Tracy Mayor Robert Rickman- What Happened To You Man?

Robert Rickman- What Happened to You, Man?

One of the enjoyable developments within San Joaquin County politics has been watching the evolution of the City of Tracy politics. Tracy has a special place in my heart because one of my mom’s best friends lived in Tracy. My mom worked at the IMG_8833
Tracy Defense Depot, so outside of Stockton, Tracy was the city within our county I knew best. To watch it shift from an extremely conservative community with strong ties to ag culture to a more progressive community with strong ties to the Bay Area has been fascinating to observe. One of the oddest episodes during this time has been the metamorphosis of Robert Rickman from a CHIPS-like image to bumbling Barney Fife villain waiting to star in the Coen Brother’s next season of Fargo. What Happened?

Now, before I get too deep into the weeds with this story, I want to make sure we keep some level of perspective. Robert Rickman is a bad politician and even worse community leader. Here is a “greatest hits” of his misdeeds. He:

  • Stated he would cooperate with ICE to arrest undocumented people in
  • Voted against ethics policies for the Tracy City
  • Attempted to dissemble efforts to create community participatory policies on homelessness - without any logical explanation for attacking and fighting them beyond “it wasn’t his idea”.
  • When asked what his own homelessness policy was, he said he would give the homeless a bus pass to Stockton CA, and then engaged in a pathetic public fight against Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs.
  • He has stood shoulder-to-shoulder with racist congressional candidate Ted Howze and 209 Times leaders who have been accused of using racism, sexism and homophobia as political tools to attack their opponents. They also race-baited San Joaquin County’s youth during the start of the Black Lives Matter 2020 efforts by posting social media content that encouraged rioting and looting.
  • His supervisorial race has been endorsed by the San Joaquin County Republican

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming…

During the early aughts I was the Chair of the San Joaquin County Democratic Party. One of the candidates I worked hard for was Robert Rickman. His bio on paper was great and he was not afraid of being a democrat, like most politicians in Tracy were at the time. When he won his election, our local Dem party activist saw it as a sign of change-- and it was. Soon Tracy City Council had a Dem majority for the first time ever. Yet that victory was short lived.

The change started in 2015 when rumors that Rickman was participating in political strategy meetings with tea party extremist “Ole Smokey”, AKA Bob Elliott. Then he started voting with the republican majority on the city council. Last year he switched his party affiliation to “decline to state”. The local conservative movement does a great job of crying that local commissions, boards and councils are non-partisan. I scream BS. They make that claim because as time passes, their voter registration advantages have faded, so it is a way for them to maintain their power. Tracy is a strong Dem majority city and the school boards and councils should reflect that. That is the power of representation.


Even before dropping his party affiliation, Rickman was always an odd-man-out. He is not a “people person”, so he never cultivated relationships with local activists. He never championed social justice issues. Heck, he has never championed Motec and
anything… He is a permanent lame duck politician that is there to…well, be there. And yet somehow that got him elected mayor! (For the record, I would argue that speaks more on how unengaged voters are than Rickman’s political skill.)

However, none of this compares to Robert Rickman aligning himself with the racist, sexist and homophobic tactics of Motec Sanchez and 209 Times. If you’ve got the time and wanna go down the spade-wiki hole of 209 Times, click here:

While Tracy’s mayor, Rickman endorsed Motec Sanchez for Stockton Mayor; despite NAACP President Bobby Bivens previously calling out Sanchez for his racist and homophobic actions. Robert also endorsed racist congressional candidate Ted Howze despite the Republican National Party and all local leaders, (sans Tom Patti), retracting their support. To date, Rickman has not apologized for his Sanchez endorsement and refuses to un-endorse Howze. Both Rickman and Howze are championed by the fake news site 209 Times that Sanchez manages. Hate begets hate.

So here we are. Rickman wants to be promoted to Board of Supervisor. Despite rarely taking a position on the important issues of our day; despite not having signature issues that he champions; despite not having much of a record as a councilman or mayor. Rickman wants to continue the “good ole boy” style of county governance. That means doing nothing; don’t prioritize communities of color; and don’t collaborate with local cities to address the pressing issues of our time. Is that what South San Joaquin County really needs? Don’t fall for Rickman. He does not deserve your vote.

