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Stockton, California, May 1, 2012 – The cross of Trinity Lutheran Church rises behind a young man walking past a broken window in one of many vacant buildings in downtown Stockton, California. Unemployment, which was as high as 17.6% in 2010 is today hovering around 15%, nearly double the national average. <br />
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Stockton, a city of nearly 300,000 with strong agricultural roots, has been plagued by crime and misfortune over the past several decades. It saw home construction soar nearly three times over during the boom years from 1998 to 2005, only to fall just as precipitously to become a foreclosure epicenter when the boom turned to bust. In June of this year it became the largest city to file for bankruptcy.