In the November election, the people of Stockton voted for a change in leadership — electing Kevin Lincoln as the city’s new mayor and ousting high-profile Mayor Michael Tubbs, who has held the office since 2017.
Lincoln grew up in Stockton and joined the Marine Corps at age 20. He then worked as a district manager for a private security company in the Bay Area before moving back to Stockton and working as the executive administrator for a local nonprofit church.
Lincoln spoke with CapRadio’s Insight about his priorities as mayor and how he plans to bring change to the city. He will be sworn in on Jan. 13.
This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.
On what changes he hopes to bring to the city
The people of Stockton, obviously they did vote for change, and what they want is a leader that's going to focus on the fundamental needs of the city, not necessarily personal agenda or my personal priorities. And one of the greatest opportunities that were missed and have been missed is the increased level of civic engagement — you know, being visible, being accessible.
The people of Stockton for years, even beyond just this past four years, have felt marginalized. They felt disenfranchised. There's been a huge amount of distrust. And that was one of the main priorities and actually a policy point throughout this campaign is to increase the level of civic engagement and be accessible to the public and build bridges of trust throughout our community by focusing on the fundamental needs of our city.
On whether he’ll continue with Tubbs’ universal basic income plan
So those are all programs that were not a part of the city. Those are programs that were in line with his nonprofit in the priorities that he set.
I'm open to change. I'm open to creative ideas that will move our entire city forward. I'm not familiar with all the data and all the facts. I don't have that access to that information. But I want to focus on programs that work and benefit the entire city.
On his top priorities for Stockton
The top priorities that not only impact Stockton and our county, but other other cities and counties throughout California and quite frankly, the nation — it's growing throughout the nation — is this issue in and around the homeless crisis that we all find ourselves in. I think if there's one particular issue that really unites us across the board, across different municipalities, that's the issue there. The community of Stockton, over 80% saw that as the number one issue going into the campaign. And now with having to navigate the pandemic and everything that comes along with that, our economy and crime are the next two issues there.
On how he hopes to address homelessness
We can have more of a comprehensive conversation about this, because there's not a silver bullet to address homelessness. It's so complex. And you have to take a multifaceted approach.
And there's many different solutions. You think of it as a puzzle. And there's many different pieces that are going to make up that puzzle. And that's what we have to focus on. We have to focus on every area across the board that's going to be a part of a solution and then move the needle.
One of the things that we've identified in our community — in addition to more transitional housing and more affordable long-term housing, which are all very important and we have to continue to focus in those areas — but one of the opportunities that we've identified to help improve the quality of life for all Stocktonians moving forward in and around homelessness is this opportunity to increase our emergency shelter capacity and expand bed capacity while implementing navigation services there so that those who are homeless can come through and they can essentially get triage and we can help identify the specific direction to take them.
One of the challenges is having that type of emergency shelter that is able to accommodate partners, possessions and pets. Those are a few of the barriers that prevent somebody right now who is unsheltered from taking that next step towards healing. And so it's very important to understand that, as we address homelessness, it's important to understand that every single unsheltered person and homeless person, they have a story, and every story is important. And we need to do everything we can to meet them at the point of their need while improving the quality of life for them and everybody else in our city.
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