An Open Letter to City Manager Bob Deis

•August 18, 2011 • 4 Comments

This post/letter is in direct response to this story which includes the doozy of a quote from the SPOA President Steve Leonesio about City Manager Bob Deis:

“The meeting last week was one of the big things. I think his working relationship with the city and the council and the citizens has turned against him,” Leonesio said.

That Steve Leonesio thinks he can speak for the citizens of Stockton is laughable at best considering he reps a union comprised of mostly out-of-towners. I don’t pretend to represent the population of Stockton, but I’m a better representative than Leonesio. If you agree with any or all of the following letter, please sign below in the comments.

Dear Bob Deis,

I don’t do this very often, but I’d like to offer my deepest and sincerest apologies for the experience you’ve had during your short time living in our city. I consider myself to be a proud Stocktonian, but recently that pride has taken a significant hit.

On Wednesday I was flat out embarrassed to claim this City as my hometown. Not because of your resignation/retirement, but because of the antics that preceded it. Please know that the selfish actions of those individuals do not represent the Stockton I’ve come to know and love. Stocktonians help their fellow Stocktonians. Sure, we may argue and/or disagree at time, but we’re still a community who looks out for one another. Those that chose to harass you, even if they actually live in town, are not Stocktonians. They’re only looking out for themselves. You’ve only been here a short time, shorter than many of your detractors, but I consider you a member of our community based solely on all the stuff you went through to help our city out.

I also want to apologize for not speaking up enough against the special interest groups that are attacking funding for our essential City services. We haven’t been vocal enough and I’m sure at times it felt like it was just you and the City Council against the rest of the City (and at times, also the Council). I don’t blame you for leaving. Family always trumps everything else. What you’ve had to endure was so sickeningly juvenile that it even caused me to give up and stop maintaining this site for the better part of 2011. That silence ends now.

I’m sorry we betrayed our fighting spirit by taking these seemingly endless lumps lying down. I know it’s probably too late to get you to consider staying, but I do have one request. Go down with a fight. In the remaining months before your departure, help us fight for the financial solvency of our town. We’ll support you anyway we can to make sure people know that while we value the services your detractors provide, they’re not the end all be all of this town. We are.

They may be pumping their fists in celebration now, but come March they will have felt the fighting spirit of a town they apparently know nothing about. Let’s fight for Stockton. Hopefully by now you’ve seen that we’re worth it.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

Quick Links for Feb. 25th

•February 25, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Jesus this has been a long week. Especially for a shortened work week. I may be mentally fried from a week’s worth of sleepless nights worrying about the future of my favorite team, but there are still a couple of elusive brain cells I haven’t managed to drown with liquor which means I still have the brain capacity to point out how dumb Stockton Unified School District is. Then I will lower myself to begging, but until then, Quick Links!

SUSD really is that dumb

When we last checked in on the SUSD Board of Trustees, members of the community were discussing recalling Jose Morales. Again. Which would be infinitely fucking retarded because the cost to do so would be over 8 times what they’re pissed at him for spending and that’s the cheapest scenario. It could cost as much as 25 times what he carelessly spent. Apparently math teachers aren’t behind the recall effort because they went and served him with a recall notice this week anyway. By the time this is all resolved, we’ll probably be voting to recall him on the same ballot he’ll be up for reelection.

Meanwhile, there’s a vacancy on the Board and in the biggest shocker of the night, they actually made a good decision and just appointed someone to the position. Naturally, this pissed off Sal Ramirez and Steve Smith, both of whom wanted to take the issue to a public forum that totally wouldn’t have been a complete clusterfuck. SUSD can’t decide on refreshments without devolving into petty infighting, a public forum to fill an actual position on the board probably would have resulted in a round of fisticuffs. Just appointing somebody was akin to ripping a bandage off in one quick motion and it was the right call because SUSD has bigger shit to worry about right now.

Speaking of insufferably long budget battles…

Fire’s back at it with their hair-brained schemes to try and remain the only people immune from the economic downturn. This time their idea is for the City to sell off their land at the New Hogan Reservoir, which is valued at $2.5 million and is currently being leased to cattle ranchers. This is dumb for multiple reasons.

