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Sound Off! calls published March 18, 2009
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•Condit got off good

In no way do I feel that an apology is necessary to Gary Condit. I never thought Gary Condit killed Chandra Levy but he lied about having been involved with her and he said that it was none of the public's business and he was a public official. So yes, I think it is our business.

I think he got off pretty good with the way things went.

• A warning would be nice

This message is regarding the Whitmore Overpass work that they're doing, which is fine. I think it's great that they're widening the area but they put up a new light so when you're coming up over the overpass there's a light right at the end of it waiting for you. And it would be pretty wise if they would put a sign up saying new stop lights ahead so that way we'd be aware of it and might be looking for it. I almost had to slam on my brakes to stop behind the line because I wasn't aware that it was there and it came up upon me.

• Libraries not priority for city

A year ago, Mr. DeMartini, our county supervisor informed the Ceres City Council that due to falling sales tax revenue the county would reduce library hours or days of operation. Ceres city fathers had the choice to keep the library open on Fridays by paying only I think it was around $84,000 a year. But not surprisingly our City Council didn't find the money to keep the library open on Fridays. I think they wanted us to spend more money at cheap stores selling junk we don't need and they probably figured that that stimulates the economy more than reading a book for free at the library. Simple minded and short sighted for sure.

Then in last week's Courier our same City Council had the audacity to grant about $55,000 in extended severance packages for city employees whose jobs were recently terminated because of city budget problems. What is that all about? The $55,000 could have kept the library open on Fridays for another 6.5 years. Kids would have had something constructive to do after school and possibly keep young kids away from gangs. But I see that education is only a buzz word when Mr. Hanline or Art deWerk want us to pay for another school bond.

• Save police time, turn self in!

I'm responding to the, I guess, young gentleman from the March 5 paper. I sounded young and I guess just immature. Hopefully next time he thinks about taking up the time of eight police officers to bring him in on a warrant, maybe he could think ahead and go down there. It would just be a lot easier and maybe it wouldn't be so traumatic for his grandma. That's my advice.

• City manager not worth it

I just read in the paper today that the city manager of Ceres makes $204,000. Even in good times that seems like a lot of money for a city this size. That really is too bad that people get greedy. And now I hope they cut his salary but I don't see that coming.

• City will suffer from losses

I don't agree with Ceres city manager Brad Kilger's choice of laying off good individuals in order to help him deal with a $4.2 million city deficit projected over the next three or four years. You'd think Mr. Kilger would manage the funds better and keep the top-notch staff that we are lucky to have working on residents' behalf.

It disgusts me that Ceres let go Community liaison Enrique Perez, Planning Manager Barry Siebe and recreational clerical aide Amanda. These three individuals provided courteous, professional service. They will be missed and Ceres will suffer without them.

• Eyesore on Giddings

I want to sound off about the right of way on Giddings near Paramount behind the Chinese buffet. The trash and weeds are disgusting. It has been in this condition for months; it looks terrible. Do we have code enforcement for these areas? Can someone in charge please take the initiative to look into this?

Also, to the city of Ceres workers in the white trucks, it doesn't look good in the public eye to drive around with your arm up on the seat like you're sitting on your living room sofa. Come on, guys.

• Cops are harassing hubby

I'm calling about an incident that happened last Wednesday. I find it really ironic that my husband called in and left a "Sound Off!" about an incident that happened in our home concerning the police mistreating his grandmother. And right after that article was printed Wednesday afternoon, the Ceres Police pulled my husband over for no reason, they drew guns on him, they would not let him get out of the car. There was about four Ceres cop cars as if they don't have anything better to do and this incident went on for about 45 minutes. The one officer had a gun to his head telling my husband, "Give me your driver's license." Well, every time my husband would go to get his license he'd say, "What are you doing? Why are you moving?" And my husband told them, "I'm getting my license." The officer: "You don't need to move so much. You're making me nervous." Just totally harassing my husband. There were people on the streets seeing all of this. There were kids out there. I honestly feel that if it wasn't for officer Deidre that my husband could have been shot by a police that was scared. I mean, obviously if he's making my husband nervous for reaching to get his driver's license like he was told to do, (the officer) has issues with being scared.

My husband is not a bad person and they need to leave him alone.

• Update on Victorian Village

I just wondered if you had any updated information about what's going on with the senior complex (Victorian Village) that's supposedly going to be built next door to the Whitmore Mansion. The last I heard this project was held up at the city. It's so obvious that the city fathers spend a lot more time looking for ways to spend money they don't have than trying to generate money to relieve the taxpayers. That project will generate tax dollars for the city as well as provide homes for some seniors who are really excited about the possibility of living there. It's been so long since we've had any news about it.

Thanks so much for whatever information you can provide as well as for providing us with a really nice local paper.

• Ditto on the safer lot call

I agree with the "Sound Off!" last week, "Virginia Parks safer now." Virginia Parks staff, principal, parents and students have done an excellent job with the new parking lot system. I also saw many children almost get hit while attempting to maneuver through the cars last year.

What a tragedy that could have been.

This new system takes just a couple minutes longer, but the difference with the safety issue is priceless! Thank you Virginia Parks School!