George Koster
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Voices of the Community, Inaugural Series

From Bankruptcy to Reinvention –

The City of Stockton

 

Why this series?

I grew up in Stockton, California, which filed for bankruptcy in 2013 and was named the most miserable cities in the U.S. not once by twice by Forbes magazine. Stockton has a long history of bad management, crony politics and corrupt leaders. Ironically, the bankruptcy of the City has provided an opportunity for City Leaders and residents to clear away the wreckage of the past and reinvent Stockton.

During the summer of 2016 my 66-year-old cousin who grew up and lived in Stockton suddenly dropped dead. At this same time my 88-year-old mom who grew up in South Stockton had taken a series of falls which was the beginning of the end of her life in Stockton. In the process of helping both of them to pass to the other side I started to spend a lot more time in Stockton.

Over a dinner conversation with my old college roommate, I asked him what was happening in Stockton? He shared the story of Michael Tubbs who grew up in my mom’s old neighborhood and became City Council Member at 23. This led me down the path to develop a documentary and share the story of the Reinvention of the City of Stockton as an homage to both my cousin and my mom as well as to all those cities across the country that are facing all of the same issues.

The documentary series attempts to provide listeners with the insights, points of view and personal stories from the various voices of change makers working to Reinvent the City of Stockton. The interviews in episodes 1 to 12 were conducted from August to September 2016 leading up to the election of Mayor Michael Tubbs, who was the first African American and youngest Mayor elected in Stockton’s history. Michael Tubbs is our central character and the entry point into the community leaders and their stories featured in the series.

In the process of producing the documentary series, I wanted to provide our listeners with an update on the work of the community members featured in episodes 1 to 12 of the documentary series. I decided to host a Townhall Meeting which became episode 13.

The goal of the Townhall event was to bring together as many of the voices featured in the radio documentary series to update the community and listeners on their work along with the San Joaquin County Youth Council.

The Townhall brought together the community to engage each other and discuss issues and solutions featured in the documentary series as well as what the youth leaders are working on to continue to reinvent the City of Stockton.

We built out these episode landing pages which provide more information on the thought leaders featured in the episode along with their organizations, work and impact. I hope that you will help me share out all of the amazing work being done in Stockton that could help inspire your own communities to work together to reinvent their communities.


 
 

Episode 1: It Takes a Village

This episode features the City of Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs’ mother Racole Dixon, grandmother Barbara Nicholson and Aunt Tasha Dixon.

They share their own unique perspectives on Mayor Tubbs, and the family’s legacy of education, risk taking, spirituality, humility and community engagement.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >

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Episode 2: Owning Your Own Destiny

Nicholas Hatten is the Founder and Executive Director of the San Joaquin Pride Center (SJPC). A proven leader and agent for change, Hatten has challenged the San Joaquin County and Central Valley to evaluate how it can best serve it's LGBT+ community.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >

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Episode 3: What Choice Are You Going to Choose Today?

In this episode we feature the voice of Sammy Nunez the Executive Director of Fathers and Families of San Joaquin who shares his story of transformation and work with the community to support struggling community members.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >

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Episode 4: All Your Preconceived Notions Are Wrong

In this episode we feature the voice of Fred Sheil the Administrator of STAND who shares his passion, insights and organization’s work over the past two plus decades in South Stockton to address, policing, neighborhood revitalization, slumlord abatement, housing and commercial development.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >

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Episode 5: Be the Change You Want to See

In this episode we feature the voice of Lange Luntao a third-generation teacher who has taught at Aspire Langston Hughes Academy and is a self-proclaimed education nerd. Lange shares his passion, insights and organizational work with youth, parents and the school system.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >

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Episode 6: Our Strength is Our Diversity

In this episode we feature the voice of Dillion Delvo, co-founder of Little Manila Rising. Dillion shares his passion, insights and organizational work around advocacy, education, arts and culture as part of Little Manila Rising’s efforts to revitalize the Filipina American community in Stockton.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >

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Episode 7: Trust Your Voice and Story

In this episode we feature the voice of Jasmine Dellafosse who shares her experience working with Michael Tubbs as well as the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition and the Stockton Schools Initiative in organizing students to address the crime, safety, recreation, health and the education systems in South Stockton.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >


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Episode 8: Doing the Work that Dr King and Malcolm X Left Behind for us to do!

In this episode we feature the voice of Anthony Rodriguez who is an 8th grade English and Math educator at Marshall Elementary, and works with the Summer Success Leadership Academy in leading the mentor training program.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >


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Episode 9: Poverty Shortens lives by 20 years

In this episode we feature the voices of Barb Alberson, Benita Ortez, as well as Horacio Viramontes along with students from the Franklin High School Spanish Club.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >


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Episode 10: How do you change a 40+ year long Negative Narrative?

In this episode we feature the voice of Hector Laura who is the co-founder and executive director of the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition as well as the South Stockton Promise Zone.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >


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Episode 11: Changing Stockton’s history by making history

In this episode we feature the voices of Tama Brisbane the City of Stockton’s first Poet Laureate and spoken word poet and youth leader / teacher Brandon Leake.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >


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Episode 12: The Rose that grew from concrete

In this episode we feature the voice of Michael Tubbs. We have broken the episode down into two parts. Part one takes place back in the summer of 2016 when we caught up with Michael Tubbs who was at that time the youngest City Council member in Stockton history and one of the youngest elected officials in the United States. Part two takes place in the fall of 2018 and we revisit all of the work Tubbs was doing in 2016, his campaign promises and his vision for the City of Stockton.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >


Episode 13: State of Our Youth: A Stockton Townhall Meeting

In the process of producing the documentary series, "From Bankruptcy to Reinvention The City of Stockton California", I wanted to provide our listeners with an update on the work of the community members featured in the documentary series.

Listen & Learn More About This Episode >

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Youth are our greatest assets, In Stockton, every young person matters. I want to leave a legacy of increasing opportunities for residents of Stockton and the next generation.
— Mayor Michael Tubbs