Stockton, CA — for the second month in a row art galleries, not-for-profit organizations, and independent artist, and businesses orchestrated art exhibits in what has become ART Splash. Continue reading
(bw) STOCKTON, CA — “These women are courageous, have perseverance, and lots of strength,” said Connie Martinez, co-chair of the Adelita Awards at the Mexican Heritage Center and Gallery while explaining that they selected women who are not necessarily in the spotlight. “There are a lot of women that do not have the opportunity to have a university degree; but they work really hard throughout their lives.” Continue reading
STOCKTON, CA – Four out of seven City of Stockton elected official are up for re-election in 2012. The primary had few surprises; except, in the case of City of Stockton’s District 6. Continue reading
STOCKTON PROPOSES BANKRUPTCY PLAN
(Stockton, CA) – On Tuesday, June 5, 2012, the Stockton City Council will consider a contingency plan to be followed should the City and a sufficient number of its creditors be unsuccessful in reaching an agreement that prevents insolvency and restores the fiscal health of the City. The contingency plan will be presented at the regularly scheduled Council Meeting. The public session begins at 5:30 p.m.
The City and its largest creditors have been engaged in confidential mediation that began two months ago. The mediation allows the City to work with creditors to restructure debt and agreements under a process determined by state legislation which became effective January 1, 2012, AB 506. The legislation provides for a 60-day period of negotiations with an option to extend for an additional 30 days. The City and most mediation participants recently extended the mediation period through June 25, 2012.
“We remain hopeful that we can reach an agreement with a sufficient number of our creditors to get our fiscal house in order,” said Mayor Ann Johnston. “However, we must have a plan for any possible outcome to protect the health, safety and welfare of our community and maintain basic services. Without significant fiscal relief, the General Fund will be out of money by June 30, 2012.”
The state constitution requires cities to adopt a balanced budget by July 1 of each year. The majority of the City’s budget is not impacted by the City’s fiscal crisis. The total budget of $521 million includes $366 million in restricted funds, which cannot be used to resolve the General Fund crisis. The $155 million General Fund provides for services such as police, fire, libraries, parks maintenance and administrative functions. This funding comes from property tax, sales tax, utility users tax, business license tax and other sources, all of which have experienced significant declines for the past four years.
The City Council has addressed $90 million in deficits over the last 3 years and is faced with a $26 million deficit in the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2012. The Council believes that any further service cuts will endanger the health and safety of the community.
The contingency plan that the Council will consider will allow the City to continue to operate, should the City be faced with insolvency by the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30, 2012. The proposed plan would give the City Manager authority to file for Chapter 9 protection, if there are no other options to balance next year’s budget. The plan allows the City to provide day-to-day services until a long-term plan of adjustment can be negotiated and approved, should bankruptcy protection become necessary.
“This City has been in business for over 160 years and we will continue to be in
business,” continued Mayor Johnston. “We will come through the AB 506 process or chapter 9 with a financially sustainable future. Even though we have inherited this mess, we are committed to doing everything in our power to leave this City better, stronger and healthier.”
information provided by the city of Stockton, CA
California — As voters received their absentee ballots for the 2012 primary election, the California’s 13th Assembly District voters also received a negative campaign mailer by JobsPAC —a mailer that made Xochilt Raya Paredes reconsider her candidacy. Continue reading
(Stockton, CA) – The City of Stockton has selected a new director to head its Community Development Department. Steve Chase, Director of Planning and Environment Services with the City of Goleta, will join the City of Stockton in July as the chief official of building, planning and development. Continue reading
STOCKTON, CA— “We have to change the way we run this city; we need to change the structure of how we do things,” remarked Mayor of Stockton Ann Johnston at the 2012 State of the City. She highlighted, “We know that a band aide approach will not solve this… We have to do radical surgery to this patient —in that general fund.”
The city’s gloomy finances, a budget deficit, and sky rocketing crime shadow the city’s sunny days and in her State of the City Address, Mayor Johnston gave a detail account of the past, present and hopeful future for Stockton.
How did we get here?
Johnson explained the unsustainable retiree benefits costing 417 million dollars, the large bond debt of 319 million for infrastructure projects like local community, fire houses, the ball park and the arena that we are still paying on today. Generous labor contracts and State raids on City finances such as the removal of vehicle license fees and removal of the Redevelopment agency that she says helped to transform Stockton’s waterfront. The Prior council made mistakes and mismanaged funds without any back-up plan for a rainy day. The Valley continued deeper into its own recession beyond that of the country with extreme unemployment, foreclosures and housing market collapse (from 3,000 home built in 2007 to only 150 in 2011) with the next year’s budget looking just as gloomy.
