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Sound Off! calls published Jan. 23, 2008
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Officers disobey laws

I was driving behind one of our great Ceres Police officers today. You know police should have to follow the same rules and laws that we abide by. Every turn that he made, no turn signal. Every lane change, no blinker. We even stopped at a stop sign and he barely stopped. I'm irritated is these are the same violations you like to pull over the citizens of Ceres, yet you can't follow the rules yourself. I'd just like to say it's pitiful and maybe the Police Department should raise its standards a little for these cops.

• Free country for Wal-Mart

I keep reading these Wal-Mart haters. You know, it's funny. I thought one of the things that makes America great is freedom and our choices. You'd think that listening to these people that a Wal-Mart Supercenter would be the end of life in Ceres as we know it. I have a word for them: Bull---. In your hatred of corporate America you make your loathing of Wal-Mart well known. I say people have a right to develop whatever business here if they want and the zoning is right.

You guys were moaning about Wal-Mart going into Ceres and stated how it would decimate the little retailer. Guess what? They're still here. The Ceres Supercenter would serve people outside of Ceres as well, pulling from Hughson and Waterford and Keyes and Denair where there is no competition for groceries. More traffic from the outside means more gas sales and eatery sales.

Bemoan the fact that there's traffic but that's the way it's going to be until people stop having babies. Doesn't look like that will happen!

And another thing. When the huge Costco went into Turlock 10 minutes down the road, I don't recall any Ceres grocery stores going out of business.

• Will sadly miss Bill Noble

I am writing to say how sorry I am to bid good-bye to Mr. Noble's articles. I have enjoyed reading his lovely "trips down memory lane" in Ceres for all these years. Definitely a highlight in this great hometown paper, it will be missed and remembered fondly.

Thank you so much, Bill Noble, for your contribution to our city. Helping all of us learn, from your firsthand accounts, about the humble and honorable history of our community and people is priceless. Quite a gift you've given. I don't know if the Courier has a collection of your writings - possibly a great collection for the local schools to have, or the museum to utilize. I hope, someway, your written accounts can benefit future readers.

Thank you again, Mr. Noble, and your wife, Polly, for all you have done!

• Supercenter will hurt businesses

I'd like to talk about the Supercenter. I went to visit my son a couple of years ago in Tennessee. In his town they had a nice little grocery store called the Piggly Wiggly. They had a Walgreen's, a Rite Aid and then they had a really nice little grocery store that was called the P&J. I have gone back to see him since then a Super Wal-Mart has opened in a neighboring city. The Walgreen's is there but it's extremely small. The Rite Aid type store is gone and both grocery stores are gone. They have only the choice of Wal-Mart, which they thought in the beginning was great. Now they've noticed that the quality of meat that they get in the store has gone down, the quality of the frozen foods are no longer as well as they were before. Everything has gone down but they have no choice because everything else has now left town. So I think they need to think real carefully about putting a Wal-Mart Supercenter in Ceres, especially on that crowded road.

• Wasting taxpayers' money

This is a message to the thing in the paper about "No right to spend on the Phipps." You know, spending $7,000 to me is still extreme for an elected official. I've lived in the city all my life and I've never seen an elected city official have that kind of response made for them.

But it's also a waste of spending having two patrol cars, two fire trucks and the SWAT vehicle driving down Christmas Tree Lane at 9:45 at night handing candy canes with sirens blaring. It was on a Thursday night, which is fine if they want to do stuff like that but who authorized the vehicles to do that and at 9:45 at night. Most people are working. They could have picked an earlier time to do something, a better date on a Saturday. If the city is wanting money to hire new officers and things of that nature then that money could have been better spent elsewhere. Granted, it could have been a grant from the state because they had McGruff the Crime Dog. But at 9:45 at night there was only seven people out on Christmas Tree Lane but to me that was a waste of time and taxpayers money. The councilmembers need to realize they are elected by us and they work for the people.

• Slap in the face of the voters

Do we live in Russia or do we live in the United States? I'm really disappointed in this appointment of Mr. Durossette to the City Council. I think that this should have been appointed to Mike Kline because he was next in line for the vote and Cannella puts in whoever he wants. That's not right. The voters have spoke and it should be Mike Kline's job. I have voted for the Cannellas every time they're on a ballot but now on they've lost my vote.

My vote didn't mean nothing in the last election.

• Unique shops here, please!

Please stop and consider what we need in our town. We don't need more discount retail with clearance items on aisle 6. I know new cheap things make us happy for the moment but Ceres and the Valley is in desperate need of culture and alternative shopping. My friends and I travel to Turlock and Stockton for things Ceres could have. I shop at Wal-Mart but would prefer the existing store to get refurbished and have the new shopping center with a different anchor other than a discount Supercenter.

My friends and I get to vote this election and cannot wait to have a vote in Ceres. We want to approve developments that the surrounding towns do not have. Ceres doesn't need more fast food or ordinary products found at Wal-Mart. An Apple store, a movie theater, comedy club, a place for local bands to perform, an Urban Outfitters or a Trade Joe's would be much more practical.

• Businesses misnamed, too

Instead of just worrying about the houses that are in the Ceres city limits with Modesto addresses, you should do the one on the stores too because it's very interesting, especially on the strip malls along Hatch Road. Which ones are Ceres and Modesto?

• Caller answers other caller

I can answer two of the gentlemen's questions out of four (posed in the call "Questions for city leaders to please answer" published Jan. 2. Question #3 is "What is the purpose of the wide spot on the west side of El Camino south of Whitmore?" (Caller's answer) The cutouts that are paved with the poles are so that the vehicles can park in there to do the clean-up along the freeway overpasses and the plants and the water main and so they are out of the way of the traffic.

