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.