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Sound Off! calls publishing Feb. 25, 2009
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•City workers wasteful

So the city is handing out pink slips because they are over budget. I think they need to send out more! I just saw three city workers in three different city trucks planting a very small tree in Persephone Park were they just cut down trees! First of all, why cut down so many trees at taxpayer expense? Second, why does it take three city workers in three separate vehicles to plant one small tree? Taxpayers are paying for that gas, right?

• Increases have upset caller

Shame on you, city of Ceres. I have supported your bonds, your sales tax hikes, and now your utility bill has gone sky high! Never again will I ever support any such increase.

• Must be bilingual to get job

I'm a relatively intelligent person and went on several interviews and passed over several jobs. Why? Bilingual only! I've lived in the United States 43 years and I think it stinks that I can't get a job in my own country because I have to speak the language of someone else's country.

• Cite those leaving cans out

I was reading in your paper about the city failing to enforce truck parking laws. I know they have a code enforcement vehicle that drives around different neighborhoods and they do nothing about all the people who leave their garbage cans and recycling cans out in public view. There's an ordinance that they're supposed to be behind the gate. I'd like to see the city go ahead and start doing that.

• City needs its street workers

This is in regards to the (city) maintenance worker layoff. Well I work for the city and I consider myself a street worker for the Public Works' street department, not a maintenance worker. The city of Ceres needs their street workers more than anything. We are the people who keep the city going and we'd like to keep our staff together to make that possible. We have a maintenance department, called facilities, with three maintenance worker - one who's been here for a while and still can't grasp his position. Then we have a few janitors who could really step it up a lot. We should look into some other things.

• Crack down on trouble makers

I want to make a comment about our fire department and police department. I read "Sound Off!" this morning and definitely think we need more police and more firemen and I think we should pay them what they're worth. The kids in Ceres are just out of control. It's just like little Tijuana. They go around tagging and fighting and gang-banging.

I've lived here 29 years and I think it's disgusting.

I also read the article from the Hispanic lady who wrote in and said she was disgusted with her own race. I mean, we've got white Okies too and no race is any better than anybody else but we just need to take pride in our little town. It's growing and it needs to stay clean and watch our kids.

• Doing nothing is wrong!

To the individual whose response was titled, "Protest a waste of air," our country was started by a group of people who spoke up against injustices. How pathetic that you spent your energy criticizing someone who got off their duff. You might have put your energy where it would have done some good - rather than do nothing - and then defend your apathy as if it were a sign of virtue. If enough Ceres citizens had spent a small amount of energy protesting the water and sewer rate increases, every homeowner in Ceres would have benefitted. By doing nothing, you and those who think like you may have saved yourself a little effort by not protesting but you're going to have to work harder from now on to pay for the rate increases. That is, if you can still afford to live in Ceres.

• Have county pick up dead pets

Since when do the Ceres police owners call the owner of a deceased animal on the side of the road to come and pick up their deceased animal up? Why couldn't they have called Animal Control?

• Bikes stolen way too much

My grandson's bicycle was stolen in front of Rite Aid. He had to go to the store to pick up something for his mother. They didn't lock it up. When they came back both of their bikes were stolen. This is the third one stolen in a year. It's hard to keep getting anything when it gets stolen so fast. What do these thieves do? Sit around wait for bikes. The police should put bikes out as bait and get the guys who are stealing them.

• Service, food is terrible

I'm sounding off about the (name withheld) Chinese restaurant. My family and I went in there and the waiter couldn't speak English and the service was really bad and the food was worse. When we complained the manager couldn't understand what we were saying and barely spoke English. The food is tasteless and the service is worse.

• Protests would have worked

I am responding to the caller who had commented about my call, "Where were the protestors?"

I agree with the caller that the city of Ceres did not plan, but I don't blame the sewer and water rate increases on new residents who moved here after us. I question why didn't developers pay their own way and cover the infrastructure costs that were needed for their new housing tracts? Over the years the home were built and prior officials let them, and it seems that no one asked for infrastructure fees for the costly water mains and sewer mains.

Since the current Ceres bill payers didn't seek retribution under Proposition 218, I wonder if they have replaced their pride of self and city with apathy. Maybe with the new higher sewer and water bills that arrived this week, bill payers will wake up! Or will bill payers quietly sit there, write the check for the higher rates and take it without complaint?

If I read the chart correctly, another rate hike will come in 2009. I ask you, do we have to accept the increased rates because there was such a low turn-out of protestors and city officials working on our behalf? Aren't we smarter than that?

But not to overlook our neighbors that didn't write a letter in protest, you cannot blame anyone but yourself. If half of the bill payers would have written our city, the water and sewer rate hikes wouldn't be occurring and the city would have had to find another way to balance its budget.

• Why two more schools?

I can see another junior high but don't you think that nine elementary schools is enough? Maybe we should relook at the track schooling again.