Quick Links for Nov. 30th

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving, we had a nice week off but now it’s time to dive right back into it with some Quick Links!

Mike Fitzgerald, meet Stockton. Stockton, Mike Fitzgerald

This one’s fairly old but that doesn’t make it any less hilarious. Sometimes we wonder who edits Fitzy’s work because sometimes he just comes off like a clueless jackass and we just want to thank that editor for leaving all that stuff in. In this case, Mike Fitzgerald wants you to know that he’s doing his part. Or, at least, that he tried to. Because we all know that the most important part of volunteerism is making sure you get recognition for your service (or in this case, attempted service).

Hilariously, Fitzy’s attempt at helping his fellow man involved trees. Specifically banding his neighborhood together to prune the trees lining his street because if you’re going to help someone, why not make sure you benefit as well? Of course, this being Stockton, things didn’t go so smoothly. You may remember a post we did a while back where we personified the myriad of problems Stockton is combating at any given time as 3 Amigos supervillian El Guapo. Well Fitzy tangled with El Guapo a lot in this column, let’s run down the list shall we?

Fitz first locked up with Guapo in the form of haggling over price. Apparently the cheapest tree trimming service had miscounted the number of trees to be trimmed. Imagine that, a service chosen based on price alone didn’t provide the best service possible. Somewhere all the stores put out of business by Stockton’s big box run of the 90s gently weep themselves to sleep.

But the Guapos were unrelenting in their rapidfire approach. As Fitzy battled one Guapo another appeared out of the shadows in the form of impatient old people! But crotchety old people are right in Fitzy’s wheelhouse (really though, who the hell else reads his columns?), so this should be a softball for him. Sadly, it’s not.

Fitz’s column centers around this conflict he has with a couple of his neighbors over the timeliness of his efforts there are a few issues on the storytelling side. For one, he names the Guapos (in this case some of his neighbors) which would be fine if they too had a thrice weekly space editorial space in which to present their side of the story where the pompous jackass they just met from down the street spent too much time haggling with a subpar trimming service.

In fact, if they want to shoot us an e-mail with their more complete side of the story we’d be happy to print it. Instead, we’ll just guess what happened because that’s what we do best. Fitz dragged his feet for a bit and these two guys went over his head and got shit done faster. They were able to secure a better trimmer who came out and did the work in a timely fashion. Did all of the trees get trimmed? No, but some did. And some is better than the none Fitz had accomplished.

Fitzy wasn’t happy with this of course, and he lamented the fact that people weren’t able to put aside personal agendas to help the community as a whole. Welcome to Stockton Mike. Shit’s not always going to be easy and sometimes you have to fight to get shit like self-serving agendas to get results. Hell, this whole thing started as part of Fitzy’s self-serving “Do something charitable to write a column about and look good” agenda. Fitzy’s not pissed people are trying to accomplish their own selfish agendas, he’s pissed they’re not trying to accomplish his agenda.

That’s the problem we’ve always had with Fitzy, if we’re not with him in his mind we’re against him and that’s not the case. We want an awesome, redeveloped downtown. We want pot to be legal. We want a lot of things Fitzy wants, just not the way he wants it. And that’s what happened here. Fitzy and his neighbors wanted the same thing for their block, trimmed trees. Fitzy’s road to that goal had lots of self-serving conditions while his neighbors really only had one, namely to get that shit done as quickly as possible even if it meant spending a little more money. And they got it done, so bully to you neighbors of Mike Fitzgerald. And for those who’s trees didn’t get trimmed, at least one thing you can take away is that you finally got to meet your locally-famous longtime neighbor (way to be involved in the community Fitz). Plus, you’ll probably make it in the paper the next time it’s windy and the trees revolt again.

Speaking of self-serving agendas…

We’ve already done our prison hospital rant so we’ll keep this short. Obviously the personal agendas here are Doug Wilhoit not wanting a prison hospital in Stockton because it makes his job of luring outside businesses to Stockton more difficult. And Fitzy doesn’t want a prison hospital because it doesn’t jive with his vision of Stockton as a hub for the affluent cultural elite. J. Clark Kelso’s agenda is to get a bunch of prison hospitals built because the federal said to do so or else the state has to release a bunch of prisoners.

