Stockton, California

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Stockton, California
Seal of Stockton.png
General information
Anthony Silva.jpg
Mayor:Anthony Silva
Mayor party:Nonpartisan
Last mayoral election:2012
Next mayoral election:2016
Last city council election:November 4, 2014
Next city council election:2016
City council seats:7
2014-2015 FY Budget:$632 million
City website
Composition data
Population in 2013:298,118
Gender:51.0% Female
Race:White 37.0%
Hispanic or Latino 40.3
African American 12.2%
Asian 21.5%
American Indian and Alaska Native alone 1.1%
Two or More 6.9%
Unemployment:12.8%
Median household income:$47,246
High school graduation rate:73.7%
College graduation rate:17.5%
Related Stockton offices
California Congressional Delegation
California State Legislature
California state executive offices
Stockton is a city in San Joaquin County, California. As of 2013, its population was 298,118.[1]

City government

See also: Council-manager government

Since 1922, the city of Stockton has utilized a council-manager system. In this form of municipal government, an elected city council, which includes the mayor and serves as the city's primary legislative body, appoints a chief executive called a city manager to oversee day-to-day municipal operations and implement the council's policy and legislative initiatives.[2]

City manager

The city manager is Stockton's chief executive officer. Appointed by city council, city manager's responsibilities include overseeing the city's day-to-day operations, planning and implementing the city's operating budget, carrying out council policies and hiring most city government employees.[3]

Mayor

The mayor is a member of city council. He or she presides over council meetings and official city ceremonies. The mayor also represents the city on the state, national and international levels. Anthony Silva is the current Mayor of Stockton.[4]

City council

The Stockton City Council is the city's primary legislative body. It is responsible for approving and adopting the city budget, levying taxes and making or amending city laws, policies and ordinances.[4]

Council membership

The city council consists of seven members including the mayor. While the mayor is elected at-large, the other six members are elected by the city's six districts.[4]

A full list of city council members can be found here.

Boards and commissions

A series of advisory boards and commissions that are made up of non-elected citizens, whom city council members have appointed and approved, advises the Stockton City Council. The roles of these boards and commissions are to review, debate and comment upon city policies and legislation and to make recommendations to the city council.[5]

For a full list of Stockton's city boards, commissions and committees, see here.

Elections

2014

See also: Stockton, California municipal elections, 2014.

The city of Stockton, California held nonpartisan elections for city council on November 4, 2014. A primary election took place on June 3, 2014.[6]

Budget

Stockton's adopted operating budget for fiscal year 2014-15 was $632 million.[7]

Bankruptcy

A federal judge approved the city of Stockton's petition for bankruptcy on April 1, 2013. The judge rejected the creditors' claims that the city did not negotiate in good faith to resolve its debt. On the contrary, the judge ruled it was the Wall Street bondholders who refused to negotiate new terms unless city officials slashed the millions owed to the California Public Employees' Retirement System.[8]

Bankruptcy means creditors can expect to receive a fraction of the $165 million in loans they guaranteed in 2007 so Stockton could pay its pension obligations.[8]

In his ruling Judge Christopher Klein said the city needed bankruptcy protection for both its fiscal and social well-being. "It is clear that the city would not be able to perform its obligations to its citizens, such as fundamental matters of public safety," the Sacramento Bee reported.[8]

The city had to grapple with sharing the financial burden among creditors while meeting its massive state pension obligations. The city's largest debt was $900 million owed to CalPERS.[9] After spending more than $4 million in legal fees to fight the creditors' bankruptcy challenge, the city had to negotiate terms to resolve hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. Even with bankruptcy protection, it faced budget deficits estimated at $100 million over the next 10 years.[10]

Stockton slashed $90 million in staff and services over three years and laid off a quarter of its Police Department as it slid to insolvency.[11]

Filing for Bankruptcy

Stockton became the biggest city to file for bankruptcy when it filed for Chapter 9 on June 28, 2011. After slashing more than $90 million in spending in recent years to a point where city officials said further cuts would endanger public safety, Stockton's crisis was brought about in part by the city's borrowing and spending on downtown development projects based on overly optimistic revenue predictions that did not materialize.[12][13] In 2013, a Judge approved of Stockton's bankruptcy status, making it the largest city to successfully file for bankruptcy.[14]

The Stockton City Council had voted on Feb. 28, 2012 to use a new California law, Assembly Bill 506, to enter mediation with its creditors. City leaders said they saw the move as a bid to avoid bankruptcy, while critics said it was the first step toward bankruptcy. The law required local government agencies to undergo mediation or hold a public hearing and declare a fiscal emergency before filing for bankruptcy.[15][16]

Stockton's bankruptcy plan aimed for bondholders and its employees and retirees to suffer losses to address the city's financial shortfall, including defaulting on bond payments, cutting employee compensation and scrapping lifetime medical benefits for retired employees as cost-savings moves, but those impacted say that they plan to fight that plan.[12]

National Public Finance Guarantee Corp. challenged the validity of Stockton’s bankruptcy, arguing the city didn’t negotiate with the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, its largest unsecured creditor with a $147.5 million claim. The bond insurer said Stockton’s proposal to reduce debt unfairly places the burden on debt holders without forcing Calpers to make concessions and still leaves the city insolvent over the long term. National insures about $93.8 million in bonds issued by the city.[17]

Contact information

City Clerk's Office
425 N. El Dorado Street, 1st Floor
Stockton, CA 95202
Phone: (209) 937-8459

To contact the mayor and individual council members, see here.

