Mayor Kevin Lincoln acknowledged that Stockton is a city that has faced myriad challenges over the years. 

He says it’s this adversity that has made Stocktonians stronger.

“Stockton is my city, Stockton is your city, and Stockton is the city that we all love,” Lincoln said. “Stockton, we are strong, we are unified, and we are healing.”

But it was the city’s accomplishments over the last year in the face of its challenges that were the focus of Lincoln’s State of the City Address. 

The Greater Stockton Chamber of Commerce hosted the State of the City address Thursday at the Port Of Stockton. 

Lincoln highlighted the decrease in the number of Stocktonians living unsheltered and described the increase of the city’s homeless services and those that are on the way, the infrastructure improvements made across the city, progress in the city’s economic development and investments in the city’s youth. Public safety was also a forefront of 

“We remain steadfast, work together to heal the deep wounds that often plague us, and build one another up as we collaboratively address the fundamental needs of our city,” Lincoln said.

Housing and homelessness

Lincoln says that housing and homeless has long been one of the most complex issues to plague society for generations.

“And the truth of the matter is that we are never going to completely eradicate homelessness,” Lincoln said. “However, developing sustainable solutions to mitigate the impacts of homelessness and
assist our unsheltered residents remains a top priority for the city of Stockton.”

He wants everyone to know that the city is working to make progress to solving the root causes of homelessness in the city, including affordable housing initiatives, comprehensive services and wrap-around support, and a commitment to continue working with community partners.

For statistic highlights and what Lincoln says what is being done for continued housing and homeless support, see video below:

YouTube video

Public safety

“Nothing is more important than keeping Stocktonians safe. Crime and violence will not be an acceptable norm in the city of Stockton,” Lincoln said. “We must do everything we can to keep our community safe.”

While homicides in Stockton are up 19%, Lincoln highlighted that the city has seized more than 261 firearms and injury shootings are down 38%, which he described as a more accurate indicator of violence reduction in the community.

But Lincoln said that one homicide is too many and causes lasting trauma in the community. The city must do better, he acknowledged, and that includes the participation of its citizens.

“We must never forget that public safety is a shared responsibility, and the role of our community in Stockton in keeping our community is crucial,” Lincoln said. “As Stocktonians, we must embrace an ownership mentality and ensure those responsible for committing crimes in our city are held accountable.”

Here’s what else Mayor Lincoln had to say about public safety in Stockton, including addressing the city’s Fire Department and flooding:

YouTube video

Community impact

Anytime there are discussions about improvements in Stockton, Lincoln says people want to know about the potholes.

So, he noted that to date the city has filled nearly 10,000 potholes.

“As mayor, I share the same concerns of our residents and our constituents throughout the city,” Lincoln said. “What I want to assure you is that our Public Works Department and the city of Stockton is working around the clock to complete projects that serve the needs of our residents, whether it’s our pools, parks, streets, trees, sidewalks, roadways or bike paths, the work continues every day.”

For more, see below:

YouTube video

Economic opportunity

“From an economic development standpoint, Stockton has witnessed remarkable economic growth,” Lincoln said. “Our commitment to attracting new business, fostering entrepreneurship and supporting local industries has yielded positive results.”

Stockton has experienced significant growth in the last decade, with the city now being the the 11th largest in California, Lincoln says. The city’s population has grown by 10%, bringing Stockton up two spots and giving it a rank of 13th in the nation for “positive momentum population growth.”

Lincoln also noted that the city issued more than 3,300 new businesses licenses last year and that Stockton is the 16th most fiscally solvent city in the country.

“Stockton is open for business,” Lincoln said.

Fore more on the city’s economic situation, see below:

YouTube video

Youth programming and development

Stockton puts youth programming and development at the top of its focus, Lincoln said. The city works daily with partners in the community to improve quality of life, increase literacy, advance workforce development and expanding youth programming.

There were 60 students in audience representing the city’s school districts, Lincoln said.

“Youth of this city are the future of Stockton,” Lincoln said. “And a lack of investment in our youth is unacceptable, therefore making investment in our youth, in our young people a non-negotiable.”

Chavez High School student Alexis Vilar sings the national anthem during the 2023 State of the City at Port of Stockton in Stockton, Calif., on May 18, 2023. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

He noted that City Council earlier this month made a “historic” $2 million investment to be distributed to community-based organizations in Stockton.

“We are listening Stockton,” Lincoln said.

Fore more on what Mayor Lincoln had to say about youth programming and development, see below:

YouTube video

Mayor’s Key to the City recipients

Mayor Kevin Lincoln presented six keys to the city to Stocktonians nominated by their councilmembers.

Among those honored were the parents of Kristin Smart, Stan and Denise Smart, nominated for a key by Stockton Councilmember Michael Blower. They accepted their award to a standing ovation and thunderous applause.

Kristin Smart was a 19-year-old Cal Poly freshman when she was reported missing in May 1996. A 25-year investigation ensued, resulting in the arrest of the longtime suspect in the case Paul Flores, 46, and his subsequent conviction last October, ending a nearly three decade battle for justice by Kristin Smart’s parents.

Denise Smart, mother of Kristin Smart, tears up as she and her husband, Stan Smart, are presented with the Key to the City during during the 2023 State of the City at Port of Stockton in Stockton, Calif., on May 18, 2023. (Harika Maddala/Bay City News/Catchlight Local)

Stockton has grieved along the Smarts, said Lincoln, who thanked them for turning their pain in to policy that changed how college campuses handle violent crime and honoring their daughter’s legacy through the Kristin Smart Scholarship.

“Today we want to honor you … for your strength, resilience, faithfulness, and hope, as you fought for justice for your daughter,” Lincoln said. “Your city loves you, supports you, and will never forget Kristin.”

Stan Smart said it was both an honor and surprise to be nominated.

“It’s taken a community, thousands of people in this community, Napa community, San Luis Obispo community and everybody in between to solve this case, to have it go forward and have the perpetrator in prison now for first degree murder,” he said.

Denise Smart also thanked the community and encouraged them to honor their daughter’s legacy by never giving up.

“Till this day the support that we get from you is the strength that helps us move forward,” she said.

To see the full awarding of the keys to the city, see video below:

YouTube video

State of the Port address:

This year marks the 90th anniversary for the Port of Stockton.

Port Commission Chair Michael Patrick Duffy, who was also the Central Valley Association of Realtors and chamber’s Stocktonian of the year, gave the State of the Port address.

Here’s what Duffy had to say about California’s most inland port:

YouTube video

Join the Conversation


  1. Regardless of anyones misgivings regarding the last administration, there is no question that the “myriad of challenges” facing Stockton residents have increasingly gotten worse since Lincoln assumed office. Saying “Stockton is open for business” is meaningless when the only response you get is coffee shops and the Hells Angles!

  2. Kevin is correct when he says it’s Stocktonians that need to band together, get out and meet your neighbors, share a common goal regardless of political ideology to take your city back. While Ripon may not be the size of Stockton. We strive to love each other, get to know each other, and show up to build our community together. Always more work to be done as we admit our failures. I believe Kevin embodies that and his leadership can only succeed with the actions of his fellow citizens. You can do this Stockton and you have my prayers and support!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *