Monday, July 28, 2008

Oh hey News10. Nice to have you on board.

News10's coverage of the EliteXC: Unfinished Business. Stockton being known for fighting? Where have I heard that idea before? (via AOL Fanhouse)

An article about beer? Of course I have to throw my expert opinion in

Ok, I love doing the local angle as much as anybody. This whole site is pretty much one big local angle. But this shit about Anheuser-Busch hurting Valley Brew's business by being able to give better gifts to bar owners is fucking ridiculous.

I'm not going to go to another bar more than Valley Brew because I like the fancy beer signs they were gifted by the beer companies. I go for the drinks. Namely, drink prices. It's why I don't frequent those "upscale" bars like Envy and Douche Touche/286/Brandenburgs. I don't give a shit if they slapped a new coat of paint on the Backdoor and put up a fancy curtain. Oh look, everybody's wearing a collared shirt, this place must be safe. Fuck that, I want low beer prices.

If I have money, or if it's $5 pitcher Sundays (the best deal in area by far), I'll head on over to Valley Brew because they have a quality beverage. Bud Light tastes like horse piss, but it's usually $2-$3. I'm not going to drnk Bud Light any more because Bud Light can pass out more swag. Have you seen the swag they pass out? Shitty bottle opener keychains that break as soon as you try and use it. Or you could get your picture taken with a sweaty dude in the Budman suit. It's not exactly enticing. (Not that I don't have a picture of a drunk me with Budman on my bulletin board, I'm just saying I don't drink more Bud because of it.)

Valley Brew shouldn't be worried because their demographic is different. The people who go to Valley Brew know they're getting a good beer. If they're drinking there, there's a pretty good chance that they know that Red Hook and Hef are owned by Budweiser's new Dutch overlords. If places like Valley Brew are really worried about losing business over higher quality swag, maybe they should stay open past fucking 11:30 on a weekend. That usually plays a huge factor into where I decide to drink. I could go to Valley Brew, except I'll have to leave at an early fucking hour to go to another bar since the city (allegedly) forced BullnBear to move downtown so there's no where else within walking distance to really go to. (That martini bar is ok, but everytime I've been there it's been a fucking ghost town) Or I could go to Fat's, which is open until 2 almost every fucking night of the week. Guess which one I choose? I go where I can plant my ass down and get shitty drunk and not have to worry about getting shuffled out at midnight. Not to mention I don't have to be forced to watch the shitty internet feed of a hockey game.

But Slick, they're from Stockton, you gotta support the local team!

I don't even watch pro hockey, why the fuck would I want to watch the minor league team for their minor league team? Especially when the players can't even stay sober enough to not fight each other.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. The shittiness of arena tenants is for another post.

So while it's nice to get the local angle of a statewide problem, the Record's been going to that well a little bit too much lately. I want news in my newspaper, not an advertisement. The Record's got too many of those as it is.

Although George does look dead sexy pouring that IPA.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Solving this "branding" problem

A view from near the top of the Stockton Arena. (Lifted with permission from a friend's myspace)

When I was dropping my brother off after the fights last night, we got back just in time to watch the Diaz/Denny fight on the CBS broadcast. First, I've changed my mind on the "209" chants. They actually came across pretty cool on TV. Double J's horrific attempts at pumping up the crowd just made me jaded. (And I wasn't the only one who thought he was horrific. Nick Diaz himself referred to him as "the obnoxious guy" in the Record's article about his fight.) The second, and most important thing is something my dad said "Wow, this is kind of a big deal isn't it?"

I should probably point out that my dad's not exactly a big MMA guy. He later asked me if this MMA thing was pretty new and was surprised to hear that MMA wasn't the company we were watching, but the name of the sport in general. He's about as outside an observer as can be, and even he knew it was a big deal. Stockton on national TV in primetime. This was a chance for us to show the entire nation that we weren't just some place where people can't afford their mortgages. If there was ever a time to push the Stockton "brand" this was it. Of course we couldn't count on Stockton, the paper, or even the embarrassment that was Double J to do it for us. Instead, Nick Diaz did it for us by proclaiming during his post fight interview "Real fighters are from Stockton," which caused the crowd to erupt.

how you brand a city. Not with bullshit banners. Not by building more fountains. Not by taking down fences. No bullshit Powerpoint presentations. You go on national TV and say that we're tough motherfuckers who never say die. And if there was anybody who could say it, it's Nick Diaz.

