On Saturday, some folks in Stockton are having a little party to celebrate the city while simultaneously sticking it to Forbes magazine, which crowned Stockton the Most Miserable City in America in February. Forbes wrote:
Unemployment has averaged 14.3% the past three years, which is third worst in the country among the 200 largest metro areas. The housing market collapsed as well, with home prices down 58% over the same time. All the California cities on the list are struggling with the inherent problems the state is facing, including high sales and income taxes and service cuts to help close massive budget shortfalls
The Stockton-as-hellhole meme sparked an immediate defensive backlash in the community. Watch this video, for instance, touting the city’s weather, cultural attractions, waterfront, university, and “wonderful first-time homebuyers’ market,” which is sort of another way of saying that home prices have collapsed, but ya gotta look at the bright side.
Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen, whose byline appears on the Forbes Most Miserable piece, spoke with KQED’s Central Valley Bureau Chief Sasha Khoka about the article. Listen to the interview below:
Forbes Senior Editor Kurt Badenhausen on why Stockton was picked as Most Miserable
Meanwhile, Alan Ray, professor of communication at University of the Pacific and one of the organizers of tomorrow’s Stockton rally, says he talked to Forbes and the magazine’s methodology is random and anything but empirical, not coming close to tapping into the true feelings of Stockton residents. He also talks about the roots of Stockton’s reputation as a less-than-reputable town. Listen to his interview with Sasha Khoka: