We did miss one other thing on Friday, something big. Something that let's you know that spring is in the air, everyone has that little extra spring in their step, birds chirping, all that crap that let's you know it's time for some good ol' fashioned summer lovin'. That's right, Fitzy's in love again! He's now apparently spurned the advances of IFG's Stephen Grossman, on the same day he bought him a Dylan/Nelson/Mellencamp concert too! That bitch!
Yes, he's spurned Grossman (from now on known as the Ex Cannon) in favor of a man who knows Fitzy's true love, downtown revitalization. Yes, in a move not unlike that one girl you know who only dates douchebags in emo bands who wear more eyeliner than she does, Fitzy has fallen hard for Revitalization Director David Harzoff. Whom you may or may not remember from this little incident. He's also known as the guy who replaced longtime Fitz love Steve Pinkerton, who left Fitzy after 12 blissful years to take a better job in Manteca and then blogged about it to presumably rub it in his face ("look how happy I am over here without you!").
What turn of events could cause Fitzy to switch horses so quickly? Well, he was wooed with some pillow talk about downtown housing that got him so hot and bothered he chased down Harzoff after the event at Casa Flores (without paying! OMG this is straight out of a Hugh Grant movie!) and said "Talk dirty to me."
Of course, all that dirty talk was theoretical because we have no money to actually, you know, do anything. But Fitzy was still fascinated and gazed longingly into Herzoff's eyes as he spouted off bullshit for him to report to the masses.
Included in that bullshit is a plan to revitalize the nicest area near downtown (Fremont Street) and tear down a state office building (which I'm sure the state would love) and replace it with more shops and cafes. And then he wants to bring in a developer to turn the B+M building into 4 different things, a first floor family style restaurant complete with it's own gourmet hot dog window, a second-floor dance club (because we don't have enough douchey Euro bars as it is), and a third floor private club (because if there's one thing we've learned from this whole thing it's that the citizens of Stockton love snooty private clubs for the rich). Sound ambitious? Yeah, he's pretty proud of himself. From the column:
"'All of a sudden, that plaza starts feeling a lit more like a district,' Harzoff said approvingly."
Sure, I guess, but this is all just in theory. Like when Bris, Duke, and I talk about buying up Stockton Stooges and opening up our own bar. But, like the downtown's redevelopment district, we're broke so those talks stay just that, talks. David Harzoff doesn't go down as easily. Again from the column:
"This sticking point is being addressed in two ways, Harzoff said. First, he is merging two Port redevelopment districts with the downtown district."
So taking money from other districts to fund even more downtown projects? Yeah, Stockton's voters will love that.
"Merging it with two districts at the port, where business is robust, gives it access to millions. But, Harzoff hastened to add, all these dollars will not be taken from the port, which is generating sorely needed jobs."
So we'll merge downtown's district with two port districts because the downtown district has no money, but we won't be taking money from the port? Makes total sense.
"The second policy shift is balance. A share for downtown, a share for the port, a share for the southside and other districts. Not robbing Peter to pay Paul until Peter threatens a recall."
(Reads that paragraph again.)
(Reads entire column again.)
(Reads paragraph again)
(Downs shot of whiskey)
Umm, what? A share of the port district money? A share of the revenue generated from downtown? A share of redevelopment money in general? A share of delicious pie? What the fuck is he talking about? (Note: We know what he's talking about, he just never actually says it in the column. Which could confuse people who don't know exactly how redevelopment funds work. Which, judging by that town hall meeting last week, is a lot of people.)
Fuck this, I'm done. Fitzy's entire column is a load of bullshit. More championing for the downtown district he's been so fond of. It's like he just ignored the last few years happened, you know, the part where everybody got fed up with the consistent flow of cash into one concentrated area. But instead of completely ignoring that, he just wants to make that concentrated area bigger so we can pump even more cash downtown, yet somehow balance that cash and send it southside as well.
Look, we're all for having a decent downtown entertainment district. We'd love to have more venues for drinking and catching some local band, but for the love of God not now. Nobody's saying let's completely abandon downtown since it's failed, what we're saying it slow the fuck down and let the rest of us catch up. And while we're catching up, concentrate on other areas of Stockton.
Downtown's future was never in doubt, we just don't know exactly what that future will entail. People will come around and downtown will thrive. It may not thrive like Fitzy or others wanted it to thrive (as a hub for the rich movers and shakers of the area), but it will find its niche that's decidedly Stockton and that's when more growth may be warranted. Smart growth, not this trial by error shit Harzoff's spouting (which is what got us in this mess in the first place).
Downtown's going through changes right now, people are realizing that maybe trying to be like other cities is a bad idea (I swear to God the next person who mentions San Antonio's River Walk is getting punched in the mouth), we just need to be like Stockton. Unfortunately those in charge haven't figured out what Stockton is yet. Once they have we can act, but until then shut the fuck up about pumping more cash downtown. We're fucking tired of it.