Bob Deis, the former chief administrator for Sonoma County, is probably not missing his old job these days, given the county’s budgetary issues and struggles to remove Agricultural Commissioner Cathy Neville.
But Deis, who shortly after leaving Sonoma County took the job as city manager in Stockton, has his own issues to deal with. Recently, Forbes Magazine ranked Stockton as the “Most Miserable Large Town in America.”
“The population of the Stockton metro area soared 28 percent over the past 10 years as people looked for affordable options to the pricey Bay Area,” the magazine wrote. “The population flow helped home prices jump 158 percent between 2000 and 2005, but they have fallen the past two years, as Stockton has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.”
The city rated high in the “misery measure’ for its rates in violent crime, unemployment, commute times, superfund sites and income tax rates.
“Stockton has issues that it needs to address, but an article like this is the equivalent of bayoneting the wounded,” Deis was quoted in Forbes. “I find it unfair, and it does everybody a disservice.”
On the positive side, it sounds as if the story has helped pull the community together.
Recently, a few thousand Stockton residents gathered on a section of town known as the “Miracle Mile” for a festival in response to the coverage. In an editorial this week, the Stockton Record said the city came together “to give the Forbes magazine publisher what amounted to a collective raspberry.”
- Paul Gullixson