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Sound Off! calls published June 11, 2008
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• Not another McDonald's

Do city officials and Planning Commission like to eat at McDonald's? Is that why we have a McDonald's near every corner of Ceres? What about the greater and longer term needs of our city? Do we want to become another Los Angeles with overcrowded streets, poor communities and health problems like obesity? I'm giving a green light to the Hampton Inn and with the McDonald's and the unspecified drive-thru restaurant. We can now load up with more saturated fat in minutes and enjoy more traffic congestion. Boy, I just think it's naive and lazy to plan Ceres growth this way. It takes work to promote something like setting Ceres above the rest of the country. We must not be thinking much of ourselves or our children's future. It must easier to take tax revenue from McDonald's than making the effort to find something better, perhaps a Cheesecake Factory or a California Pizza Kitchen.

If Ceres really thinks it needs another hamburger joint, why not In N Out Burger or Nation's Giant Hamburgers?

(Editor's note: Why not those restaurants you mention? Simple, because those companies have not applied coming to Ceres!)

• It will take some elbow grease

The city of Ceres is well-meaning but for some strange reason its officials think that seniors who fall into the low-income category, which is a requirement to live in the Victorian Village, will be shoppers in downtown Ceres. Realistically, how much can 30 seniors on a limited fixed income spend in downtown? Even if the city builds sidewalks, will these seniors want to walk with their bag of purchases back to the Village? I am sure current downtown business owners are grateful for any new customers, but can they afford to pin their bottom line on customers in the low-income category?

Getting people to shop downtown will take some elbow grease and some coordination. Building houses, sidewalks and crosswalks are costly and can wait. The return may be minimal. Right now, the downtown can use some major cleaning up. Start by requiring businesses with boarded-up windows and broken gas pumps to get them fixes. Spend some of that redevelopment money to market the empty stores for novelty-type or artist-studio tenants. I expect my tax dollars to be spent creating a clean and safe downtown area to shop in, before having them spent on anything else.

• Let's work to drop gas prices

I was just wondering about the gas prices. Maybe there's something we can do about that. Maybe if we boycott the gas prices, and for at least one weekend if everybody if possible could stop driving maybe the gas prices will go down. If we all work together it could possibly fix the gas prices.

• Saddened Ms. Laura is leaving

As the 2007-08 school year comes to an end, it has been brought to my attention that we are about to lose an excellent asset to our children's education. Ms. Laura Massey has been my child's teacher for two years in the Walter White pre-school program. Ms. Laura, as the children affectionately call her, has been a very positive influence in these children's lives. She cares about the kids and they care about her! During a brief absence the kids all missed her so much. I know as a parent that my child is very advanced due to the teaching and guidance of Ms. Laura. It has always been said the pre-school prepares these children for kindergarten, which leads to a successful school career and thanks to Ms. Laura my child is more than ready to face the new challenges that he will face in the years to come.

Ms. Laura was advised that she will not be returning to the program next year. I have to say I am very disappointed and saddened by this decision. I feel fortunate that my child had the opportunity to be taught by her and disappointed that other children in this community will not have the same. If ths had not been my child's last year in pre-school, we would have sought his education elsewhere. During his first year we moved across town, and we still drive him back to Walter White, just to let him stay with Ms. Laura because of her wonderful teaching ability. Walter White pre-school is losing a good teacher. I have spoken with several other parents in this program and they all agree.

Thank you, Ms. Laura, for your dedication to our children, we will always remember you and we wish you the best in the future.

• Teacher was unprofessional

I am calling "Sound Off!" regarding the teacher at Whitmore Charter School, Eric Gillis, in regards to "Teacher being penalized." Apparently not knowing all the facts as to why he's being removed, students have had complications and instances in which this teacher has not been professional and has not been a leadership to the sixth-grade team. And having a student there I can tell you now that he has demonstrated some very unprofessional conversations with other students.

• Trusts Paula Smith's judgment

I'm calling in regard to the let-go of Eric Gillis. Having a student at Whitmore Charter, I support Paula Smith 100 percent. I believe in the staff and that they know what to do is right for the entire middle school team. To say that Mrs. Smith was wrong in doing this is somebody not knowing the facts and the truth about what was going on. She should be commended and supported for ... thinking in consideration of the entire middle school. She has the students foremost in mind and I don't think anybody should berate her for her decision.