Stockton Changes by Kevin Shawver

209 TimesSan Joaquin County, Stockton 5 Comments

Guest Op Ed by long time resident of Stockton and active community member, especially when it comes to the city’s history, Kevin Shawver.


These words stand tall and proud, literally etched in stone. Words in stone are symbolic of what should be permanent, what should never be forgotten. Words in stone are seen on monuments, mostly seen on headstones to honor the dead, the fallen, our heroes, our loved ones. Words in stone also are also found on monuments simply to serve as a reminder of what is, and what will always be. They serve as reminders to current and future generations, commemorative to the hard work and sacrifice of those before us, and to the ideals of which we are proud.

These words are carved deeply in the stone work above the doors of Stockton City Hall. These words were put there long ago by City leaders. They were put there as a promise, a promise meant to be kept, a promise for the future. A promise to the people of Stockton.

Have these words lost their meaning? Has the promise been broken?

I’ve been around for quite awhile, 63 years. I’ve had the extreme pleasure of seeing Stockton for what it once was, a viable community of hard working families. A city that had industries and plentiful jobs. A city with a sense of value, and a sense of purpose. A city of opportunity and prosperity available to those who so much as put a foot forward to achieve it. A safe city, a city of law and order. A clean city. I saw a city that was actually a destination to some, and not just a place to get gas as you were traveling through. I saw downtown when it was an absolutely beautiful place to be. I saw a city that was healthy and thriving.

It changed. First a slow change, and then a rapid decline. I so badly want to stay optimistic, hoping there will one day be a change for the better, but I can’t. I want to love my city like I once did, but I can’t. The only thing that will change my feelings about Stockton now, will probably never happen. At least, not in my lifetime. I’m not choosing to feel this way, but there comes a point when you see your optimism and hope as being futile. I now hope, I now pray, that I’m wrong.

I now see Stockton as a city whose pulse is weak. A city that will die if positive changes aren’t made. Those changes can only be made by us. No need for details. We all know what ails this city, and we know that our current city leaders are indifferent to what we, the people, really need and really want. 

I want the words at the top of this page to once again have meaning. I want the words at the top of the page to be a reaffirmed promise. We all deserve that promise to be kept. City elections will be coming soon. I don’t care who or what you vote for. Just get out there. We had an extremely low turnout for the last elections. We must be proactive in deciding our own fate, deciding our own future. Only we can make change. Don’t expect it to be made for you. Don’t leave it up to others. 

Vote with your head, not with your heart. Vote for those who have no political aspirations past City government. Vote for those with no ties to developers. Vote for the best candidate, not the one with the most yard signs. Vote out the ineffective. Vote for those who care about you and your Stockton. Use your head. Read and learn about who you’re voting for. Your future, and the future of your children, depend on it. Encourage others, friends and family, to go to the polls and let their voices be heard. Vote for change.

Vote, but be sure your vote is an informed and intelligent decision.

Comments 5

  1. Nice Kevin, I share the same feelings, hopelessness that seem to come to conclusion that only Jesus could repair this, actually the Whole Country had past that point of no return a few decades ago but like you said with greater frequency of lost hope. I like to believe just like you we can turn this ship around, you may not support our current Administration but this is the type of turn around if at a local level if we work together instead of like the friction we see in DC that is obstructing great visions we can do it. if not then yes please Jesus come soon. as we are the generation that will see this come either way.

  2. Beautifully written! We need to Save City Hall from developers! RESTORE it to it’s glory…it’s the People’s Building…it should.never.ever be SOLD!

  3. Kevin – the only thing that will make Stockton better is a large tax base. I have no idea that Livermore – as an example – which was once an armpit of the valley – like Stockton is but not as bad – was transformed with a large influx of gentrified money. That will happen to Stockton. And it will be better cleaner and have enough money for it to be better managed or just have enuf fu money to fix their screwups. However, there will be a price to pay – you will have to live next door among “snowflakes” – or get your project car towed away and mow your lawn more than u feel like – Be like living in a giant HOA . Maybe I’ll take my chances living in a bit of the old Wild West. And think of the revenue we could generate if CCA permits were sold ala Isleton’s progressive former police chief or whatever he was.

  4. May our people and government protect this Historic building and restore and return it to its Inception of inspiration
    To live a more noble life Where we are a Safe prosperous Stockton San Joaquin County and where justice prevails thur a more meaningful life…………

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