For one, it would forfeit future revenue from the current lease agreement for a one-time payday. It would be incredibly short sighted. Then again, Fire still thinks the City has no reason to think tax revenue will be down again next year despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. Fire is so short sighted I’d be surprised if they could see past their own noses. It’s just a dumb idea floated out there during arbitration because Fire are dicks like that. Keep grasping at straws guys.

Ready…set…beg!

Finally, let’s get to the cathartic moment of the week. If it helps to imagine me on my knees bawling my eyes out with my hands clasped together, feel free to do so.

As you’ve probably heard, the Sacramento Kings are strongly considering moving to Anaheim for the 2011-2012 season. This is different than the other arena-related scares of the past decade in that they’ve actually filed for (and have been granted) an extension of the relocation filing deadline to mull over the decision a bit longer.

It’s no secret that I’m a huge Kings fan. If you’ve seen me during the winter months there’s a 85% chance I was wearing my increasingly worn out Kings hoodie (Hell, I’m wearing it as I write this). There’s a 50% chance that under said hoodie was a Kings t-shirt. I think I’ve slept a grand total of 24 hours since the news dropped last Saturday. I’m a nervous wreck. I know it sounds silly to say about a sports team, but I don’t know what I’d do without the Sacramento Kings.

Fortunately, the Kings have a passionate fanbase that also can’t fathom a Kingsless Sacramento. The team has a dedicated group of independent blogs that almost immediately jumped into action while I was busy drowning my sorrows in buckets of booze. By the time work forced me to relinquish my drunken haze on Tuesday, Here We Stay was already in full swing. Here We Stay is an effort put forth mostly by Blake Ellington’s Bleed Black and Purple with major support from Tom Ziller’s Sactown Royalty and many others with the intent of selling out the team’s next home game against the Clippers this Monday which coincidently also fell one day before the original relocation application deadline. With the team being granted an extension on the deadline that could go well into the offseason the movement has grown to encompass the remaining 12 home games.

The goal is to put as many passionate, vocal Kings fans in the (sigh) Power Balance Pavilion as possible to make sure our voices are heard. They’re coordinating chants, urging people to sport team colors as much as possible and just generally making sure that we will not go quietly. Hell, even if you don’t live in the Sacramento area you can donate money that will go towards tickets for dedicated fans who can’t otherwise afford to attend a game. It’s truly special stuff and I can’t remember the last time I was as excited about attending a game as I am for Monday’s Clippers game. The tremendous outpouring of support people are giving is amazing. People are giving away money in a down economy so complete strangers can go cheer for their team like wild animals for them. The camaraderie alone gives me goosebumps.

I’d like to amend my earlier statement, I know what I’d do without the Kings. I’d stop watching basketball and probably never step foot in Sacramento again. The former out of depression and the latter out of spite. I don’t know what I’d do without the Kings community though. The Sactown Royalty people are amazing. I’ve often said after particularly heartbreaking moments (of which the Kings have had many) that following this team is borderline insanity, going to Sactown Royalty is group therapy. It took me 6 years to finally be able to discuss what happened in the Western Conference Finals in 2002. That’s not a joke. I refused to discuss it with anybody. It wasn’t an emotional scar it was an open, festering wound for 6 years. I came to terms with it by finally opening up about it with people I hadn’t even met at the time after reading similar sentiments.

I’m rambling and my knees are getting tired so I’ll wrap this up by getting straight to the begging. Please support this cause. Buy a ticket and go to the games and voice your support for the team and if you can’t go, donate. Tweet the Maloofs, write letters to the editor of your local newspaper, take incriminating photos of 16 NBA owners so we can blackmail them into voting down the move should the process get that far. Just be vocal. It’s been said numerous times this week that the Maloofs are emotional guys who feel hurt by the uninspired effort to build a new arena that the Sacramento area desperately needs (Arco/PBP is a hole, trust me). Kings fans are some of the most passionate people I know, right now we need to show it. Something special is going on right now, I hope you’ll be a part of it.

Quick Links for Feb 17th

•February 17, 2011 • Leave a Comment

Today we think about the children in some education themed Quick Links!

Two wrongs aren’t going to make a right

SUSD Trustee Jose Morales, who won his seat by one vote over Anthony Silva, spends a lot of the districts money. Well, spent, I guess. Because of his extracurricular use of his district-issued credit card, in which he outspent every other trustee combined by $1000, nobody on the board gets a credit card anymore. Which is fine since their reasoning for having them was dubious at best. School board trustee is the lowest level of elected office, but some people don’t have the patience to wait until they’re elected to a real post to do some good ol’ fashioned power abusing.

