The issues in south Stockton aren’t going away. But neither are the opportunities.
This portion of the city has been plagued by crime, poverty, housing issues, blight, lack of services and more for decades.
Help is long overdue.
These facts were expressed once again in a San Joaquin County Civil Grand Jury report issued Wednesday.
The report called on Stockton City Hall to take action to help improve conditions in south Stockton.
“While many civil and religious groups are working to make positive changes in that part of the city, only city government has the resources, police powers and platform for communication to effect real change,” the report stated.
Residents have been consistent in their longtime complaints that the city does not do enough for south Stockton.
The grand jury report, in some ways, echoes a series of special reports by The Record last year called “Why South Stockton Matters.”
In fact, the actual name of the civil grand jury’s report — As the South Side Goes, So Goes Stockton — was word-for-word the same as the headline on a Record editorial on July 27, 2014, after our series of articles on south Stockton.
It’s important to note there are people — from council members to church groups to community leaders — who are working diligently to help the area solve its concerns. But the degree of difficulty for the challenge is immense.
South Stockton leaders allege that, for many years, city hall focused its efforts toward northern and central parts of the city. South Stockton, battling issues of resources and image, has been left with blighted areas, pockets of high crime and lack of businesses.
The report did not drill down to the level of investigating the actual amounts or percentages of funding that City Hall has allocated to south Stockton concerns. That should be a part of the city’s required response to the grand jury.
The body is urging “… a series of public workshop/forums devoted to the needs of south Stockton … with the purpose of developing short- and long-term goals to correct the long neglected areas.”
There have been some of these forums recently, including the “Reinvent South Stockton” event on April 25.
The grand jury is correct in its assessment that south Stockton can be a barometer for the rest of the city. Improvement in such areas as fighting crime, cleaning up blight and increasing city services can go a long way in changing the image of the area.
Many south Stockton residents have intense pride and are willing to do their part to help. City Hall must lead the way.