There's a reason I chose the handle "Slick Diaz", it's because Nick represents this city. He's had his fair share of adversity from dropping out of high school as a sophomore to having his biggest win stripped from him due to failing a drug test for pot. He's one of the more controversial figures in MMA and every time he fights he has to deal with the same bullshit with people questioning his character, yet he fights through it.

We as a city need to fight the notion that we're a poor, increasingly violent city by showing that we're fighters too. You don't win fights by saying the problem doesn't exist. You attack the problem head on. Instead of building hotels that we don't need or paying some jackass to give us a list of ridiculous ideas we need to concentrate on the real problem, namely our violent crime rate.

If the city really wants to brand the city for tourism reasons, "Celebrate Stockton!" isn't the way to go. We have nothing to celebrate. Last night at the Stockton Arena we were given a reason to celebrate. Stockton's a town for fighting, and as Record Editor Mike Klocke kind of put it (although didn't do a very good job), we've always been a fight town.

While this site's highlighted a lot of the negative in Stockton, that's not saying there's no hope. We're in a fight. Whether it be with the perception of outsiders, the perception of our city leaders, or the perception that the Record is a decent newspaper, we're fighting. Why? Because real fighters are from Stockton.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

EliteXC: Unfinished Business Live Blog

I'm currently in line at the illustrious Stockton Arena waiting to get in for the EliteXC fights. We've been informed that the doors open at 2:30 (right about now) and that Kimbo Slice will be singing autographs for free pretty mugh right by the door we're coming in.

They're letting us in only a half hour early as opposed to the hour they usually give for Thunder games. Since it's an event in Stockton, and because MMA fans are obviously a danger, we're being patted down before we go in.

KWIN and 98 Rock are here, 98 Rock won the music outside the arena battle, which is probably appropriate. Not sure why KWIN's here, they got a bunch of stuff out on their table, but they just look bored and sweaty, just like the rest of us in line

Arena personnel are blaming EliteXC (referred to as "the renter") for the reasoning behind the late doors. They're apparently not set up yet. This bodes well for the rest of the night.

2:50- We're (my brother is with me) in line for thwe Kimbo signing. He's not at the table yet. Gina Carrano's allegedly also going to be at the table. The line's not that bad, but considering it's 25 minuts to bell time and we're in line for an empty table, let's just say I'm pessemistic we'll actually see the Black Santa Claus at this table.

3:10- With 5 mins before bell time we had only moved the length of the beer table, so we gave up and went to our seats. We got the cheapest seats they have at $35. The arena doesn't even look half full, although people are still milling around on the concourse. I get the feeling we'll be moving down to make this place look full for TV. The set looks a lot different from the previous CBS card. Looks like they're going low key as promised.

4:20- The prelim fights were nothing really to speak of. Inbetween fights the announcer said Kimbo and Gina would be signing all night during this night of non-stop fights. Which was promptly followed by a half hour break between fights. We decided to go get some food and see if the Kimbo line had died down. It had, but we were told that the line was being cut off. 0 for 2 from the announcer.

The concession stand was a nice little window into Stockton as the place we chose seemed overwhelmed by what could best be described as a modest group of lines made horrible by the ineptness of unprepared people behind the snack bar. At least the Showtime part is starting. The arena is fuller, but still nowhere near a sellout.

5:30- The Showtime card was decent but featured a lot of ground and pound, which the Stockton crowd didn't appreciate since it wasn't visually exciting. Bigfoot Silva made up for it in the Showtime main event by beating the absolute shit out of his opponent for the Heavyweight Championship. He just straight up overpowered him. CBS show should start in about 30 mins. The crowd is hot, but should get even hotter when people they've actually heard of start fighting.

5:50- The announcer comes out to run down the card and of course get the cheap pop by saying "right here in Stockton, CA" about 50 times. He also somehow managed to mispronounce the name "Diaz". For the record, this is Nick Diaz's show. Straight up. The national crowd will tune in for Lawler/Smith, but this entire arena is here for Diaz.

They're replaying the Lawler/Smith fight on the screens during the half hour or so lull between the Showtime card and the CBS card.

