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Beautification Committee has a big job ahead

The city’s new Beautification Committee is off and running. I wish them well given how three members of the City Council sadly ruled thousands of garbage cans can remain in public view now seven days a week. 

While it’s true that the smallest rudder can turn the biggest ship, there are a lot of people in Ceres – or anywhere in the Valley – who just don’t give a rip about how their properties or neighborhoods look. And when you get a whole bunch of them together it takes a collective toll on the community.

I think one of the key charges of the group will be instilling the message to each individual that they can be forces for good or for bad. Either they are fixing the problem of blight or they are contributing to the problem.

Nobody should look to government for the whole solution. It comes down to individuals who care more than ones who don’t – the ones throwing down trash or scrawling graffiti, the ones letting a house and yard look like hell, the one dragging grocery carts into neighborhoods, the ones posting garage sale signs and leaving them up for months. If the neighborhood looks like crap it’s up to the neighbors to do something about it.

When one person sees another person clean up or make improvements or rip down yard sale signs or pick up trash, that can inspires others to do the same. In other words there needs to be a neighborhood ownership of the problem. People are causing blight and people can erase blight but it requires motivation and encouragement and quite often, when you are talking about improvements to property, requires financial assistance.

Landlords also need to start paying attention how their tenants take care of their property.

It would be great if the school teachers could stress to students that throwing one soda cup or one gum wrapper or one candy bar wrapper on the ground is part of a problem which makes the community look the way it does.

Shoppers need to quit rolling grocery carts out into the neighborhoods. It is against the law to remove a grocery cart from the shopping center parking lot.

Homeowners need to start treating the property as if they were preparing it to sell. That means fixing things that have been left to neglect. Declutter. Get rid of junk. Sell off those cars that aren’t being driven. Pull weeds. Plant grass. Paint eves. You get the idea.

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I came across a piece that made some great points about the leftist’s favorite climate change poster child hero, Greta Thunberg, the alarmist. It’s way too long to reprint in its entirety but this gives you the flavor of it:

“After our daughter of 15 years of age was moved to tears by the speech of Greta Thunberg at the UN the other day, she became angry with our generation ‘who had been doing nothing for 30 years.’ So, we decided to help her prevent what the girl on TV announced of ‘massive eradication and the disappearance of entire ecosystems.’ We are now committed to give our daughter a future again, by doing our part to help cool the planet four degrees.

“From now on she will go to school on a bicycle, because driving her by car costs fuel, and fuel puts emissions into the atmosphere. Of course it will be winter soon and then she will want to go by bus, but only as long as it is a diesel bus.

“Of course, she is now asking for an electric bicycle, but we have shown her the devastation caused to the areas of the planet as a result of mining for the extraction of lithium and other minerals used to make batteries for electric bicycles, so she will be pedaling, or walking which will not harm her or the planet. We used to cycle and walk to school too.

“Since the girl on TV demanded ‘we need to get rid of our dependency on fossil fuels’ and our daughter agreed with her, we have disconnected the heat vent in her room. The temperature is now dropping to 12 degrees in the evening, and will drop below freezing in the winter, we have promised to buy her an extra sweater, hat, tights, gloves and a blanket.

“For the same reason we have decided that from now on she only takes a cold shower. She will wash her clothes by hand, with a wooden washboard, because the washing machine is simply a power consumer and since the dryer uses natural gas, she will hang her clothes on the clothes line to dry.

“Speaking of clothes, the ones that she currently has are all synthetic, so made from petroleum. Therefore on Monday, we will bring all her designer clothing to the secondhand shop.

“Cotton is out of the question, as it comes from distant lands and pesticides are used for it. Very bad for the environment.

“From now on, at 7 p.m. we will turn off the Wi-Fi and we will only switch it on again the next day after dinner for two hours. In this way we will save on electricity so she is not bothered by electro-stress and will be totally isolated from the outside world. This way, she can concentrate solely on her homework. She will no longer be participating … be going on anymore vacations with us, because our vacation destinations are practically inaccessible by bicycle.

“Since our daughter fully agrees with the girl on TV that the CO2 emissions and footprints of her great-grandparents are to blame for ‘killing our planet,’ what all this simply means is that she also has to live like her great-grandparents and they never had a holiday, a car or even a bicycle.

“And finally, she will no longer be using makeup, soap, shampoo, cream, lotion, conditioner, toothpaste and medication. Her sanitary napkins will be replaced with pads made of linen that she can wash by hand, with her wooden washboard, just like her female ancestors did before climate change made her angry at us for destroying her future.

“In this way we will help her to do her part to prevent mass extinction, water levels rising and the disappearance of entire ecosystems.

“If she truly believes she wants to walk the talk of the girl on TV, she will gladly accept and happily embrace her new way of life.”

* * * * *

Xavier Becerra has once again overstepped his constitutional authority, but that’s what Democrats like Nancy Pelosi and him tend to do. Our state Attorney General – whose jurisdiction is the state, not the country – is muscling into other states’ affairs and it needs to end. This time he’s overstepped his authority by attempting to interfere with Arkansas, of all places. I’ve told you before that the Democrats represent the party of death and here’s additional proof. AG Becerra has filed an amicus brief in the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the plaintiffs in Little Rock Family Planning Services v. Leslie Rutledge, a lawsuit that seeks to support the last surgical abortion clinic in Arkansas and fighting four ARKANSAS state laws that would ban abortion after 18 weeks.

