Stockton Goes From Roaring Fiscal City to Bankrupt Danger Zone; What Went Wrong?
Stockton, California is the biggest American city to go bankrupt. Reporting today from Stockton, Bret Baier said that upon arrival it does not take long find out that you’re in a town in deep fiscal trouble.
Since 2010, the city has slashed a quarter of its police force, which has triggered a social collapse. Mayor Ann Johnston (D) says, “They’ve [Police] had to focus on crimes in progress and violent crimes.” She admits her constituents are less safe and said there has been a spike in violent crimes, specifically in homicides. Last year, Stockton set a state record for more murders per capita.
The mayor said she was out of office when city officials gave the green light to the priciest projects. “There was a failure in leadership in the sense of, you know, the good times will continue to roll,” she said.
Faced with cuts in staff and salary as the economy began to sink and the city tried to keep up with union demands, the police union erected a billboard in 2010 that read, “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California.” At the bottom, the body count was displayed for all to shake their heads at.
Last February, Stockton defaulted on $32 million dollars in bonds issued to build parking garages, and eventually, declared bankruptcy.