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Obama fan expresses his joy
Michael Johnson is so happy about Barack Obama becoming America's new president that he expressed his joy in a creative front yard display in front of his Don Pedro Avenue home.

Johnson, 54, decorated the front of his home with patriotic bunting and streamers. Affixed to the garage door was a message of congratulations, as well as the number "44" to represent Obama's place in the country's presidential line-up. The centerpiece is a cardboard cut-out of Obama behind a podium complete with section of red carpet in front of his garage. The display, which was erected Saturday for Tuesday's inauguration at a cost of about $100, is set to come down today.

"I've had several people stop and taken pictures, blow their horns and things like that over the last couple of days," said Johnson. "It's quite a display of energy that people are feeling."

Johnson had some free time to create the display since he's been on medical leave for months from his job at the Oakland Police Department's traffic division. A Ceres resident since 2000, Johnson supported Obama at the outset of his campaign.

"He's quite inspiring," said Johnson of Obama. "I think he's the right person for the right time. We're faced with a lot of problems. It gives people hope. Like he said, these fixes are not going to happen overnight. He's asking people to understand and be patient. It's going to take some time but we will take care of all the issues that we've been dealing with."

Local Republicans may not have appreciated the display in the neighborhood but they didn't express their disapproval. Johnson said one gentleman living in the area since 1955 stopped by on a first test ride on his new scooter.

"He saw me out here doing the display and he said, 'I just really wanted come over and tell you that I didn't vote for him ... but there's something about this man that really has inspired this country.' "

The man got up out of the scooter to take a photo with the cardboard cut-out.

Johnson said that in August 2007 he was given the task of removing two abandoned vehicles in front of an Oakland residence being visited by Sen. Obama. The Illinois senator made a visit to the home of disabled resident John Thornton to see what it was like to be a home health care worker. The visit with home health care worker Pauline Beck was part of a program by the Service Employees International Union called "Walk a Day in My Shoes." There Obama helped Beck get Thornton out of bed, dress him, feed him and clean the house.

Unfortunately Johnson had to leave the residence before Obama arrived.

At the time most polls showed Obama running second to Hillary Clinton.

"I don't think anyone at the time thought he would be the president."

Obama, 47, took the presidential oath of office on Tuesday. At least one Ceres resident was there to witness the historic occasion. Jose Magana, a 2007 graduate of Ceres High School was able to get a ticket from Rep. Dennis Cardoza. He is a political science major at the University of California at Santa Barbara.