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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Where is Stockton's Harry Potter?

Where is Stockton's Harry Potter?

You know, the boy wizard who defeated the evil Lord Voldemort and set things right in the wizarding world. That is exactly what Stockton needs, someone to fight this vicious financial crisis.

Need parallels?

This is what Rufus Scrimgeour (pronounced scrim-ger), the Minister of Magic in the Harry Potter series, said to the people in "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows": "These are dark times, there is no denying. Our world has perhaps faced no greater threat than it does today. But I say this to our citizenry: We, ever your servants, will continue to defend your liberty and repel the forces that seek to take it from you! Your Ministry remains, strong."

Well, aside from the reference to "ministry" for government, that statement very well could apply to Stockton.

This is in part what Mayor Ann Johnston said during her State of the City speech a few weeks ago: "This has been a difficult year for all of us with tough decisions. The City Council has made extremely tough decisions, and we're going to see even tougher decisions ahead of us. The fixes to our financial issues will not be pretty, but we're determined to come out of this with the city on a solid financial foundation that will move Stockton forward."

When Scrimgeour made his speech, Voldemort's minions had infiltrated the government and were creating chaos in the world. The threat was active and, in that world created by J.K. Rowling, very real.

In our world, the threat is the city's financial crisis. The recession has hit Stockton hard, there is no denying, particularly housing in an area dependent on real estate-generated revenue.

For example, a bank-owned house in my neighborhood is listed at $115,000, about 70 percent less than what it would have sold for six or seven years ago.

Worse, it seems whenever the city has a plan or economic engine to kick-start a comeback, things sputter and fall to the wayside.

Where is a good wizard when you need one?

Contact Donald W. Blount at (209) 546-8251 or The Record senior editors' blog is available at

I GUESS THEY FORGOT THAT I AM "THE WIZARD OF O.Z." Let's take this city back!!

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