While I was typing that last part Double J from the KWIN morning show came out to pump the crowd up. He's tossing out t-shirts and yelling "make the 209 proud". I'm not sure if that display makes me proud or embarassed, but he's horrible on the mic. Oh, and he throws t-shirts like a girl. Our section was too high up for him to get anywahere near us, which is sad because this arena isn't that big. At least I got a reminder as to why I can't stand listening to KWIN's morning show.

6:23- Wow, Christine Cyborg just knocked her opponent out twice in one round. The entire arena knew she knocked her out the first time, but Steve Mazzagati didn't think so. Bullshit call, so she did it again about a minute late. Fucking fantastic knockout, both of them. Looks like EliteXC told the refs to let them go after the last debacle on CBS.

6:30- Double J's back out. The crowd's slowly turning on him. One fan actually threw the t-shirt they got from the previous time we were graced with his presence back at him. He said something about a midget. This guy needs to be fired.

6:50- Jake Shields wins with an impressive modified guillotine a minute and a half into the first round for the title. Double J's back out sucking. Telling us to "fucking chant 209". This is officially embarassing. At least Nick Diaz is up next. And by nexy I mean CBS has 2 fights to fill and hour with, so in like 20 mins. A fight broke out in the crowd when Gus Johnson was interviewing Jake Shields, and another after the commercial break when Kimbo Slice was being interviewed. To say we're getting restless would be an understatement.

7:15- Jesus tapdancing Christ, Nick Diaz just destroyed Thomas Denny. I can't even describe how awesome that fight was. I'm still on an adrenaline high from it. There was another crowd fight on my side of the arena when they came back from commercial. Big fat dude getting in some good punches, but not as good as Diaz when the second round started. Damn. After party is at the Boiler Room apparently. If I were a richer man I'd be there. Also I don't feel like stranding my teenage brother so I can wait 20 mins for a drink at a sure to be crowded Boiler Room.

7:30- During this extended time killing break before Lawler/Smith we're thankfully spared from the ramblings of Double J. I'd like to take some time to give some props to the ring girls who are holding up the "EliteXC" cards and dancing at the same time during the breaks. Their arms must be tired, and holding uip the cards and dancing means that the dancing is really just moving their hips. Pretty funny.

8:00 So yeah, Scott Smith lost in what will probably be remembered by the crowd as a disappointing fight, but it was a good fight. Just a disappointing loss. 95% of the crowd filed out before the postfight interview. Still two swing bouts to go, so we jumped all the way up to the front row

10:00- I'm finally home. As you can probably tell I ran out of steam during the end. This was admittedly my first attempt at a live blog and my first live MMA show so I'm exhausted. The fights after the main event we pretty entertaining. One was a 10 second knockout where I barely had time to say "Who's fighting?". Which got the response of "Tarzan from Antioch." The other featured a nice fight where Anthony Ruiz won buy unanimous decision. Thomas Denny and the Diaz brothers were milling around the ring for the last round or two. I'll put up a more cohernt post about the entire experience on Monday or so.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Least Suprisng News Ever.

A couple weeks ago I FJMed Fitzy's latest column about downtown reviatlization. If you remember, he called for more housing downtown. Saying we should give incentives to builders to build housing downtown.

Well, the most recent developer to build any sort of housing downtown got foreclosed on. That's right, even with the sweetheart deal the city gave them, including selling them the plot of land for a fucking dollar, the Sheraton may not be the Sheraton for much longer. On top of that, they haven't sold a single condo.

How could such a thing happen? What caused the biggest forclosure in all of Stockton? (Which is no small feat) Allegedly it's not the fact that noone can afford to, or would want to stay there. It's because they can't afford to pay off their construction debts.

Not having enough money? That couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that the hotel is a varitable ghost town. People staying there doesn't mean more money to pay off debts or anything. So where did the discrepency come from?

Regent (the development company) contends that the bank they got a contruction loan from, First Bank, withheld the final $6 million of a $40 million loan. That $6 million would have paid off roughly two-thirds of their $8.9 million debt. Umm, that's still a significant difference there guys. Not to mention $8.9 mil is the "at least" estimate. They also blame the failing housing market. Which is a fine claim, except for the fact that the housing market was failing when they started this whole debacle.

It's pretty obvious the reason the Sheraton failed. It's a question I asked when I first heard about the plans for the hotel. Who the hell would willing spend the night downtown? The city bought into that whole "Event City" schtick that has since been cast aside. (Great idea to cast aside a couple weeks before the biggest event Stockton's ever had.)

