Stockton, California

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Stockton, California
City of Stockton
Downtown Stockton waterfront
Downtown Stockton waterfront
Official seal of Stockton, California
Nickname(s): "California's Sunrise Seaport", "Mudville", "Port City", "Fat City", "Brick City"
Motto: "Stockton: All American City!"[1]
Location in San Joaquin County and the state of California
Location in San Joaquin County and the state of California
Coordinates: 37°58′32″N 121°18′03″W / 37.97556°N 121.30083°W / 37.97556; -121.30083Coordinates: 37°58′32″N 121°18′03″W / 37.97556°N 121.30083°W / 37.97556; -121.30083
Country United States
State California
CountySan Joaquin
RegionSan Joaquin Valley
IncorporatedJuly 1850
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorAnthony Silva
 • City CouncilElbert Holman
Katherine Miller
Paul Canepa
Moises Zapien
Dyane Burgos
Michael Tubbs
 • City ManagerKurt Wilson
 • SenateCathleen Galgiani (D)
 • AssemblySusan Talamantes Eggman (D)
 • City64.753 sq mi (167.708 km2)
 • Land61.670 sq mi (159.723 km2)
 • Water3.083 sq mi (7.985 km2)  4.76%
Elevation13 ft (4 m)
Population (2013)
 • City301,090
 • Rank1st in San Joaquin County
13th in California
64th in the United States
 • Density4,600/sq mi (1,800/km2)
 • Metro685,306
Time zonePacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific (PDT) (UTC-7)
ZIP code95202–95207, 95209–95210, 95212
Area code(s)209
FIPS code06-75000
GNIS feature ID1659872
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Not to be confused with Stockton, San Diego.
Stockton, California
City of Stockton
Downtown Stockton waterfront
Downtown Stockton waterfront
Official seal of Stockton, California
Nickname(s): "California's Sunrise Seaport", "Mudville", "Port City", "Fat City", "Brick City"
Motto: "Stockton: All American City!"[1]
Location in San Joaquin County and the state of California
Location in San Joaquin County and the state of California
Coordinates: 37°58′32″N 121°18′03″W / 37.97556°N 121.30083°W / 37.97556; -121.30083Coordinates: 37°58′32″N 121°18′03″W / 37.97556°N 121.30083°W / 37.97556; -121.30083
Country United States
State California
CountySan Joaquin
RegionSan Joaquin Valley
IncorporatedJuly 1850
 • TypeMayor-Council
 • MayorAnthony Silva
 • City CouncilElbert Holman
Katherine Miller
Paul Canepa
Moises Zapien
Dyane Burgos
Michael Tubbs
 • City ManagerKurt Wilson
 • SenateCathleen Galgiani (D)
 • AssemblySusan Talamantes Eggman (D)
 • City64.753 sq mi (167.708 km2)
 • Land61.670 sq mi (159.723 km2)
 • Water3.083 sq mi (7.985 km2)  4.76%
Elevation13 ft (4 m)
Population (2013)
 • City301,090
 • Rank1st in San Joaquin County
13th in California
64th in the United States
 • Density4,600/sq mi (1,800/km2)
 • Metro685,306
Time zonePacific (PST) (UTC-8)
 • Summer (DST)Pacific (PDT) (UTC-7)
ZIP code95202–95207, 95209–95210, 95212
Area code(s)209
FIPS code06-75000
GNIS feature ID1659872

Stockton is a city in Northern California and the county seat of San Joaquin County.[3] Stockton has a population of 291,707 according to the 2010 United States Census and is the 13th largest city in California.

Stockton is situated amid the farmland of California's Central Valley. Interstate 5 and State Route 99, California's major north-south corridors, pass through the city. Stockton is connected westward with the San Francisco Bay by the San Joaquin River's 78 mile channel, and is, with Sacramento, one of California's two inland sea ports. In and around Stockton are thousands of miles of waterways and rivers which make up the California Delta.

The city hosts the annual Asparagus Festival and is the location of Haggin Museum, an art and history museum built in Victory Park in 1931. The museum displays 19th and 20th century works of art and houses local historical exhibits. For much of the later 19th century, starting with the Gold Rush, Stockton was one of the largest cities in California, for a while the third largest city.

Stockton has recently struggled with violent crime, reaching a record high of 71 homicides in 2012 before dropping to 23 in the first nine months of 2013.[4] The city had also cut its police force by more than 20% during the 2008 subprime mortgage crisis, but a sales tax approved by voters on November 5, 2013 could fund an additional 120 police officers.[5][6]

In July 2012, Stockton became the largest city in U.S. history to file for bankruptcy protection until it was surpassed by Detroit in July 2013. The city approved a plan to exit bankruptcy in October 2013,[7] and voters approved a sales tax that would help fund the exit on November 5, 2013.[8]


The Miwok Indians lived in the Central Valley among the delta's waterways, using them for food and transportation. The Yokut Indians also lived in the Northeast area of Stockton, along the Calaveras River up into the foothills following the South Fork of the river. The northern San Joaquin Valley was also the southern end of the Siskiyou Trail, a centuries-old footpath leading through the Sacramento Valley, over the Cascades, and onward to Oregon.

