Giving a helping hand to America’s most miserable city


Our city of Stockton hasn’t had the happiest of pasts or the brightest of futures. Within our lifetime, Stockton has fallen to sequential crime, bankruptcy, a housing crisis and a bad reputation.

Stockton has been the poster child for one of California’s biggest detriments, including being called “the most miserable city in America” twice by Forbes magazine.

So, it’s clear to see that our city definitely has an issue that must be remedied.

Stockton’s parks and recreation commissioner, Aaron Edwards believes Stockton’s worst issues “stem from low incomes, lack of jobs and opportunity, negative view of law enforcement, as well as politicians taking from the poor to give to the rich.”

“Criminals come from outside of Stockton and think of this city as a playground rather than a home,” said Edwards.

Crime and safety has been a concern.

“I don’t feel safe, a lot. Like when riding the bus, I feel like someone is going to steal my bag because I’ve seen it happen,” said delta student, Angelina McPeak.

Stockton has become the center of attention recently. With Ten Space getting ready for their huge downtown remodel and Anthony Silva proposing to make Stockton a tourist attraction, citizens are asking what else needs improving.

“I thinking downtown needs to be better, it should be modeled after L.A. life. I think Stockton has a younger generation and younger people like to go out and have fun,” said Dustin Brakebill, Delta’s KWDC sports director.

The finger can be pointed to many contributors who are negatively affecting the city of Stockton from greedy developers, politicians and apathetic citizens to overbearing police.

With all of that on our shoulders, we may wonder how long it will take to redevelop our city.

Edwards believes it will take another two decades before Stockton will change for the better.

“The reason being, you have politicians that get in as elected officers and they want to move on very quickly so they look at a county board of supervisor’s seat or a state assembly seat so they don’t do their full term and fulfill the work that they should do. You have city managers that stay 3-5 years so you have a constant rollover of city managers. To add, Stockton has high inflation, the highest tax rate of any city in California which is at 9% for sales tax, mixed in with high poverty rates and incoming investors outside of Stockton who don’t truly invest into Stockton,” said Edwards.

If this is the case, the fate of Stockton may lie within the reach of the people.

So what can a citizen do to improve the city?

“They can hold their elected officials accountable and they can recall their officials at any time,” said Edward.

Edward thinks that citizens are content with their lives and aren’t interested in really helping their city.

“Most people are lazy. They won’t invest the money to create change, they aren’t involved, they go to their 9-5 jobs or their small businesses back to their home not making a change to the community. You have to change a mindset which most people won’t because they’re comfortable in their own little bubble,” said Edwards.