By ALEX GOLDMAN
Stockton Mayor Anthony Silva is unhappy with many people.
Perhaps none more so than Stockton Record metro-reporter Michael Fitzgerald.
I’m sure Silva thinks the microscope has been hovering over him and his every move since his inauguration. I’m also quite sure Silva thinks the unending news coverage about his is unwarranted and unfair. Except Silva is a mayor in one of the largest cities in California. Not only is he the mayor, but, to put it one way, he’s an unconventional mayor at that.
So sure, he’s going to live in the eyes of the news media. His failure to understand why such a thing might be falls in line with his whole mayorship, from day one to present, as you will see momentarily.
Fitzgerald has been there at every turn to chronicle how poorly of a job Silva has done with his time in office, both administratively and politically. Let’s take a look at Silva’s mayorship through Fitzgerald’s reporting.
First, we’ll start with Silva’s accomplishments.
“In terms of accomplishments in office, Silva ranks beneath do-little Mayor Ed Chavez (2005-08). He has set the bar for getting nothing done,” Fitzgerald writes.
Fitzgerald goes on to write about the only policies Silva has successfully championed while in office. Both of them, “the fiscally suicidal Safe Streets crime-fighting plan and a reduction in building fees,” were handed to him by developers, according to Fitzgerald.
Now that we’ve looked at Silva’s successes, why don’t we delve into the remaining 98% of his term.
Silva calls himself “the people’s mayor,” fighting on behalf of everyday citizens, from the middle-class to low-income families. He was sure to stand up to big money influences while in office, not only with words, but with actions, right?
“He’s made some rich guys richer,” Fitzgerald writes. “All the while demagoguing about the rich bigwigs who control this town and how he stands up for the economically disadvantaged.”
Okay, so maybe standing up to money while in office isn’t as easy as the politicians want us to believe. That isn’t to say mayors are impervious to submitting to financial influences.
But what about possessing knowledge on the rights, duties and powers that a mayor does actually have?
“[T]hen it appears Silva did not understand the office for which he ran,” Fitzgerald writes. “He has been publicly shocked and perturbed by the statutory limitations placed on the mayor’s power.”
Well, maybe the educational system is to blame for Silva’s ignorance on the position he campaigned and was elected for. He can at least keep his word on things under his control, can’t he?
“Ethical lapses followed,” Fitzgerald continues. “Silva promised if elected not to work two jobs. But he did. He promised not to take a mayor’s salary until crime tumbled. But he did. There were more.”
Alright alright alright, but he had to at least have some ideas on policy and positive changes that can be made to the citizens of Stockton. Right?
“What did not follow was policy,” Fitzgerald goes on. “It became clear that “The People’s Mayor” had no real ideas for governing and no real interest in the hard work that goes into civic improvements.”
But wait, there’s more:
“When I asked him what his position on growth was — on sprawl vs. infill — he looked at me as if I had spoken to him in Mandarin,” Fitzgerald writes.
While Silva has a laundry-list of political and administrative failures, Fitzgerald looks to the distraction he has become as the figurehead of the city, a city which is attempting to move out of the darkness of being the largest city in United States history to declare bankruptcy (before Detroit).
“[I]t is as a distraction from the serious business of governance where Silva has been a Hall-of-Famer,” Fitzgerald writes.
I wrote about some of those in a previous post.
To strengthen the case that Silva is unqualified to run a city of 300,000 people – or any city, for that matter, and as if his case needs any strengthening – look no further than his reactions and response to the most serious of his “lapses.”
“Silva is refusing to cooperate with investigators trying to understand how his stolen gun came to be used to kill a 13-year-old,” Fitzgerald writes. “And he has been indicted on felony and misdemeanor charges related to his alleged participation in an alcohol-fueled strip poker game with teens.”
Come Nov. 8, material as great – and horrible, considering his is an elected public official – as what Silva provided might be harder to find.
In all likelihood, it won’t just fall into our lap.