When Captain Charles Maria Weber, a German immigrant, decided to try his hand at gold mining in late 1848, he soon discovered that serving the needs of gold-seekers was a more profitable venture.[9] As an alien, Weber could not secure a land grant directly, so he formed a partnership with William Gulnae. Born in New York, Gulnae had married a Mexican woman and sworn allegiance to Mexico, and he applied in Weber's place for a land grant of eleven square leagues on the east side of the San Joaquin River.[10]

Weber acquired the Rancho Campo de los Franceses Mexican land grant, and founded Stockton in 1849. The area now known as Weber Point is the same spot where Captain Weber built the first permanent residence in the San Joaquin Valley.[11]

During the California Gold Rush, Stockton became a river port city, the hub of roads to the gold settlements in the San Joaquin Valley and northern terminus of the Stockton - Los Angeles Road. During its early years, Stockton was known by several names, including "Tuleburg", "Fat City," and "Mudville". Captain Weber decided on "Stockton" in honor of Commodore Robert F. Stockton. Stockton was the first community in California to have a name not of Spanish or Native American origin.

Stockton, circa 1860.

The city was officially incorporated on July 23, 1850, by the County Court, and the first city election was held on July 31, 1850. In 1851, the City of Stockton received its charter from the State of California. Early settlers included gold seekers from Asia, Africa, Australia, Europe, the Pacific Islands, Mexico and Canada. The historical population diversity is reflected in Stockton street names, architecture, numerous ethnic festivals, and in the faces and heritage of a majority of its citizens. In 1870, the Census Bureau reported Stockton's population as 87.6% white and 10.7% Asian.[12]

Benjamin Holt settled in Stockton in 1883 and with his three brothers founded the Stockton Wheel Co., and later the Holt Manufacturing Company. On Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 24, 1904, Holt successfully tested the first workable track-laying machine plowing soggy San Joaquin Valley Delta farmland.[13] Company photographer Charles Clements was reported to have observed that the tractor crawled like a caterpillar, and Holt seized on the metaphor. "Caterpillar it is. That’s the name for it!" [14]

Benjamin Holt (left) with British Colonel Ernest Dunlop Swinton in Stockton, April 1918. The vehicle on the right is a Holt tractor; on the left is a miniature replica of a British tank.

On April 22, 1918 British Army officer Colonel Ernest Dunlop Swinton visited Stockton while on a tour of the USA. The British and French armies were using many hundreds of Holt tractors to haul heavy guns and supplies during the World War, and Swinton publicly thanked Benjamin Holt and his workforce for their contribution to the war effort.[15] During 1914 and 1915, Swinton had advocated basing some sort of armored fighting vehicle on Holt's caterpillar tractors, but without success. (Although Britain did develop tanks, they came from a separate source and were not directly influenced by Holt machines.[16] After the appearance of tanks on the battlefield, Holt built a prototype, the Gas-electric tank, but it did not enter production)

Main Street, Stockton, California, from Robert N. Dennis collection of stereoscopic views, ca. 1870.

The extensive network of waterways in and around Stockton was fished and navigated by Miwok Indians for centuries. During the California Gold Rush, the San Joaquin River was navigable by ocean-going vessels, making Stockton a natural inland seaport and point of supply and departure for prospective gold-miners. From the mid-19th century onward, Stockton became the region's transportation hub, dealing mainly with agricultural products. By 1931 the Stockton Electric Railroad Company operated forty streetcars over 28 miles of track.[17]

Stockton is the site of the first Sikh temple in the United States, Stockton Gurdwara Sahib, which opened on October 24, 1912. It was founded by Baba Jawala Singh and Baba Wasakha Singh, successful Punjabi farmers who owned 500 acres on the Holt River.[18]

The town's canning industry became the battleground of a labor dispute resulting in the Spinach Riot of 1937. In 1933, the port was modernized and the Stockton Deepwater Channel linking the city to San Francisco Bay was deepened and completed. This created commercial opportunities that fueled the city's growth and paved the way for the Rough and Ready Island naval base which placed Stockton in a strategic position during the Cold War.

In September 1996, the Base Realignment and Closure Commission announced the final closure of Stockton's Naval Reserve Center on Rough and Ready Island. The island's facilities had served as a major communications outpost for submarine activities in the Pacific during the Cold War. The site is slowly being redeveloped as commercial property.

Construction and public spending (1990s–2000s)[edit]

View across Stockton metropolitan airport, 2009.

Beginning in the late 1990s under the mayorship of Gary Podesto, Stockton has experienced some revitalization.[citation needed]

Newly built or renovated buildings include the Bob Hope Theater, Regal City Centre Cinemas and IMAX, San Joaquin RTD Downtown Transit Center, Lexington Plaza Waterfront Hotel, Hotel Stockton, Stockton Arena, San Joaquin County Administration Building, and the Stockton Ballpark.

