Stockton Syndrome Found – Letter to the El Segundo Herald by Douglas Heitkamp

The following letter to the editor was published in the El Segundo Herald newspaper ( on Thursday, September 13, 2012 in the Letters section on page 3. The El Segundo Herald has a strict 250-word limit, including the title.

Stockton Syndrome Found

El Segundo like many other cities in California appears to have some of the symptoms of an affliction now common throughout California. It has been observed in Vallejo, San Jose, San Diego, San Bernardino County and Stockton. I will refer to this malady as the “Stockton Syndrome”. Some of its symptoms include the lack of a balanced budget, loss of revenue from sales and real-estate taxes, investment income and electric utility tax. Other symptoms include unexpected personnel costs. Annual budges that must also cope with ever increasing yearly growth in salaries, pension and medical costs is common. Moody’s has taken notice of this in their recent announcement to review the bond ratings of all California cities.

Other symptoms include problems and debt associated with failed city investments in economic development programs meant to attract new businesses and entrepreneurs in spite of the fact that California State anti business climate is driving them out of the state.

I am certain that our mayor, council members and other city officials are aware of these complicated issues as are the citizens of our city and that the avoidance of bankruptcy is very possible if action is taken while we still have the time to do so as did Rancho Cucamonga. I therefore respectfully request that in this era of transparency periodic progress reports on this subject be included in the city council’s meeting agenda or published in The El Segundo Herald and The Daily Breeze.

Thank you for your consideration of this request.

Douglas Heitkamp

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