Most public figures pen their memoir after a life of accomplishment, so we found it unusual that the national media have been fawning over “The Deeper the Roots” — a new book by Michael Tubbs, the 31-year-old former Democratic mayor of Stockton.

Tubbs had become a national phenomenon even though he lost re-election last year to a little-known GOP challenger in a city where Democrats hold a two-to-one advantage. Had he been politically successful — or made a dent in that Central Valley city’s crime and poverty problems — we might understand the attention.

By all accounts, Tubbs is an admirable young man who rose out of dire circumstances. The son of a poor teenaged mom and an incarcerated father, he nevertheless graduated from Stanford University and returned to his hometown, where he won a City Council seat at age 22.

Four years later, Tubbs became the city’s first African American mayor and one of the youngest United States mayors. Unfortunately, he focused on high-profile progressive priorities rather than the nuts-and-bolts of municipal governance. He’s best known for introducing a Universal Basic Income plan that provided some Stockton residents with a $1,000 monthly stipend.

A private foundation funded the pilot project, but the former mayor’s supporters hoped that the income-support program would spread to other cities. As a result, Tubbs became a Democratic rising star and the subject of two documentaries. He caught the attention of celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, who published his book.

Yet, as the cliché goes, all politics is local. Tubbs misread the politics of his blue-collar port city, which is Democratic but not particularly progressive. Tubbs blames his loss on attacks from a blog, but he was tripped up by the basics. Having been elected mayor with nearly 80% of the vote four years prior, he received less than 44% of the vote in his re-election bid. He now serves as an unpaid adviser to the governor.

We admire Tubbs’ personal story and expect that he’ll have a compelling memoir to write 30 years from now, but his failure offers a warning to local office-holders. They need to focus on their cities’ problems rather than get seduced by national celebrity.

(this story/news/article has not been edited by PostX News staff and is published from a syndicated feed)

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