The "sunken parking lot" in front of the Hotel Stockton was transformed in the late 1990s into a public space named "Dean DeCarli Waterfront Square." The area is designed to provide for many different settings including a sunken plaza, shade structure, numerous trees and planters, stadia seating, bench seating, viewing platforms, a weir at the west end, and a cascading waterfall at the east end. DeCarli Square is now a popular location hosting music, art and religious events, festivals, Farmers Markets and social gatherings.

A new Downtown Marina and adjacent Joan Darah Promenade were added along the South Shore of the Stockton Deep Water Channel during 2009. Various public art projects were also installed throughout the area (see Stockton's public art section).

Other projects under consideration by the city council or under consideration as of January, 2009 include South Shore housing, the revitalization of the Robert J. Cabral Train Station neighborhood, bridges across the Stockton Deep Water Channel, and a new San Joaquin County Court House.[citation needed]

Real estate crash and bankruptcy (2007-)[edit]

Stockton was disproportionately affected by the 2007 subprime mortgage financial crisis, and led the United States in foreclosures for that year, with one out of every thirty homes posted for foreclosure.[19] From September 2006 to September 2007, the value of a median-priced house in Stockton declined by 44%.[20]

The collapse in real estate valuations had a negative on-flow effect on the city's revenue base. On June 28, 2012, Stockton filed for chapter 9 bankruptcy protection.[21] On April 1, 2013, Judge Christopher M. Klein,United States Bankruptcy Court Easter District of California, Sacramento Division, ruled that Stockton was eligible for bankruptcy protection.

Geography and climate[edit]

Stockton in relation to the Sacramento–San Joaquin River Delta.

Stockton is located at 37°58' north, 121°18' west. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 64.8 square miles (168 km2), of which 61.7 square miles (160 km2) is land and 3.1 square miles (8.0 km2) (4.76%) is water. The city lies at the nadir of the San Joaquin Valley.

Stockton has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen Csa), with hot, dry summers and mild winters. In an average year, about 80% of the 13.8 inches (351 mm) of precipitation falls from October through April. Located in the Central Valley, the temperatures range is much greater than in the nearby Bay Area. Tule fog blankets the area during some winter days. Stockton lies in the fertile heart of the California Mediterranean climate prairie delta, about equidistant from the Pacific Ocean and the Sierra Nevada.

At the airport, the highest recorded temperature was 115 °F (46 °C) on July 23, 2006, and the lowest was 16 °F (−9 °C) on Jan. 11, 1949. There are an average of 82 days annually with high temperatures of 90 °F (32.2 °C) or higher, and 18 of 100 °F (37.8 °C) or above; 19 days see low temperatures at or below freezing.[22] The wettest year was 1983 with 26.65 inches (677 mm) and the lowest year was 1976 with 5.6 inches (140 mm).[23]

The most rainfall in one month was 8.22 inches (209 mm) in February 1998 and the most rainfall in 24 hours was 3.01 inches (76 mm) on Jan. 21, 1967. There are an average of 55 days with measurable precipitation. Only light amounts of snow have been recorded; the most was 0.3 inches (7.6 mm) in February 1976.[23]

Climate data for Stockton, California (Stockton Metropolitan Airport), 1981–2010 normals
Average high °F (°C)53.9
Average low °F (°C)37.7
Precipitation inches (mm)2.74
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)
Source: NOAA[22]


Historical population


The 2010 United States Census[24] reported that Stockton had a population of 291,707. The population density was 4,505.0 people per square mile (1,739.4/km²). The racial makeup of Stockton was 108,044 (37.0%) White, 35,548 (12.2%) African American, 3,086 (1.1%) Native American, 62,716 (21.5%) Asian (7.2% Filipino, 3.5% Cambodian, 2.1% Vietnamese, 2.0% Hmong, 1.8% Chinese, 1.6% Indian, 1.0% Laotian, 0.6% Pakistani, 0.5% Japanese, 0.2% Korean, 0.1% Thai), 1,822 (0.6%) Pacific Islander (0.2% Fijian, 0.2% Samoan, 0.1% Tongan, 0.1% Guamanian), 60,332 (20.7%) from other races, and 20,159 (6.9%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 117,590 persons (40.3%). 35.7% of Stockton's population is of Mexican descent, and 0.6% Puerto Rican. Non-Hispanic Whites were 22.9% of the population in 2010,[25] down from 57.1% in 1980.[12]

The Census reported that 285,973 people (98.0% of the population) lived in households, 3,896 (1.3%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 1,838 (0.6%) were institutionalized.

