Michael Fitzgerald, Recordnet

Michael Fitzgerald


Stockton, CA, United States

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Past articles by Michael:

Fitz's Stockton: A Stockton history trivia quiz

On top of its major themes — like what dirty rascals Stocktonians are — Ronald Isetti’s draft book, “Competing Voices: A → Read More

Fitzgerald: Mansplaining the Kavanaugh hearing

I was driving to work Thursday when Christine Blasey Ford’s opening statement to the Senate Judiciary Committee came over the radio. I was gripped by its raw credibility.My professional side noted the signs: the visceral, quavering anguish, the clarity of recollection, the sincerity. I don’t know the truth, but that is what truth sounds like.Yet, I’m sure a whole swath of America will find a way… → Read More

Fitzgerald: Lawmakers bypass CSU, Stockton

A $7 billion bond measure that could have funded a California State University, Stockton died on the state Assembly floor Friday. Partially because the → Read More

Fitzgerald: The singer who comes and goes

Jesse James (his stage name, or perhaps his alias) was in the spot he occasionally occupies outside the San Joaquin County Courthouse, playing guitar and → Read More

Fitzgerald: Where the giant soldiers enlisted

Stockton’s most colorful military unit, three giant toy soldiers posted outside the Children’s Museum of Stockton, needed some spit and polish. Leadership Stockton obliged.Leadership’s class of 2018 recently celebrated its fundraising campaign to repaint the 30-foot Napoleonic army men.“The board has been wanting to give them a facelift for some time now,” museum chief Marianne Prieto said.… → Read More

Wrecking ball demolishes hated Stockton house

Time finally ran out for the "Mystery House of Harding Way" on Wednesday, as a monstrous excavator clawed down the long-vacant eyesore, a 2-story compendium of construction errors and code violations left unfinished for 23 years.The demolition took on overtones of a block party. Police cordoned off the block. Neighbors gathered. City officials erected themselves a shade tent catered with donuts… → Read More

Fitzgerald: Dreaded tunnels start looking real

L.A.’s mammoth water district voted Tuesday to rescue the twin tunnels from oblivion. Which could mean condemning the San Joaquin Delta and our regional economy.So, are these damn tunnels going to get built? Realistically, what permitting and legal hurdles stand in the way? And what is the Metropolitan Water Board of Southern California thinking to pony up almost $11 billion for this dubious… → Read More

Fitz’s Stockton: The ‘Johnny Oliveseed’ of Stockton

If you hike around the Valley Springs countryside, you stumble into stands of wild olive trees. Trees by the thousands, native to the Old World, upwards → Read More

Fitz’s Stockton: From Beethoven to Banda

Stately and modest, Fidelity Hall is a two-story clubhouse tucked two blocks east of City Hall. Built in 1923, it was the headquarters of the Fidelity Society, a group of German music lovers. The brick building at 203 E. Fremont St. is the latest historic downtown building to gain a new life. In a telling shift, it has been purchased by the head of a Mexican dance troupe.Maria Valdovinos is… → Read More

Fitzgerald: Saving Swenson the hard way

Is this trip necessary? The question arises after Wednesday’s meeting of the Save Swenson group of northsiders all afire to halt the city from building homes on money-losing Swenson Park Golf Course. Group leaders went public with their idea: Form a park district. Collect special taxes from area residents. Either buy Swenson outright or subsidize Swenson. Forge an agreement with the city to keep… → Read More

Fitz’s Stockton: The Stocktonian who saved a giant orange

Giant oranges — whimsical, orange-shaped hamburger stands offering orange freezes — once dotted American roads. The last one along Highway 99 stood in odd isolation in Madera County.Mammoth Orange closed around 2008.Now the Mammoth Orange stand has been purchased by the Fossil Discovery Center of Madera County. The museum houses an abundance of mammoth and other Pleistocene-era fossils unearthed… → Read More

Fitz’s Stockton: Doing a hot business in vintage stoves

Tom and Josh Lawson work in a shop with 80 vintage stoves, 100,000 parts, antiques, a rubber Nixon mask and an ill-tempered cat that takes a swipe at their legs.Buckeye Appliance & Antiques at 714 W. Fremont St., is one of the last places in the country that restores old stoves — anything from the birth of stovedom to 1955 or so. The closest other restorer, in Redding, is semi-retired.“I’m about… → Read More

Fitzgerald: No line item for betrayal: Embezzlement shuts down Victory Grill

At The Victory Grill, an old-fashioned neighborhood cafe on Monte Diablo Avenue, Mike Linker’s small group of employees are tight-knit. Which made what happened worse. Linker had to close his café on Saturday after a trusted employee embezzled just enough money to wreck the cash flow. “We cared for each other so much, like family,” said Linker, 50. “I feel like I got stabbed in the back.” Linker… → Read More

Fitzgerald: A testy exchange over Swenson

When the controversy over Swenson Park Golf Course flared up, the Greater Stockton Chamber fired off a letter to the mayor saying it opposed Swenson’s closure. Now the Chamber is holding its annual golf tournament — at Elkhorn Golf Club. Mayor Michael Tubbs thinks the Chamber lipped out (listen to me, acting as if I know golf). This week, Tubbs wrote the Chamber that he was “dismayed.” “I would… → Read More

Fitz’s Stockton: A building that Ruhls the block

The Ruhl Building, a handsome Main Street building 115 years young, has been purchased by an investor who plans to put apartments on the two upper floors. → Read More

Fitzgerald: This 'river rat' we don't want in the Delta

Into every life a little rain must fall, but giant Argentine swamp rats? Really?The nutria — Myocastor coypus, a semi-aquatic South American rodent which can grow to 20 pounds, has been found upstream of the Delta, and may already be in it.I try not to demonize Nature’s creatures — you know, Lassie good, weasel bad — but the nutria is not just any invasive species. The nutria is a scourge.If… → Read More

Fitzgerald: Tea man refuses to bag it

Church Women United’s annual tea at a midtown Methodist church Thursday included something novel this year: a man outside, picketing.Shawn Bennett, miffed.“I feel like this is blatant sexual discrimination against me as a male,” said Bennett, 72.Bennett is a retired kindergarten teacher and “tea aficionado.” He feels he is the victim of gender discrimination because a ladies' club would not let… → Read More

Fitzgerald: Greyhound's doghouse is coming down

Greyhound has decided to demolish its downtown bus depot, the once-teeming terminal where Stocktonians “rode the dog” on intercity buses since 1968. “The need for large terminals has passed,” Paul D. Egger, the regional president of Greyhound Lines, Inc., wrote to the city. Greyhound wants to swing the wrecking ball this summer and perhaps send its remaining buses to the downtown transit center.… → Read More

Fitzgerald: The wonk behind the mayor

One of the falsest criticisms of Mayor Michael Tubbs is his creation of three cushy positions in the Mayor’s Office. What an outrage, such extravagance, how dare he, etc. In fact, Stockton’s last mayor, Anthony Silva (who already had one staffer, an executive assistant) asked for more staff; it went on the 2016 ballot; voters approved two more positions, passing Measure O with 56 percent. Still… → Read More

Fitz’s Stockton: A century of Genova in Stockton

Stockton’s Genova Bakery, a sort of living museum with delicious artifacts, turns 100 years old this year.“We have customers, their parents came in, and before their parents their grandparents came in, and before their grandparents, the great-grandparents came in,” said owner Tim Canavari.And before that, they were all in Genova, Italy. That’s where brothers Angelo and Giovanni Rolleri came from… → Read More