Yesterday Mike Fitzgerald wrote a fairly interesting column about various local candidates using the public's general disdain towards the city's recentish downtown spending in their campaign literature. Fitzy, being a unabashed downtown supporter, was dismayed that candidates would be campaigning against downtown and said, "to blame downtown alone betrays a disturbing ignorance of city financials." To which we reply, no shit Sherlock.
Of course Stockton's budget problems can't solely be blamed on downtown subsidies. Anybody who believes that is a fucking moron. Downtown is just the most visibile/popular problem. Partially because the only people who really wanted downtown revitalized in the first place were politicians (and, of course, Fitzy), and partially because they've been doing so at ludicrious speed. Especially ludicrious because it involves a government of some sort, and anybody who's been to the DMV lately knows speed isn't their strong suit.
But ignoring all of that, Fitzy ignores the one thing that everybody should be conditioned to know by now in this seemingly endless election season (one more day!). He's ignoring the fact that campaigns that say the problems with the budget are because we're a city of low income familes and old parks that don't have self-taxation districts would be insinuating that the solution is taxes.
We're not saying that part of the solution isn't higher taxes (because unfortunately it probably is, the rich aren't coming downtown so we can tax them), but tell us, who the fuck is the last candidate who won an election by saying we're not paying enough taxes? And even if they did say it, they definitely wouldn't put it on their campaign mailers.
Of course Fitzy sees these mailers and thinks those candidates are just going to abandon downtown, which is a huge stretch of logic. Instead, and we know this is a novel fucking concept, how about just stopping putting as much money downtown as we are (the other possible, non-taxation solution)? You know, slow the fuck down and let downtown build a decent crowd before building a huge, fancy hotel for our non-existant tourists complete with another expensive resturant?
That part might be the most depressingly hilarious part of Fitzy's entire column. He says part of the solution is "okaying only subdivisions that are 'revenue neutral' and reducing city expenditures below revenues." Which apparently shouldn't apply to downtown because another solution to fix Stockton's bugetary problems is to "offer coastal employers and high wage earners a downtown with amenities they demand." A. Isn't that what we've allegedly been doing? And B. High wage earners? I thought the problem was that we didn't earn enough God damn money. You said it yourfuckingself just 12 paragraphs ago!
Which of course brings us to the last problem, The fact that the city spent too much time catering to out-of-towners and the few high wage earners that we do have. Instead of, you know, the people who actually live here. And that's what those campaign mailers are really about.
Hell, that's what this entire election, local and national, has been about. Government has spent too much time catering to those with money, while those of us who don't have any feel like we've been left out in the cold. A $10 burger, the Sheraton, Neil Diamond, and overused political buzzwords like "hope" and "change" are just easily recognizable symbols of our city's...hell our nation's disaffection with the government right now.
We're not saying we have the solutions. Shit, we're not even saying we're right. Even if the city didn't subsidize anything we'd still have a huge gaping hole in the budget. What we're saying is that they're very clearly subsidizing the wrong things. If they were the right things they'd be generating that revenue they're supposed to be and not getting forclosed on.