Johnston, Lee Vie For Stockton Mayor's Seat

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(Stockton, CA)
Monday, November 3, 2008

It’s the first runoff in a Stockton mayoral race since 1992. Ann Johnston is facing off against Clem Lee. In the primary election Johnston received about ten percent more votes than Lee, but she didn’t receive a majority, prompting a runoff. Johnston is a businesswoman and a former member of the city council. Lee is an educator and a current city councilman. 

Both candidates believe Stockton faces a number of major issues including crime and home foreclosures. But both say the city’s budget deficit is the most pressing problem.
Johnston says cuts in services aren’t optional. 

"We’re talking about eliminating some services, modifying a variety of the things the city does. With such a large deficit it’s going to be critical that we examine everything, from overtime costs to police officers we have on the street." 

Lee agrees and says some of the cuts are going to be disappointing to some citizens. 

"We’re just under siege by circumstance and design. There will be absolutely no silver bullets. This is going to take intellectual integrity. It’s going to take the ability to tell interest groups `no’ because there are no resources." 

Despite the looming budget woes, University of the Pacific political science professor Robert Benedette says both candidates are qualified to address the issue. 

"Both have had experience on the city council. So you have people who are seasoned leaders of the community." 

Analysts say Johnston is the presumptive favorite because she received  the most votes in the primary, but observers say with a large voter turnout expected due to the presidential race it’s difficult to predict the outcome in this race.