There were 90,605 households, out of which 41,033 (45.3%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 41,481 (45.8%) were heterosexual married couples living together, 17,140 (18.9%) had a female householder with no husband present, 7,157 (7.9%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 7,123 (7.9%) unmarried heterosexual partnerships, and 720 (0.8%) same-sex married or registered domestic partnerships. 19,484 households (21.5%) were made up of individuals and 7,185 (7.9%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.16. There were 65,778 families (72.6% of all households); the average family size was 3.69.

The population was spread out with 87,338 people (29.9%) under the age of 18, 34,126 people (11.7%) aged 18 to 24, 76,691 people (26.3%) aged 25 to 44, 64,300 people (22.0%) aged 45 to 64, and 29,252 people (10.0%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30.8 years. For every 100 females there were 96.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.5 males.

There were 99,637 housing units at an average density of 1,538.7 per square mile (594.1/km²), of which 46,738 (51.6%) were owner-occupied, and 43,867 (48.4%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 3.2%; the rental vacancy rate was 9.4%. 146,235 people (50.1% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 139,738 people (47.9%) lived in rental housing units.


As of the census[26] of 2000, there were 243,771 people, 78,556 households, and 56,167 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,720.4/km² (4,455.7/mi²). There were 82,042 housing units at an average density of 579.0/km² (1,499.6/mi²). The racial makeup of the city was 43.26% White, 11.25% African American, 1.12% Native American, 19.90% Asian, 0.40% Pacific Islander, 17.31% from other races, and 6.76% from two or more races. 32.50% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 78,556 households out of which 40.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 48.1% were married couples living together, 17.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.5% were non-families. 22.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.6% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.04 and the average family size was 3.59.

In the city the population was spread out with 32.4% under the age of 18, 11.0% from 18 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 10.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 30 years. For every 100 females there were 95.0 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 91.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $35,453, and the median income for a family was $40,434. Males had a median income of $35,181 versus $26,602 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,405. 23.9% of the population and 18.9% of families were below the poverty line. 32.8% of those under the age of 18 and 11.9% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line.

Social science statistics[edit]

Stockton has been subject to a series of negative national rankings in recent years:


The historic Commercial & Savings Bank building, Stockton.

Historically an agricultural community, Stockton's economy has since diversified. These include telecommunications and manufacturing among others.

Stockton is centrally located relative to both San Francisco and Sacramento. Given its location, its proximity to the state and interstate freeway system, and relatively inexpensive land costs, several companies base their regional operations in Stockton.

Top employers[edit]

According to the City's 2009 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report,[32] the top employers in the city are:

#Employer# of Employees
1San Joaquin County5,938
2Stockton Unified School District4,000
3St. Joseph’s Medical Center2,230
4OG Packing2,001
5California Division of Juvenile Justice1,492
6Diamond Foods1,467
7City of Stockton1,425
8Dameron Hospital1,200
9North California Youth Center1,000
10University of the Pacific966

Real estate bubble[edit]

Stockton was disproportionately affected by the collapse of the sub-prime lending market in 2007, and led the United States in foreclosures for that year, with one out of every thirty homes posted for foreclosure.[19] From September 2006 to September 2007, the value of a median-priced house in Stockton declined by 44%.[20]

Stockton's Weston Ranch neighborhood, a subdivision of modest tract homes built in the mid-1990s, had the worst foreclosure rate in the area according to ACORN, a national advocacy group for low and moderate-income families. Stockton found itself squarely at the center of the United States' speculative housing bubble in the 2000s. Real estate in Stockton more than tripled in value between 1998 and 2005, but when the bubble burst in 2007, the ensuing financial crisis made Stockton one of the hardest-hit cities in United States.[33]

Stockton housing prices fell 39% in the 2008 fiscal year, and the city had the country's highest foreclosure rate (9.5%) as well. Because of the shrinking economy, Stockton also had an unemployment rate of 13.3% in 2008, one of the highest in the United States. Stockton was rated by Forbes in 2009 as America's fifth most dangerous city because of its crime rate.[33] In 2010, mainly due to the aforementioned factors, Forbes named it one of the top three worst places to live.[34]

Entertainment and culture[edit]

Performing arts[edit]

Music schools and orchestras[edit]

The Fox California Theater.

The Stockton Symphony is the third-oldest professional orchestra in California (founded in 1926), after the San Francisco Symphony and the Los Angeles Philharmonic.[35] The University of the Pacific is known for its music conservatory and for being the home of the Brubeck Institute, named after Dave Brubeck, a Pacific alumnus and jazz piano legend. The institute maintains an archive of Brubeck's work and offers a fellowship program for young musicians. The Brubeck Institute Jazz Quartet is composed of Pacific students and tours widely.[36] San Joaquin Delta College has a growing jazz program and is home to several official and unofficial jazz bands composed of Delta and Pacific students and faculty.[37] Christian Life College offers Associate and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Christian Music.

