By Scott Smith
Record Staff Writer
March 22, 2012 12:00 AM
STOCKTON - Gregory Pitsch has no political experience, but he believes his successes, failures and close calls as a small businessman make him a prime candidate to become the city's next mayor.
And, no, Pitsch, 26, said he's not too young to lead Stockton.
"Look at the experienced politicians, what they have done," he said. "If that's what experience gives you, we're better off with someone who's inexperienced."
Pitsch is among seven candidates seeking the city's top elected office in the most crowded mayoral race in years. The city faces staggering crime and teeters on the brink of bankruptcy.
Promoting small business and jobs is the key to turning around the city, said Pitsch, an online retailer who sells T-shirts and electronics. He also dreams of growing his small music-production company.
But running his fleeting storefront clothing business has given him a taste of how perilous it can be to work in downtown Stockton. In June last year, Pitsch said, four armed men robbed him.
One put a knife to his throat, while two others pressed pistols to his head and rib cage. They stole money he needed to pay his rent, but he was not physically hurt.
"We were trying to bring something new," he said. "It was a bad experience."
He now works from his home in Weston Ranch and makes most of his living by designing and producing screen-print T-shirts in the business that has succeeded through word-of-mouth sales, he said.
Pitsch said he has dreamed of entering politics since he was in grade school. Born in San Mateo, he graduated from East Union High School in Manteca and has attended San Joaquin Delta College.
He worked in construction until the economic downturn left him without a job. That's when Pitsch said his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and he began launching his small businesses.
"I believe people should go after the career they want," he said. "You really can be whatever you want to be."
Pitsch has been married for more than a year to his wife, Brittany, an American Sign Language interpreter at an elementary school in Manteca.
Gregory Pitsch said the only mark on his record is a driving under the influence of marijuana case at age 19. Pitsch, a medical marijuana card holder, said he learned his lesson from that experience.
Contact reporter Scott Smith at (209) 546-8296 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit his blog at recordnet.com/smithblog.
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