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Sound Off! calls published Aug. 20, 2011
• Will they fight Raley's closure?

I am not one to go bashing or posting anything on anyone, but I find this event (closure of Raley's) as an opportunity to appeal to the Citizens for Ceres folks.

I would love for them, led by Sherrie Jacobson, to go to City Council and oppose the closure of Raley's as it may create blight in the city. That'll show the other "non Citizens for Ceres" where this group's heart really is. They are so fierce at opposing Walmart. Why? If only they would say "I don't like Walmart because..." we would understand.

We all have the right to an opinion, but to form a group that supposedly represents all our feelings is not right either.

• Which churches give out free food?

I was just wondering if anybody knows where to get the free food, what churches and organizations provide it. Also about free medical they have once in a while, here and there. Is there anyone who knows.

• Streets are trashed and it isn't a concern?

I'm calling about the article in Wednesday, July 27th paper "Pick up your own trash if your concerned." I just think it's kind of funny saying to mind our own business and quit worrying about other people's business. It's everyone's business. It's our city, our streets, it's not privately owned streets. If people want to trash their yards or whatever that's their property and they can do whatever they want with it but they're trashing government property. You're a little ignorant.

• Return shopping carts and lower costs

If people are going to take shopping carts, they need to take them back to the store. I must have seen 30 shopping carts from Food4Less, Cost Less, Rite Aid and some other store on Herndon and Service.

Can you please put this in the paper so us people who pay for food we won't have to buy other shopping carts because some dummy goes out there and leaves the shopping cart and doesn't bother with taking them back? Come on, you guys. No wonder our food's so high. Do you know how those things are?

• Why do chiefs need such big gas guzzlers?

Here's one nobody seems to bring up - why the fire chiefs and police chiefs get to drive around in big SUVs wasting gas. I realize they have to drive around going to different appointments and emergencies obviously but why can't they get smaller vehicles? I see them driving Suburbans, Expeditions, Explorers. Those are $100 each time they fill the tank. I know they drive them wherever they want, obviously their leisure time as well.

I don't see why they have to have a full sized SUV. Yeah, they tend to put their lives on line but why can't they go to a smaller vehicle? This would help out the city dramatically, probably.

And every time the city needs a new vehicle why can't they just find a used one, like at the county?

• Wal-Mart is not the savior

A few, and including your editor Jeff, think this is a big city and it's not. A few think Wal-Mart is their savior. Some cities payed big bucks to keep the super store out. This is not a 200,000 town. People moved here to get away from big city, but are trying to drag the city with them. Let the people do business with what we have. People want to make Ceres into a strip mall. Need to go back to the big cities that they came from.

• She's afraid of police because of incidences

I'm 17 years old and I've always grown up to respect the law and respect those who are put in authority. In the past year and a half, I've had three incidents with police officers in Ceres. I have never hated police officers in my life, until now.

Incident #1: I was riding in my uncle's car and my grandparents were driving behind us because my uncle was carrying expensive furniture of mine (I was moving in with him) and he was afraid that it would fall out and get damaged. Out of nowhere there was four police cars tailing us up to my uncle's driveway. They ordered my grandparents out of their van, with guns drawn.

I have never in my life been so terrified. Both my grandparents, who are very old, got out as the officers were continuously yelling at them. My grandfather can't speak/understand English very well (he is not an illegal immigrant), so he didn't understand. My grandmother tried to explain to him what the police were commanding and they continued to yell louder, with guns pointed. I was crying, wanting to yell for them to put their guns down because I feared that they were going to kill my grandfather on accident. My grandfather was unarmed, confused, scared and angry.

The officers thought that they were in a stolen vehicle but it wasn't! After the incident, one of the officers apologized; he was a Hispanic officer and the only one who didn't point a gun. I wish the rest would have made an effort to calm my nerves and apologize too, but they were just doing "their job."

Incident #2: My cousin is 16 and involved in the gangs. A few months ago she got out of Juvenile Hall and recently cut her ankle bracelet off and disappeared. Now she has a warrant for her arrest. Ceres Police assumed that she would still be at my grandmother's house after a month, so they show up with almost 10 police officers, ordering everyone out of the house. They needed to raid the house to find my cousin. Obviously she wasn't there. My grandfather was the last one out and all the officers pointed guns at him again! He was again unarmed, confused, scared and even more angry. My grandfather was just doing what they ordered and they find him suspicious?

Another reason for me to hate the Ceres Police. My aunt's car was hit July 31 by a car near McDonald's on Hatch Road. She called 911 and waited for an officer but nobody showed! No one was injured, but since no officer showed, the man who hit my aunt drove away. My aunt's car doesn't work. I would think that Ceres Police would have sent an officer to investigate, but alas, it's just another reason for me to be angry with them

I understand that police are sworn to protect and have authority over those who decide to break the law, but after these three incidents, I have lost all respect for Ceres Police. I honestly don't feel safe. My biggest fear is someone in my family getting hurt. So please CPD, make an effort to not put anyone in fear, please don't put anyone's families in danger, and please be serious about protecting the innocent!