Stockton hosts several live music venues, including the Stockton Arena, which is home to several sports teams, and has hosted nationally known entertainers such as Gwen Stefani, Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, Josh Groban, Carrie Underwood and Bob Dylan. The annual Apollo Night talent show draws about 1,500 people to the Stockton Civic Memorial Auditorium (1925) to watch performances by aspiring Northern California musicians.[38]

The Bob Hope Theatre, formerly known as the Fox California Theatre in downtown Stockton, built in 1930, is one of several movie palaces in the Central Valley. Bob Hope often came to Stockton to visit close friend and billionaire tycoon Alex Spanos, who donated much of the money to revitalize the theater after Hope's death. The University of the Pacific Faye Spanos Concert Hall often hosts public performances, as does the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium. The Warren Atherton Auditorium at the Delta Center for the Arts on the campus of the San Joaquin Delta College is a 1,456-seat theater with a 60-foot (18 m) proscenium and full grid system.[39] The Stockton Empire Theater is an art deco movie theater that has been revitalized as a venue for live music.

Founded in 1951, the Stockton Civic Theatre offers an annual series of musicals, comedies and dramas. It maintains a 300-seat theater in the Venetian Bridges neighborhood. The company also hosts the annual Willie awards for the local performing arts.

Other performing arts organizations and venues include:

Museums, visual art, and galleries[edit]

Stockton is home to several museums. The Haggin Museum features collections and exhibits related to local history and California history, and owns important works by late 19th and early 20th century artists. Notable among them is Albert Bierstadt, who was well known for interpreting the towering grandeur of Yosemite and much of California's magnificent Sierra Nevada mountains.[11] The local Tidewater Art Gallery features the work of local artists. The Stockton Art League maintains the Elsie May Goodwin Gallery.

The University of the Pacific’s Reynolds Gallery and San Joaquin Delta College’s Horton Gallery feature contemporary work by students and local and nationally known artists. The Children's Museum of Stockton is housed in a former warehouse on the Downtown waterfront, and features many interactive displays. The Filipino American National Historical Society has proposed the construction of the National Pinoy Museum in the Little Manila district. The museum would be dedicated to the history of Filipino-Americans. Stockton once had one of the largest population of Filipinos in the United States.[citation needed]

The Stockton Arts Commission, a division of city government, oversees a city endowment fund that provides grants to local artists and arts and cultural organizations. It sponsors the annual arts awards, a writing contest and the arts and crafts show at the Asparagus Festival. The commission also serves as an advocate and information clearinghouse for the arts and cultural community.

Stockton public art projects include:

In addition to its history galleries, the Haggin Museum displays fine art of late 19th and early 20th century artists such as Jean Béraud, Albert Bierstadt, Rosa Bonheur, William Bouguereau, Paul Gauguin, Jean-Léon Gérôme, Childe Hassam, George Inness, Daniel Ridgway Knight, Pierre-Auguste Renoir, Jehan-Georges Vibert, and Jules Worms. It also hosts temporary touring exhibitions.

In 2005, the Downtown Stockton Alliance began sponsoring a monthly art walk during the summer. The event features local artists exhibiting their work at downtown businesses and galleries as well as in some otherwise vacant storefronts. Musicians also perform throughout downtown as part of the event.

Stockton, CA (SFD) is one of only sixty Class 1 Fire Departments in the United States, the highest rating attainable, from the Insurance Services Office, and has held this distinguished title since 1971.[11]

With over 77,000 trees, the City of Stockton has been labeled Tree City USA some 30 times according to[11]

Stockton has over 275 restaurants ranging in variety reflective to the population demographics. A mix of American, African American, BBQ, Cambodian, Chinese, Filipino, Greek, Italian, Mexican and Vietnamese restaurants are abundant in the community reflecting the cities' diverse culture. Cantonese restaurant On Lock Sam still exists and dates back to 1895.[41]


Stockton hosts several annual festivals celebrating the rich cultural heritage of the city. These include:

  • San Joaquin Children's Film Festival
  • San Joaquin International Film Festival (February)
  • Chinese New Year's Parade and Festival (February/March)
  • St. Patrick's Day and Shamrock Run (March)
  • Great Stockton Asparagus Dine Out (April)
  • Stockton Asparagus Festival (April)
  • Brubeck Jazz Festival (April)
  • Earth Day Festival (April)
  • Cambodian New Year (April)
  • Annual Nagar Kirtan, Sikh Parade (April)
  • Boat Parade for the Opening of Yachting Season (April)
  • Cinco de Mayo Parade and Festival (May)
  • Zion Academy's Reclaim (May)
  • Jewish Food Fair (June)
  • Juneteenth Day Celebration (June)
  • Stockton Obon Bazaar (July)
  • Colombian Independence Day Festival (July)
  • Taste of San Joaquin and West Coast BBQ Championships
  • Filipino Barrio Fiesta (August)
  • Stockton Beer Week (August)
  • Stockton Pride (August)
  • The Record's Family Day at the Park (Sept)
  • Stockton Restaurant Week (September)
  • Black Family Day (September)
  • San Joaquin County Coastal Cleanup Day (September)
  • Greek Festival (September)
  • Festa Italiana: Tutti In Piazza (September)
  • Stocktoberfest, Beer and Brats Festival on the Waterfront (October)
  • Hmong New Year (November)
  • Stockton Festival of Lights and Boat Parade (December)


The city of Stockton has two shopping malls, located adjacent to each other: Weberstown Mall and Sherwood Mall.