Whats the problem?
The total budget for the city is 520 million, however only 125 million is accessible and in crisis. The 366 million that is left behind is in restricted funds for things like sewage, water, and measure k that cannot be touched. Past city councils tried to move some of the 366 million to the general to cover things like police, community centers and library’s but the city was sued and lost. With a little more than a month left, the council has until July 1st, 2012 to pass a balanced budget.
What is our current situation?
The city must pass a balanced budget; the city cannot print money or borrow. The city is required by the state and city charter to balance. Only three options, to tax, to cut, or to negotiate however, the taxes that the city would have to pay to get out of this debt would be unconscionable, the city has already cut the budget by 90 million and cannot cut any further without jeopardizing the safety of its residence, so Johnson says “We have to change the way we run this city we need to change the structure ,” by negotiating with debtors in a process called AB506, a new law, Stockton is one of two cities in the State (Mammouth Lakes is the other) that will be going through this process.
STOCKTON, CA – “We have an increase in crime. We have had an increase in violent crimes; most of it a result of lifestyle choices like prostitution, gangs and drugs but the city says they remain committed,” said Mayor Ann Johnson at the State of the City address early this month at the Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce annual event at the Stockton Port, “We remain committed to cracking down on the criminals that are terrorizing our citizens.”
Johnston explained that the city is presently working on the following:
The Silver Lining
Johnson Said that it was not all bad. The city is overhauling the Community Development Department to make it easier to do business, and that over 100 people are taking out business licenses a month that want to do business here. The city is working with Public Works to create the delta water supply project – a 200 million project which will bring us a reliable water source.
“Many would be envious of the water we have,”added Johnson. The city has also partnered to create a coalition to fight the state to take Delta water, to save the delta adding that it would be an “Economic disastaster should anything take our water around the delta instead of through our delta.”
Johnston continued, “The city will continue with infrustruture for restricted funds, infrastructure like the I-5 interchange project that seeks to connect 99 to bring in more business to the south side of Stockton,”
The State has invested in a prison Hospital in Stockton, with a 50% local hire requirement the state will bring 2400 employees on board in 2013.
The port, as reported by the Port Commissioner, is an international point of commerce, it is the only port on the west coast that is exporting more than importing- a good economic sign.
Plant Maintenance Supervisor, James Butler, is one of the candidates interested in leading the city of Stockton in 2013. Continue reading
By Mayra Barrios
(bw) STOCKTON, CA – The San Joaquin County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (SJCHCC), in partnership with the University of the Pacific and other community organizations, hosted the 9th Annual Student Financial Aid and College Awareness Workshop during the morning of Sunday, January 29th at the A.G. Spanos Hall at University of the Pacific in Stockton.
(bw) CALIFORNIA – The new 13th State Assembly District offers the Latino community a possibility of having a Latina as the Member representing San Joaquin County — two Latinas are vying for the District.
Bilingualweekly.com | Sarah Lippincott
In honor of Veterans Day, November 11th, Bilingual Weekly reached out to a member of our community who had served our country. We spoke with Vietnam Veteran Frank Reyes, who welcomed us into his home on November 10, 2011. As we visited with Reyes we met a humble person, an unsung hero to other Veterans. His service to America did not end at the closure of the Vietnam war, today, he continues to serve, annually he provides many Veteran organizations with countless volunteer hours as he helps with several tasks at each of the organizations he serves.
Bilingual Weekly News
(bw) STOCKTON, CA — on Friday, October 28th, Comerciantes Unidso (United Merchants) celebrated 14 years of existence at the University Plaza Hotel, in downtown Stockton. Dozens of Hispanic business owners, politicians, community business leaders, family members and friends gathered to celebrate the 14 years of service to the Latino Community.
“it was a humble night, but an important evening for Comerciantes Unidos’ members, as we continue to unite the Hispanic merchants of this city, we mutually support and simultaneously we support our Hispanic community,” Expressed Mario Eguiluz, president of the organization.
As part of the program, members who have contributed with extraordinary activism in the varios programs of the organization were honored. Among the recipients were:
Obdulia Chávez, owner of Vanssa’s Decorations
Maria Ramos, Volunteer and community activist
Ismael Cortez, President of La Comission Honorifica Mexicana (the Honofiric Mexican Comission)
Vicente Vázquez, board member of Comerciantes Unidos.
Mr. Eguiluz appreciated the support Comerciantes Unidos has offered him, and he invited the continual participation with the organization to achieve greater benefits for the community.
Comerciantes Unidos is formed by San Joaquin County Spanish speaking business owners.