Clearly the hotel was going to be dependent on the tourism from the various events our event city held. With the consultant company (and by extension, the city) ditching events in favor of pink police cars and a fenceless downtown, they essentially guaranteed the Sheraton's failure. Without events to fill up hotel rooms and generate revenue all we're really stuck with is an expensive, nice looking building that probably not even the visiting minor league teams can afford to stay at. Thanks Steve Pinkerton, great visionary planning.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

OMG!!111!11! Gas that's 10 cents cheaper!

I would say it's a slow news week but considering the Stockton "Please for the love of God someone buy our naming rights" Arena is hosting probably the best card of fights Stockton's ever seen this weekend, I'd be wrong. Come on Record, you guys eat up the local gone famous angle. You've been fellating Chris Issak for years with that angle. Jake Shields deserves better than a bottom fold Sports page puff piece. Come on, this shit is being nationally televised on CBS. In freaking primetime! When was the last time SJ County was featured on a major network that didn't involve the words "terrorist trial" or "foreclosure"?

But instead, let's be amazed at gas that's 1 cent below $4. The fucking lede of story is that a guy saved 50 cents on gas. Congrats, you can afford that candy bar now. I know gas prices are bad, but the "look how low the gas prices are!" story should be saved for at least sub-$2 gas. And even that seems kinda high. But only 10 cents cheaper than other gas stations in Stockton? Weaksauce. Not to mention that in the story the owner states that he's selling the gas for cost, which was immediately followed by a 10 cent price drop today. I guess cost drops quickly.

More on MMA later.

Update: Guess what finally got some prominent attention today? Way to wait until the last second.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Shocking News! Feds make promise they don't intend on keeping!

I think we've finally ironed out our computer problems. No more posting from a friend's house for us! This place should finally get its legs under it soon. Promise.

Anybody who's spent more that a week in Stockton has more than likely gotten thirsty without a water bottle nearby. You try and hold on. "Maybe this beer will help quench my thirst," you say. And while delicious, you realize that since you've spent more than a day in San Joaquin County and have been drinking since the moment you got here. Mostly because drinking is the only real thing to do around these parts. (Hey, you try and find something entertaining to do in Tracy. I guarantee you end up at The Great Plate.)

So we've set the scene, your body is screaming at you to put something non-alcoholic in it. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Tap water. You go to the sink and hope for the best. Unfortunately something resembling Mountain Dew comes out. Only nowhere near as delicious.

Yeah, the water sucks. But isn't relief on the way? I'm sure our city leaders are aware of this. I mean, they have to live in the city to lead it. Surely they know the condition of the city water. So what's your plan city?

Ask the federal government to extend our rights to to dam water from a dam that's 35 years behind schedule.

Ummmm, it might be time to move on. But you stick with that plan guys. I'm going to try and find a way to divert water from the underground wells in Morada. Race ya!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Welcome to Titletown

It's been a slow week. It hasn't been hot enough to warrant another filler story on the front page of The Record. I haven't even bothered to see what Fitzy wrote this week because I'm still blown away by the notion that Stockton Police has long tamed the wild west that is downtown. (Of course as soon as I typed this I meandered on over to The Record's site and saw his column about regional tourism. Looks like I have more to write about.)

Today, finally something of note happens. We won another title. San Joaquin County has the worst dropout rate of any decently sized county.

Yes, I know I had to use the qualifier of "decently sized", but hear me out. SJC as a whole ranks 4th worst, with almost 137,000 students living within the county. The 3 county's worse than us have a measly 17,000. We could lose 100,000 students, (and with a 36% dropout rate, that's a possibility) and we'd still have twice the students those podunk counties have. Therefore, they don't count.

On top of all that, Stockton (Hey, I live there) Unified School District had a 54% dropout rate. Which is more than twice the statewide average. (24.2)

It may not be violent crimes, but it does feel nice to have that gold back around the wait, doesn't it?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Celebrate Stockton, Celebrate (percieved) Crime

The front page of the Record yesterday was a story about Roger Brooks' latest powerpoint presentaion. Brooks is the consultant out of Seattle Stockton spends our tax dollars on to tell us how to help "brand" Stockton. You may remember him from his previous jobs in helping out the cities of Turlock and Angels Camp. Hell of a job Brooksy.