* * * * *

I am one who doesn’t believe the swill over manmade climate change hysteria. This old earth is in a constant state of flux – just like our human bodies – and man is not affecting the planet getting warmer or hotter.

Which is a segue into this hidden story: “Glacier National Park Quietly Removes Its ‘Gone by 2020’ Signs.” The park in Montana had these signs spelling doom that the glaciers would be gone by 2020. Guess what? The glaciers appear to be growing, not melting, according to teams from Lysander Spooner University. So last summer the park started removing and altering verbiage on the diorama to say the glaciers will disappear in “future generations.”

A deceptive trick used by the National Park Service at the park is to display old black-and-white photos of glaciers from bygone years (say, “1922”) next to photos of the same glaciers taken in recent years showing shrunken glaciers. Anyone familiar with glaciers in the northern Rockies knows that glaciers tend to grow for nine months each winter and melt for three months each summer. Such photo comparisons without precise calendar dates are highly questionable.

Don’t expect the mainstream media to pick up any story like that which punches huge holes in their climate change religion.

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Like addicts on heroin, Democrats in Sacramento are looking for their next tax revenue grab – this one likely coming in November.

Now they’re gunning for Prop. 13.

If you can remember, Prop. 13 passed in 1978 by two gentlemen named Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann. The state Treasury was amassing a multibillion-dollar surplus while county tax bills, fueled by California’s vaulting property values, were soaring high enough to threaten some residents with loss of their homes. Its passage shook the liberals to the core.

Prop 13 restrains property tax to rise no more than two percent annually, unless the property changes hands or there are improvements made.

Now socialist Democrats like Xavier Becerra are trying to chip away at it. 

The attack on Proposition 13 is in full gear as proponents of the “split roll” initiative are on the streets collecting signatures for their new $12 billion property tax increase on Californians.

The measure, deceptively called the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act of 2020, would remove one of Proposition 13’s most important protections – the limitation on annual increases in taxable value of commercial properties. Proponents of the measure have the ultimate goal to next dismantle Prop. 13 for homeowners.

The adept skillful political liar that he is, Becerra has managed once again to aid and abet proponents by securing a one-sided title and summary to petitions. The title and summary that Becerra issued on Oct. 17 begins by emphasizing higher funding for education, a main selling point that is popular among voters. This title differs from the original version of a similar measure that highlighted the tax implication for commercial property — something a recent poll suggests would be rejected by voters.

Becerra pulled this same damned trick by tampering with the ballot measure intended to repeal the unpopular gas tax to the point that voters were fooled and actually upheled SB 1 gas tax hikes!!! There are renewed calls to completely remove the preparing of ballot material away from the AG and hand it solely to the non-partisan Legislative Analyst.

Petition signature collectors are lying. They are putting up signs in front of tables in front of markets and malls that read: “Protect Proposition 13” as if the measure actually benefited taxpayers and property owners. Nothing could be further from the truth!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Don’t sign petitions for anything unless you THOROUGHLY understand the entire issue.

While I’m at it, don’t hand over any of your precious ballots to ANYONE seeking to harvest ballots. Don’t fall for political pressure by anyone to ink your ballot at the door and hand it over to them.

Treat your vote like gold.

* * * * *

On Dec. 19 I was driving down G Street in Modesto when I came upon a disturbing scene. A woman was face down on the sidewalk bleeding from her face, sobbing uncontrollably. I stopped to ask what was wrong and she kept crying.

I pulled over as did others, not knowing what was wrong.

As others joined me in approaching the woman, she eventually explained that she had been assaulted by her “boyfriend.” It was a week before Christmas.

I cannot explain the anger I had that any “man” would do this to a woman.

I feel bad for women because the pool of males under the age of 30 seems to be contaminated by self-centered males who have no clue how to treat a woman. It’s really sad. I can only hope that woman has ditched this fool quickly and never looks back on him.

* * * * *

Last week Senate Democrats killed Senate Bill 57 in the Senate Elections and Constitutional Amendments Committee which would have helped to fix the Democrats’ failed Motor Voter program.

Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) and co-authored by members of the California Senate Republican Caucus, SB 57 would have made voter registration optional at the DMV. Since the Motor Voter program has been implemented, multiple media outlets have reported on inaccurate party registrations and the registration of non-U.S. citizens. 

You have to ask yourself why the Democrats like to have the DMV running the show as far as voter registration is concerned. Especially given the fact that DMV has botched the motor-voter program. 

It’s a real simple answer: because most of those signing up for licenses are kids who are under the spell of the liberal institutions controlled by the liberal teachers’ unions. Conversely, people who are 65 and older tend to vote a lot and vote Republican.

I believe voting should take some work and initiative. If somebody cannot muster up the effort to fill out a voter form on their own accord and sign it, they’re probably not going to be voting responsibly either. By voting responsibly I mean researching and reading the Voter Handbook before making voting decisions and not rely on biases one hears in the national media.

I agree with state Senator Patricia Bates who stated that the decision to register to vote should be made by the individual - not the state. Those who opposed her bill fail to appreciate that an “opt-in” process gives citizens more control over their own voter registrations and reduces opportunities for errors and fraud. 

We should all be very concerned that the DMV has botched voter registrations of thousands – and that Democrats don’t seem interested in fixing things.

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