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A little bit of what’s going wrong today

Well it looks like a person can get away with murder in Stanislaus County despite mountains of evidence. A travesty of justice!

I’ll say this though. The cast of characters are slimy to the core. Just read the thick arrest warrant and you’ll come up with the same conclusion. It wouldn’t be the first time the jury got it wrong.

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In answer to our story about a Salida felon being arrested for driving around with four rifles in his car while in Ceres, I like what Matt Bennett commented on the Courier Facebook page: “But, but, but, with all these gun laws he’s not supposed to possess them. Oh, I forgot. Our gun laws don’t stop the bad people from possessing illegal firearms.”

It’s true, yet all the left says in answer to gun violence is pass more laws. When that won’t work they will work towards confiscating weapons from the citizenry, which means only the good people will be unprotected and all the criminals will keep their guns. How stupid is that?

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Funny how things change over time. I remember watching M*A*S*H* and how Jamie Farr played Cpl. Maxwell Klinger, who made continual attempts to gain a Section 8 psychiatric discharge from the Army by habitually wearing women’s clothing. What was portrayed on American TV in the 1970s as mental illness issue – in Klinger’s case he was faking it – today is deemed acceptable.

Which leads me to the meme shared by Lee Brandt. It shows Klinger in a dress and high heels holding a purse and a gun with the caption: “Just think, today he’d get a promotion and be invited to speak at the DNC.”

Come on those of you on the left, have a little humor.

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And another meme. This one is titled “The Student Debt ‘Crisis’ solved” and shows a grad wearing cap and gown, sitting in front of white board being lectured simplicity of it all: 1). You took out a loan. 2). Pay it back.

So succinct.

Now the left says, they took out a loan, yeah, but-t-t-t-t they got over their heads and shouldn’t have to pay it back. We saw the same concept at play with the mortgage bailouts.

This is tactical, of course, for votes. So when Bernie Sanders suggests all student debt be wiped off the books, you and I pay for that in higher taxes just so old Bernie gets votes because he wants to become president. What a crock of you-know-what.

If you made a promise to pay back what you borrowed, be a person of your word and don’t expect the rest of us to cover your debts.

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Yet another puzzling vote. In his unopposed run for City Council, didn’t Channce Condit pledge to strengthen economic development in Ceres? He didn’t explain why he voted against the city extending economic development manager Steven Hallam’s contract another year to attract new businesses to town. Judging from the questions he asked, apparently he had an issue with the pay and Hallam not living in Ceres.

After reading the social media comments about the Hallam contract story, it’s obvious many citizens have little insight as to how things work. Travis Hewes said economic development is the mayor’s and council’s job. Not really but they can act as personal ambassadors to promote Ceres. Others think Hallam just tells businesses to come here and they have their laundry list of “I want Applebee’s and Target and Chic-Fill-A and Baja Fresh and In-N-Out and … and … and … why aren’t you demanding them, overpaid Steve guy?” I say that because a Lupe Jimenez Alcorn posted: “Can he be more open-minded and bring some better stores and restaurants?” It doesn’t work like that, folks. And if Lonnie Conway is upset that this is a Walmart, Dollar General and liquor store type of town then he’s not considering the demographics. Ceres is not exactly populated with those who shop at Dillard’s and Macy’s. 

This isn’t a socialist dictatorship where the city tells businesses to jump and they ask “how high?” The free market and profit dictate what goes where – a concept that many young millennials have not been taught in school. 

Rancho San Miguel is closing because it isn’t meeting a profit margin. I suspect it’s because of the high rent, not because of Steve Hallam. Kmart and Factory-2-U closed because retail has changed in America thanks to the internet, not because of Steve Hallam. And if you want upscale stores off the freeway off-ramp you might want to bring in more rich people – the very class the party in control at the state Capitol is driving out of state to Texas and Idaho. Elections have consequences.

Shirley Rogers sarcastically commented: “Ceres, the town of unlimited money.” She wasn’t at the June 24 meeting and apparently didn’t read the article stating that Hallam’s pay comes from wind-down redevelopment agency funds and not the General Fund. Besides, the city’s goal is to more than pay for his compensation by increasing the sales tax base by generating new businesses.

Former Ceres Police Sgt. Joe Wren defended the four council members’ decision when he posted: “Steve works extremely hard to convince businesses to set up shop in Ceres. It takes a lot of work to bring a business into a community. Many cities are fighting for revenue generating businesses and for Ceres to not have someone actively seeking companies out will only set it back further. Smart decision Ceres!”

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If cocky liberal cities can declare themselves to be sanctuary cities for those who broke the law getting here, then why not the city of Needles declare they are a sanctuary city from all the laws limiting gun ownership? Sounds fair to me.

The City Council there is trying to do just that, but you just watch. State Attorney General Xavier Becerra will never rush to defend that action as he as the sanctuary city efforts of San Francisco. “While we recognize that all lawful gun owners are responsible for ensuring they are compliant with state and federal gun laws, we also recognize that the state of California cannot adopt laws that impair the rights guaranteed by the Second Amendment,” said Mayor Jeff Williams of Needles. Amen, brother.

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Is more less? Apparently it is when it comes to intellect. IQs have been dropping since the 1970s in our society. That’s the paradox – the more we have information spoon-fed to us, the less intelligent the world has become. And I might add, more lazy.

Conversely the partisan sniping and social rudeness on the internet has exploded.

Now as it’s been revealed that Google and Twitter are rigging their search engines against conservatives we are on a slippery slope of tech giants controlling free speech.

