Monday notes: SJ General Plan, White House update, and Forbes

Today’s installment of news and notes includes the county’s update to its general plan, an update on President Obama’s pledge to help the country’s hardest-hit cities, and the 2013 release of the Forbes Most Miserable list.

San Joaquin County General Plan to limit sprawl? The San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors meet last week to discuss an update to the county’s general plan, the document which guides future land use planning decisions. I have not seen a copy of the plan, but according to the Record, the updates appear to be more smart-growth friendly, placing a greater emphasis on infill development and away from farmland. It’s great to hear that the county understands the need to refocus the region’s growth patterns in a way that is sustainable in the long run. If the growth pattern of the last ten years were to continue unimpeded, San Joaquin County would eventually resemble an amoeba of indistinguishable cities, much like Southern California.

Will the SJ general plan help preserve farmland? (Courtesy Michele Valentinuz)

Will the SJ general plan help preserve farmland? (Courtesy Michele Valentinuz)

The Record article was also a bit confusing, noting that the board decided to “not limit commercial and industrial development to major highways, to not exclude new residential development in rural areas, and to look at appropriate areas to expand urban limits or develop away from existing urban centers.” This seems to directly contradict the board’s goal of preserving farmland, and the Stockton-based slow growth group Campaign for Common Ground raised some concerns. To be fair, I haven’t seen the plan, so I can’t make assumptions one way or another if the commission is sincere in their efforts to preserve farmland and refocus growth inward. I certainly hope they are.

Still no word from the White House- As of this weekend, the Obama Administration has not elaborated on the president’s State of the Union pledge to help the “20 hardest-hit towns in America” However, President Obama has dropped some hints of what this assistance might look like while stumping in Chicago for his second-term agenda:

[President Obama] promised that his administration would partner with the 20 hardest-hit towns, working with local leaders to direct resources to public safety, education and housing, and proposed new tax credits for businesses that hire and invest.

Obama’s remarks seem to indicate a somewhat different approach than the Strong Cities, Strong Communities initiative I discussed a couple of weeks ago. This initiative targeted hard-luck cities for federal assistance in a variety of areas. Either way, any assistance from Washington would be welcome news here in the valley. Congressman Jerry McNerney is advocating for Stockton‘s inclusion in Obama’s plan, I am eager to see what happens next.

Forbes at it again- Lastly, our good friends at Forbes’ Magazine released this year’s edition of their “Most Miserable Cities” rankings, with Stockton coming in at number eight (the link is to the Record article, not Forbes Magazine because I don’t want to contribute to the list’s view counter.) And just like previous editions of this list, the criteria used by Forbes remain superfluous and unscientific. Northern California was well represented, with Modesto, Sacramento and Vallejo also landing amongst the top 20.

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Categories: Community Commentary

Author:David A. Garcia

David A. Garcia created SCL in March of 2012. Garcia is a Stockton native with a background in urban policy and planning, holding a Bachelor's Degree from UCLA as well as a Master's Degree in Public Policy from the Johns Hopkins Institute for Policy Studies. He currently serves as the Policy Director at the UC Berkeley Terner Center for Housing Innovation. David was also COO at Ten Space, a real estate development firm focused exclusively on Downtown Stockton, and continues to advise on their projects. Prior to that, he worked three years as a researcher/analyst for a Congressional research agency in Washington, DC. The views expressed on this site are entirely of the author's

One Comment on “Monday notes: SJ General Plan, White House update, and Forbes”

  1. Jon Seisa
    February 25, 2013 at 10:37 pm #

    Unfortunately, outsider opinions and perceived viewpoints of Stockton are heavily influenced by such bad publicity generated via self-proclaimed authorities, like the major national periodical Forbes Magazine, despite the legitimacy (or illegitimacy) of methodology utilized in their analysis. This type of image-assassination can be a compound detriment, besides actual city conditions a community is attempting to remedy, and sadly it is one more obstacle to overcome and not very welcome. There’s a lot that is good about Stockton that gets entirely overlooked, simply because it’s not seedy sensationalism to sell magazines bent on capitalizing on negative destructivity to meet their bottom line, rather than focusing on positive constructivity that inspires and uplifts the Human Spirit. One becomes what one consumes (you are what you eat), so if influential entities like Forbes would, instead, punctuate the silver lining, then we all will be better for it. That’s what I loved about Huell Howser (R.I.P)… he gushed about everything good, and it was contagious; he saw the silver lining in everything. His road trip interviews and travel logs through Stockton made one feel like the city and what gems it harbors were and are really special. People need to keep that kind of innocent spirit alive in order to precipitate positive change.

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