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Public pensions are the main problem
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Editor, Manteca Bulletin

Thank you for your opinions, for they certainly can be considered a cure for apathy of all kinds.  Please excuse my seemingly rude retort so short, but I feel like just getting to the point of my letter.

It is wrong to blame any of Stockton’s current financial mess on the immigrant population which, by the way, comes from a variety of continents - not just Southeast Asia.

The services that these people needed upon arrival does not differ too much from the standard American that also moved to Stockton during the time span between1970 through 1985 - a period when the city grew from around 107,000 to around 160,000.

In fact, historically, Stockton has been neglectful of servicing its minority communities from its very beginning starting with the African Americans which were told to “Go back home!” even though this population was very much a part of California’s Gold Rush and Stockton’s settlement - they are from Stockton.  Of course, it was not helpful that Stockton ignored its central core for over fifty years complete with a dead end freeway that pretty much institutionalized a depressed real estate market for all of the properties in the unfinished expressway’s path.  In fact, to single out the Southeast Asian population is so irrelevant that one might assume, by mistake, that you are racist.  In fact, during the same time period mentioned above, our region of California suffered a brain drain of sorts where most of the young left for better economic opportunities.  In contrast, the children of these immigrants, by and large, have remained and have since enhanced Stockton and Manteca for that matter.

The public pensions are the main problem, but another one big cause was the loss of redevelopment funds-- something that, in my opinion, was better late than never because we all can point at that program’s abuse:  a stadium, redeveloped eateries, supplementing small businesses, paying the salaries of government workers while balancing the city’s budget yet hardly anything was built when it comes to affordable housing which was the No. 1 job of such an agency - it should have been first.

Manteca’s “redevelopment agency” encompassed most of the land within the city limits including the undeveloped farmlands on the fringes which were all done just before the state outlawed that practice - this program was meant for only “blighted areas,” and our city leaders did similar activity with the funds meant for redevelopment for over a generation, so I am curious as to how our city remains solvent in its own right since there is no more redevelopment agency thanks to Governor Brown.  Now what?  Is Stockton’s fate eventually Manteca’s future as well?

Richard Michael McDonnell
June 11, 2012