Kevin Lincoln- Stop Kidding Yourself

It's been a strange summer. It's been a strange year. From the pandemic shuttering us all in our homes to the horrific deaths of black people all over this country, it sucks being African American during these times. Yet, Stockton finds itself in the odd position of two black men running for mayor. That's also the only thing these two men have in common. Let's dig in.

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Carlos Villapudua Is One Hot Mess

Carlos Villapudua Is One Hot Mess
Where to start? For eight years Carlos served on the Board of Supervisors and accomplished nothing. Can anyone sight an example of any accomplishments this person has achieved while in office cause not even he could. In a Tracy Press article he had the nerve to take credit for the formerly surged County hospital---you know the one that saw huge cash surpluses thanks to Obama Care. Yeah, somehow that's one of two of his self-acknowledged biggest accomplishments. The other? Improving the Port of Stockton and Stockton Airport--both things which should be a surprise to Congressman Jerry McNerney who fought for and won major federal funds for those places. In fact, Carlos fought for an increase in the landfill next to the airport which would have forced a reduction in air traffic, which by the way happens to be owned by one of Carlos' top donors. Speaking of donors....

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Stockton: Pride Over Hate "209 Times & Motec Sanchez' Racism Problem

209 Times & Motec Sanchez' Racism Problem 

I first want to start by pointing out that an individual does not have to be racist to use racist tropes for their own political advantages. Donald Trump has elevated this art form all the way to the White House. Ambition often gives way to desperation, and unfortunately Motec Sanchez and 209 Times have embraced this nasty behavior that ultimately contributes to the further divide between brown and black folks in Stockton. At the end of the day it’s the parabolic exchange of short term gains for long-term damage that is sometimes common in politics.

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Stockton: Pride Over Hate

For some, 209 Times has become their defacto news outlet and has become a credible alternative news site. Yet, just like the alt right media sources that Donald Trump and his extremist supporters believe and follow, 209 Times uses racism, sexism, homophobia and personal attacks as tools to further their political agenda. It is not a credible news outlet and until its shutdown, people need to treat everything that is shared with a grain of salt. So how did we get here?

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Oscar Pundits, Don't Ruin The Oscar Fun With Your White Privilege!

Oscarpredictions2018I love Oscar Season. As a movie lover and a queer activist, Oscar season is my season. In fact, having experienced a very low level Oscar campaign season myself when True Son, directed by Student Academy Award Winner Kevin Gordan, was submitted for Academy consideration and made it all the way to the Tribeca Film Festival. True Son, is the story of Mayor Michael Tubbs original winning city council campaign. As Michael's campaign manager and political adviser, I was prominently featured in the documentary and ended up with my very own sought after IMDB profile and page because of it. Michael went on to get elected Mayor of Stockton, CA, becoming the first African American mayor of our  city and the youngest mayor of a mid-size/large city ever. Michael was recently named the most influential mayor in the U.S. by Nation Magazine and I went on to create a mini-LGBT+ revolt here in California through my work with the organization I founded, the San Joaquin Pride Center; an organization that hosts an annual Oscar party as its biggest annual fundraiser (tickets found here) . I say all of this because I was shocked to find myself banned for voicing my thoughts on the film The Green Book last night while visiting the site This is just one in a serious of incidents that have sadly soured my taste for this Oscar season, one that should be championed for its diversity and inclusiveness. 

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The Trouble With Christina Fugazi Part II: Character

The Trouble With Christina Fugazi Part II: Character

Fugazi Xmas

This is the story that every voter in District #5 needs to read. What happens with an elected official is so blinded by their hate that they will attack victims of assault and/or crimes? Is this type of person redeemable? How do hold this type of person accountable for their actions? What happens when voters aren’t even informed of such grievous behavior? These are the questions I hope you will ponder as I share a couple incidents that occurred over the past couple years.  Situations that we all need to think about as we head to the polls in a couple months.

