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A closer look at Stockton's Marshall Plan | News

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A closer look at Stockton's Marshall Plan
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STOCKTON, CA - Officials at Stockton City Hall did not give any details before Wednesday's meeting as to what would be revealed on the developing Marshall Plan, but several angry citizens said they were expecting a lot more from the public study session.

"It's the same two pages that have been available. The same exact plant that has been available since March 18, 2011," said Motecuzoma Sanchez addressing the city council on Tuesday evening.

"So here we are nine months later and you're barely at the starting point."

The Marshall Plan proposal is still available on the city's website. News10's Leigh Paynter asked Mayor Ann Johnston if she saw a distinguishable difference between the Marshall Plan's development since last spring.

"We have been working since last May in a variety of different ways to bring it forward. It's an evolving process. We're making progress," said Mayor Johnston.

That progress involved the commitment of 20 community and criminal justice leaders from Stockton and San Joaquin County to join as stakeholders in the Marshall Plan. The 20 people, which include the police chief, sheriff, district attorney, two church pastors, and head of Stockton's NAACP, haven't been approved by the city council and changes to that list may be made before the council votes on the Marshall Plan committee.

"I got a call three weeks ago from the city manager," said Doug Wilhoit, CEO of the Stockton Chamber of Commerce, who is one of 20 listed stakeholders.

Wilhoit said he's excited to see the Marshall Plan moving forward, but believes the committee would have to meet more than once a month to get the plan moving quickly.

The city council will also have to vote whether or not to hire an outside consultant for $150,000. City manager Bob Deis suggested the council hire a Utah-based expert in courts and jail systems, and a man he said he's known for years, David Bennett. The idea met some opposition from the public and councilmember Dale Fritchen, who suggested the city could find a qualified person in the city and save tax dollars for other local projects.

"I hate telling our own people, 'Go away. We have no money,' and we're hiring people outside the state to come and tell us how to do our work here," said Councilman Fritchen.

The mayor and Wilhoit said an outsider expert was necessary to forge partnerships and restructure existing systems.

"A lot of times the people on the inside, myself included, can't see the forest through the trees," said Wilhoit.

"You can get a fresh set of eyes to look at the problem and someone with experience."

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