Luckily, whenever something vaguely controversial goes down in Stockton Unified, everybody reacts in a very measured tone that was appropriate for the relatively miniscule amount of money that Morales’ wasted.

Just kidding, everybody lost their shit. Some lady who clearly has too much freetime on her hands even busted out an old school Recall Morales shirt from the first time they tried to recall Morales in 2009 because they were pissed he won (which, surprise, is not enough to get someone recalled). Hell, Ralph Lee White even showed up and I’m 99% sure dude doesn’t have school aged children.

But back to that recall shirt, yes, there are people seriously considering recalling Morales for wasting $3,000 during a budget crisis. Nevermind the fact that his seat is up for reelection just next year in 2012. Nevermind the fact that a recall could cost upwards of $75,000 for a special election. It’s the principle of the matter!

So, for those of you keeping score at home, there are people who want to spend at least $25,000 to recall a guy who spent $3,000 eating his fat ass through various local eateries (at least he shopped local?). I may not be a math whiz, but even I can deduce that that’s fucking retarded. If you can’t spare $3,000, you sure as shit can’t spare five figures for a guy who will probably get voted out in 2012 anyways. I thought you people were supposed to be educated. Quit being overdramatic and stop using your brains to figure out ways to undercut your political enemies and start using them for those little brats you’re allegedly there for. Speaking of…

Colleen Boardman is full of shit

Amidst all this drama, SUSD Board of Trustees President Colleen Boardman decided to take her ball and go home citing a variety of reasons ranging from frustration with the Board and their shenanigans to her own mortgage-related issues. Oh, and she doesn’t like Superintendent Carl Toliver. Yup, more friction between the Board President and the Superintendent they just hired. Talk about meet the new boss, same as the old boss. SUSD is like the world’s biggest scratched record.

Board drama can get to anybody, Lord knows I’ve given up hope on anybody in Stockton Unified doing anything that wasn’t in the specific interest of that person. Sure, Colleen Boardman says she’s frustrated with the lack of focus on the schoolchildren, but making a dramatic exit two months after volunteering to be put in charge of a board that has a rich history of bullshit isn’t exactly refocusing on little Johnny. It’s just more shit piled on top of an insurmountable pile of shit. Boardman said “Fuck it, I’m out” after the very first controversy during her tenure as Board President and then essentially told the Superintendent “Fuck you” on the way out because he didn’t listen to her suggestion about his pay. Oh, about that…

If you didn’t want to be paying a guy upwards of $400,000 a year, maybe you don’t hire a guy already making $200,000 in pension!

Sorry, had to get that out real quick. So yeah, Boardman is full of shit. One of the members of her Board majority clique just lost all credibility and she got out while the getting was good. The fact that the Superintendent didn’t listen to her because he technically doesn’t have to probably helped push her along. Oh, and the fact that she’s about to lose her house. Can’t really rep your district when you don’t have a place in that district and somebody is already repping Stockton’s Davis district. But yeah, totally about refocusing on the kids.

Daryl Camp to lose keys for good this time

Bear Creek Principal Daryl Camp is leaving the school at the end of the year. This isn’t really newsworthy but it’s probably important to point out two things. He’s the guy who infamously lost his keys a couple times resulting in the entire school being rekeyed (which isn’t really a big deal or very expensive, but bumbling principal stories are funny).

I also have to point out that he referred to himself in the third person. Bear Creek High School and Daryl Camp don’t appear to be a good fit anymore? Jesus, you’re just a principal. Where is he taking his talents? South Beach? Dude’s a mediocre principal at best and I’m surprised his departure even merited a news story.

The Real Stocktonian of 2010!

•February 8, 2011 • 1 Comment

It’s not officially the new year until we pass out this prestigious award, so let’s find out who the Real Stocktonian of the Year is!

I thought this year was going to be tough since 2010 was filled with some of the bitchiest whining I’ve ever seen. The Fire Department whined about budget cuts, the Police Department (somewhat more justifiably) whined about budget cuts, the SUSD Board are the Jedi fucking Masters of whining. It was one long year of pissing and moaning about how put upon those various organizations were, and frankly, none of those little bitches deserve our coveted award. Luckily, as usual when I’m stumped on who to give this award to, some story slaps me in the face and says “This guy you idiot”. So with much less stalling than last year, the Real Stocktonian of 2010 is…

City Manager Bob Deis!

