It warms my heart when we host our monthly editorial advisory luncheons in San Joaquin and Stanislaus counties. Our goal is to bring business leaders together for a round table chat to gauge the local business climate.
In the past few years we struggled to find good news to report. That can prove a bit tricky when confronted with a sluggish economy, rising taxes, cutbacks and crime. Our mission is to provide positive local business news and connect business leaders together to be a support group for each other. In the end, we listen. We find interesting story ideas and, we hope, provide interesting information to our readers.
At the end of February we shared encouraging news. Real estate prices are up. In fact the current trend is that sellers are receiving several offers over the asking price on homes in the low to medium price range. A prominent local jeweler told us retail sales were up during the holidays. Big Valley Ford General Manager Steve Kubitz announced that Ford headquarters was providing dealerships with an additional 500 units this year.
The consensus at every meeting is that if we can find a way to make some of the ridiculous taxes subside, recovery would move at a much quicker pace. Our politicians need to fight harder for California to be a business friendly state.
We were also pleased that Congressman Jeff Denham sent his Veterans Liaison and “Gold Star Father” Mike Anderson to our editorial meeting to aid us in our efforts for veterans and the refurbishment of the USS Lucid, a wonderful piece of Naval history currently moored at the San Joaquin Building Futures Academy in Stockton off Monte Diablo Avenue. We have strength in numbers. If you’re looking for a great project to embrace, visit the website at http://stocktonhistoricalmaritimemuseum. org/.
Denham authored a bill (H.R.4155, The Veteran Skills to Jobs Act) that provides veterans returning home with job skill opportunities. It passed both houses in July 2012. With that in mind, we had the opportunity to attend the opening of Denham’s new district office in Modesto and introduced him to the Lucid project. When we interviewed Denham about President Obama’s State of the Union address, our reporter Jonathan Mumm, asked him if a nonprofit could receive a federal grant to fund veterans so they could mentor and pass on the trade they learned in the Navy to the academy students as part of the Lucid project. Denham’s response: “There is certainly precedence for it. I mean if it’s an opportunity to get vets not only back to work, but more importantly to get trained so they can take a new career field as they return home, I think that’s something we should be looking to pursue. Last year I passed the Veterans Jobs Skills Act, which helps get our veterans trained, and it would fit perfectly with something like this. We are looking into it currently”.
I’m thrilled. This is a winner for our valley, bringing students, veterans and naval history together to provide a maritime museum and salvage these wonderful ships. It’s going to take a lot of energy to bring this vision to reality, but Rome wasn’t built in a day. I’m proud to say, people are still committed to turning the negative press we receive in this valley into a positive. If we work together, I do believe we will have a number of vessels in the downtown Stockton area to tour - a real full-blown maritime museum.
I’m pleased to say that our story on the USS Lucid got national attention. The national offices of the American Legion has contacted us to do a follow up story on an international level! Let’s GO!
My eldest son Blake left Tuesday for Great Lakes Naval Training Center. He is now a member of the United States Navy. God bless and keep him safe!
God bless America,
Sharon Alley Calone