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"Sound Off!" calls published on Jan. 9, 2008
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• Charter does charge users for extras like porn

This is my "Sound Off!" to the people who have the porn charges I believe you. Why, I have been a victim of charter as well. They have overcharged me and put pay per view movies on that no one in my house has done and I am left with the bill. I have even put a password on the account and they still tell me that this is a true charge. So to that family with the porn charges I believe you and thanks for sounding off. I now know I am not alone.

To the one that said someone is lying in that household. Well, here is a newsflash: Some people out there do have good relationships with their family and just maybe they need to check out their own family. When I first read this "Sound Off!" I could not help but to laugh my head off this person (probably works at Charter.)

Look, things like this do happen and that is why we need to do our part and let other people know that this did happen. So to the family, thanks for letting me know and to the one about the lying in the household don't assume everybodys household has lying people. There are good families still out there.

• Be careful over Supercenter

I would like to submit my opinion on the possibility of Wal-Mart Supercenter having their business in Ceres. I am not a citizen of Ceres but I believe they should give serious thought to this matter as I have experienced the downfall of my town in Kansas several years ago. Our downtown area was always busy with business and shopping until Wal-Mart moved into the area. There are very few stores left. Jobs were lost, did a tremendous damage to the town. I know it is a temptation whe you can see cheaper prices but as what cost?

• Daughter-in-law is a great one

I have the greatest daughter-in-law. I thank God for her every day. She is one of my best friends. My son is very lucky man. I feel very sorry for the woman with the rude and mean daughter-in-law. But her son needs to take a stand. Show her what he can do through the courts. Sounds like the kids need to get away from her. As for you, grandma, you have your rights too. Tell her you will take her to court. Turn on her frist for the kids' sake.

• Others didn't want job before

(Editor's note: The following call was listened to a day before the City Council appointment was made.)

This article is for the "Sound Off!" section and it's regarding the vacant council seat created by the death of Rob Phipps. It seems that the candidates who ran for this position should be considered for the present vacancy. These candidates who ran for office spent money, time campaigning and now others can just submit an application to be considered for this position. They weren't interested before, why should they be appointed now?

• Wants Supercenter here

I am very hopeful for the Wal-Mart Supercenter. I do not grocery shop in Ceres except for small amounts at Ceres SaveMart. I will drive to WinCo and Costco in Modesto for my big monthly shopping. As far as having two Wal-Marts in Ceres, Wal-Mart could change the old store to one of the other stores, like Sam's, which I think would compete with Costco and Ceres is in between the two Costco stores in Modesto and Turlock.

Thank you for the chance to express my wishes for the Wal-Mart Supercenter.

• No right to spend on Phipps

The death of Rob Phipps was a tragedy at his young age. He was a public servant who served the community well. How we responded to his passing as a community was somewhat of a tragedy as well.

My understanding is that the city incurred a cost of close to $20,0000 as its part of the putting Rob to rest. Costs such as posting an honor guard at his home, involving fire and police personnel, their vehicles, equipment and other city owned assets and personnel ran up a tab of $20,0000 at a time when all these departments were crying of a shortage of funds and the need to pass Measure H, which Rob supported as did I.

I don't think Rob, who has a history of being a penny pincher while on the council, would have supported this use of public funds. I don't think we, as a community, should condone this type of public cost being incurred regardless of how nice a person someone was.

Who authorized the use of public funds in this way? My understanding of city government is the gifting of public funds to private individuals is against the law. This clearly appears to have been a gift to the Phipps family; I don't know what else you'd call it. Can we all expect an honore guard from the city of Ceres when we pass? Can we all expect a police and fire department escort to the cemetery? I don't and I don't think our public servants should as well. He was not killed in the line of duty.

I feel somewhat betrayed by our current public servants with this outlay of taxpayer cash which appears to have been unauthorized. I will never again support any tax increase, bond issue or any call for additional funds in any way as I have now seen how the cash is used.

I would ask that the city attorney investigate the use of these funds and respond back to the community with answers.

(Editor's note: This is the response written by City Manager Brad Kilger, and Police Chief Art de Werk: "In honoring the memory of Councilmember Rob Phipps, the city expended approximately $7,000 in staff time and materials. Given the thousands of hours of service Mr. Phipps gave freely to the city of Ceres and its citizens, it was proper for the city to recognize his service to the community by providing an official honor ceremony as has been provided other elected officials who have passed away.")