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Sound Off! calls published Feb. 6, 2008
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Give Durossette a shot

I always find it interesting to hear all the negative talk in the Courier about Ceres. My entire life has been spent here and years ago I would have been pleased to call this a wonderful place to live, but as of lately, I am somewhat ashamed to call it my home. The right of the City Council to appoint someone after the sudden and sad death of Rob Phipps is the law, yet we have some people not backing their decision.

All of this talk about Mike Kline should have been appointed is just that - talk. Mike Kline was the third highest vote-getter in the original election, which equates to truly nothing. That election was in the past and because of a very unfortunate event, a situation occurred and the City Council had to make the best decision they thought for this city - by appointing or holding a special election with the potential of costing $30,000 or more. The appointment of Councilman Durossette in my opinion was fair and just according to the state law.

I feel very confident in this City Council and the decision that was made. With anything political, there will always be some people unhappy. We need to be decent enough citizens to give Councilman Durrosette the chance that our leaders of Ceres appointed him to do.

Supports Supercenter

I believe everybody's sick and tired of hearing about the Wal-Mart Supercenter that may be built. But the whole purpose of my call is for the lady whose son lives in Tennessee and they built a Wal-Mart in a small town, tell her to wake up. We don't live in a small town anymore. Our town has grown. I don't think it's going to hurt any other stores. We Costco in Turlock; Safeway is still running. They haven't closed down. Target hasn't closed down. None of those stores have closed down. I don't understand these people not wanting a Wal-Mart Supercenter. The Wal-Mart would be good for senior citizens like me, so I could go to one store, do my shopping and then come home. I don't have to run all over town to go to the grocery store or clothing. And I don't think it's going to hurt any of our little grocery stores around town, Rite Aid, Walgreen's. I'd still shop at those stores, too, plus Wal-Mart.

Bob had stepkids, too

My ex-husband (of 16 years) Bob Panos, was also survived by two step-children he raised, Andrya and Justin Meadows and his step-grandchildren, Alysia, Abby, Caleb, Mikayla and Hunter as well as his own grandson, Davis Hill.

We can reject Supercenter

This goes out to the person who uses the "Sound Off!" column to give good reason for approving a Supercenter while he cuss, grunted, blamed mothers with babies for traffic congestion. Your lack of social grace gives me indigestion. Just because someone owns a deed to a place of land in Ceres, ownership doesn't give him automatic authority to do with the land as they please. Regency center has applied but not been granted the right yet to build a Supercenter. Projects of this size take in account the interest and the needs of the locals, otherwise an environmental impact report, the zoning laws and community character would be meaningless. Citizens and local officials have a right to reject the development plans.

(Editor's note: The owner played by the rules and applied for a demolition permit to remove old abandoned structures. An EIR is being performed on the proposed development).

What animals to protect?

I'm calling about the lady who called about the Supercenter that's going to go in there at Mitchell and Service roads. I want to know about the animals that she's talking about that will be destroyed if they build it there. I mean, is she worried about the gophers? I see no animals out there on those open fields.

Shopper dislikes petitioners

Shopping is becoming a political act in Stanislaus County. While most of us are worried sick about Britney Spears, and trying to figure out how to pay our heating bills this season, there is a problem in Turlock.

There is a young man who stands outside of the Target store with a clipboard, soliciting signatures "to keep marriage between a man and a woman." He stands directly in the doorway outside, so you have either have to stop as you exit, or swerve to avoid him. The first time I encountered him, surrounded by his buddies, he was clutching his clipboard. I asked if was serious, and he said he was, while the buddies snickered and shuffled their feet. When I asked whom he was representing, he said something about a "political consulting firm," but he wouldn't say more unless I told him if I was "with him or against him."

I'm against him for a number of reasons, the first being that I would like to get in and out of Target without dodging a kid with a clipboard and an agenda. Secondly, my personal belief is that if you want to marry a walrus, that's your business. Apparently this guy gets paid per signature, and while it's fabulous that he has a job, it is a job that promotes homophobia in a world which doesn't need more exclusion. There are children shopping with their parents at Target, and like it or not, some of those children will grow up to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. The message to them is clear: if they digress from a traditional relationship, somewhere, somebody will be standing with a clipboard to help ensure that they can never marry their partner.

There is also the assumption that all of us are heterosexual or homophobic, and that we have no friends or family in the gay community who would appreciate the freedom to marry. While this may be true for some, it is not a universal fact.

Regardless of where you stand on this issue, Target is not the place to take a stand on marriage - or anything else. The same is true for voter registration outside of Wal-Mart. If you need to register to vote, that should probably be a separate issue from buying toilet paper, socks and potting soil.

The store manager expressed disgust and regret about the guy and his clipboard, as did the other Target employees, who hate walking past him. Yet, despite a sign posted outside that claims Target is not affiliated with anyone outside the store, they say there is nothing they can do. Turlock Police say he is within his rights, and unless someone is verbally harassed and files a complaint, he is free to stand in the doorway and collect signatures.