Ballot measures

See also: San Joaquin County, California ballot measures

Stockton is located in San Joaquin County. A list of ballot measures in San Joaquin County is available here.

Initiative process

See also: Laws governing local ballot measures in California

Stockton's initiative process follows state law for both charter amendment and ordinances.

Lobbying

In 2013, Stockton's federal lobbying related expenses amounted to approximately $80,000.[18] The issues for which the city filed in 2013, as well as the number of reports, can be seen in the box below. The issues column lists the generic issues that lobbyists working for local governments are required by law to disclose on quarterly federal disclosure forms.[19][20] The reports column gives the number of reports lobbyists filed in regards to each generic issue. To learn more about the details of the specific issues for which Stockton filed reports, read the federal disclosure forms by clicking the "Issues" links in the box below.

Federal Lobbying Issues, 2013
Reports Issues
4 Fed Budget & Appropriations
4 Taxes

Pensions

Services are being cut in order to pay for unusually high pensions in each of the California cities that have declared bankruptcy. The former Stockton Police Chief Tom Morris is collecting a $204,000 pension after only working eight months on the job, and while he's cashing in on $76,066 salary at a new job in a new city.[21]

Conflict over police pension reform

During pension renegotiations between the city and the police union to address increasing labor costs leading to a $40 million budget hole, the union purchased the home next door to Stockton's city manager. The union claimed the purchase was an attempt to diversify its investment portfolio. Prior the purchase the city had cut fringe benefits and eliminating 25 percent of city staff. To meet financial obligations, the city considered eliminating another 16 percent of its work force.[22]

According to the Wall Street Journal the union owned home was the scene of "noisy renovations." The union also paid for billboards welcoming visitors to "the 2nd most dangerous city in California" and warning that "due to cuts in the budget, we can no longer guarantee your safety." The city manager's telephone number was also included on the sign.[22]

Although the city declared bankruptcy in 2012, the city manager ruled out modifying police pensions and the union has agreed to sell the home next to the city manager's.[22]

Website evaluation

Grade2.pngC-
Budget
{{{1}}}
Meetings
{{{1}}}
Elected Officials P
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Administrative Officials
{{{1}}}
Permits, zoning
{{{1}}}
Audits
{{{1}}}
Contracts P
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Lobbying N
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Public Records N
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Local Taxes N
600px-Red x.png

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Transparency grading process

See also: Evaluation of California city websites

This website was reviewed on March 12, 2012.

The good

  • Meeting schedules, agendas, minutes, and videos are posted.[23]
  • City council members are listed with term expiration dates, contact information, and an email contact form.[24]
  • Budgets are posted.[25]
  • Administrative officials are listed with contact information.[26]
  • Audits are posted.[27]
  • Bid opportunities are posted.[28]
  • Zoning[29] and building permit information is posted.[30]

The bad

  • Email addresses for city council members are not provided; only an email form is available.
  • City contracts are not posted.
  • No information is available on Taxpayer-funded lobbying.
  • Local tax information is not available.
  • No information is posted on how to obtain public records.

See also

External links

References

  1. U.S. Census, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on September 5, 2014
  2. City of Stockton, "Government," accessed on September 5, 2014
  3. City of Stockton, "City Manager," accessed on September 5, 2014
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 City of Stockton, "City Council," accessed on September 5, 2014
  5. City of Stockton, "Boards, Commissions & Committees," accessed on August 25, 2014
  6. City of Stockton, "Elections," accessed March 10, 2014
  7. City of Stockton 2014-15 Adopted Budget, accessed on September 5, 2014
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 USA Today, "Judge OKs bankruptcy for Stockton, Calif.," April 1, 2013
  9. ABC News, "Pension Issue in Stockton, Calif., Bankruptcy," April 1, 2013
  10. Sacramento Bee, "Lambasting Wall Street, federal judge allows Stockton to seek bankruptcy protection," April 1, 2013
  11. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named federal
  12. 12.0 12.1 Reuters, "No release of details of Stockton bankruptcy talks," July 6, 2012
  13. The San Jose Mercury News, "As San Bernardino declares bankruptcy, experts debate whether it's another fluke, or another domino," July 11, 2012
  14. State Budget Solutions, "Judge Rules Stockton, Calif., to Enter Bankruptcy," April 1, 2013
  15. MSBNC.com, "Stockton, Calif., takes 'first step towards bankruptcy," February 29, 2012
  16. LA Times, "Stockton residents watch their port city slip away," March 12, 2012
  17. Bloomberg, "Stockton Creditor Asks Judge to Dismiss City’s Bankruptcy," August 9, 2012
  18. Open Secrets, "State and County Quick Facts," accessed on September 5, 2014
  19. U.S. House of Representatives: Office of the Clerk, "Lobbying Disclosure Act Guidance," accessed on November 11, 2014
  20. Open Secrets, "Methodology," accessed on November 11, 2014
  21. RT, "Bankrupt California cities slash public services to fund six-figure pensions," August 4, 2012
  22. 22.0 22.1 22.2 Wall Street Journal, "To Serve and Protect—Police Pensions," January 11, 2013
  23. City of Stockton, "Meetings," accessed March 12, 2012
  24. City of Stockton, "City Council," accessed March 12, 2012
  25. City of Stockton, "Budget," accessed March 12, 2012
  26. City of Stockton, "Departments," accessed March 12, 2012
  27. City of Stockton, "Financial Reports," accessed March 12, 2012
  28. City of Stockton, "Purchasing," accessed March 12, 2012
  29. City of Stockton, "Zoning," accessed March 12, 2012
  30. City of Stockton, "Building Permits," accessed March 12, 2012