Deis’ ascent to Real Stocktonian is a Cinderella story of sorts, the guy has only been on the job for 6 months or so, but our fair town wasted no time showing some ass and making sure Deis knew just what he was getting in to.

After being hired in the spring, he took the helm at the beginning of the fiscal year in July, just a month after the City essentially threw a budgetary Hail Mary (which is still expensively sailing towards the endzone with a bit of uncertainty I might add). Meanwhile, Fire tried their best to convince everybody (including themselves probably) that they were the good guys by offering concession packages that guaranteed we’d be doing this all again in 2011. The Stockton Police Officers Association spent this time essentially giving the City the silent treatment after loudly campaigning against budget cuts (with Deis’ future phone number printed on the freaking billboards!) before their credibility was shot when they shot a teenager. The incoming message was clear, you’re not in Sonoma anymore.

To top it all off, dude got attacked by some neglected pit bulls while walking his dog in what I’m sure he was told was was one of the safest areas in Stockton.

That’s a lot for even a long time Stockton resident to put up with, let alone a recent transplant. Yet when Forbes contacted him for their story on Stockton reclaiming the “Most Miserable City in America” title he defended this City like a grizzled veteran. Anybody who essentially tells Forbes to fuck off is OK in my book.

Now, I know that quote happened in 2011, but it was about 2010 so I’m counting it. Plus, it’s not just that quote that got him the award, it was all the shit thrown at him leading up to that quote. I’ve lived in Stockton my whole life and my resolve was rattled by Fire’s unrelenting, disingenuous campaigning against the City. The Stockton Police Officers Association spent thousands of dollars to erect a bunch of billboards telling us that outside entities think we suck. If there was ever a year to feel miserable in Stockton, it was this year. Yet, when faced with that very idea, it took a guy who hasn’t even been here for a year to look past the bullshit and essentially say “Yeah, we have problems, but so does everyone else. The people here are good people and we’re going to fight through it. You’re not helping any so get the fuck out of our way.”

If that’s not. Real Stocktonian, I don’t know what is.

Babies and drugs don’t mix

•February 4, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I know I haven’t been around for a while, but some sheer dumbassery jostled me awake from whatever alcohol-induced coma I was in.

After a long layoff I checked the news to see what I had missed and what do I see? Motherfuckas are shooting babies now? What the fuck is a baby doing on the corner of California and Park at 9:30 at night? I’m 26 and even I don’t feel comfortable at California and Park after dark! What reason would somebody have to bring an infant to one of the shadier pockets on the edge of Downtown Stockton? Drugs. Naturally. (And allegedly.)

That’s not all though. Earlier this week two men were arrested for child endangerment after the 2-year old child of one of the guys ate some “marijuana resin”. There are so many questions I don’t even know where to begin to start. I know toddlers will put literally anything in their mouths, but they still have taste buds right? Marijuana resin is essentially the equivalent of the tar and shit regular cigarette filters filter out. 2-year-olds have tastebuds, don’t they? How did she not immediately spit that out? My guess is that in reality she actually ate some roaches since the jar she allegedly got the resin from contained “marijuana joints” (as opposed to Spike Lee Joints I guess).

Now, I feel for these parents, I really do. I’m sure they, like lots of people, thought they had their alleged habits under control. They probably even promised themselves they’d stop once children entered the equation. Don’t worry, every stoner at one point or another has this pipe dream. I don’t blame them for indulging in their chosen vice after becoming parents. Babies are fucking stressful and if smoking a bluntski every once in a while helps, then so be it. But there’s a line you just can’t cross.

Smoke all the fucking herb you want as a parent, but keep your baby wayyyy the fuck away from it. Especially when allegedly making a pick up on a shady street corner known for gang violence. Get a babysitter and promise to smoke them out when you get back. Hell, have one of the parents stay home while the other goes out. If you both absolutely have to go, lock the baby in the closet or something. Sure, that’s still child endangerment, but at least your baby has a smaller chance of getting shot in the fucking neck. Babies have no place in alleged drug deals. Ever.

