Congressman McNerney Calls Out Obama Administration for Continued Neglect of Stockton



While East County Today can appreciate Congressman Jerry McNerney’s dedication to trying to fix Stockton (a town where he now lives), we would like to remind the Congressman that we in Contra Costa County, especially Antioch, are struggling and could also use some of the same economic support he is fighting for in Stockton.

Antioch would truly benefit from the tax incentives, grants and other funding opportunities he is seeking for Stockton. While Antioch is certainly not in the same league as Stockton, some attention is well deserved considering his office is located on Lone Tree Way.

We encourage the Congressman to not forget about East Contra Costa County which is within his District.

Official Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, in response to the news that President Obama awarded millions of dollars to help revitalize Detroit, Congressman Jerry McNerney (D-Stockton) wrote to the president demanding that Stockton be given due consideration for the same kind of economic support.  Earlier in the year, Congressman McNerney called on the Obama Administration to designate Stockton as one of its 20 Promise Zones, which would have allowed for support in the form of tax incentives, grants and other funding opportunities.

“It is unconscionable that the president continues to ignore the very real challenges we face here in the Valley.  We have been disproportionately affected by the economic downturn and continue to experience some of the worst unemployment and foreclosure rates in the country.  The president must dedicate his attention to helping revitalize the Valley, especially in the wake of Stockton’s bankruptcy,” said Congressman McNerney.

Stockton faces unique challenges as its residents work to help the city rebound from the economic downturn, and federal assistance can help to revitalize the city. Stockton has been at the forefront of the foreclosure crisis; continues to face high unemployment rates; struggles with an escalating crime rate; has significant challenges in the public school system; and was the largest city in the country to ever declare bankruptcy until Detroit declared bankruptcy earlier this year.

“In Stockton, we have been on the front line of the economic downturn, with folks facing foreclosure and struggling to find employment..  We must take action now to reduce the crime rate, invest in our education system, and grow our local economy.  With the right resources, I know we can tackle these issues in our community,” said Congressman McNerney.  “The president needs to visit Stockton and see firsthand the challenges we face, as well as the determination of everyone in the Valley to do what it takes to get our economy back on track.”

The text of Congressman McNerney’s letter is below and attached:

September 27, 2013

President Barack Obama
1600 Pennsylvania Ave.
The White House
Washington, D.C. 20500


Dear President Obama:

I am deeply troubled and disappointed by your decision to award millions of dollars in federal aid to Detroit while failing to offer comparable assistance to the city of Stockton. Stockton, which I represent, was previously the largest city in the United States to ever file for bankruptcy until Detroit did so. Stockton has been left behind and ignored by the White House. Unfortunately, this continues the trend of your Administration neglecting California’s San Joaquin Valley over the past four years. During that time, the city had nearly $1 billion in long-term debt, and its 2012-2013 budget had a $26 million deficit.

As I have outlined in previous correspondence, California’s San Joaquin Valley has historically received less per capita in federal funds than virtually every other region in the Nation, and cities like Stockton continue to face an uphill battle against poverty, crime, educational opportunities, and unemployment. In your State of the Union speech in February, you promised to help the country’s most economically depressed cities. Subsequent to that speech I contacted you with information outlining why Stockton should be included as part of that initiative. Regrettably, Stockton was bypassed due to the eligibility standards your Administration set for the program.

There are further examples of how the San Joaquin Valley has been neglected by the federal government. The Department of Housing and Urban Development acknowledged that Stockton is owed $1.2 million for an EDI/BEDI grant, but has done nothing to reconcile the money owed. Furthermore, the city is owed approximately $10 million for a flood control project that is completed, but no funds have been directed to the city since fiscal year 2006.  Despite these broken promises and clear evidence that Stockton is in need of economic revitalization, your administration is focused solely on Detroit.  Your economic advisors have “scrounged through the federal budget,” and a delegation from your administration is set to meet with Michigan officials today. Stockton was the 10th most violent city in the United States last year, the city has ranked in the top five in foreclosures for most of the last five years, and yet administration officials are absent.

Unfortunately, your inaction and neglect of the San Joaquin Valley remains a common theme. You have an opportunity to change that. This is not the time for favoritism. The residents of Stockton work hard and take great pride in their city, and with prudent allocation of federal resources, the local economy can rebound and prosper. I request that you make the same level of commitment to Stockton that you have to Detroit. The city deserves no less. I would also like to extend another invitation to you to visit the city of Stockton and travel throughout California’s San Joaquin Valley, allowing you to witness firsthand the day-to-day challenges in this region and the people who are so dedicated to facilitating its economic rebound.

I remain ready and willing to work with you to address the needs of our country, and I appreciate your attention to this important matter.


Jerry McNerney

Member of Congress


  1. Let me try to understand this. These cities you address in your article have or are going broke. They have mismanaged tax dollars and have or are spending beyond their means. Now the congressman is asking the president for a bail out. Is this congressman for real? And you? Where do you and the congressman think this money comes from, trees? The answer is no, it comes from hard working Americans who are working like hell to keep their own books balanced. When will people like this congressman and you realize that the working person has had enough.

    • Cool your jets, Batman.

      California is a net donor state when it comes to federal tax dollars The south is a net benefactor. Michigan is also a net benefactor, as it to receives more in federal aid than it pays in. In fact, 8 of the top 10 benefactor states are red states. So the Congressman has a point.

      If you’re looking for a villain, you might want to look at the areas that are governed by the Party you are most likely registered to.

      I always love the amnesia some of you display in these debates. It’s as if you have no clue what funds government or that the property values collapsed or that the continuing unfavorable tax and trade policies(read outsourcing) are the real root of the problems here. Corporate tax revenues used to fund about 40% of the government. Now it’s just 11%. Guess who’s expected to make up that shortfall, Mr. cluelesss middle classer.

      No, it’s always easier to reach for your inner stupid and blame the down and out people, many of whom these days are in that position through no fault of their own. Programs like SNAP(food stamps) have rigid financial qualifications and have time limits to access. They are truly the social “hand up” not the “hand out” that some of you portray.

      Yeah, I’m looking at you lazy eye.

      If you think Detroit’s problems are just them spending beyond their means, you just went to the head of the low information voter class.

  2. Dear Jerry,

    I can honestly tell you this. My office has been diligently working hard to fix many issues left me. I can only bail out those areas that I recognize as beneficial to my plan. It is of the utmost importance to assist each and every area hit hard by the economic down fall. I can say that I have created thousands of jobs for Americans. In your area alone I have promoted solar energy. I have also made available funds to keep hard working Americans from experiencing the negative pain by doubling the food stamp program. It has been and will remain my goal to keep as many citizens I can on some type of public assistance. Another area that I have accomplished is health care. Those citizens in your district will highly benefit from my new plan. Yes, it will take time but we must be together on this. We are continuing to move forward with success and fortitude so that areas like Stockton will rise on its own to be a model of the leadership I have brought forth these past five years. I look forward to working closely with you and your colleagues along with congress to make sure America remains sound. Knowing I have California in my pocket, I hope I have addressed your concerns. As always I appreciate your support.

    Your friend

Comments are closed.