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Sound Off! calls published on Dec. 23, 2009
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• Recall over cadillac system

City council members are going to spend $470,000 more on "cadillac" water meters and at the same time claim it is a savings. Hmm, I thought they were conservatives opposed to government waste or unnecessary spending. Ceres residents will end up paying for this excess, and for what? So these guys can get their egos stroked because "we have better meters than the next town." If people want to know their water usage, the meter is right in the front yard, aside from the fact that Ceres utilities have just about doubled in the last eight years.

This decision should be put to a vote, along with a recall vote for City Council members.

(Editor's note: Just a point of clarification: The extra cost of the AMI system was an approximately $700,000 but a contractor pledged that the extra cost would be reduced by $420,000 for a total extra cost of $280,000.)

• Not fair Spanish required for a job

I just wanted to write and say, I'm tired of being turned down for jobs because I don't speak Spanish. I am not a racist in any way, but I am a single mother of two kids and have been unemployed since June because the company I worked for went out of business. Spanish was not a requirement when I was in school and I never took it, because I never thought I would have to speak it to work in the US.

Anybody in our country should have to speak English; we shouldn't have to speak their language. I have Hispanic friends who disagree with it as well. In my opinion, telling me I can not have the job because I don't speak spanish is discrimination. How is not, explain it to me? I am qualified for jobs I apply for, except in that one way. I walked into a chiropractic office the other day to give my resume and the lady at the counter said "Okay it looks good. You have the experience, the qualifications, so we will call you." Then she asked, "Do you speak Spanish?" I said no, so she gave me my resume back and said well I don't see any reason to waste your time then. Are you freaking kidding me? That is wrong and should be discrimination.

If we went to Spain, Mexico, Israel, or any other place, we would have to learn their language. They wouldn't accommodate us the way we do here and everyone knows that.

• Bad parenting contrasted with good dad

The toy drive for needy children just this past Saturday was yet another example that indeed the Christmas spirit is alive and well.There are still those who volunteer time, money and energy for those who have not. I was honored to be in your company.

I was blessed to be invited there to perform an traditional honor. While standing there waiting for the event to begin I had about an hour to observe humanity there on that very cold Ceres street. There were many, many children present and from whence they came on this night made no difference to the compassion of the American heart and thus I was quite moved.

One thing I noticed that really had me shaking my head was that many of the children did not have even an decent cold weather coat. Some had no socks. Some were there in T-shirts. That was disturbing enough but more was that the parents had coats, socks and warm clothing. What is one thinking of to not remove your warm clothing and put in on your child? Worse, I saw way too many expensive name brand sports coats on parents of obviously really cold children. Proof positive that one can father a child and yet have the skills of good parenting escape you!

When I had completed the honor I was invited there to perform I made my way out of the event purposly going by the one lone father I saw warm his children with the clothes off of his back, standing there quietly freezing his can. I asked, "Silly man where is your coat?" He had answered but I knew where it was - I saw him warm his child with it. At this moment that I realized it was your mayor. What a concept Mr. Mayor. Leadership by example. My hat off to you sir. Bravo! I hope it catches on.

• Thanks for Christmas Tree Lane

I just want to say thank you to all the homeowners who participate in Christmas Tree Lane. I know that it's a hassle putting up the lights and dealing with all the gas fumes and traffic congestion but it always adds to my joy. These are uncertain times but it was a comfort to me that many people did their part. It's kind of my way of knowing that things will be okay. So, again, thanks. Much appreciated!

• Don't use banks which rip you off

Don't continue to keep your money at these major banks and whatever else is out there. Ever since in 1999 BofA charged me $30 in overdraft fees for even a 25 cent purchase, I closed my account. Not only do these banks attract the snootiest of customer service reps, they sometimes treat me like I'm going in to rob the bank. Credit unions charge very low fees for overdraft even offer you overdraft protection and customer service is great.