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“We need to paint a different picture about what Stockton is,” said Vice Mayor Elbert Holman.
The idea for an image campaign was first discussed several years ago while the city was working its way through bankruptcy. Then-City Manager Bob Deis suggested that when Stockton emerged from bankruptcy, it would need to repair its image. The city budgeted $75,000 for the project.
A few months ago, the city manager’s office commissioned Daly Video Services to produce a series of videos. They feature residents explaining why they choose to live in Stockton.
“I’ve seen two of them,” Holman said. “I think they’re well done. They’re the kind of information that resonates with people.”
Earl Brown, who owns car-care company Radiant Ride, is one of the people featured in the first video. He said he was happy to be part of the effort to fight the negativity surrounding the city.
“An optimism assault was called for,” he said. “I’ve always been proud of Stockton having traveled around the country.”
In the video, Brown talks about why he chose to base his business in Stockton.
“We have plenty of resources to support business growth in every sector,” he says in the video.
Goodstock’s Amy Sieffert also appears in the first video describing the creative community. Sieffert runs the monthly Stockmarket pop-up market in Stockton’s Miracle Mile.
“We have artists, we have woodworkers, we have jewelry-makers,” she says in the video.
She hopes that when people watch the videos, they see a little of themselves in them.
“Stockton has gotten a bad rap,” Sieffert said. “But those of us who make up Stockton are just like everyone else in every other medium-sized city. We’re hard working and we have families.”
She said one of her favorite stories is from astronaut Jose Hernandez.
“Something that hit home with me was when he said as a child he would go with his family in the early mornings to pick whatever the latest in-season crop was, and he would look up at the sky and that really inspired him to follow his dream,” she said. “You don’t hear those kinds of stories every day.”
The videos began appearing on YouTube and Facebook in early February. There is no advertising budget for the videos, so they are promoted on social media by Sass Public Relations.
By the end of February, the first video had been viewed on YouTube more than 300 times and more than 16,000 times on Facebook. The project’s Facebook page also had nearly 900 likes.
New videos appear every couple of weeks or so. Other featured Stocktonians include fourth-generation resident Kristen Spracher-Birtwhistle, poet Brandon Leake and furniture maker Jared Rusten.