The Los Angeles Times and others have portrayed bankrupt Stockton as a victim of circumstance because of a falling economy and a crashing home market. (I'm sure new bankruptcy "victims" of Mammoth Lakes and San Bernardino couldn't help what happened to them either, according to this argument.) But here's evidence that Stockton purposefully avoided a chance to save money on labor costs in order to placate labor unions. As a charter city, Stockton could have exempted itself from prevailing-wage requirements, but this study shows it opted not to do so. Earlier this month, the California Supreme Court upheld the ability of charter cities to impose their own wage requirements. Cities don't need additional taxing mechanisms or to be told that they are victims of circumstance.
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