You probably remember him from that time he suggested that Stockton be a tourist destination branded "The Event City".

Yeah, now he admits that probably wasn't the best idea. His the solution? An even shittier idea. How shittier? Let's look at his list of suggestions, shall we? (List via the previously linked Record article)

-Make downtown look festive by installing colorful light-pole banners and displaying art in empty storefronts.

Festive banners? "Oh my, there can't be crime here, they have fancy banners up." "You know, I was gonna gonna go buy some pot downtown, but I decided not too after I saw those festive banners." See how ridiculous that sounds? My friend was recently in a downtown area that had festive looking banners. Unfortunatly it was downtown Salt Lake City. He said it was still boring as shit. And I don't think there's nearly enough art in the world to fill all those empty storefronts.

-Build a covered, permanent farmers market at Weber Point Events Center. (From here on referred to as WPEC)

Actually there's nothing really wrong with this idea. Except for when the Asparagus Festival rolls around. Then it might get in the way. Plus the huge fences surrounding the WPEC will help keep the bad element out.

-Remove fences around WPEC, the Sheraton Hotel and elsewhere downtown. The fences, Brooks said, reinforce the inaccurate perception that downtown is unsafe. "It drives us nuts, the lockdown mentality you have in your downtown," he said.

Wait what? Has this guy been downtown? Or did the city just e-mail a bunch of pictures to his offices in Seattle? I've made my thoughts about this "perception problem" that city officials think we have pretty clear. It's bullshit. Hell, I served jury duty late last year and I felt unsafe. And I was walking around the place where the laws are freaking upheld. Those fences are the only thing keeping the Sheraton from being covered head to toe in graffiti.

-Pump music into WPEC, Dean De Carli Waterfront Square and other places downtown. The music selection could change depending on the time of day, season or event.

Are we talking about downtown or a mall? Considering who'd be in charge of the playlist, I don't really feel like listening to smooth jazz when I'm headed to Bradley's. Of course the other side of the spectrum is pumping in the dulcet tones of Tizzle and Okwerdz. Which would be hilarious. I take it back, great idea.

-Install a free Wi-Fi network throughout downtown to allow people to work outdoors and linger at sidewalk coffee shops and cafes

He wants us to bring our computers downtown? I don't feel safe walking around with my $50 cell phone, let alone a $1,000 laptop. But I just pervieved my cell phone getting jacked when I was downtown last year. Didn't actually happen.

-Install an iconic water feature, such as a geyser, in the Stockton Deep Water Channel. "It's doesn't have to be the Bellagio, but something out there," he said

Man, that sounds really familiar. Maybe it's because we already have one of those at the WPEC.

Of course I saved the best suggestion for last. (In my words, not The Record's)

-Festivly decorate the police cars by painting the white and pink to give people a softer view of the police department.

I'll let that one sink in for a second.


Done laughing yet? No? It's ok, I got time.


Now? No? No worries


I'd say how terrible of an idea this is, but Chief Tom Morris (I'm assuming chief of police, but the article doesn't say, so he could be the indian chief from the Village People for all we know) puts it way more eloquently than I can. (Via the same article)

"I think the people in our community don't want a softer image of the Police Department," Chief Tom Morris said. "They want a professional and visible police force that will impact our violent crime rate." He said "the expense of painting police cars white and pink" would do nothing for that.

Well put. Speaking of expenses, I wonder how much it cost to pay this guy to come up with these brilliant ideas. Luckily it tells us later in the article that we're paying him $125,000. At least $50,000 of it coming from our tax dollars. Is it too late to get a refund?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Just in case I haven't made it clear, I find The Record to be hilariously bad

I have a weird sense of humor. Random things just make me laugh out loud. Most of the time it's something ridiculous the Record's done.

I like to play a game with one of my friends where we guess what the headline for the front page of the Record's going to be the next day. Try it sometime, it's scary easy to do.

Whenever the Asparatus (intentional misspelling, but that story's foranother day) Festival rolls around, it's a virtual lock that on the front page will be some kid digging into some deep fried asparagus goodness with some sort of "spear-it" pun above them in big block letters.

Monday I sent a text message to the aforementioned friend and without eve getting into the debate about what might grace the front of the area's only real newspaper (that's right, fuck you Lodi and Tracy) I asked him what heat-related headline would be above the picture of some kid playing in that water fountain thing downtown.

