How are blackmail payoffs to “potential shooters” different from tribute that a defeated society pays to their conquerors?
The headline says it all: “Stockton’s young mayor has bold turnaround plan: Basic income and stipends for potential shooters.” Payments to people so that they won’t do you harm are blackmail payoffs. If I could trust the media to honestly and accurately report on how Mayor Michael Tubbs’ plan implodes in Stockton, California, I would be tempted to favor it. “Bold” is another word for stupid and unethical.
Tubbs, a Stockton native and Stanford graduate who is all of 27 years old, wants to give at least $500 a month to a select group of residents. They’ll be able to spend it as they wish, for 18 months, in a pilot program to test the impact of what’s called guaranteed basic income.
If the very sound of that knocked you half off your chair, this next initiative might finish the job.
Stockton is about to award stipends of up to $1,000 a month to residents deemed most likely to shoot somebody. This program is called Advance Peace, and it’s modeled after a crime reduction program in the Bay Area city of Richmond.
The idea is that a small number of people are responsible for a large percentage of violence, and offering them an alternative path — with counseling and case management over an 18-month period, along with a stipend if they stay the course — can be a good investment all around.
“Let me be clear, Advance Peace is not a get out of jail free card,” Tubbs wrote in explaining the program on Stockton’s public safety website. “Participating in this program doesn’t erase the past, but it does help these young men learn how to make better choices for their own and our community’s collective future.”
There’s a difference between a vision and a hallucination, and time will tell with Tubbs. But I like the young man’s mix of rebelliousness, impatience and willingness to take risks.
We met last year when I wrote about how Stockton had gone from housing collapse to housing boom. Workers in Silicon Valley and the San Francisco-Oakland area, driven out of the cuckoo housing markets in those communities, have snapped up cheaper properties in Stockton, accepting the bargain of killer commutes.
But Stockton still suffers the crushing burdens of poverty, crime and now the rising rents and home prices that come with gentrification.
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