They Call Him Mr. Tubbs: 27 year old Californian mayor introduces basic income to his stricken city

Mayor Michael Tubbs, on the streets of Stockton

Mayor Michael Tubbs, on the streets of Stockton

A good news story from the US, pulling together many of the elements we're focusing on at A/UK.

The 27 year old mayor of bankrupt Californian city Stockton, Michael Tubbs, has announced he's going to test out a basic income plan with some of his residents. In conjunction with the ex-cofounder of Facebook, Chris Hughes, Tubbs and his "Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration (SEED)" will provide 100 people of different income levels with $500 a month for three years.

From the Vibe article

Tubbs, who started his political career at the age of 22, was inspired to look into basic income after reading Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community? by the late Martin Luther King, Jr. In the book, King brings up the idea of basic income and how it will end poverty in America. “I’m now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the most effective  —  the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income,” he wrote.

...Stockton was the first populous US city to file for bankruptcy after the recession in 2012. Since then, the city has continuously worked to rebuild its economy. CNBC reports the median household income is $44,797, drastically below California’s median household income of $61,818. One in four residents live below the poverty line and 18 percent of Stocktonian residents face regular food shortage. 

“For whatever reason, in this country we have a very interesting relationship with poverty, where we think people in poverty are bad people,” Tubbs told Business Insider. “In the next couple years, we’ll see a larger national conversation.”

More on his plan here and here (interview with Tubbs on NPR).

Tubbs himself is quite a phenomenon. A Stanford University grad, he was the subject of a 2014 documentary, True Son. It charts his efforts to get the people of Stockton - for long a byword for America's worst poverty and murder statistics - to "take back their city", by electing him as a councillor. See the film's website, a feature piece, and a trailer below: