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Stockton in the spotlight again — this time over sanctuary city controversy

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POSTED August 4, 2017 1:34 a.m.

For reasons that nobody can quite figure out, the Trump administration has decided to name Stockton as one of the four American cities it is targeting by withholding funds in retaliation for being a “sanctuary” for suspected illegal immigrants.
Because when we think about the flashpoint for immigration politics in America, the first city that we all think about is Stockton, right?
Typically, I tend to stay away from national politics in this weekly roundup of random thoughts because it’s supposed to be about local things and people can’t turn around with running into political commentary about what is happening to Washington. But much to my surprise – and delight – I read a Los Angeles Time article that listed Stockton, along with San Bernardino, Albuquerque, and Baltimore, as cities that Attorney General Jeff Sessions could withhold Department of Justice crime prevention funding from.
Up and until this point I was under the impression that San Francisco, who first made the concept of “sanctuary cities” famous with its bold and defiant stance to federal authorities long before Trump placed hand on the Lincoln Bible, would surely be the target to the conservative administration that focused much of its campaign attention to the story of Kate Steinle, who was killed in the city by an illegal immigrant who had been deported and re-entered the country.
And truthfully, it wouldn’t bother me that much if San Francisco had some of its funds withheld – as the epicenter of Northern California commerce and one of the most heavily-visited tourist cities in the world, recouping the money that was administered by the Department of Justice (I haven’t checked to see if they received the same funds as the other cities, but am assuming so) wouldn’t be nearly as difficult.
But instead, they chose two mid-sized California cities that have both filed for bankruptcy within the last decade, and both of which have been plagued by violent crime.
That makes total sense – take away money for crime-prevention programs in places that are rife with crime just to make a political point.
Taking my political feelings about the man and the administration out of it, the move to punish struggling communities simply because it appeases the base and fulfills a campaign promise is both short-sighted and petty. While it typically takes a while for national political fervor to reach the local level, this move – if it indeed happens – could impact not only Stockton, but the rest of San Joaquin County as well.
There’s a reason that auto theft is an issue in Manteca, and it mainly has to do with the fact that the city is wedged between two of California’s auto theft hot spots – Stockton and Modesto. Conventional wisdom would tell you that other forms of crime from those communities, especially those within the same county, would also follow a similar pattern.
In short – what happens to Stockton directly affects what happens in Manteca, to some extent.
But what more should I expect from a President who complained the Prime Minister of Australia that he didn’t want to take the refugees that had been agreed upon by the previous administration because he knew, deep in his heart of hearts, that they wouldn’t come here and work for the “local dairy people.”
The Internet had a lot of fun with that one, and some local dairy people I know got an extra heavy chuckle before the groan of the implication finally set in.
It wasn’t that long ago that Stockton was a place that the President of the United States saw fit to visit – complete with Air Force One landing at the Stockton Airport – and now it has become just a name on a list that can be used as a chip in a political poker game that won’t actually achieve anything substantial.
Welcome to the new normal.

The 99/120 interchange –
always a tad behind the
curve (pun intended)
Earlier this week we got a look at the Caltrans proposal for the interchange of the Highway 120 Bypass and Highway 99, and it’s something that will drastically improve the traffic flow along one of the most congested sections of roadway in San Joaquin County.
But part of me has to laugh at the fact that the additional lane that will allow traffic to flow onto or off of Highway 99 at peak times to alleviate the all-to-familiar backups in both directions is simply a game of catch-up rather than a proposal that will actually make a viable, long-term difference.
I’m no traffic engineer, but something tells me that the 120 Bypass, which is currently only two lanes, won’t be enough to accommodate the tens of thousands of people that will be moving into this area over the course of the next 20 years.
Take, for example, Austin Road.
According to a traffic survey prepared for the project, the section of Austin Road south of Highway 99 headed towards Sedan Avenue will, by 2040, will see more traffic on a daily basis than Manteca’s busiest intersection – Main Street and Louise Avenue – sees today.
That is a staggering statistic, especially for a rural stretch of road, and it speaks to the volume of new housing growth that will dominate that region for the foreseeable future.
Unfortunately, the only people that will be able to afford those new houses are those who are moving here from the Bay Area to commute. Therefore the lion’s share of those residents will be part of the daily trek across the 120 Bypass every morning and back every night.
So just because they’re adding additional lanes to ease the transition onto Highway 99 South or onto the bypass heading west, I don’t see how a two-lane road will be able to accommodate all of that additional growth.
I could be wrong, but I have visions of the I-205 gridlock before the expansions dancing in my head.
Time will tell.

To contact reporter Jason Campbell email jcampbell@mantecabulletin.com or call 209.249.3544.

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