If you do choose to leave your child unattended though, for the love of Christ treat all paraphernalia like it’s Draino. It can’t be that hard to baby-proof that shit for a 2-year-old. Stick it on a particularly tall dresser. Buy a safe. Shit, buy a padlock and just stuff all your shit in a suitcase. Babies should not be able to get their hands on jars filled with joints!

Again, I don’t fault these people for continuing their pre-child habits, just be smart about it and use some self control. Keep the kids far away from it. Smoke in your garage or something. Do whatever you can to make sure your child isn’t exposed to that part of your life for as long as possible. They deserve to have a chance to make good decisions and live a normal life, don’t fuck that up with your bad decisions.

Quick Links for Dec 16th

•December 16, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I’m pressed for time so let’s bang out a couple of Quick Links before I get back to working on some more long-term posts (whatever that means).

Continue reading ‘Quick Links for Dec 16th’

When the Law fights the Law, does the Law still win?

•December 6, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Last month the Stockton Police Officers Association made the perplexing move to give Police Chief Blair Ulring a vote of no confidence. The vote was confusing for a couple reasons, most notably that the best reason anybody could come up with for the vote was Ulring not allowing the SPOA to fundraise through alcohol sales. At the time everybody was sure more information was on the way because organizing against the Police Chief over beer sales sounds incredibly petty. So much so that the guy who broke the story, Record crime reporter Christian Burkin, took to his blog to assure critics that he too thought there was probably more to the union’s story and urged those in the know to enlighten him.

Meanwhile, our old pal Fitzy took a swing at making sense of all of this. The result was a laundry list of nit picky complaints from the union about uniform fabric and management styles. Eventually he too realizes that the issue the union appears to be most passionate about is the beer sales thing. Essentially putting us back at square one, the SPOA pitching a petty fit about a seemingly insignificant order. At the end though, Fitz does manage to eek out a telling nugget of information. That at least one officer may have defied that order, and that they hold some serious juice within the union.

Fast forward a month and we now know that the officer in question is SPOA President Steve Leonesio, who is now being investigated for what appears to be a pretty open and shut case of insubordination, and that this is indeed over something as petty as beer sales. Granted, their are other management style issues at play here, but the beer thing is what they’re suing Ulring over. Christian Burkin explains it in great detail in his blog (which you should read), but the thrust of it surrounds a state law dictating who can be issued alcohol permits. Specifically, the California Code of Regulations, Title IV, Article XI (which CB has in the previously linked blog) says that you cannot be issued a permit to sell alcohol within a county that you enforce the law in. Somehow, the SPOA was granted a permit by Alcohol and Beverage Control anyways, and that prompted Ulring to send someone over to tell them to shut it down.

The SPOA contends that their one-use permit was issued to their non-profit organization, and thus doesn’t violate the law, which is an adorable leap in logic. Somebody still has to sign the permit and assume responsibility as a representative of the organization given the permit. It’s a safe bet that since the organization was the police officer’s union, that the signee was a cop and thus ineligible to sign the permit. One would think that would void the permit. Regardless, not only does the SPOA maintain that their permit was perfectly legal, but that Ulring doesn’t have the authority to question the legality of their permit. Which is funny since this whole thing revolves around the police department’s ability to enforce alcohol-related laws.

This whole debacle essentially boils down to a pissing match between two of the most powerful people in the Stockton Police Department, Leonesio and Ulring. The union is fed up with Ulring and his gruff management style and is standing up for itself. If they’re successful, Leonesio looks like a conquering hero who stood up to their asshole boss and his love of synthetic fibers. The only problem is, they picked the worst possible issue to make their stand on. Not only is the law pretty clear, but it specifically states that these temporary permits are subject to the approval of local law enforcement. So even if the union used a proxy and had Leonesio’s brother sign the permit or something, Ulring could still just say no just because he feels like it. (Although if that were to happen, one would assume that no confidence vote would have done better than 50% voter turnout.)

So instead of looking like a hero standing up to “the man”, Leonesio looks like a petulant child throwing a tantrum when somebody told him no then did what he wanted anyways. Only when you do that as an adult, you can’t weasel your way out of it by crying, you just get disciplined by your boss. Which is a shame since I’m sure all of this could have been avoided by opting for a non-alcoholic method of fundraising at a racing event literally noone I’ve talked to had heard of before this news broke. Man, I sure hope they raised a lot of money to make this worth it.