I can't remember what we eventually came up with, but we were in the ballpark.

Then Wednesday rolled around and the front page was essentially another "Damn it's hot, ain't it?" story. Two days in a row, and the best they got to try and entice people to buy their paper is a "How 'bout that weather we're having?" story. Are they trying to get people to buy the paper or are they making awkward small talk on the bus?

About halfway through the day I realized something. It's hot again, like really hot. And the Record's just shitty enough to make the weather the front page story three days in a row. It's a rare chance at the same exact story running three days in a row. A threepeat if you will. (the term "threepeat" has been used with the expressed written consent of Pat Riley)

So for the first time in a while, I actually bought a copy of the Record. I was excited at the possibility of the threepeat. (Like I said, I have a weird sense of humor.) A threepeat would confirm my belief the the Record is the Plan 9 from Outer Space of newspapers.

When I finally took a look it was a mixed bag of emotions when I saw this story gracing the frontpage. I'll get to the hilarity of this story later. (Including the claim that we need to paint our police cars pink and white)

So yeah, no threepeat. I was disappointed. The weather got downgraded to front page of the Local section. Just in case the list of retarded things listed in the front page story made you forget that it's fucking hot.

I get the feeling I'm going to be doing a lot of these

Ever since I started this blog there's been one subject I've been waiting to tackle. It's easily the most popular subject among Stockton residents. Mostly because the city government has spent millions of our tax dollars on it. And they can't even keep track of what they fucking bought with it. Hell, they created a special tax for it. Hell, at the top of the first post we ever made is a beautiful representaion of what I'm talking about. That's right, God damn downtown.

I've been trying to find a decent way to casually approach the subject of the endless downtown revitalization. So imagine my joy when I left the Super King, unwrapped my freshly bought trout, and read Michael "Fitzy" Fitzgerald's latest love letter to the (now get this) "long ago tamed" downtown area. Let's tackle this Fire Joe Morgan style.

I'm going to leave the beginning where he quotes "nuggets" from "The Death and Life of Great American Cities" by Jane Jacobs alone. When you've had the balls of Steve Pinkerton in your mouth for so long, sometimes someone else has got to come up with the words for you.

"In other words, a district, or neighborhood, must be packed with people. People leaning out third-floor windows. Pedestrians thronging sidewalks. Shopkeepers standing outside. Cafes. Bars from which people come and go at late hours."

In other words, Fitzgerald's deciphering such crypics messages as "enforced by the people themselves." Fuck, so THAT'S what she meant. Thanks, I thought she was saying we should all do cartwheels through American Legion Park. Oh, and I'm not sure what mythical early closing bars he's talking about. They usually only close down when shit goes down.

"Jacobs' book contemplates the biggest, densest U.S. cities. But much of it goes for mid-sized burgs, too. Such as eyes on the streets being essential to successful neighborhoods."

Yeah, much of it goes for us mid-size cities. Except for that whole denser areas having more eyes than us thing.

"The absence of such eyes in sufficient numbers explains why, to this day, many Stocktonians remain afraid of downtown, though police long ago tamed it."

Oh, you mean those eyes that we don't have because we're not as densely populated as bigger "burgs"? And that last part about downtown being tamed is the ballsiest statement I've ever read ever. I'd link to stories but instead I'll link to the search page where I searched the Record's site for the words "downtown" and "shooting". Tame my ass.

"And it explains why, despite public disaffection with redevelopment, the final component of housing must be built downtown and on the waterfront."

Because if there's one thing Stockton needs, it's more housing.

"Public support for redevelopment declined because the city gave away the store to the arena management company and its tenant sports teams, among other errors."

Who does he want to manage the arena? The city? They've been doing a great job so far managing this...

"The part of the city's misfortune not self-inflicted is the housing collapse. By halting housing, it made downtown's comeback appear dependent on the life support of subsidies."

Yeah, because the city didn't have to approve all those new housing developments Spanos has been building for the past thousand years. (Housing developments nowhere near downtown by the way, awesome planning) Oh, and ask the Sheraton how much those subsidies help.

What about mayoral candidates? Surely they have better ideas. Any responsible journalist would ask for quotes from people on both sides of the arguement.

"Both mayoral candidates, Clem Lee and Ann Johnston, support downtown housing, though not at the cost of other services."


