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Attacking blight one person by one person
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With the new Neighborhood Enhancement Team up and running, there is a crackdown underway on blight.
That's a good thing.

A Missouri woman who used to live in Ceres called me up Monday about a column I wrote last year about an unrelated topic. The woman, who grew up in Ceres in the 1950s, noted that on her last trip to Ceres she noticed how bad things have gotten in many neighborhoods.

Ceres property owners must care more about the way their properties look. Care for the sake of your own property values. If the community's appearance rises, property values will rise. If Ceres looks like nobody cares, nobody will care to live here.

That goes for all the people who are illegally posting yard sale signs.

That's right. It's illegal for anyone to post a yard sale sign. The lone exception is a sign at the actual sale. Nobody is allowed to post signs blocks away directing people to your sale.

Permits are required for yard sales. The permit form clearly states that one cannot put up yard sale signs off the premises. They are often left in place after the sale is long over. They curl around poles, fade and eventually blow off, creating more trash on the ground.

Business owners need to know that they have laws about signs they need to abide by. Illegal signs in Ceres are those that constitute a potential traffic hazard by being placed in such a manner as to obstruct free and clear vision of pedestrian traffic, or which simulate in size, color, lettering or design any traffic sign or signal. Illegal signs are any signs within the public right of way, including those on street trees, utility poles, street signals, streetlights, street name signs, traffic warning signs or sidewalks, except official. Signs may not move, swing, rotate, flash, blink or otherwise animated components, except barber poles, clocks, thermometers or electronic changeable copy signs. Also not permitted are windblown devices and signs whose movement is designed to attract attention, such as pennants, flags, inflatable signs or balloons, inflatable animals or similar signs, or reflective attachments to sign faces.

If Ceres suffers from blight, ask yourself if you're part of the problem if you're not a part of the solution. Look at your neighborhood and ask yourself if your property is one that people appreciate or curse. Maybe it's time to clean up, paint, and haul off that abandoned boat or piles of tree trimmings. If you are already caring for your property, form a neighborhood cleanup effort and offer help if you can for those who cannot physically do challenging work.

Have you walked to the mailbox and saw trash and left it there? It may take one person to throw down trash but it's also one person who picks it up. Bend over and pick it up, even though you didn't cause the litter.

If you see a shopping cart on your block and have a pickup, maybe you could load it up and drive it back to the store.

Do you see a business or shopping center that doesn't care and shows blight? Speak to the manager or owner and see if you can present the case that appearances affect their bottom line.

Ceres needs to adopt a culture of caring. You can't wait for the next person. You must do it yourself.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know by emailing him at