Stockton, We Can Overcome This

Last night, our city council took the first step toward bankruptcy. By the end of the week, Stockton will be the largest US city to file for bankruptcy protection.

All of a sudden, being labeled "America's Most Miserable City" a couple of times by some magazine doesn't sound so bad.

We ran out of money.

There are many reasons why. Our city leaders made poor decisions during the economic boom. Unscrupulous mortgage lending practices flooded the central valley with home buyers leading to increased property values which swelled the city with the sweet nectar of property tax revenue. We banked on this gravy train continuing forever.

Then of course, it did not.

Now, Stockton's favorite pastime is the blame-game. So many of us want to point the finger at someone.

The police and fire unions, previous mayors and council members, former city manager Mr. Milne, and even city employees themselves have all been the target of someone's blame.

We need to stop blaming. We've already diagnosed what happened so we can be pretty sure it won't happen again, blaming people isn't going to solve anything.

We certainly cannot blame city employees. They did exactly what we would all do. Well, I'll speak for myself here. I would have done the same thing. Even the double dipping. Given an opportunity to advance economically, in a way that seems completely healthy at the time, we'd all do it! Plus, most city employees are hard working people that care deeply about our city.

As are the members of our city council and our Mayor. If you don't like what they're doing, vote for someone else. Otherwise, find a productive way to help. Our council members have a difficult task; I can't imagine why anyone in their right mind would want that job. I am grateful that some people choose to do it and I appreciate their strength in the face of such adversity.

Facing a budget shortfall of $26 million, and ballooning debt in the hundreds of millions, it seems the city made the best choice.

Now, it's time to get on with making Stockton great. Do we have an uphill battle? Oh hell yes. The likes of which most of us could have never imagined. But we can do it.

We can overcome this.

We know there are many great things about Stockton. Let's keep our cool and not let the stigma of bankruptcy distract us from making our city a place we can be proud of. We need to continue to shop locally and do our part to make our neighborhoods safer and stronger.

Most of all, we need to get involved. Talk to our neighbors. Talk to our council members. Attend council meetings, or watch online. Ask questions. If we spent the last 20 years watching our local leaders as much as we have during the last few months, we likely wouldn't have been in such a mess.

Let's make it great, Stockton! The future of our city depends on it.


With all of the emotion of the last couple of days, this made me laugh.


My Dad, The Face of Strength

My Dad, Mel Beckwith, has Mantle cell lymphoma, a rare form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. He was diagnosed in February after an anomaly appeared in his regular blood work. It quickly progressed from "you'll die from old age long before this gets you" to "you need aggressive treatment now". Well, after two complete rounds of chemotherapy, Dad is still going strong. He's not going to let something like this stop him. Ask him what keeps him going and he'll quickly tell you that his strong faith has prepared him, he's not afraid to die and he knows where he's going. But this doesn't mean he's giving up. Not at all. He still has a lot of fight in him.

He's even fully embraced this new, bald look. And Beckwiths don't go bald. Ever. Well, rock the bald, Dad, rock it!


The journey to being cured is not yet complete, still some road ahead for him. But it's great to know that Dad's spirit is still strong and he's continuing the fight.


I love you Dad.

Can We All Just Get Along?

I am an Apple fanatic. That is no secret. We bought our first iPod back in 2005 and then eMacs, iMacs, Powerbooks, iPhones, iPads and more iPods than you could shake a stick at. Aside from being an Apple fanatic, I am a technology fanatic. I love gadgets. I also really love seeing how people use their gadgets.

What I don't love, however, are the brand snobs. I'm an iPhone guy. So, you're an Android guy... that doesn't mean we can't get along. We can still be friends. We can still play Draw Something and no one has to know we don't have the same phone.

If you're in the Android camp, or even the Blackberry camp and roll your eyes every time someone says iPhone, you are probably a snob. And if you're in the iPhone camp the same thing applies to you. Instead of bashing the other person, ask them to show you their favorite apps. You might just learn something new! And you won't come across as a snob.

Can we all just get along?