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Sound Off! calls published Feb. 8, 2012
• Prejudices against the Abbeys

Modesto Bee writes so much trash, half of it's not the truth and they are so one-sided judgmental. There are two sides to every story. What I'm talking about is this thing with Kari Abbey. You know, I was at work the other day and a couple of people are sitting there reading the paper and they had already judged her and they didn't even know the whole story. They only knew what the Modesto Bee wrote. To me, that's so unfair. Is she even going to get a fair trial? People don't know her and people don't know there's another side to the story. There's always two sides and I stress that. It bothered me they were sitting there and they already had their mind made up. They don't know her; she's a good person.

You shouldn't judge somebody until you've heard the whole story and the Modesto Bee is the worst for that. This is not the first story they've ran somebody down. They need to get better investigators ... instead of just printing garbage. That's just my opinion.

They said the Abbeys were from Keyes. It would be great if they are from Keyes but they're not. And that bothered me. What? Does a bad cop have to be from Keyes? Keyes has got a bad rap and it has forever. I was raised there. Keyes is a good town. It's like a family down there, or used to be like a family down there. That is so sad that they can print whatever they want and people are going to believe it.

• Be glad that a new store is opening

I'm responding to a call on the market on Hatch Road that will apparently be opening in the future. My opinion is I would think most of us would be glad to see a vendor who's willing to take some interest in Ceres. My son will certainly bring home guacamole dip. We'll certainly buy things there and we're just happy to have them.

• We should all just learn Spanish

I know we are living in Mexico in Ceres and Modesto to Hughson and I think we should all take a course in Spanish and just be happy because they're not going anywhere and we're not going anywhere and we don't want to bad people towards each other. And half of our kids now that we have even in my family are Spanish or black or white. We gotta love.

Let's make it the best what we can, to have more jobs and have somewhere the kids can go and enjoy their stuff.

• Employee's shackle raises hackle

It's come to my attention that La Rosa Elementary School has an employee wearing a court mandated tracking device and in light of the sexual misconduct that's taken place here in Ceres, I'm wondering why the Ceres Unified School District doesn't find it important to inform us, the parents, that it's letting our kids be exposed to the criminal elements?

(Editor's note: We put the comment to CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel who replied: "Due to legally mandated employee confidentiality, the District is not able to discuss the specifics of any situation like this. We do receive information on any of our employees who is subject to criminal proceedings. Rest assured that any employee who would pose a danger to our students would be subject to dismissal. Again, while I cannot respond directly to the question, I can state that should there be an employee with a court mandated tracking device, the offense would be a misdemeanor of a nature that poses absolutely no danger to students.")

• Gingrich is not a good family values man

Gingrich is not the man that Latinos should be looking for if they want strong family influence and believe in the family, which many of them do. He's not a good man as a candidate. He forced his wife to sign divorce papers when she was in the cancer, was in the hospital. Now if you want to vote like a man like that, this country's going to be doomed.

• Others can't compete with Walmart

I support Sherri Jacobsen. Walmart did not pay taxes for 10 years when they first came in. That was supposed to be a Supercenter to begin with and they went ahead and sold it off and now they're trying to move it somewhere else. I like Walmart where it's at.

And they also hire people who barely speak English so leave Sherri alone; she's got a good thing going on.

There's a lot of stores here that need the support of the people who live here and there's not going to be any other stores next to Walmart because nobody's going to compete with Walmart prices. So grow up people.

(Editor's note: The caller is incorrect on the facts. The Ceres City Council, acting as the Ceres Redevelopment Agency in 1992, extended a tax-sharing agreement to Walmart. To entice the retailer to come into Ceres, broaden the tax and employment base, the agreement made by the CRA board was to share half of the sales tax generated by the store for seven years. The store opened in summer of 1993. Meanwhile the corporation made plans to open a Sam's Club south of Walmart under an eight-year sales tax sharing agreement approved in April 1993. Sam's Club never materialized.

Also, the caller might travel to the Walmart stores in Turlock and Modesto to see the stores that are operating in those respective shopping centers.)

• Even those who walk can be disabled

This is in response to the person complaining about "able bodied" people parking at handicapped spots at Walmart and all other places. Just because a person is walking does not mean that they are not handicapped. I am on dialysis three times a week and I've had several heart attacks. I am still able to walk but I can only walk very short distances because I get out of breath. And, yes, I have a handicapped placard. There are other people as well who have heart conditions and breathing problems who have placards. I just wanted to clarify that a lot of people who appear to be able-bodied also have physical handicaps.

• Gang members are nothing but scum

There are two things I'd like to talk about. First and foremost I'm getting sick and tired of these so-called "northerners" loitering everywhere. Northerners wouldn't last a second in a prison cell with a real northerner or Southerners for that matter. The little girls love hanging out with these scums, too. I can't walk to the Punjab Plaza around the corner from my own home to shop without seeing a few of these scums by the liquor store, reeking of marijuana and I can't help but to shake my head. I don't understand who they're trying to intimidate because their demeanor does not even faze me. And I know these kids have parents or guardians and would like to know where the heck are they and why they cannot get a grip on their kids, the scums that they are raising.

A few years back a nice lady by the name of Patty (deleted), who I believe still works at the Ceres Police Department as a community service officer, had a great program for scum like these. She worked with trouble youth and I pray that the program is still available because it would break these kids. If she is still available, parents, do not hesitate to put your kid in her program. It'll definitely be the best thing you will ever do. These kids are polluting the very streets that I grew up on and it's so bad. I cannot even walk down Walnut Avenue without having to encounter one of them or if not one a group of 10 guys doing nothing.

The second thing: I would like to see if the city can make Ceres beautiful again, one street at a time, no big rush. Why can we not get sidewalks on Walnut Avenue? It's been talked about for many, many years and numerous meetings and nothing has been done. That city street just looks like trash. There's sidewalks here, sidewalks there, hit and miss.

Also, why not put something nice in the dirt spot by the paint shop on Central Avenue and Pine Street where everyone turns into Pine Street. That's a great spot to put a nice focal point to make the city nice. I just want the city to be more organized and uniform. Let's make the city of Ceres more presentable.