In my previous article, I shared how Councilwoman Christina Fugazi went back on her word and refused to be held accountable for her actions as a councilmember and how she betrayed a local family who were victims of fire. ---As an elected official your word and trust are your most important assets. In allowing her followers to attack this family and by refusing to honor her word, she lost the trust of this family. Well, this may well be one of the more recent incident, it’s not the first. 

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Remembering Cleveland

This essay starts in San Diego at the California Democratic Party's 2018 Convention. I've been a tad harsh to party leadership in the past. In particular our Party Chair's tone deaf anti-trans and anti-gender non-confirming  statements during the LGBT+ Caucus. Well, it seams the LGBT+ Caucus was asked by party leadership to educate them and for the most part, party leaders were far more respectful of diversity so hat tip to Chairman Bauman for the progress. (Hat tip taken away though for Bauman's boneheaded dis of Kimberly Ellis, an African American female whom he narrowly beat for CA Party Chair, which followed his plea to support African American female candidates in the wake of the Alabama special election. Dude is seriously his own worse enemy. One other comment about the Dem Convention: While party leadership got the diversity memo, many elected officials and in particular Labor leaders didn't and continued to use greetings that were non-gender inclusive. Get it together people! Final hat tip to the LGBT+ Caucus though for raising cultural sensitivity issues. Now back to my main story...) During the convention many speakers rightfully raised the need for sensible national gun bans on automatic weapons and in doing so would site the history of gun violence at our schools. Out of the dozens and dozens of speeches I witnessed, only one, Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs, mentioned the Cleveland Elementary School Massacre.  Now, if it were at a national convention, I could forgive the omission but these are local folks and I found the erasing of our history upsetting and downright appalling. And yet we Stocktonians have been just as guilty. 


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Youth Leader Diana Sandoval & Michael Tubbs Get It Right

This Saturday, San Joaquin Pride Center youth leader Diana Sandoval gave a powerful speech about the need for gun control and the need for mental health services. It was a speech she wrote herself and her delivery was powerful. The fact that she is only a sophomore in high school should not be a surprise following all the examples of youth standing up and showing bravery and intelligence but she still blows me away.  She, like her brother Frankie, another dynamic LGBT+ young leader before her, is someone to watch.  I want to give Diana props for doing something that our mayor, Michael Tubbs, recently did, give voice to transgender women of color. Both of them took a moment to acknowledge their importance last week. Diana in her speech during Saturday's March for Our Lives in Stockton and Michael as part of his CEDAW Resolution that was passed last week by City Council. 


Why is this important? If you grew up in Stockton during the 70s, 80s and 90s, you knew Coco. She was a beautiful African American transgender woman. She walked everywhere and could not help but stand out in a crowd.  She was also a prostitute because at the time, a transgender women in Stockton couldn't find a job due to prejudices. Prejudices that still exist today. She battled years of drug addiction and mental health problems. Many of us assumed she had died but she is still alive. Sadly she's also in prison because of her battles. She unfortunately represents all the struggles that most transgender women of color endure. Even more sad, statistics state that transgender women of color make up the most murder cases percentage wise despite being the smallest demographic. For them, being murdered or attempting to murder them is  a daily reality. 

Statistics to remember: 

  • 72 percent of victims of anti-LGBT homicide were transgender women.
  • 67 percent of anti-LGBT homicide victims were trans women of color.
  • Transgender survivors and victims only made up 13 percent of the total number of hate violence reports to the National Coalition of Anti-Violence  that year. Only 13 percent – and yet trans women accounted for almost three-quarters of the year’s total hate violence fatalities.
  • 75 percent of all anti-LGBT+ hate crimes are towards transgender people. 
  • Extreme levels of unemployment and poverty lead one in eight trans person to become involved in underground economies—such as sex and drug work—in order to survive.

So a huge hat tip to Diana and to Mayor Tubbs for remembering that when we talk about equality for women, we also must acknowledge that women of color, transgender women and especially transgender women of color have unique challenges that need to be emphasized. 

You can watch Diane's powerful speech here: 

You can read Stockton City Council's entire resolution here

 To show your support for our local transgender community, join them at their Trans Day of Visibility event to be held on March 31st. More details here