Stockton is home to several minor league franchises:

The Stockton Ports Baseball Team play their home games at Banner Island Ballpark, a 5,000 seat facility built for the team in downtown Stockton. The Ports played their home games at Billy Hebert Field from 1953-2004. The Ports have been a single A team in Stockton since 1946 in the California Minor Leagues. Stockton has minor league baseball dating back to 1886.[42] The Ports have produced 244 Major League players including Gary Sheffield, Dan Plesac, Doug Jones, Pat Listach, and Stockton's own Dallas Braden among others.[43] The Ports have eleven championships and are currently the A class team for the Oakland Athletics. The Ports had the best win-loss percentage in all Minor League Baseball in the 1980s.[44]

A 10,000 seat arena, Stockton Arena, located in Downtown Stockton, opened in December 2005 and is the home of the Stockton Thunder professional hockey team (ECHL).

Stockton is home to the oldest NASCAR certified race track West of the Mississippi. The Stockton 99 Speedway opened in 1947 and is a quarter mile oval paved track with grandstands that can accommodate 5,000 spectators.

Stockton's designation for Little League Baseball is District 8, which has 12 leagues of teams within the city. Stockton also has several softball leagues including Stockton Girls Softball Association, and Port City Softball League, each having several hundred members.

Rowing Regatta featuring Junior, Collegiate and Master Level Rowing & Sculling Competition is organized by the University of the Pacific[45] annually on the Stockton's Deep Water Channel. Teams from throughout Northern California compete in this Olympic sport which is also the oldest collegiate sport in the United States.

Stockton hosts a wide variety of sports events every year: from resident hockey, baseball and soccer games through basketball at the University of the Pacific and at the Stockton Arena; golf championships at two 18-hole courses and a Par 3 Executive Course; rowing, sailing and fishing on the Delta and the Stockton Channel; martial arts and cage fighting. There are four public golf courses open year round, Van Buskirk, Swenson, and The Reserve at Spanos Park and Elkhorn Golf Course. Private courses include The Stockton Golf & Country Club, Oakmoore, and Brookside Golf & Country Club.

Stockton is one of a handful of cities that lays claim to being the inspiration for Casey at the Bat.[46] The University of the Pacific was the summer home of the San Francisco 49ers Summer Training Camp from 1998 through 2002.

Stockton also is the base of UFC fighters Nick and Nate Diaz, Nick being one of the top welterweights in the UFC and the former WEC and Strikeforce Welterweight champion and Nate currently one of the top UFC lightweights. Both brothers are Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belts under Cesar Gracie and operate a school in Stockton which teaches Brazilian jiu-jitsu to children and youth.


As of January 1, 2013, the current mayor of Stockton is Anthony Silva.

The City Council consists of the following members as of January 1, 2013:[47]

The current form of government is a city manager council:[32][48]

City DepartmentDirector
City ManagerKurt Wilson
Deputy City ManagersLaurie K. Montes
Administrative Director/CFOVanessa Burke
Director Community DevelopmentSteve Chase
Director Human ResourcesTeresia Haase
Director Municipal UtilitiesMel Lytle
Director Community Services/Library ServicesActing Director Laurie K. Montes
Director Public WorksGordon Mackay
Fire ChiefJeff Piechura
Police ChiefEric Jones
Director of Economic DevelopmentMicah Runner

Stockton is also part of San Joaquin County, for which the government of San Joaquin County is defined and authorized under the California Constitution and law as a general law county. The County government provides countywide services such as elections and voter registration, law enforcement, jails, vital records, property records, tax collection, public health, and social services. The County government is primarily composed of the elected five-member Board of Supervisors and other elected offices including the Sheriff, District Attorney, and Assessor, and numerous county departments and entities under the supervision of the County Administrator.


Amtrak Police cars at the Stockton – San Joaquin Street Station in Stockton, 2012.
See also: Stockton police

Stockton has had a reputation for high crime rates relative to other cities in the region. In 2012, the City of Stockton was the 10th[29] most dangerous city in America, reporting 1,417 violent crimes per 100,000 persons, well above the national average, and 22 murders per 100,000 (above the average of 4.7).[citation needed] But as of October 12, 2013, crime rates had fallen substantially since the same period in 2012: violent crime was down 19.2%, and homicide was down 54%.[4]

Stockton Police Chief Eric Jones credits 2013’s drop in the murder rate to Operation Ceasefire, a gun violence intervention strategy pioneered in Boston and implemented in Stockton in 2012,[49] combined with a federal gun and narcotics operation.[50]

In 2006, Stockton also used a "broken windows" strategy which links cleanup of "minor blight" to reduced crime rates, as modeled in Los Angeles.[51]

The Cleveland Elementary School shooting[edit]

On January 17, 1989, the Stockton Police Department received a threat against Cleveland Elementary School from an unknown person. Later that day, Patrick Purdy, who was later determined to be mentally ill, opened fire on the school's playground with a semi-automatic rifle, killing five children, all Cambodian or Vietnamese refugees, and wounding 29 others, and a teacher, before taking his own life. The event received national news coverage and is sometimes referred to as the Cleveland School massacre.[52]

Then-Mayor Barbara Fass' subsequent work on gun control received national attention and sparked nationwide efforts that sought to ban semi-automatic military-style rifles like the one used in the shooting.

