Mayor candidates pitch vision for city

November 1, 2016

 

tubbs-silvaSTOCKTON — In the June primary, voters narrowed down the field from seven candidates to two: current Mayor Anthony Silva and Councilman Michael Tubbs.

Tubbs came in first with 33.6 percent of the vote, followed by Silva who received 26 percent.

It’s a race that has been overshadowed by the mayor’s arrest in August at the camp he runs for disadvantaged youth in Amador County. Silva was initially charged with misdemeanors related to an alleged strip poker game as well as a felony that he recorded confidential communications. In October, the felony was reduced to a misdemeanor.

Tubbs has also had a run-in with the law while on the Council. In October 2014, he was arrested for driving under the influence. He entered a plea of no contest, paid a $3,200 fine and lost his license for a month.

While the Business Journal is concerned about the candidates’ plans for helping Stockton’s business  climate, fitness for office is also a consideration. In May, we asked Silva and Tubbs where they stood on specific business issues. In this article, we’re looking at their approach to governing and their vision for the city as it tries to put bankruptcy behind it.

The mayor’s role

The mayor’s position is a full-time job in Stockton. However, the city is not run with a strong mayor system, the way larger cities are. In Stockton, the city manager runs day-to-day operations. That is a limit Mayor Silva has chafed under.

“I’m a full-time mayor,” Silva said. “There’s not many of us in California. Kevin Johnson’s also a full-time mayor. Other mayors that have my full-time role are considered a strong mayor. For example, Oakland, Fresno, San Diego, Los Angeles.”

Silva has had well publicized clashes with both former City Manager Bob Deis and current City Manager Curt Wilson over what he considered efforts to stall his proposals.

Tubbs said he believes the mayor’s role is to bring people together to solve problems. He believes the mayor is the face of the city but that he or she also needs to cooperate.

“The reality is as mayor you’re not the king, which means you have to lead with influence and leveraging your position in ways that get people to want to work with you or work with the city on things,” he said.

Vision for Stockton

Both Silva and Tubbs believe in Stockton’s potential and that the city has assets it is not fully using. Both cited the city’s waterfront as an area ripe for development.

“Downtown is a real gem and it’s really on the verge of being something really big,” Tubbs said. “And with what Ten Space has been doing and others serving as catalysts and pioneers, really supporting those efforts and figuring out how to amplify them where applicable.”

Tubbs also said an emphasis needs to be placed on training young people for jobs that exist in order for any economic development plan to work.

Silva said Stockton should leverage the arena and ballpark to draw visitors.

“I want Stockton to be known as a tourist attraction, as an inexpensive place to spend two or three days,” he said. “Any other city our size with our waterfront would have already turned it into a Disneyland theme park, they would have turned it into a Marine World, some type of sea reserve.”

He believes family entertainment is lacking in the city and that providing more things to do would help erase Stockton’s negative image.

“So I want family entertainment here, but a place where people can come and say, ‘You know what? I remember that town. They had a lot of crime once, and I remember they were in bankruptcy, but not anymore. They’ve cleaned that all up,” he said.

Tubbs believes the biggest challenges facing Stockton are public safety, economic development, homelessness, downtown revitalization and education.

“(We need to be) working with our school districts, our parents, our teachers and our students to ensure that kids in Stockton are receiving a quality education that leads to a career or a job,” he said.

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