Volunteers to take ‘pulse’ of south area

STOCKTON – Two Saturdays from today, a team of volunteers will spread out across southeast Stockton to begin taking the community’s “pulse,” as City Councilman Michael Tubbs has put it.

“We really want to talk with and engage with the community,” Tubbs said this week. “It should be something everybody can get on board with.”

The community assessment, which begins with volunteers going door to door to interview residents, will delve into a variety of issues, including education, public safety, housing, economic development and health.

The assessment is being organized by the Reinvent South Stockton Coalition, formed by Tubbs earlier this year. According to organizers, at least 125 people have said they intend to participate in the door-to-door interviewing, which begins July 26.

Organizers said there are about 5,000 households in the survey area, which encompasses Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard on the north, Arch Airport Road on the south, Highway 99 on the east and the Union Pacific railroad tracks on the west.

The group’s goal is to amass about 1,000 responses to an initial 11-question survey. A subsequent eight-question follow-up survey then will be conducted, the goal of which will be to gain deeper and more focused data from the initial set of respondents.

“The first and primary goal is to get a sense of what the community is thinking about these issues, then to use the data to guide future work,” said Hector Lara, a project organizer who works for Community Partnership for Families.

Reinvent Stockton also will be receiving assistance from San Joaquin County’s Public Health Department. The head of the department, Bill Mitchell, said public health epidemiologist Jamie White will be attending the group’s meetings.

“It’s my perspective that where people are trying to improve the conditions within communities, that Public Health should support those efforts,” Mitchell said.

“Efforts to improve the economic vitality of communities – the environments people live in, poverty and education – all have a significant impact on the public’s health in those communities,” he said.

The Reinvent South Stockton Coalition also has the ear of the Campaign For Common Ground, though to this point there is no formal involvement by the slow-growth group in the assessment process.

“We have an interest in being involved,” said Trevor Atkinson of the Campaign for Common Ground. “Certainly south Stockton is an important part of the overall picture, and it’s a neglected part.”

Findings of the assessment are expected to be presented at a Reinvent South Stockton Coalition summit being planned for October. Lara said the findings will help inform the development of programs to address the needs prioritized by community members. The survey also may help identify new leaders in southeast Stockton, Lara said, adding that the group intends to begin conducting the assessments annually.

“Anybody who has a stake in Stockton has a stake in seeing south Stockton revitalized,” Tubbs said. “At the very least, this will set an agenda for working on the south side.”

— Contact reporter Roger Phillips at (209) 546-8299 or Follow him at and on Twitter @rphillipsblog.

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