Now that we know everybody’s personal interests in this, it explains why Fitzy’s latest blog post is so horribly bias. Granted, it’s opinion so he can write that stuff, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s wrong. How you ask? Well J. Clark Kelso isn’t being a hypocrite. Like, at all. In fact, let’s go to the dictionary shall we?

hypocrite n. – a person who professes beliefs and opinions that he or she does not hold in order to conceal his or her real feelings or motives

Now, let’s look at the offending quote via Fitz’s blog:

“I remain hopeful that the litigants will come to the table with reasonable requests during the settlement talks,” Kelso said in a press release explaining his petition to move a lawsuit to stop his plans to federal court.

We’re not going to post the whole Wilhoit letter because it’s long and takes up most of Fitzgerald’s blog post, but the basics are (and feel free to read this in the tone of someone’s Jewish Grandpa since that’s how I wrote it in my head) “We should meet, we had a great meeting with the talking and I’m sure we can come to some sort of agreement. We’re just so glad you finally came to see us. You never call and we just want to talk and see how your plans are coming along…etc. etc.”

So the accusation that Fitzy is making is that Kelso is being disingenuous in saying…well, actually we’re not sure where Kelso is saying one thing while doing the other. All he said is that he “remains hopeful”. Is Fitzgerald insinuating Kelso has lost hope? If he is, we can’t say we blame Kelso. Remember that first community meeting about a month ago? The one that Wilhoit cited in his letter as an example of the community’s willingness to meet to find a compromise? Yeah, that was basically an hour of people yelling “We don’t want a prison hospital! Why are you just telling us about this now!?” If we were Kelso we’d lose hope too.

Of course, the hypocrisy allegations aren’t over hope, they’re about coming to the negotiation table with reasonable requests. In other words, it’s more political posturing as both sides dig in for what’s sure to be a long, drawn out legal battle. Kelso gave a fairly innocuous stock quote about negotiations and Fitzy’s blowing it out of proportion to bolster the ranks on his side of the argument. So while we understand personal bias is naturally built in to opinion writing, this post was taking it a tad bit too far. If you’re going to be biased, at least make it true.

Now watch as we show you how to compromise

This article caught our eye mostly because we didn’t realize that the downtown parking situation has died down enough to discuss alternate uses for planned parking garage sites. Also because I live somewhat close to downtown and a community garden seems like kind of a cool idea. But the Guapo of indecision seems to be impeding development.

This post is long enough so we’ll just highlight the hilarious parts. Our favorite is city leaders questioning the fertility of downtown’s soil as if one could just tear up the pavement and start planning. As any farmer would tell you that’s not going to work. Any garden downtown will require trucking in some top soil and planting plants with shallow roots for a while.

Susan Eggman pops in midway through the article and suggests building affordable market rate housing downtown and putting the garden on top. Which is a good idea except, as we’ve said a few times before, finding housing isn’t a problem in Stockton. Especially with this whole plan being some sort of mea culpa from Spanos Cos. before it tries to build some massive housing complex up north. We’re all for infill instead of sprawling outwards, but the only real way a rooftop garden works is in affordable multi-person dwellings (aka apartment complexes). And Spanos Cos. doesn’t exactly have the best reputation building multifamily dwellings.

Plus, none of those ideas address the still very real parking problem downtown. Our idea? A compromise. Build a parking garage, and put the garden on top. That way we’re not wasting a bunch of prime downtown real estate solely on some hippie garden and the parking problem is somewhat alleviated. Sure, there’s no housing involved, but we have plenty of spare houses lying around anyways.


~ by Slick Diaz on December 1, 2009.

2 Responses to “Quick Links for Nov. 30th”

  1. I said market rate housing

  2. My bad. Fixed it. Although for some reason the strike-through isn’t showing up.

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