October 3, 2017
Stockton, CA- In a second example of what can best be described as a conflict of interest, Mayor Michael Tubbs and Councilmember Jesus Andrade will again vote on millions of tax dollars to go to business interests they have a relationship with. Last city council meeting both voted on the purchase of 501 W Webber avenue owned by Jerry Butterfield to move city hall for a total cost to the city of $22 million. The property sat unwanted on the market for 18 months until city hall bailed them out with the purchase of two side by side properties, the second of which wasn’t even for sale until city representatives enticed them with some $7 million.
The wife of Jerry is Jane Butterfield who works for Fritz Grupe as CEO of the Business Council. Grupe hosted a $500 a plate breakfast for Tubbs just months before the purchase. Jane is also a Director for the Community Foundation of San Joaquin which directly funds Tubbs’ “reinvent Stockton” pet project and directly provided income for Jesus Andrade via “South Stockton schools Intiative” which is part of the “Reinvent South stockton coalition” while he campaigned in district 6 to fill the void Tubbs was leaving on the council to run for mayor. Andrade was fined by the California Fair Poltical Practice Commission for failing to disclose that income earlier this year.
Jane also hosted a “Women for Tubbs” campaign fundraiser for Michael as well along with cohost Jasmine Leek. Leek is the “step daughter”’of Record columnist Michael Fitzgerald who had consistently written positive articles about Tubbs in the Record while simultaneously attacking any of his political opponents while Jasmine worked for Tubbs’ mayoral campaign.
Leek also was the manager of the Huddle which is a business owned by Zac Cort as part of 10 Space. Also part of 10 Space is the Open Window Project, LLC which was granted millions of dollars by the city two years ago to redeveloped 10 city blocks in downtown Stockton. Tubbs voted on that as a council member as he used Cort’s property as a headquarters for “Reinvent Stockton” and his mayoral campaign. Andrade also uses the Huddle located at 110 N San Joaquin St as a headquarters for his “south stockton schools intiative”.
Now Tubbs as mayor and Andrade as councilmember will be voting on $4.38 million of additional funding to go to Open Windows Project, LLC. Housing advocate Kristine Williams asks the following questions for all to consider:
City Of Stockton granted over $3.48M to a for-profit developer a few years back to help with downtown development goals: 200 residential units, 62 of which would be affordable.
Tomorrow, same developer is asking for an additional $2.38M in CDBG funds (which, if I’m correct, requires at the minimum a public hearing to allocate and MUST show a nexus between the use of the funds and serving low-income populations) while increasing the overall unit count to 261 units, but cutting the number of affordable units in half.
The city council staff report is inadequate in providing any detail as to why it is being recommended that increase the amount of the original loan be granted, beyond stating the additional 61 units requires it.
Can we get a budget? How was $3.48M originally required for 200 units, but an extra 61 now requires $2.38?
Can we get clarification on what the low-income nexus is in order to be eligible for CDBG dollars – especially when we’re using targeted funds on a project that has reduced the initially promised affordable housing?
Can we get clarification on what happens to the organizations that have historically relied on that money?
Can we get clarification as to whether this money can be promised without holding a related public hearing?”
The public should demand answers to those questions especially when simultaneously public parks are falling apart and basic services like street cleaning, which now warrant cause for a public health concern, are being neglected as homelessness has increased 12% on Michael Tubbs’ watch. It is unclear how much rent Michael Tubbs pays Zac Cort to house Reinvent Stockton at 110 N Sutter or if that rent is subsidized as a financial gift.