From humble beginnings to the top spot in city leadership, Stockton’s Mayor Michael Tubbs is leading the charge in reducing crime and offering a quality education to its youth.
The challenges that he face are not what you may expect. They are not because he is the first Black mayor in the city’s history, or at 26, the youngest person to hold the position. Nor does his challenges stem from the technological and innovative approaches he use to analyze issues before making a decision for solutions. Mayor Tubbs challenges comes from the lack of Social Capital.
You see, a common and false allegation about urban life in America is that poor neighborhoods force residents into a life of crime. Although conditions and circumstances dictates human behavior, poverty within itself doesn’t breed crime. Crime tolerance breeds crime and thus, exacerbates poverty.
The key to reducing crime is to create an atmosphere of lawnessness. Low-income communities explicitly must project the message that crime is not going to be tolerated; forcing moral principles, values, and beliefs that must be observed and forced to establish healthy and nurturing relationships amongst the residents in the community. This is known as Social Capital.
Crime is the ultimate tax on enterprise. Communities are prevented from becoming successful, flourishing, and economically vibrant when communities are unsafe. Crime must be reduced and/or eliminated before poor people can fully share in the American dream. This can only happen by building relationships in common throughout the community.
Thus far, Mayor Tubbs attempts to build relationships and acheive Social Capital have failed. But the blame can not be attributed to his efforts.
We must evaluate and re-evaluate the efforts of Mayor Tubbs constituency, city leaders, civic leaders, and failed city policies and examine their roles toward the lack of Social Capital. In addition, today’s political climate presents many uncertainties toward the future of this country and those uncertainties have festered into local communities creating distrust, fear, skepticism, animosity, hostility, disbelief, anxiety, despair, panic, suspicion, and thus, division.
Until we come together with a shared vision, mission, and goal, the City of Stockton will always be viewed as a city with great potential. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Stockton can live up to its potential and become one of the most innovative, thriving, and inspiring cities in California. But it starts with rallying around the one with the vision, innovation, and technology to make this happen. It starts with rallying around and supporting Mayor Michael Tubbs.