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Slam Stockton on subjective quality of life lists but dont poke fun at its bankruptcy
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Geez, doesn’t anyone have a sense of humor anymore?

With all the stuff people in Stockton - and Bakersfield for that matter - have had thrown at them over the years you’d think folks could chill out when other folks in the San Joaquin Valley are poking fun at them.

A lot of Stockton residents took issue with a Bakersfield Condors hockey promotion planned for Dec. 27. That’s when the Stockton Thunder are playing in Bakersfield. The theme for the promotion was “Our City Isn’t Bankrupt Night” complete with complementary fake $1 million bills and a chance to win new cars including a Rolls Royce.

It’s kind of funny, if you think about it. But more than a few Stockton residents acted as if the barbarians were at the gate ready to loot and plunder whatever municipal parking structures Wells Fargo Bank hasn’t repossessed.

Bakersfield is lucky they didn’t make a video mocking Stockton’s bankruptcy and post it on You Tube. That really could have enraged the fanatics, prompting them to storm a honky tonk in Stockton playing Buck Owens music and burn it to the ground while shouting “Down with Bakersfield!”

The Condors gave way to the mob, so to speak, and have renamed their promotion “Boomtown Bakersfield Night.”

Funny, though, but you never saw such indignation when national media concerns put Stockton on the top of the Worst Lists du jour for everything from quality of life to business climate. Such lists are subjective. Pointing out that Stockton is indeed in the throes of bankruptcy proceedings is a tad more objective in nature and definitely more serious.

That said it is time for people in Stockton to make lemonade.  Sure, the city has tons of foreclosures. So does just about every other city in the San Joaquin Valley. The truth is Bakersfield has survived it a lot better and it’s reflected in their unemployment rate being at 8.9 percent for August compared to 17.2 percent for Stockton. And they have done it despite having air that is much dirtier than ours. In fact, part of our pollution ends up choking Bakersfield.

Keep in mind when it comes to the Rodney Dangerfield of cities Bakersfield probably gets less respect than Stockton in the minds of Coastal Californians whose politicians have a tendency to walk all over the San Joaquin Valley.

They get first crack at water that flows through the valley. They believe they have the vested right to slice and dice high school campuses (Bakersfield High), hospitals, countless farms, businesses, and homes to make it easier for them to zip between Los Angeles and San Francisco. They believe that it is their birthright to send pollution our way and then feel justified to slam valley farmers when food prices go up because of draconian measures needed to curb valley air pollution caused to a large degree by growing and shipping food to feed Coastal California and the rest of the world.

Personally I like both cities, despite warts perceived and otherwise. When friends that live in the Oakland Hills started slamming Stockton big time after the bankruptcy news popped up on the national media radar along with its police staffing to deal with crime including a murder rate that’s way too high, I simply told them “at least Stockton isn’t Oakland.” That shut them up quick.

The San Joaquin Valley has a lot going for it. And - without a doubt - we have a lot of pressing problems. That said one our problems shouldn’t be a lack of humor.

It wasn’t too long ago that a certain publication that has done a lot of bellowing over Stockton being insulted ran a front page story talking about Manteca being “Manstinka” and how those living to the north of us thought it was funny.

When you live in a place that is the Spanish word for “lard” perhaps you learn to roll with the punches because you know that there is a lot of good stuff going on here despite problems and what others may perceive Manteca to be.

But once you lose the ability to laugh at yourself that is when your problems really begin.


This column is the opinion of managing editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. He can be contacted at or 209-249-3519.