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“Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.” – George Orwell, 1984

As a history lover, I am furious that the left is scouring history. We must leave history intact so we can learn from it. Pretending historical episodes didn’t exist doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. In fact, reckless elimination of historical references – whether it’s a statue of a Confederate general or removing the names of California governors like Henry Huntley Haight who had racist views that were prevalent at the time – off of schools is a disservice to intellectual pursuit. Now Bay Area snowflakes are trying to rename Dixie School District because it conjures up images of the Confederacy and slavery. Maybe we should be reminded that there was a time in which the blacks were treated as second-class citizens because we learn from our mistakes! Besides, some say the school system was named for Mary Dixie, a Miwok Indian woman known by school founder James Miller in the 1840s.

A social media page I belong to that celebrates California History started a conversation about UC Santa Cruz’ removal of an El Camino Real mission bell “in support of efforts to be more inclusive” because some modern-day Indians are upset that Catholic priests (now in the dust) converted their distant ancestors to Christianity after cutting them off from their traditional languages and cultures.

Never mind that the bell marked a trail that is historically significant to California.

This removal of history is becoming a societal cancer and it’s all coming from leftist snowflakes who don’t feel “safe” thinking about what happened in the past. Look, we can debate all day long whether the Indians were mistreated as the Catholics sought to “civilize” an unsaved group of uncivilized people. But can we agree that it WAS a part of California history that should be remembered because it happened?

Orwell, author of the novel 1984, hit the nail on the head when he said “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.”

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Boy, if he didn’t employ political triangulation! Councilman Channce Condit abruptly came out of left field on June 10 when he suggested the council give up its health insurance benefits to use approximately $95,000 in annual premiums toward paying down the debt run up for the last decade by the Community Center. You could have heard a pin drop for the next few seconds. Vice Mayor Linda Ryno, who was pressing hard moments before on the need to deal with an accumulated $1.7 million in Community Center debt, was silent. She takes advantage of the insurance, as do the mayor, Bret Durossette and Mike Kline.

Condit not only threw his fellow councilmembers under the bus but he got behind the wheel and drove right over them. Condit has been far from a team player from the start. Supporters will say it’s because he really cares about the people’s money. However there are a large number who suspect Condit plays the Lone Ranger for political reasons as he plays to his base. You decide. He stated that he didn’t run for office for health insurance and he doesn’t take it. But that plays well if you have your eye on future political campaigns – and you’d better believe that the grandson of an ex-congressman and son of a congressional candidate is getting plenty of advice.

In his recent newsletter, Condit stated that he couldn’t vote for a budget “built on shaky ground.” The shaky ground – as he calls it – is $2.3 million in revenue from the cannabis industry in Ceres. We are talking about virtually guaranteed money which goes into the General Fund!

I’ve never seen a councilman vote against a budget to out of fear for an economic slowdown. If he really fears the cannabis revenues are going – forgive the pun – to pot, he sure didn’t offer any budget alternatives other than vote “nay,” which is a word we hear him utter frequently.

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Do you agree with Mike Huckabee on this one?: “No one should run for an office he/she wants w/o resigning from one he/she has. Disgusts me (GOP and Dems) when people get paid by taxpayers for a job they don’t show up for and spend time & our money to try to get a different one. If you’re mayor, governor, senator, congressman and want to be president, finish your term or resign and then run. It’s stealing from taxpayers to keep getting paid and not doing what you’re paid to do. If you fear you won’t win, then don’t run. Show some guts and integrity!”

It rarely goes down that way, though.

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More businesses are leaving California and we have a governor who just doesn’t give a rat’s you-know-what. In fact, Newsom said: “For all the bitching and complaining, I think businesses are doing pretty damn well,” said Gov. Nuisance.

Does the guv’nuh live in a bubble? Businesses are elbowing each other on the way out the door.

• Mitsubishi Motors, which has had its North American headquarters in Orange County for 31 years, is relocating to Franklin, Tenn., joining a migration of Japanese automakers that have exited the Golden State for lower operating costs in Tennessee, the company said Tuesday, June 25.

• Aerospace and defense technology company Aerojet Rocketdyne is laying off 180 employees in Rancho Cordova over the next couple of months as the company continues to downsize in the region. Recently Aerojet Rocketdyne announced it had broken ground on a 17,000-square-foot engineering and manufacturing facility in Camden, Ark.

• The cost of Bay area living forced Mission Pie bakery to close after 12 years.

• Terbine, a growing data company, is moving from the Bay Area to Las Vegas, because in the words of CEO David Knight, is “just out of control.”

• Last November Carl’s Jr. announced it is closing its Anaheim office to move to Franklin, Texas.

• The list of companies expanding elsewhere, or actually moving their Bay Area headquarters out of state, reads like a growing casualty count as the region’s business and civic leaders grapple with these quality-of-life issues. Depomed, Bare Escentuals, Jamba Juice, Krave Jerky and Bechtel are all relocating their headquarters while Charles Schwab Corp., Lyft, New Relic and Slack, just to name a few, are expanding beyond the Bay. They are headed to Reno, Denver, Atlanta, Nashville, Tempe, Phoenix, Austin and Salt Lake City.

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I enjoyed the cars in the annual Graffiti Parade on McHenry Avenue even though the exhaust fumes from all those gross polluters was a bit much. The parade may have been one of the largest ever but was one of the worst managed. The parade stopped in front of us for up to a half hour with some drivers shutting off their cars out of fear of boil-over and gas consumption.

I did see Jim DeMartini as a passenger and tried to yell to get his attention but he couldn’t hear me over all the engines rumble. Jim has a collection of cars that would make a person drool. I also spotted Tom Day of Ceres High School class of 1962 in his classic. It was good to see a representation from Ceres since it did get a mention in American Graffiti.

I enjoy all the great classics. I remember – and this is dating me – riding around as a kid in a 1958 Chevy Bel Air, two-toned powder blue and white. It was legal back then for me to be standing in the seat while it moved. The world has certainly changed.

This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA. How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at