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Sunlight for the Stockton mentality

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POSTED March 17, 2017 12:51 a.m.

There’s something called the law of diminishing returns.
Very simply put, it’s the point where the level of profit or gain one gets out something becomes less valuable than the amount of effort that goes into it.
And right now, former Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva is putting on a clinic in diminishing returns as he tries to spin his way out of a host of charges including embezzlement under the color of authority and grand theft – alleging as he walked out of San Joaquin County Jail on Thursday that the entire thing is one big conspiracy that stretches all the way from the South Stockton location where his crimes allegedly took place all the way to Stanislaus County.
Because, of course, that seems completely plausible, right?
I mean, it’s completely understandable to believe that he didn’t play fast and loose with the books and the money that was supposed to fund programs that benefit underprivileged children in one California’s most economically disadvantaged areas, and it’s just all part of a ploy to try and take over the Stockton Kids Club.
But for that to work, they would have to get the San Joaquin County District Attorney’s office on board with prosecuting a case that doesn’t have any merit, and then they’d have to get the FBI to doctor up some forensic documents that paint him in a bad light – and we all know how pressing it is for Federal law enforcement officers to go after mid-level politicians in stagnant cities in the age of modern terrorism.
While the charges themselves are startling, the fact that his defense – “it isn’t my fault, I’m being persecuted” – has already taken root in Manteca Unified School District after two board members used that same line of thinking to try and maneuver their way out of election fraud and conspiracy charges. Both Sam Fanta and Ashley Drain requested that the District Attorney’s office surrender the case to the California Attorney General because of perceived “racial bias” on the part of local prosecutors.
And now, watching the friends and supporters of Silva rationalize the ways in which he is innocent, it’s become easier to see why that both Fanta and Drain made the decision to dig their heels in and fight rather than take their lumps the way that Alexander Bronson did – that’s not the way that things are done in the Anthony Silva political world, in which they were both members.
While Drain can try and distance herself all she wants from the embattled former mayor, it was his attorney, N. Allen Sawyer, who represented her when she was first charged with election fraud. She has since been through a handful of other attorneys and could very well end up representing herself when the case goes to trial later this month.
Stockton might be its own dysfunctional entity that most people would just as soon avoid, but it’s also forever linked to the City of Manteca through the decision of the Manteca Unified School Board to build elementary schools and a high school in South Stockton – whether they wanted the average daily attendance funds of more students, as some have said, or they were just in the best position to offer the services at that time.
Whatever the reason, that dysfunction is now a permanent part of what local educators must deal with and plan around when providing educational services to a community that’s got one foot in each. Doing that alone is hard enough, but when those ideas permeate the Board of Education that makes the decisions that affects the rest of the community? That’s an entirely different matter altogether.
Here’s to hoping that this entire ordeal exposes this mindset – “do what we want under the color of helping the less fortunate” – for what it truly is, and that exposure that will come as a byproduct of this legal process will kill any festering notions that are still left lying round.
They say that sunlight is the best disinfectant. Maybe now having the sun shine on Stockton wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world.
The lawsuit affects more than just those named
This week the families of David and Danny Craigg have announced that they’ll be filing a lawsuit against the City of Manteca and the developers that constructed the roundabout on Woodward Avenue where they crashed back in November.
And while legal challenges from the respective widows could be separate, the amount of money being sought – according to one attorney representing one of the two families – is immense.
It is $25 million in just one of those two deaths.
I’m not going to sit here and try and work out how much a human life is worth, or whether one can put an amount on the suffering that a family goes through when they lose a loved one.
But something that I have heard and seen posted on social media about this, that I think deserves to be pointed out, is that any lawsuit filed against the City of Manteca isn’t just filed against a government entity, but against all of the residents of the City of Manteca. The city might be the representative, but they’re working with money that comes from nearly 76,000 individual residents as well as the businesses that serve them.
While some of the comments being made on Facebook might be in poor taste – forgetting that there are young children who will have to grow up without fathers – I can’t agree with the sentiment that once those suits are active that people don’t have the right to voice their opinions on their merit.

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