The other one (2). Why did the city allow the buildings so far into the road on Richland Avenue north of Evans?) is the houses on Richland happened to be built here before the street is as wide as it is so why should we give up our houses for more traffic lane? Considering that almost three-fourths of the traffic that's using Richland doesn't even live on Richland or on the streets off of Richland.

• Hillary, Oprah against unions

Is Hillary Clinton still on the board of Wal-Mart. The last time I checked she was on the board of directors so if you're going to vote for her for quality health-care, think about what all the publicity is about Wal-Mart. And remember if you're going to vote for Obama, remember Oprah Winfrey uses non-union writer, producers, cameramen, etc., so where does she stand for the union workers? Nowhere. So think carefully before anyone votes.

• Durossette chosen as old chum

It's a real shame that Ceres High School PE teacher Bret Durossette was chosen to be a Ceres City Council member. He's a nice enough guy but in my opinion the least qualified for the City Council seat. I'm not sure his understanding of land use issues nor do I recollect him being a regular attendee at city meetings. And I've never heard of him discussing his interests in being in city government. Maybe Mr. Durossette was chosen because he went to school with both Mayor Cannella and Vice Mayor Vierra. Or maybe the council lacks the vision or the confidence to deal with someone who would challenge them or promote new ideas. I believe Ceres is sinking because its lacks leadership.

• Charter gives the run-around

I've also had an ongoing problem with Charter. My reception is very poor and my high speed internet has been down since November. I've had five different techs out and each one comes up with the most ridiculous excuse as to the problem. Like my TV is too old and takes up too much power. Or the splitters are old that they can't go into the attic to change them but they left new ones for my son to change. The outside cable was corroded but the tech said it's not his job to fix it, I have to call maintenance to take care of that.

So I've had three new modems. The last one said the problem was outside and he couldn't do that, I should call maintenance. But when I called I was told I couldn't schedule in maintenance; only a field tech could so I should schedule a field tech. This "pass the buck" service has been going on for two months. In the meantime I have no internet access.

Why do we have such an irresponsible company in our town? I have never heard anyone say they are happy. So many have problems with their service or billing. We have to call Kentucky and go through a 30-minute automated system and risk a disconnect if ever we do get a person. This I have had happen. Surely there are other options. Even the Better Business Bureau is flooded with complaints. There must be laws concerning poor business practice. Who enforces them and why don't we have a local number to call? Why can't we get rid of them and get a reputable company in Ceres? We deserve better.

• Phipps deserved hero's burial

This is a response to the "Sound Off!" "No right to spend on Phipps." You are right, concerned citizen. If Rob Phipps would have had it his way, there would have been a very simple funeral with little or no cost to the community, his family or any of his many friends. Unfortunately Rob could not express his feelings on this matter. His family, coupled with help from the city, had to give him a service they felt was fitting. A funeral is as much about friends and family as it is about the deceased. It is a time of remembrance, a chance to mourn and also a time to be proud. His family undoubtedly be proud of the thousands of lives Rob had touched in his short time here. One way that he touched lives came in the so-called executive golf course he and his father built. From this course, he, alongside Greg Silva, developed the River Oaks junior golf program. Summertime's for thousands of local children and teenagers could now be spent doing something positive, gaining integrity and camaraderie through sports. Rob gave kids a chance to learn a gentleman's game while helping them to avoid walking down the wrong path. He made the service practically free so it would be available to all. Beside his job, he devoted many hours on the City Council and Planning Commission. He played a key part in the many improvements to our city like the recent passage of Measure H. In many ways Rob was a hero to this community. No, he did not die in combat. No, he was not an official in Washington. But thousands of hours dedicated to this community undoubtedly would classify him as a hero. And he deserved a hero's burial.

The way the city of Ceres responded to Rob's passing was in no way a tragedy. He was an important figure in our community and the city upheld their responsibility to pay their respect to him in a reasonable fashion. It was not the manipulative misappropriation of funds that you thought.

• Go with satellite service

I'm calling to respond to the comment about Charter. Don't forget about Dishnetwork or Direct TV satellite.

• Cannella not responsive

About the appointment, the good old boys - or should I say good "young" boys - appoint again. I think somebody should have had to run to show an interest and get their views out there in the public before they were appointed, especially since it was a four-year appointment. Rob Phipps wasn't even sworn in.

About the mayor not calling a guy back, that doesn't surprise me. He ran and nobody ran against him; why should he call you back? He's going to be there for four years and nobody else wants his job. I personally applied for Planning Commission and got a letter "thank you, but no thank you." Not even a phone call or an interview, which I thought was very unprofessional but that's all right.

• Old Wal-Mart a warehouse?

As far as Wal-Mart opening that Supercenter, I worked for Wal-Mart for close to 15 years. I've seen what they do. I left on my own terms. I have no hard feelings against them but if you look at what they did to other Supercenters that they opened near existing stores they, for the most part, turned them into warehouses. In Stockton they opened up a Supercenter across the street. They left the old Wal-Mart a warehouse for their new store for at least six months. St. George, Utah, as far as I know, they abandoned a store for the new Supercenter and it's still a warehouse for Wal-Mart. I think they'll probably do the same thing here.

On the other hand, in Henderson, Nev., they did open up a Supercenter just down the street from an existing Wal-Mart and they did keep that open and it was within three miles of the other store. So, take it for what it's worth. I don't think Wal-Mart will stand behind their word on keeping that store open but it would be great if they did.