Incumbents Routed in Stockton as Voters Seek Change after Bankruptcy and High Crime

Change is in the air for the Stockton City Council. A city that has seen its reputation falter amidst bankruptcy and soaring crime rates decided to say “out with the old and in with the new” by rejecting a majority of incumbents looking to retain their seats. Most notably, Mayor Ann Johnston was strongly defeated by challenger Anthony Silva. The latter got nearly 60 percent of the vote and likely swayed voters with his promise to put more police on the street, not to mention a vow that he wouldn’t take a paycheck until the city’s budget is balanced.  Stockton has experienced a record number of murders, high foreclosures, and a soaring unemployment rate. Needless to say, Silva has his work cut out for him as he takes the reins of a city that is the largest in the nation to be dealing with the weight of bankruptcy over its head.

The Record reports that “Silva offered a hands-on approach, saying he will personally engage gang members in an effort to fight crime. A week before Election Day, Silva proposed a tax hike to help bolster the Police Department as it loses its battle against street violence. Under Silva's tax plan, he would ask voters in a year from now to approve a half-cent sales tax and a half-cent utility tax to raise $30 million annually for no more than five years.”

However, City Manager Bob Deis has been dismissive of Silva’s tax plan due to the point that creditors would swoop in for the revenue and the police department would not benefit.

Incumbent Diana Lowery also lost her seat after it was taken by Moses Zapien. Only incumbent Vice Mayor Kathy Miller was able to maintain her position on the dais. But more change is still on the way for the city council because Susan Eggman was elected to the Assembly, which means the council will get to appoint a new face.

Finally, when Oprah’s on your side, life must be pretty good. Just ask candidate Michael Tubbs, who strongly defeated incumbent Dale Fritchen. The 22-year-old Tubbs is a recent Stanford grad who grabbed the attention of one of the most powerful celebrities in the world. Tubbs is only the third political candidate ever to receive a donation from Oprah. The defeat of Fritchen is notable because he was one of the most vocal critics of the bankruptcy option and was chairman of the budget and finance committee. Coverage here.

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