Today’s installment includes a nod to the Stockton Police Department’s social media prowess, Stockton’s population growth, falling rates of home ownership, and an update on SCL’s Asparagus Festival location poll.
If Stockton is so miserable, why is our population growing?
The State of California released their population updates for 2012, and despite all the bad press, Stockton keeps growing. As of January 1st, 296,444 people call Stockton home, making us the 13th largest city in the state (though if you count the unincorporated areas within the city, we are closer to 320,000). Overall, Stockton grew by .06% over 2011, which is pretty close to the statewide average of .08% and comparable to other Central Valley cities such as Sacramento (.07%) and Fresno (.09%). While this growth is modest, it is also telling. There were 37 cities in California that actually saw a population decline, but despite our issues here in Stockton, we continue to gain residents at a respectable clip.
Stockton Police Department 32nd in the country for social media friendliness
Last week, MPHprogramlist.com released their rankings of the country’s most social media friendly police departments. As social media has become such a mainstay in our everyday lives, more departments are leaning heavily on sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube to disseminate information to the public and engage in dialogue with the citizens they serve. MPH’s list analyzed the top 100 departments for their social media savvy, examining Twitter followers and Facebook “likes,” amongst other characteristics. Our very own Stockton Police Department placed 32nd overall with a score of 70.2 (out of 100). With the surge in crime in recent years and lack of resources, it’s good to see SPD making full use of social media to help fight crime and keep citizens informed. I follow SPD on Facebook and Twitter and find their pages to be very helpful. Kudos, SPD! Keep up the good tweeting.
Housing prices are up, but home ownership rates are down. Thanks, investors.
Many media outlets are reporting that home prices are on the rise. However, the LA Times writes that this resurgence is having a negative effect on home ownership rates. Despite the market rebound, home ownership has actually dropped to 65%, a decrease from the year before. Why? Because investors are crowding out owner occupants. SCL reported a few weeks ago that investors accounted for 46% of Stockton home purchases over the last six months, indicating that home prices are being artificially inflated by trust funds and LLCs. This is a very real problem not only because would-be homeowners are being undercut, but some experts fear that investors are creating another housing bubble. On a smaller scale, more investors and fewer owner occupants makes it difficult to stabilize neighborhoods as these buyers generally view their purchase as an investment, not a part of a community.
SCL readers: Keep the Asparagus Festival downtown!
As you have probably heard, the Asparagus Festival and the city are negotiating a new deal which will hopefully keep the event in Downtown Stockton. However, as reported by SCL last week, festival officials are considering a move to the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds should negotiations with the city fall through. Suffice to say, there are no shortage of opinions about these developments. On the festival’s Facebook page, dozens of fans are sounding off. The Records’ Mike Fitzgerald and Mike Klocke both penned columns on the topic. SCL’s story on the potential move has been read nearly 200 times, and our poll shows that 87% want to keep the Asparagus Festival downtown. Personally, I strongly believe that the festival should remain on the waterfront, and I sincerely hope the two sides can reach an agreement.
SCL pens another guest column for the Central Valley Business Journal—check it out!
The good people at the Central Valley Business Journal were kind enough to let SCL write another column for the May issue. This time, I discuss how city and economic development officials can attract businesses by providing walkable communities for their young and educated workforces. More and more companies are abandoning suburban office parks in favor of urban areas, and Stockton should take advantage of this migration. Check out the story here.