After making $90 million in budget cuts and holding secret negotiations with creditors, the Stockton City Council finally gave up and filed for bankruptcy.
Stockton, a river port with 292,000 residents, will become the biggest city in U.S. history to vote itself into bankruptcy. The previous largest bankrupt city was another California city, Vallejo, which filed in 2008. Look for more California cities to file in the future.
A Federal Judge will now be charged with deciding how much money on the dollar Stockton will pay creditors and how the city will restructure its budgets in the future.
Bankruptcy became the only option after the city failed to reduce spending enough to cover a $26 million deficit.
The city promised city retirees large lifetime health benefits, that you and I can not afford, and then, when reality stepped in, tried to negotiate down the millions of dollars it owes. Nicholas Huerta, a police officer, retired at 57, said the city contributes $1,500 monthly to his his lifetime medical insurance.
And then there is the grandiose civic projects Stockton built in the last 10 years. The city lavished money on its waterfront. Civic projects included a new arena and a new City Hall. We can’t expect our elected officials to squander our money in a building built in 1926. No project is too large for a liberal spending someone else’s money.
By the way, Wells Fargo bank, foreclosed on the unfinished new City Hall and three city parking garages and after Stockton stopped making the loan payments.
Stockton did cut $90 million from the general fund over the past three years. They did it by reducing the Police Force by 25 percent, reducing the Fire Department by 30 percent and reducing General City Staff by 43 percent. What about reducing free services to the illegal aliens and the welfare crowd?
Under bankruptcy, the immediate effect will be felt by creditors, who will be stiffed and receive reduced debt payments and retired city workers, whose lifetime health plans will be reduced.
Stockton residents are sick of the cuts but lets face it. They voted these liberals in.
Mike Brooking, 50, a coffee shop owner, rightfully blames city officials. He says they paid people unreasonably generous pensions and medical benefits. Mr. Brooking said, “They gave employees guaranteed healthcare when they’re gone – and their families. To people who worked there for one month! They couldn’t afford it then. They can’t afford it now. No-one else has those guarantees. The fact is that the police department is shrunk and crime is crazy and there are no jobs.”
Frand Colli said, “This was a great town to live in when I was growing up, it was thriving with lots of commerce. But now when I walk around the city I see lots of boarded-up businesses. The city has put itself in a box with no way out. Bankruptcy is the only way. Unfortunately, the same people making this decision are cut from the same cloth that put us here in the first place.
I’m relocating. It’s a crime-ridden, out-of-control situation. The main problem here is crime – I live in a nice area but even this morning I heard gunshots. Police officers are leaving the force because it’s too dangerous for them and they can make better money elsewhere.
When people lose their jobs and their homes, of course, the crime rate shoots up. My heart breaks and my blood boils when I read the crime reports. Senior citizens being beaten and robbed on a daily basis. Home invasions. I refuse to let my adult children visit me here – I go to them. That’s how bad it is. We need protection more than we need bankruptcy.”
Marcus Trull said “It’s just gotten worse and worse every year. There are more hookers all the time walking along this street in front of these businesses, and just last month my mom’s car was stolen and all the cops did was take a report over the phone. Whatever they can do to make things better, do it.”
“Whatever they can do to make things better, do it.” Hey, Marcus, vote the liberals out! Put in some fiscally conservative officials to watch over your tax money and spend it responsibly.