We all know Jason Lee to wear many hats in the world of media and culture, most notably being the founder and CEO of the multimedia outlet Hollywood Unlocked. Yet, something that hasn’t garnered enough attention (if you ask us) is him running for City Council in Stockton, CA. Whether you follow Lee closely or casually see him or his interview clips popping up on your timeline, this decision could have a positive impact for the community he grew up in. Here’s the scoop on Lee’s run for Stockton City Council and potential reasons why it’s not gaining as much attention as it should be.
Lee’s Goals for Running for Stockton City Council
In late 2023, Lee announced his city council campaign for Stockton’s District 6. “The greatest part about my story is I am not a career politician,” he said in an interview with CBS News. “I want to be the city council member for the district I grew up in – where my home is, where my family is – because that’s where my heart lies.”
He goes on to explain the root causes of issues that Stockton residents, particularly as it relates to crime. “When you look at crime and you look at what the contribution to crimes is, it’s not just because kids have access to guns which is a real issue, but it’s the fact that they have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do,” he says. Lee already engages with Stockton’s youth through a pilot program he created called “I Am Ready”, which aims to improve the lives and skills of young people via mentorship programs and workshops.
Lee hopes to take this work a step further by also prioritizing economic development in the city – starting with revitalizing the Adventist Health Arena (formerly known as the Stockton Arena). “It’s an underutilized, overpaid facility that’s been a stain on the taxpayer budget for years and I have outside people who would probably want to buy it and increase tourism and bring entertainment back to the city,” he explained to CBS. These are just a couple of key issues that Lee will bring to the campaign trail leading up to the primary municipal election on March 5.
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Why This Isn’t a Trending Topic
One of the reasons why Lee’s run for Stockton City Council isn’t garnering mass media attention relates to it being a local election. Often, elections that solely affect a non-major town or city aren’t covered by mainstream national news outlets – unless there’s a historical moment or controversy that draws that level of attention.
Another factor on why Lee’s run isn’t a trending topic is the general perception of his brand. His platform is steeped in celebrity news and gossip, which proved lucrative in creating a media empire. But, it doesn’t provide room for more serious issues like politics and community engagement to have the same spotlight.
While all celebrity or entertainment news isn’t negative, there are instances where the notion of bad news traveling faster than good news rings true. For instance, covering a rumor about an entertainer is more likely to go viral — even if it’s just in the short term — over a discussion on environmental justice. This could be due to a number of factors including social media algorithms helping sensationalized news receive more user engagement over quality news.
That said, Lee’s work as a self-described “culture critic” shouldn’t disqualify him from wanting to help his native city in any way he can. It’s up to the residents of Stockton to determine whether they’ll he’s see him all the way through this race or not.
Featured image credit: Photo courtesy of Getty Images