While there’s plenty to talk about on the global stage, our responsibility is to stay engaged on a more local level. With that in mind, here are my top ten resolutions for 2018:
Lofts at the Hall.
The surest way to promote anarchy in our fair city is for our leaders to move out of our current historic City Hall building, put a padlock on the front door, and wait for some scallywags to move in uninvited and cause bedlam or worse. Clearly our leadership must implement a plan to continue a use for that lovely landmark. We propose “Lofts at the Hall”, a mixed use live/work environment with public space in the foyer for the Arts. The ultimate decision will be a collaboration between our elected officials and the citizens of Stockton.
Jobs, Jobs, and more Jobs.
As we lose jobs to outsourcing and automation, let’s fire up our tourism industry.
Clearly there is unlimited opportunity for a floating restaurant and hotel complex on our waterfront as we contemplate a thousand miles of scenic waterways between Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco.
Houseboat Community on our Waterfront.
Roll out a houseboat community that would rival that of Sausalito. With architectural gems, repurposed tugboats and working boats from WWII, a floating home community would attract free-spirited artists and writers, and reinvigorate our waterfront.
Light up our lives for free; go solar.
One thing our town has a lot of for free is sunshine. Let’s save our City thousands of dollars in PG&E costs and go solar! Suggest to our local officials to plant solar panels on many of our city buildings, finance through power purchase agreements, and own our own power in less than ten years. By the way, create community finance sources so our citizenry can do the same for their homes.
Hey, Sports fans!
From UOP Basketball to the Ports baseball, we as a community must attend and cheer on our local sports opportunities and use them to market our businesses. These athletic venues need our help. Use them or lose them.
Invest in Bluetooth while driving. Distracted driving is killing our kids faster than alcohol. Try actually stopping at the stop sign. Have patience with pedestrians. Watch out for critters crossing the road. And finally, we gotta love our bicyclists…be cautious.
Give your fingers a break texting, e-mailing, and otherwise indulging in the electronic world and engage in conversation. It is impossible to walk into a café and not see the majority of patrons with hands flying and computer screens up.
I’m sure someone could use a little verbal communication to feel a little better and we could get to know each other emoji-free.
Can we bank on banks? Unless local banks and financial institutions begin lending again and reducing the giant spread between savings interest and lending rates, clients will take another option. In the days of my grandparents they employed benevolent lending societies. Communities would deploy their savings to individuals and businesses to give a leg up to their communities. Funny thing, the great majority paid back their loans.
Support your Mayor and City Council.
We elected them or not, but the deal is they are ours until the next election. Support them by showing up at Council Meetings, volunteering for Boards and Commissions, and generally having respectful dialog. It is ok to disagree, just don’t be disagreeable. And remember, all politics is local.
Downtown is not a hobby.
Now is the time to embrace our downtown. So much energy and investment, both public and private, has gone into recreating downtown’s landscape. It’s time for our citizens to re-claim the downtown as the true heart of Stockton. In the new year, take a walking tour, have a picnic on the waterfront, rent an office in one of the historic towers, eat at the dozens of new restaurants and brew pubs, or consider moving into one of the upcoming loft-style apartments in the planning stages. At the very least, stop repeating negative opinions about the downtown.
As Shakespeare put it, “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken at the flood leads on to fortune. Omitted, all the voyage of our life is bound in shallows and in miseries. On such a full sea are we now afloat, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures.”
As CEO of the Cort Companies, Dan Cort has been actively involved in the renovation of historic real estate in Northern California for the past 35 years. Cort Companies has been a major force in reversing the trend from urban sprawl to the infill of our recovering urban areas. Dan Cort served as Mayor of Pacific Grove, CA and is the author of Downtown Turnaround: Lessons for a New Urban Landscape.