For the second time in three years Forbes Magazine has named Stockton the most miserable city in America.
The unscientific study gives Stocktonians something to talk about and livens up conversation, but is the article true? We believe Stockton is what you make of it.
The Collegian staff, many of whom live in Stockton, feel it is not the worst place in the country to live. But we acknowledge our area has been harder hit by the poor economy and lack of jobs in the area.
Staff members from out of town, though, tell us another story. They say they only come to Stockton for school, instead heading to Sacramento in the north and Modesto in the south for entertainment and shopping.
Does this prove Stockton is miserable?
No, it proves people would rather go elsewhere for those specific things.
We are of the mind that because of a lack of entertainment, the youth of Stockton have something of an idle-hands syndrome With nothing to do, our peers seek out there own way to entertain themselves, sometimes illegally.
Once a Stocktonian is involved in an organization that is known for causing trouble it is hard to get out and the city has to deal with the repercussions.
There’s also an issue of crime.
In the last few years the City of Stockton cut funding to the police force, taking officers from the streets and cutting out the Narcotics Unit entirely. Doing so has means fewer good guys to catch the bad guys and allowing for more local news feature on criminals running wild.
Does that make Stockton miserable?
No, it’s a symptom of the economy.
And that’s not the whole story. There’s a lot in Stockton that makes it a great place too.
The Collegian staff believes that if you dig deep enough you will find that there is a thriving art scene in Stockton. We have the Stockton Symphony, The Haggin Museum, The Children’s Museum and amazing local musicians, usually featured in this newspaper’s entertainment section.
There are event centers such as the Stockton Civic Theater, Bob Hope Theatre, Stockton Arena, Stockton Ballpark, Faye Spanos Concert Hall and Atherton Auditorium. All host an array of arts and sports events.
We also have notable minor league sports. The Stockton Thunder and Stockton Ports teams enjoy a large audience and are a beloved part of Stockton.
And we can’t forget the beautiful Delta, with miles upon miles of water front property and excellent boating.
Forbes Magazine thinks Stockton is miserable because of the high crime rate, the poor housing market and the 18 percent unemployment rate.
Is the city struggling? Yes.
But that’s not the whole story. Stockton residents are working to fight this stigma, specifically long-time Stocktonian Gregory Basso.
The retired business owner posted a YouTube video entitled “Fighting Forbes” showing that Stockton has a quality of life statistics cannot show. He highlights the location of Stockton, the University of Pacific and solid agricultural production as reasons Stockton is not miserable, among many others.
Stockton has problems. All cities do.
We urge Forbes — and you— to look around, beyond the graffiti, the crime, the foreclosures and the unemployment. We think you may find a jewel of a city before you.