From high crime rates to the fastest growing rents in the country, Stockton has been grabbing national attention.
ABC10's Lilia Luciano recently caught up with the city's mayor, Michael Tubbs, at an old building that is being redeveloped by local Stockton developer Ten Space for mixed income housing, artist spaces, and retail downstairs.
It is all part of a Stockton Renaissance that Tubbs discussed with ABC10, along with clearing out doubts and addressing some local conflicts.
Mayor Tubbs on housing:
Like Sacramento, Stockton has one of the fastest rising rents in the country, which can push more people into homelessness. Mayor Tubbs said he plans to spend time lobbying the state, as hundreds of housing bills make their way through the State legislature. “It's not a Stockton or Sacramento issue, it's a state issue.”
"We need housing — permanent, affordable housing because shelters are a great temporary solution but we're trying to make a continuum" he said. "So from homeless to shelter from shelter to housing, but right now we don't have enough units that are safe for folks to go in."
Tubbs discussed the Ten Space and other downtown projects, which the city is launching in an effort to empower locals and attract new residents and business. “It's not just one demographic, one income over here, but still diversity," he said. "That makes our community strong, living together, playing together, working together and provide micro grants to entrepreneurs in the city so there's a lot of stuff happening in moving.”
When asked about redevelopment, Tubbs said that the downtown area is not residential, so people would not be displaced as these new developments emerge. “I also [have] people that died," he said. "So I rather have that conversation, wake up every day figuring out how to combat that, and the conversations we have been having over past decade around poverty violence, etc.,” he said.
Mayor Tubbs on crime:
Crime issues are very much present in Stockton. Having grown up in an area high crime rate, Tubbs said he has some ideas of what works, or at least what doesn't. ”Two of the things are working on is this idea of bringing opportunity to people," he explained. "If we bring cops in, cops can't be social workers, bring jobs, be teachers, healthcare workers. And oftentimes that's what we call them to do."
There has been some controversy regarding one of those more innovative initiatives, which in headlines sounds like: paying people to not shoot at each other. He describes the idea, inspired by Detroit’s Project Green Light and Richmond’s Advanced Peace program, as "very logical."
"When you have a job, you get paid," Tubbs said. "So, essentially their job is the fellowship. To bring the communities together, make a community safe. It's not paying people to not commit crimes, it's paying people for a service which is kinda how our economy works.”
Stockton also made the national conversation on crime when the Department of Justice reached out to offer the city some funding to assist in crime fighting. But only if they agreed to collaborate with immigration enforcement.
Tubbs said the letter included points, which were up to the County, not the City and “In a city that's 35 percent immigrant, the ninth most diverse natural region in this country, immigrants are not just some marginal group," Tubbs said. "They are our very fabric, they are our community.”
He said that the Stockton Police Department will maintain its policy of not stopping, detaining, or questioning anyone, strictly on suspicion of immigration status.
Mayor Tubbs on Police relations:
On the topic of law enforcement relations, Tubbs addressed the multiple Black Lives Matter protests, the City Hall protests, the questions surrounding officer-involved shootings and the use of body cameras.
Tubbs said Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones “has been doing reconciliation sessions—over 80—with every community group. We had over 90 national nights out.”
He added that he met with Denise Friday, the mother of Colby Friday who was fatally shot by a Stockton police officer in 2016, as well as with other members of the community to discuss policing. He added that the are integrated into the conversation “as much as they want to be."