Photo: San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti. (File photo)

Supervisor Patti mad others leak secrets too

“Likely threatened staffers,” “behaved unprofessionally,” “uncivil and disrespectful,” “shouting,” making others feel “bullied and threatened.”

These are some of the findings of a confidential report on the misconduct of San Joaquin County Supervisor Tom Patti. The report was leaked to the San Francisco Chronicle. County Counsel expressed dismay at this violation of attorney-client privilege. But Patti himself has divulged selective parts of confidential ethics investigation reports — the parts in which he does not look like a junkyard dog.

Patti pointed the finger at his board opponents. “We have to understand the source of it,” he said of the leak, “where the spite and divisiveness comes from on the board.”

Not so fast. Patti’s opponents, Supervisor Kathy Miller and Chair Chuck Winn, strike me as leaders who play by the rules. Many county staffers, on the other hand, reportedly despise Patti — see “likely threatened staffers,” above.

The county has launched an investigation into the leak. The list of suspects has been narrowed to 6,000 county employees.

Cinemark, the parent company of the group which owns Stockton’s City Centre Cinema 16, has filed for bankruptcy. (Photo by Michael Fitzgerald)

Regal Cinemas declares bankruptcy; may impact downtown cineplex

Cinemark, the London-based parent company of Regal Cinemas, of which Stockton’s City Centre Cinema 16 is a part, has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Cinemark paid $3.2 billion for Regal in 2017 then got gob-smacked by pandemic theater closures and curtailed movie production.

In Chapter 11, a company seeks to trim and reorganize debts. Regal can cancel its contract with theaters. If it does that to the downtown cineplex, the theater may close briefly. But it will soon reopen, as other theater chains have expressed interest in bringing it into their fold, said Eddie Barkett, president of Atlas Properties, Inc. 

“If Regal rejects the lease, it’ll be reopened in a month or two — in a very short time,” Barkett said.

Hometown boy Michael Tubbs one of 50 “visionary change agents.”

Vox last week included former Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs with Nobel laureates and other intelligentsia as one of its Future Perfect 50 who “made an impact in their fields to improve lives now and in the future.”

Tubbs was recognized, of course, for his forays into universal basic income (UBI), a project piloted in Stockton. His organization, Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, has grown to include 82 mayors in 29 states and $200 million in UBI disbursements.

Tubbs, as we know, is not one of the mayors, losing his bid for reelection thanks to a smear campaign, a controversial northside housing plan he had nothing to do with, also possibly … universal basic income.

Don’t get me wrong. I supported Tubbs, who brilliantly reconceived the mayor’s office, eased the poverty of hundreds and thrust UBI into the national debate.

But I understand the argument that UBI is just an add-on to the welfare state. I personally believe a social safety net is necessary to blunt the sharp edges of capitalism. But millions don’t. Many see others given money they sweat to earn. Conservative demagogues exploit this resentment, which is why you don’t see a whole lot of politicians campaigning on a platform of UBI. I imagine Tubbs’ defeat didn’t fill them with zealotry, either.

So to the reasons Tubbs lost—smear campaign, bad luck—add arguably that he associated himself with causes more progressive than his city. Will all the UBI pilot programs take hold as municipal, state or federal policy? In the political universe, it’s an uphill battle, but Tubbs is nothing if not resourceful.

Former Stocktonian authors book on slavery and race politics

Historian Steve Dundas, a former Stocktonian, now retired in Norfolk, Va., has published, “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory: Religion and the Politics of Race in the Civil War Era and Beyond” (Potomac Books).

The book has been an eye-opener, for me at least. Because slavery was confined largely to the South, I assumed its economic, cultural and moral dimensions were largely confined to the South. Hardly.

Dundas quotes Howard Zinn: “Northern ships carried cotton to New York and Europe, northern bankers and merchants financed the cotton crop, northern companies insured it, and northern factories turned cotton into textiles.”

The South, which dominated American politics, was determined to spread slavery. The white supremacy that arrogated slavery to the planter class, the political power they accrued from it, the greed that impelled it and religion that justified it were vectors that spread it.

Historian and author Steve Dundas (courtesy photo)

Southern apologists attacked doctrines of natural liberty and human equality fundamental to the American experiment — some indignantly disagreed that “all men are created equal.”

Attacking free speech, they rammed through a gag rule in 1836 preventing the House from even discussing slavery. Attacking the First Amendment, they banned abolitionist books. Attacking honest labor, they argued that the concept subverted the natural class system which relegated Blacks to a servile underclass and elevated Southern platers to the aristocracy required of a refined civilization.

They muscled through The Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, ordering all citizens and officials, including in free states, to assist in the recapture of any escaped slave. They created kangaroo courts to enforce the Act. Blacks could not testify.

They demanded that slavery expand into new American territories. Compromises by Northern leaders fearful of disunion—such as the Compromise of 1850, by which California entered the Union as a free state, while the territories of Utah, New Mexico, Nevada and Arizona were allowed to choose slavery or no — never mollified them.

They made people who fought tyranny complicit in tyranny. And all this in the antebellum period before they seceded and triggered a war that killed over 600,000 people.

My takeaway is that oppression by nature metastasizes. It starts with the tarnish of repugnant compromise, perverts society and ends in death. That some Americans to this day espouse myths of the “Noble South” equivalent to Holocaust denial shows the need for books such as “Mine Eyes.”

Council gives marketers job of “restoring Stockton’s shine.”

Stockton City Council voted at its last meeting to hire JP Marketing of Fresno “to create better exposure, visibility, and publicity for the City of Stockton.”

Kerry Wright, director of economic development, spoke before the vote.

“We all know here in this room that we are doing amazing work in the city of Stockton,” she said. “We’ve had a lot of great accomplishments, but given staff capacity and a few other things, we just move on to the next thing to fix it and we don’t take the time to tell our story.”

Wright expanded in a brief interview. “We need to translate the work into something the public understands and is good for attracting businesses.”

The City of Stockton has a plan for the nearly 12,000 square feet of retail space on the ground floor of the ballpark/arena parking garage. (Photo by Scott Linesburgh)

Wright gave three examples of work worth trumpeting:

  • Thanks to the city’s strong plan to address homelessness, officials secured 8 million federal dollars and 30 million state dollars that, among other things, funded an impressive emergency rental assistance program to keep 5,200 people in their homes.
  • The city continues to cut its notorious red tape. Time it takes the Community Development reduced by 44%. The “first cycle” review for permits to build single-family homes now takes under 10 days. Permits for tenant improvements can be done on “TI Tuesdays” in one day.
  • The city has a promising plan for the nearly 12,000 square feet of long-forgotten retail space on the ground floor of the ballpark/arena parking garage. That space has languished empty since its 2005 construction. The Stockton Community Kitchen, a “culinary incubator” for food entrepreneurs since 2020, will open “micro kitchens” there.

The marketing campaign won’t cost Stockton a penny, being funded by American Rescue Plan Act funds.

Enthused by this news, I called JP Marketing of Fresno for more details. A staffer said City Hall instructed them not to talk to me. Good move! Wouldn’t want too much good ink!

Michael Fitzgerald’s column runs on Wednesdays. Phone (209) 687-9585. On Twitter and Instagram as Stocktonopolis. Email

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  1. Good news regarding the downtown theater and marketing of the city of Stockton. Nice to hear of the literary accomplishment of former Stockton resident Steve Dundas — and the continued political and social activism success of Mayor Tubbs. As for Patti — I think that 6000 number is a bit low. I’ve yet to meet anyone who’s had a positive encounter with him.

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