"The general formula bandied about is construction of 3,000 market-rate housing units. During the slump the city is aggregating land, planning and cleaning up any environmental problems."

3,000 housing units? Seriously? I'm not even going to dignify something that asinine with a response.

"The aim is to reduce the red tape and the cost of building downtown homes by as much as $100,000 per unit, giving builders and buyers incentives.

Since those incentives worked so well for the aforementioned Sheraton.

So in other words, the reason downtown is still unsafe is because we're not there. I wonder what the people competing for our votes think about this.

"'We can't count on the local people to do anything downtown,' Johnston said. 'If we do, we're foolish. They've already staked their claim to all the ag land north of Stockton.'"

Well fuck you too then.

So in conclusion (thank God), the reason downtown isn't percieved as safe is because we're all camping out in north Stockton. You know, where it's safer.

Stockton: Fighting "imaginary" crime since the mid-2000s

So a lot's happened in the last couple days Stockton-wise. Forgive me for slacking, I'm still having computer issues. Not to mention I'm one person who's trying to hold down a full time job and blog on the sly. Like I said before, this place is going to be janky for a couple weeks while we do some initial legwork.

Part of that legwork is explaining the name of this place. Reclaiming the Title is our subtle reference to the violent crime rate title this city held for a couple years before we were unceremoniously ousted by Oakland. Since then our city leaders (and that damn Record) have been trying to tell us the city is safer, and that the unsafe feelings Stockton residents have about this place is just a stigma that we place upon ourselves.


We may not have the violent crime rate title anymore, but we are the number one contenders. Saying Stockton's safer because we're "only" number two in REPORTED violent crimes is like saying Iraq's safer after we killed Saddam. Sure, it's safer, but not by much. (Here's where I'd say "don't start a political flame war, we support the troops", but nobody reads us yet anyway.)

I wonder is 14 year old middle schooler Mayra Lopez thinks Stockton's image problem is all just in our heads. Oh wait, she's dead. For walking down the street.

I wonder what the handyman at my apartment complex thinks about this issue. I'd ask him but he quit his job and moved after he kindly asked a fellow Stockton resident to straighten out his parked car that was over the line and got the reply "I know where you live motherfucker" and had his and his kids' lives threatened. Over a parking job.

I wonder what the former patrons of Da Candy Shop think.

I'd go on, but I think you get my point. It's not a perception problem, it's a real problem. Instead of talking about how to "brand" Stockton (more on that later), they should continue tackling the problem at hand. Instead the city's acting like Jim Carrey in the beginning of Liar Liar. ("The color of the pen I hold in my hand...")

And it's not even just our negative view, residents of other towns know how it is here too. When I meet new people in Sacramento and tell them I'm from Stockton, I get immediate street cred. I can see the reaction in their eyes. I'm not a very imposing looking man, so I'll take all the cred I can take. Which is why we need to reclaim that title. I'm tired of Oakland looking down at us as if we got it easy.

Oakland: Hey, we just had another gang shooting, and we sent some suckas over to taunt SF's tigers, what'd you guys do?

Stockton: We had a middle school student shot for no real reason.

The (future) champ is here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

This is a genius idea I wish I'd thought of when I started this place

I think I've stumbled upon the answer to the question that bloggers have been asking since their inception. Why do print journalists hate us so much? Is it the whole watchdog being watched thing? Is it because they're old and don't want to learn how to use a computer? Is it because they spent years honing their craft only to realize some jackass living in his mother's basement is better at writing than they are? Is it because they secretly wish they too could pepper their columns with well placed dick jokes?

Well, the answer to those questions is probably no. The reason they hate blogs so much is because they're way too easy to navigate.

I've been writing this site for a whole week and I'm already ready to throw my monitor across the room. Why? Because I've been scouring The Record's website for all those stories that I've read over the past couple months that pissed me off enough to make me create a blog. I forgot that I usually consume The Record in fishwrap form. (aka print) But I can't really link to a piece of paper, so I mosey on over the the previously linked webstie to give you guys the precious precious links that makes half the potshots I take at this town make sense. You have no idea how much of a task this is.
The Record's website appears to have been put together by a retarded 4 year old. If I want to find something I read in the Local section, it would seem natural that if you click the Local link, it would show you the stories from the Local section. And guess what? It does. Only the stories seem to be organized in no real discernable order. One would assume the stories deemed important enough to grace the front of section B would also be the stories most easily found on the Local webpage. Unfortunatly that old saying about assumptions making an ass out of "u" and "me" rings true here.

