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Letters to the editor published Feb. 13, 2012

POSTED February 13, 2013 8:24 a.m.
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Citizens for Ceres contacted attorney, not the other way around

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I disapprove of the Feb. 6 editorial, "Patterson Walmart flies under radar, unlike Ceres" - not only for resorting to personal attacks on members of the community but also for merely reciting assorted rumors, accusations and untruths presented to you, probably, by Walmart. Such a one-sided editorial may sell papers but it does not serve the Ceres community well.

I and other members of the community began stating our opposition to the supercenter project in 2007 - long before we ever engaged an attorney to assist us and we did it without the resources possessed by Walmart. We - not paid community organizers - went door-to-door gathering support for our side. When it came time to review the Environmental Impact Report, we - not professional environmental consultants - read the document from front to back. When it came time to discuss our concerns with decision-makers, we - not paid lobbyists and public relations people - spoke with any willing members of city staff, the Planning Commission and City Council.

Perhaps what draws the ire of Walmart is not the fact that our attorney, Brett Jolley, has a history of opposing their projects, but that he has a history of opposing them successfully. And often times, Mr. Jolley goes up against the same attorneys that represent Walmart in Ceres. Examples include Chico, Selma, Elk Grove and Sonora. Contrary to the editorial's false assertion, it was not Mr. Jolley who sought out Citizens for Ceres, but rather Citizens for Ceres who first approached Mr. Jolley's firm based on its reputation for winning difficult battles against major companies such as Walmart.

Walmart and its supporters repeatedly said this is a land use issue. We agree - and that is what our focus has been and continues to be. I understand and respect the need for critical journalism, and it is my hope the Ceres Courier will stop doing Walmart's bidding of attacking the project's critics and instead look at the merits of the issues in a neutral and meaningful manner. Maybe then Ceres will get a healthy dose of good journalism.

Carol Dutra,

Ceres

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Disappointed in city, CUSD in handling of program

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I am very disappointed in the city of Ceres and the School District's treatment of an organization that has been helping our kids learn about teamwork, competition and sportsmanship through basketball for more than 30 years. The Ceres Basketball for Youth program has been providing an arena for kids of all socioeconomic backgrounds to learn and play in a competitive basketball program. I have coached in this program for more than 26 years. My own children grew up in this program either as players or referees both of which allowed them to grow in confidence and fostered in them a desire to give back to the community and the program. They each have volunteered their time to be coaches and mentors in this program. Over the 26 years I have seen many of my basketball kids grow and succeed going onto play at the high school and some even college level. Some have become coaches themselves at the high school and junior high levels.

This year the school district has added many stipulations to the Ceres Basketball for Youth program that would add greatly to the cost for each child to play and change the competitive nature. The competitive environment is what sets this program apart from other programs and I feel it is good preparation for the sixth-graders preparing for junior high. In an effort to keep the cost down and maintain the integrity of his program the director has sought out assistance from neighboring Hughson for gym space in order to continue with this program. As a result of the move, and limited gym space there will be many kids that will not get to participate in the basketball league this year. I have tried to see the school districts side on this matter, but no matter how I look at it, it does not make since to try to change a program that has been successful for so many years and has done so many great things for the kids of Ceres.

I am writing this letter to let the parents know why their kids may not be able to participate in this program this year and encourage them to speak out to the school board in support of getting the league back in Ceres for Ceres kids next year.

Coach Reta McLelland

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LETTERS POLICY: Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number.

Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, 138 S. Center Street, Turlock CA 95380 or emailed to jeffb@cerescourier.com
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