officer David Wells has yet to be explained after SPD changed their story three times with three different versions. 

What has not been reported was the full cost to have up to 50 officers posted up at city hall for several hours as a security detachment should Mayor Tubbs call them in again to deal with activists he is not fond of and who have been openly critical of his lack of leadership on the matter. 

The true cost, not just overtime, is much higher than reported by other media outlets and for March 7th actually $15,000 more than reported. 


209 Times has received the cost from the city after submitting a public information request: 

February 7-    $4,793.93

February 21-  $6,858.39

March 7-         $25,248.57

March 28-       $33,078.07

Total-              $69,978.96


The cost for March 28th stands out because not only is it significantly higher, but there were no activists present or protests planned. It matches the cost of the three previous meetings combined. The average cost for the police department to cover the entire city for a 10 hour shift is $26,141 according to police spokesman officer Joseph Silva. 

These costs become even more outrageous when considering that no threat had been present for any of the meetings and the sane protests and speaking out have occurred under the previous mayors Ann Johnston and Anthony Silva and riot police had never been called in or stationed for hours at city hall. Mayor Tubbs reliance on the police presence has been unprecedented. 

They have even been used to escort him to his car with claim that it was police who insisted not Tubbs himself yet that same escort is not provided for the women council members leaving the meetings. 

Michael Tubbs has objected to taking responsibility even calling a news reporter a “liar” for reporting the facts. 

While local news outlets and pundits have made it a point to question if “protestors” “disrupting” council meetings will be the new norm with Tubbs as mayor, the greater question is the using stockton police officers as what amounts to a personal security detachment at a high cost to tax payers both financially and resources. With Stockton’s sales tax being the highest in California to pay for more police in California’s 2nd most violent city, the city has limited resources. 

Stockton City Council Votes 7-0 to Buy a New RV for $100,000 for “Public Relations”

By John Moreno

April 26, 2017


Last night the Stockton city council voted 7-0 to approve the purchase of a “Mobile Command” RV for the purpose of “improved image and public relations “. 

This seems hard to take for many residents in a city that just recently emerged from bankruptcy. Many are also suspecting Mayor Tubbs and company will use it to promote themselves in their never ending campaigning under the guise of public relations. The price tags is $86,000 for the RV plus thousands more for interior customizations. In total the budget was $100,000. This is in addition to the $300,000 he’s spending a year for two personal assistants including a public information spokesperson and $10,000 on new furniture for his office even though the city has furnishings in storage. As a council member Michael Tubbs voted NO five times against re-opening Fair Oaks Library part time at $150,000 a year saying it would force the city back into bankruptcy. At this rate of spending the city may be well on its way.