So after a couple of increasingly irritating minutes, I gave up and just used the search box to find every story I'll probably ever be linking to. And all to make it easier on you to find the interesting stories online that are buried beneath the 50 or so "God damn it's hot, isn't it?" stories.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel. The Record recognizes how frustrating it can be to locate a web version of a story you saw in print. So as a gift to you the reader, they created the erecord! That's right, for the low low price of the cost of a 7-day subscription you too can peruse an almost exact digital copy of The Record (layout in tact!). Yes, you too can pay whatever outrageous price they charge these days to read all those pages of AP stories that you already read on Yahoo for free.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Record, putting important shit on the front page since...

OK, they never put important shit on the front page. Instead they put shit like this. While I guarantee this was also on the front page of a lot of newspapers across the state, it doesn't make it right. We get it, no more talky and drivey at the same time. Want to know how I know we get it and am not just talking out of my ass and speaking for Stockton as a whole? Let's go to the videotape! (or in this case, the actual article):
The Stockton-area CHP fielded an eight-officer team Tuesday to enforce the state's new law. The CHP wrote 22 tickets between roughly 6 a.m. and 5 p.m.

"They had to work really hard to get 22 of them," said Officer Scott Siria, a spokesman for the Stockton-area CHP. "Almost everyone is complying."

That's right, the Stockton CHP office felt the need to spend our tax dollars on an eight-officer team to write 22 tickets. That's roughly 3 tickets per officers. At 20 bucks a pop that's $440. Meanwhile, this shit was happening. Thanks Stockton, keep those priorities straight.

We kid because we love

Oh the beautiful Stockton "Your name here, please for the love of God we need the money" Arena

Hey, we're just starting out. So forgive us if this is a little janky for a few weeks. We're on a skeleton crew for a while. (Interested in writing about our beloved local area for no pay? e-mail us ) Plus my the gerbil powering my computer died a couple weeks ago.

I love Stockton. In fact, let me say it again. I love Stockton. I make a big deal out of this not because the city's paying me to (although if they'd like, they can) but because if we stick with the intent of this blog, people are going to be under the impression that we hate this town. We don't, we criticize because we love. We also criticize because we think The Record does a shitty job at it. Granted The Record does a lot of things shittily (like say, the entire sports section), criticizing city leaders is just one of the things they excel at sucking at.

But we'll have plenty of time to bash The Record later. Trust me, until we get an actual core group of writers, this site will mostly be bashing The Record. Plus we'll also be relying on you. That's right, this site's going to depend on you guys, the eventual readers. We need you to go out there and find the ridiculous stuff that you can really only find around here. Whether it be a firsthand account of a shooting at a bank, overhearing a minor league executive disparage Latinos through hilarious stereotypes, or if you just want to tell us about that random sculpture at the McCaffrey Center at UOP that suspiciously resembles a vagina, we want to see it. (all that stuff, not just the vagina statue.) Not just Stockton stuff either. If it happens anywhere in San Joaquin County, we want it. We might even include Modesto, but no Galt.

Again, don't take these jokes at the expense of our city as a sign of hatred. I've been in way too many fights arguments discussions with people who tell me that if I don't like it (it being Stockton), then I can leave it. These people are usually Thunder fans, Lightening fans, or Cougar fans. (Oh wait, I forgot, there aren't any Cougar fans, the city told them and the prime attendance dates to fuck off) I always disagree with them, mostly because the only time I see any fans of our minor league endeavors is at Valley Brew. And I'm a surly, disagreeable bastard when I'm drunk.

I also disagree because I'm right. I'd detail why I'm right, but that's the point of this blog. There's some weird, fucked up shit that goes on around this place. If we leave it up to city leaders to figure it out, they'll just set up a neighborhood renaissance program in the neighborhood where all the white people are to figure out what's wrong.

Now, I'm not saying we'll figure it out ourselves. That's way too douchy of a claim to make. Instead we'll just poke fun at the place we lovingly call home. So fuck you Sacramento, at least we managed to not give two freeways the same freeway number.

There'll be a lot more in the coming weeks. I apologize if this makes no sense. I'm knocking the rust off.