Our network

City council vote could put Stockton on bankruptcy path

STOCKTON, CA - The Stockton City Council is poised to vote on whether or not to start the process to file for bankruptcy at Tuesday night's meeting.

California state law says cities must have a 60-day mediation period with its creditors where the city discusses ways to avoid bankruptcy.

After the mediation period, the city is allowed to file for bankruptcy if there is no plan to avoid it.

If Stockton files for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection, it would be the largest city to file for bankruptcy in the country. Orange County declared bankruptcy in 1994; Vallejo filed for bankruptcy in 2008 and just emerged last year.

Stockton City Manager Bob Deis said a series of bad financial decisions and bad luck put Stockton close to the bankruptcy option. He alluded to a city council decision made in the 1990s as one example.

Community Sponsors

Combining the Best of East & West in the Art & Science of Healing
For All Your Septic Needs!

Former Stockton city manager disputes claims

STOCKTON, CA - Former Stockton city manager Dwane Milnes wrote to the mayor and told News10 retirees should not be blamed for the city's current budget struggles.

Current City Manager Bob Deis said last week a retiree benefit program is one of the reasons Stockton is close to taking the first step toward bankruptcy.

"City employees only had to work one month and they could retire.  The city would pick up their insurance for free, for the rest of their lives," Deis said on Friday.

Monday, Milnes reacted strongly.  "It is not true an employee can work a month and then collect a lifetime of retirement.  It's a total misrepresentation," said Milnes.

Milnes was city manager from 1993 to 2001, one of the time frames Deis used to portray sloppy city financial work.  Milnes said the retiree program was smart business work because those people agreed to take less in salary to pay for their benefits.

Official: Bad money moves, bad luck got Stockton in trouble

STOCKTON, CA - Stockton City Manager Bob Deis said Friday morning he'll ask the City Council to take the first step in the bankruptcy process next week.

That first step is entering into a lengthy mediation period with creditors with the goal of reducing what the city owes.  If the mediation doesn't succeed, bankruptcy can be declared after that.

"The goal of a bankruptcy lawyer is to avoid bankruptcy.  When you're in bankruptcy court, it's more complicated and expensive.  If you can work out a deal, you're far better off," said Sacramento attorney Mark Levinson who's been hired by Stockton to assist.

Deis said it was a series of bad financial decisions and bad luck that put Stockton close to the bankruptcy option. 

One example was a city council decision made in the early 1990s. 

3 Stockton men convicted, sentenced for deer poaching

PLACER COUNTY, CA - Three Stockton men convicted of crimes related to deer poaching last Wednesday were sentenced Monday.

Thongseuth Khounchanh, 58, Ti Sila, 51, and Bounleuna Sysenglath, 59, were arrested in June 2011 after a three week investigation that was prompted by an anonymous tip in May 2011, California Department of Fish and Game Law Enforcement Patrick Foy said.

The tipster told DFG that the three men made multiple trips per week to El Dorado County to poach deer, killing bucks and pregnant does. Foy said the men were quickly selling the deer meat to "established network of buyers."

Foy said it is illegal to sell any deer meat in California, regardless of if the deer was killed legally, under a recreational hunting license, or illegally.

Community Sponsors

Combining the Best of East & West in the Art & Science of Healing
For All Your Septic Needs!

Stockton reporter interviews 'speed freak killer'

STOCKTON, CA - Many journalists have tried to secure an interview with convicted serial killer Wesley Shermantine - but he seems to only trust one of them. On Saturday, that journalist met with him at San Quentin State Prison.

Stockton Record reporter Scott Smith spent two hours locked in a small metal cage speaking with the death-row inmate about several topics.

"They gave me basically a pencil and a post it note to take notes on," Smith said before revealing how the conversation started. "He said, wow, the media sure is going wild with this. And, I'm like, yeah, you've got everybody's attention haven't you, Wesley."

Shermantine told Smith he saw a story on TV that morning about a woman claiming to have been raped by him in Calaveras County several years ago.

"He just denied it. He said he was in a relationship with this woman and he said, how can I rape a woman I'm in a sexual relationship with," he said Shermantine replied.

Moody's downgrades Stockton's credit; police union says don't file for bankruptcy

STOCKTON, CA - Moody's downgraded Stockton's credit-worthiness Friday to below investment grade, affecting nearly $341 million of debt.

The rating for Stockton's 2007 pension obligation bonds were downgraded to Ba3 and 2006 lease revenue bonds were downgraded to B1.

"Moody's rates over 12,000 municipalities in the United States. Fewer than 30 are currently rated non-investment grade (Ba1 or lower)," Moody's spokesperson David Jacobson said. "With yesterday's downgrade, Stockton is now rated Ba2. The most notable city on the same list is Detroit, which is currently rated Ba3 and is under review for a potential downgrade."

Moody's also downgraded the city's water enterprise rating to A3.

Moody's decision to downgrade Stockton's credit-worthiness comes after city officials said they will vote Tuesday on whether or not to start the 60-day meditation period required before filing for bankruptcy.

$1.50 for Chips!?

$1.50 for Chips!?

Most Mexican restaurants don't charge for chips, and I think that's the way it should be. There's a place in Stockton, off of 8 mile road, with the name of a popular hot green pepper proudly displayed in neon above the store, that charges $1.50 for chips. What? They were good but that's a deal breaker. Never again.