Popular singer and song writer Michael Jackson paid a visit to Cleveland Elementary School to see the children and families affected by this tragedy on February 7, 1989.[53]

Public finances[edit]

According to the city’s most recent[when?] Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the city reported a significant deficit with US$443.9 million in revenue and US$485.4 million in expenditures. The report cited US$1,903.5 million in total assets and US$679.9 million in total liabilities, with $203.5 million in cash and investments.[32]

Former Fairfield, California City Manager Kevin O'Rouke was hired as Interim City Manager after the retirement of Palmer, until the Stockton City Council announced that former County of Sonoma Administrator Bob Deis as permanent replacement and will take over the position as of July 2010.

On October 31, 2013, Bob Deis concluded his tumultuous tenure as Stockton’s City Manager. He called the last three years and four months an “interesting ride,”[54] making unpopular decisions but being praised even by his critics.[citation needed] Deis will retire to the community of Santa Rosa, CA.

After 2 months of searching, The Stockton City Council on November 2013 interviewed the finalists at the Stockton Hilton. It’s said that one of them is an “internal” candidate. A formal announcement will be made the week of 11/3/2013.


On June 28, 2012, Stockton filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy. On April 1, 2013, a federal judge accepted the bankruptcy application.[55]

On October 4, 2013, Stockton City Council approved a bankruptcy exit plan by a six-zero vote [7] to be filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District of California, Sacramento. Voters approved a 3/4-cent sales tax which would help fund the bankruptcy exit on November 5, 2013.[8]


Burns Tower on the University of the Pacific campus.

Primary and secondary[edit]

Stockton feeds into four public school districts, Stockton Unified School District, Lincoln Unified School District, Lodi Unified School District, and Manteca Unified School District. There are more than 40 private elementary and secondary schools, which include Saint Mary's High School. Stockton is also home to public charter school systems such as Aspire Public Schools, Stockton Collegiate and Venture Academy.


The University of the Pacific moved to Stockton in 1924 from San Jose. The university is the only private school in the United States with less than 10,000 students enrolled to offer eight different professional schools. It also offers a large number of degree programs relative to its student population.[56] The men's basketball program (Pacific Tigers) have made it to the NCAA Tournament 9 times. The Tigers have played their home games at the Alex G. Spanos Center since 1982, prior to that playing at the Stockton Memorial Civic Auditorium since 1952. The Tigers have won their conference championship some eleven times. The campus has been used in the filming of a number of Hollywood films (see below), partly due to its aesthetic likeness to East Coast Ivy League universities.

Also located in Stockton are:


Television stations[edit]

As part of the Sacramento-Stockton-Modesto television market, Stockton is primarily served by stations based in Sacramento, but may carry some San Francisco Bay area television stations' airwaves. These are listed below, with the city of license in bold:

Radio broadcast stations[edit]

FM stations[edit]

  • KJOY 99.3: Lite Rock
  • KMIX 100.9: Regional Mexican
  • KQOD 100.1: Rhythmic Oldies
  • KSTN-FM 107.3: Christian
  • KATM 103.3: Country
  • KUOP 91.3: (Capital Public Radio NPR affiliate)News/Talk and Jazz
  • KWIN 97.7: Urban Contemporary
  • KHOP 95.1: Rhythmic Contemporary
  • KYCC 90.1: Christian
  • KLOVE 89.7: Christian
  • KRXQ 98.5: Alternative Rock
  • The Hawk 104.1: Classic Rock
  • KQED-FM 88.5: (NPR affiliate)News/Talk

AM stations[edit]

In addition, several radio stations from nearby San Francisco, Sacramento and Modesto are receivable in Stockton.

Stockton was home to the world's first radio disc jockey, Ray Newby. In 1909, at 16 years of age, Newby began regularly playing records on a small transmitter while a student at Herrold College of Engineering and Wireless, located in San Jose, California, under the authority of radio pioneer Charles "Doc" Herrold.[57][58]

We used popular records at that time, mainly Caruso records, because they were very good and loud; we needed a boost... we started on an experimental basis and then, because this is novel, we stayed on schedule continually without leaving the air at any time from that time on except for a very short time during World War I, when the government required us to remove the antenna... Most of our programming was records, I'll admit, but of course we gave out news as we could obtain it...[57]

—Ray Newby, I've Got a Secret (1965)

Print media[edit]


Daily newspapers[edit]

Other newspapers and periodicals[edit]

Motion pictures[edit]

A number of motion pictures have been filmed in Stockton.[60] Over the years, filmmakers have used Stockton's waterways[61] to stand in for the Mississippi delta, the surrounding farmland as the American plains and Midwest, and Pacific's campus[62] as an Ivy League college. Some of the movies filmed in Stockton include:

Television shows[edit]


Stockton is centrally located with access to an international deep-water port, national railroad system, and intrastate and interstate freeway system.


