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Sound Off! calls published Feb. 23, 2011
• Whitmore situation a hazard

I want to say something about these kids who are walking to school on Whitmore where they are doing new construction on that new junior high school. These little kids can't be more than six or seven years old and they're walking all by themselves on the street that has no sidewalks, no barriers, no nothing. Cars are whizzing by within an arm's length of these kids. Kids like to goof around and it's just going to take one kid monkeying around and push the other one and go right in front of a moving car. I can't believe that this is allowed. I mean, we take more care protecting endangered species than we do our children. These are our special commodity and I can't believe they're walking by themselves down the street and they're so close to passing cars. Mark my words, it's going to happen unless a barrier is put up or something.

I go by there every morning on my way to work in Oakdale.

• Where are all those jobs, politicians?

I'm calling regarding all the politicians who ran for office, every one of them, saying they were going to create new jobs. None of them said how they were going to make jobs. If they want to make jobs they need to start drilling for oil in California and mining for gold and silver. There's big money in that and it's obvious throughout the world. With oil approaching $100 a barrel there'd be some good money in that.

• What about a stadium in downtown?

This comment is on the downtown redevelopment. I spent some time in Denver, Colo., and I went on a tour on Coors Field there and they talked about how downtown was in shambles - how like ours is - and they decided to build a baseball stadium there and the businesses started surrounding the stadium. I started thinking that would be pretty neat. AT&T Park pretty much did the same thing in San Francisco where the Giants play, of course. I kind of thought that'd be pretty neat, right there off the freeway, to have a minor league team, get the Modesto Nuts to move down there. They could use it for football games for the two high schools, which they don't really have much of a football stadium at Ceres High, let alone Central Valley doesn't have any stadium. They could use it for large soccer matches, minor league baseball and bring a lot of business into downtown.

People go by 99 could see the stadium.

They're talking about wanting to put in a movie theater and restaurants. If you look at downtown Modesto it's pretty much a bust. It looks nice but no businesses are making it. In Turlock they have a movie theater right down there and they're not really doing all that great. I went to a movie there a few months ago and my wife and I were the only ones. Granted it was a matinee but we were the only two in the theater.

I just don't see where a movie theater would do that much. Do something a little different.

• Against Walmart Supercenter

Back in 2006 when Walmart first started making promises of a progressive energy efficient store for Ceres, Ceres turned down a proposal for a Target store. When Walmart makes promises, like the notion that the proposed Supercenter will create new jobs but still will not give us figures regarding the number of existing jobs that would be lost as other area businesses close, we know this bait and switch game will not be good for Ceres.

While there is no market for a Supercenter in Ceres, and Walmart still refuses to admit that it isn't needed, it buys advertising space in our local paper just as fast as Jeff can take in the cash. Since Walmart also refuses to admit that they could expand their existing store, we know that the retailer only has one thing in mind and that is to build a single-story building the size of four football fields. Abandoning a 124,000-square-foot store to build a bigger one is such an environmentally and economically wasteful thing to do in our growing town because that old stake will be too difficult to rent, resulting in blight and crime.

I urge the Planning Commission to reject Walmart's application to build a shopping center because if Ceres is wanting to have a revitalized downtown, we can't put Walmart is a southern gateway. And typically, if we have a Walmart at our southern gateway, shoppers would never go downtown to shop. When that happens, Ceres' 20-year downtown revitalization plan will never happen. It will be as if all the money spent on the downtown revitalization plan were lit on fire, then thrown in the gutter.

• Parents, teach your kids to stop littering

The other day I was walking in the area of Smyrna Park and I saw these kids walking home from school. I was right behind them and watched as they were eating snacks. One threw down his potato chip bag and the other dropped a candy bar wrapper. When I yelled for the kids to pick up their garbage they just gave me dirty looks and kept walking.

Parents, you need to teach your kids to stop littering. If you don't care, just know that there are people who do!