Number 8 Most Boring City?

Downtown Stockton, photo taken July 31, 2010 

Downtown Stockton, photo taken July 31, 2010 

My friend Wes, the CEO of Visit Stockton, was the first to text me to tell me that my picture had been used in a post entitled “The 10 Most Boring Cities in America”. He wasn’t the only one though. My partners on Podcast Stockton as well as a few other friends also brought it to my attention. I wish I had time to write a response right away, but I didn’t. My wife and I were too busy rushing home from work in time to get ready to go out and celebrate the wonderful work that Puentes is doing with the Boggs Tract Community Farm. We celebrated Puentes, a local non-profit dedicated to spreading the knowledge and the development of sustainable technology through beyond-organic farming, by enjoying a wonderful meal and beer pairing (side note: High Water Brewing is pretty amazing), listening to some wonderful music by Horatio Monroe, catching up with great friends and meeting some great new friends at the Mile Wine Company on the Miracle Mile. 

What is really unfortunate is that we really wanted to attend the event at the beautiful Haggin Museum, which they hold every first and third Thursday of the month. Tonight was the Tamara Phelan Trio, a wonderful music group. Sadly, we missed that event in favor of the fundraising event supporting Puentes.  

After a long, fun night, we headed home. I was too tired to write and wondered, with all the goings on in Stockton, will there ever be time to write? 

When News 10, a station whose morning news program I have watched for most of my adult life, included my picture in the story, I was upset. Especially since the original article used a completely different picture. But now, I am tired of being defensive. I have no time to be defensive. There’s too much to do to get angry about some real estate blog saying we have a boring city. But to have News 10 use my photo? Ouch. I love this city and have dedicated so much to help show it in a positive light. 

Well, there’s a Stockton Ports game tomorrow so I better get this post written before I go to bed, otherwise there’ll never be time. And the weekend? Seriously? No way I’ll get time to write then. With the free bike ride sponsored by the San Joaquin Bike Coalition, practice with our local blind baseball team, the California Rays, and Astronomy in the Park on Saturday, it’s too bad I won’t have much time to write. Oh man, the Delta Nights Blues Band is playing at Whirlow’s on Saturday night. Decisions, decisions, decisions. Well, at least we have a couple of weeks before the classic movies at the Fox start up again. What’s that? You’ve never heard of the Friends Of The Fox's Classic Movie Series? I am bummed that we can’t make it to the Maya Angelou celebration this weekend at the library that bears her name. 

Besides the ever expanding live music calendar and great restaurants and bars, my wife and I are lucky to have to have very dear friends in this community and we always seem to fill up our calendars with activities with them. By the way, have you seen Wendi Maxwell and Tres Hot Jazz perform? Seriously, they are hot!

A couple of nights ago, I took my grand daughter and her auntie, the youngest daughter of my wife and I, to the first Concert in the Park of the season. Of course, like we always do, we had an incredibly fun time. Same old story: we saw some great friends and enjoyed meeting new ones. Just another summer Wednesday night in Stockton. 

Of course, I could have opted to go to Finnegan’s, or any of the other great bars in town filled with lots of great people, albeit not with the kids. But, as always, there are too many things to do at any given time. What I can always go for is a savory crepe at Midtown Creperie, but again, too many things to do, not enough time. 

The team at Visit Stockton maintain the single best events calendar for Stockton. I know, because once, my compadres on the Podcast Stockton team tried to do everything on the calendar in one weekend. We failed. Miserably. Literally. By late-afternoon on that Saturday we threw in the towel. We just couldn’t do it. Clearly we are one of the most boring cities in America. By the way, wasn’t someone working on a sarcasm punctuation mark? 

Look, we know we are a city that has bore the brunt of national news media punches about our property values (by the way, did you see this?), crime, foreclosures, and our course, the big one: the bankruptcy. But does that mean we aren't a vibrant city full of people that love it here and love to have a good time? Not on your life. 

Clearly, the writers of this meaningless list never subscribed to the Visit Stockton Weekend Activities Guide. And I am not even going to suggest that they do. Screw these lists. We’ve been on enough of them. We know who we are and what we have. Like Red’s Coffee, the best coffee shop in town, we know that. We are tired of being the punching bag for list-makers who are only interested in getting clicks and impressions.

And don’t get me going on our wonderful parks and the delta! The delta. You know, the greatest waterway in Northern California. 

What I do want is for the fine folks at News 10 to kindly remove my photograph from their post. I do not want my name and photograph associated with such a post. I understand that my Flickr settings are such that allow them to use my photo in a noncommercial manner with accreditation. They have credited me by listing my name, but since they have advertisements on their page I consider it commercial. Not to mention, using my picture to speak negatively of my city, where I choose to live and raise my family, especially since it was not taken in that spirit, is hurtful. Send a camera down here and capture your own picture. (Update: Ian Hill, Executive Producer of Digital & Social for News 10 sent me a message within a couple of hours of this post letting me know he had replaced the image.)

(But seriously, Dan, Keba, Jeff, Chris, Melissa, Rob… big fan here! And Walt, you too!)

Gotta go. Too much to do. And by the way, I’ve been to Plano (number 6 on that same list). Years ago it reminded me of the Ontario, California of Northern Texas. Not too bad. The trick is dining where the die-hard locals eat. There’s nothing wrong with Saltgrass Steak House, but it doesn’t define that city anymore than Applebee’s defines ours. 

Gotta go…  

See you around town!