An Amtrak station in Stockton.

Due to its location at the "crossroads" of the Central Valley and a relatively extensive highway system, Stockton is easily accessible from virtually anywhere in California. Interstate 5 and State Route 99, California's major north-south thoroughfares, pass through the city limits. The east-west highway State Route 4 also passes through the city, providing access to the San Francisco Bay Area as well as the Sierra Nevada and its foothills. Stockton is the western terminus of State Route 26 and State Route 88, which extends to the Nevada border. In addition, Stockton is within an hour of Interstate 80, Interstate 205 and Interstate 580.

Stockton is served by San Joaquin Regional Transit District [95] Stockton is also connected to the rest of the nation through a network of railways. Amtrak and Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) both make stops in Stockton, with Amtrak providing passenger access to the rest of the nation. Union Pacific and BNSF Railway, the two largest railroad networks in North America both service Stockton and its port via connections with the Stockton Terminal and Eastern Railroad and Central California Traction Company, who provide local and interconnecting services between the various rail lines. Recently, BNSF Railway opened a much needed $150 million intermodal freight transport facility in southeast Stockton, which satisfies long-haul transportation needs.


Stockton is served by Stockton Metropolitan Airport, located on county land just south of city limits. The airport has been designated a Foreign Trade Zone and is mainly used by manufacturing and agricultural companies for shipping purposes. Since airline deregulation, passenger service has come and gone several times. Domestic service resumed on June 16, 2006 with service to Las Vegas by Allegiant Air.[96] The days of service/number of flights were expanded a few months later due to demand. Air service to Phoenix began in September 2007, but this has since been discontinued.[96][97]

Most recently, on July 1, 2010, Allegiant Air implemented non-stop service to and from Long Beach, California.[96] With respect to international service, in 2006 Aeromexico had plans to provide flights to and from Guadalajara, Mexico, but the airport's plan to build a customs station at the airport was initially rejected by the customs service. However, the possibility of building this station is currently a continuing matter of negotiation between the airport and the customs service, and Aeromexico has indicated a continuing interest in eventually providing service. Ground transportation is available from Hertz, Enterprise, Yellow Cab and Aurora Limousine.


The Port of Stockton is a fully operating seaport approximately 75 nautical miles (86 mi; 139 km) east of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. Set on the San Joaquin River, the port operates a 4,200 acres (17 km2)}[98] transportation center with berthing space for 17 vessels up to 900 ft in length. The Port of Stockton has 120 tenants and is served by BNSF & UP Railroads.[99] The port also includes 1.1 million square feet (102,000 m²) of dockside transit sheds and shipside rail trackage and 7.7 million square feet (715,000 m²) of warehousing.[100] Adjacent to the port is Rough and Ready Island, which served as a World War II–era naval supply base until it was decommissioned as a result of BRAC 1995.

Awards and recognition[edit]

Stockton received an All-America City award from the National Civic League twice, in 1999 and 2004. 2004's award was based on a 60-member delegation's presentation titled "The Dream Lives On!", and featured three community-driven projects: Community Partnership for Families, Downtown Alliance, and the Peace Keeper Program.[101] The 1999 award recognized the Apollo Night Talent and Performing Series, the conversion of the Stockton Developmental Center into an off-campus center for the California State University at Stanislaus, and the LEAP (Let Education Attack Pollution) program.[102]

Sunset magazine named Stockton Best Tree City in the western United States in March 2002,[103] and "Best of the West Food Fest" in March 2000. Stockton contains 49 city, state, and national historical landmarks, dating as far back as 1855.

In February 2009,[104] and again in February 2011,[105] Stockton was named "America's Most Miserable City" by Forbes, reflecting the city's issues with commuting times, violent crime rates, income tax levels, and unemployment rates. Stockton had placed second in this listing in 2008.

Notable people[edit]

People born in Stockton are printed in bold.

Sister cities[edit]

Stockton has seven sister cities:[121]

CountryCityYear of Partnership
Japan JapanShizuokaMarch 9, 1959
Philippines PhilippinesIloilo CityAugust 2, 1965
Mexico MexicoEmpalmeSeptember 4, 1973
China People's Republic of ChinaFoshanApril 11, 1988
Italy ItalyParmaJanuary 13, 1998
Cambodia CambodiaBattambangOctober 19, 2004
Nigeria NigeriaAsabaJune 6, 2006

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Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]