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Sound Off! calls published Feb. 1, 2012
• Why aren't locals being invited?

I have a problem with what is going on at my children's school, Virginia Parks Elementary. It is a great school and we are very happy with the teachers. But lately they seem to go outside our community for school programs and I would like to know why.

It is embarrassing to see in our local newspaper these programs they have where they do not invite people from our own community to be involved, instead they use people from other communities. Last year there were a couple programs that had people from Modesto Police or the dog from there or the Sheriff's Department. I want to know why we did not have our Ceres police and their dog at these programs? I know a couple of Ceres policemen and I know they would have been happy to go to our school.

And this year it is happening again. We had another orthodontist office come to a program at the school. I would like to ask why our local orthodontist, Dr. Jeff Barton, was not invited. It is well-known that Dr. Barton, his family and staff have always given so much to our school. He does free dental visits. They give financially and support all fundraisers. They have given their time volunteering.

I guess I am a little upset at Virginia Parks and whoever is allowing this blatant disregard for our own community. I think we need to stick together and show pride and support for our own town. We need to care about and support our local businesses and law enforcement that protect and serve us.

• Who is policing the police?

I am referring to the Jan. 18 Crime Digest "DRUG SALE INTERRUPTED." I want to let the citizens of Ceres know that the things you read in the Crime Digest are not always a fact. If cops have a grudge against you, they can arrest you on false charges. They could be sued for slander and false arrest. There are, in my opinion, vindictive copes in Ceres. One cop in particular is know to fabricate charges. Let the charges be proven in court. Something needs to be done with cops who harass people. They need to be investigated. Just because they wear a badge doesn't mean you can trust them to be truthful. They think they are above the law. They are abusing their authority. We don't need vindictive cops in Ceres. Who is policing the police?

• Over-regulations killing business

Mr. Mayor, we all want clean air. Please remember regulations can be a factor in businesses' ability to stay in this area. Recent plant closures include Tri Valley Growers, Shell lab, Campbell's Soup, Swanson's Foods, Procter & Gamble, Patterson Frozen Foods, Hershey's, and now Don's Foods has a plant closure and 265 layoffs. The Democratic Party and the over-regulations have handcuffed us in the manufacturing community.

• Able bodied are using handicapped spaces

I'm in a wheelchair and it's so ridiculous to pull into the Walmart and other places in town and every handicapped place is taken by people who walk perfectly because they're too dang lazy to park a little further out so people who truly need them have to park farther away. If you're able to walk around Walmart and do your shopping, you're able to park your car in a regular parking spot. Be respectful.

Ceres Police Department, please start writing more tickets, making sure that they actually need the handicap (placard). Could have borrowed them from somebody. Find out why they're handicapped.

• The market is just catering to demand

I was just reading the Courier's "Sound Off!" about "We need a new Supercenter not a Rancho market." They cater to Mexicans, that's a fact whether they speak English or don't. That's irrelevant. And if they have a Mexican market, a Rancho, that's because that's what the majority is becoming. What does it really matter? You cater to what people most buy so having a new Supercenter will not change it.

They need to understand what they're saying before they speak up.

What they really need is a place for kids to play to stay off the streets, like an ice rink or skating ramps or something like they used to have in Modesto. Not a new Supercenter, not a new market but something where all races, colors and creed can go to have fun, even a drive-in or movie show. Something like that would be really nice.