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California’s Nero fiddles while ‘Rome’ burns

I have this theory on what motivates lawmakers; and when I say lawmakers I’m talking Democrats because that party holds a super majority in the state Legislature. They bend over backward to shield minorities, the low-income, the homeless – basically any of the so-called downtrodden, at the expense of the middle- to upper-income taxpayer. Everything they do is motivated to get on those groups’ good side, solely for the purpose of gaining their vote for life.

Need an example? Here’s one: Gov. Newsom signed a bill to give procrastinators two more weeks to sign up for insurance through Covered California. The deadline is extended from Jan. 15 to Jan. 31. So when they’re late signing up by Jan. 31, does Newsom extend it another two weeks?

It reminds me of how you’ll show up at a function that starts, say at 6 p.m. and the moderator says, “We’ll start in about 5 or 10 minutes in case more arrive late.” No, start at 6 p.m. and honor the ones who showed up on time and teach the others that we’re not holding up the show for you.

Democrat state Senator Anthony Portantino, aided and abetted by Gov. Newsom, has made it illegal for middle schools to start class before 8 a.m. and high schools before 8:30 a.m. It was passed under the guise of a “public health bill.” We’ve got suppressed diseases like polio, scarlet and typhoid fever, tuberculosis, cholera and whooping cough making a comeback – mostly because of an influx of illegal immigrants from Third World nations being shielded by Democrats – but they think we’re destroying kids’ health by making them start school at 8 a.m.?

I have more common sense than the average Democrat so my first thought is, hey, if sleep is really important – and it is – why isn’t the better solution to educate parents on the importance of seeing their kids go to bed earlier?

Also, this is shielding – there’s my word again – kids from the real world. When they graduate into the real world and have to work, they will be forced to get up earlier and be at work, many times, by 8 a.m. or sooner. The business world doesn’t modify its schedule for them; they have to modify their schedule for work! I don’t understand this mollycoddling.

I say keep the school start times the same and let kids pay the consequences for bad decisions of going to bed too late the night before. Maybe they’ll see a cause and effect and become disciplined to the rigors of successful life habits.

The suspicious side of me knows how in bed Democrats are with the teachers’ union and so this is more of a bill that teachers wanted to see for their benefit.

So does this mean teachers spend less time in class or are we going to extend the school day in the afternoon? Or will that impinge too much on students’ free time?

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Here’s another example of liberal ideology at work. The Los Angeles City Council, comprised entirely of Democrats, is passing an emergency measure that forbids landlords from evicting tenants for such things as not paying rent. So now the dishonorable members of society get to live for free in somebody’s property while the owner pays the mortgage, taxes and all the upkeep. Democrats shielding people from their bad behavior, poor choices and bad luck.

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Part of my regimen to staying healthy – I just turned 58 – is running as often as I can. I confess that I don’t run as much as I should but because I have a family history with diabetes, I’m determined not to be next. But when I’m out running, I have come up with thoughts for this column.

What I came up with on Thursday is my short list of “10 Things You Can Do to Improve Your Town.” So here goes:

1). When you are out walking or running – and you should be if you aren’t already –pick up trash along the way. You’ll find that some people think public rights-of-way and front yards are places to discard cigarette packages, soda cups, booze containers, hamburger wrappers and you-name-it. But piece by piece you counter their piggy ways.

2). If you see a missing dog poster or garage sale sign that is not at the site of the sale itself, rip it down and carry it to the next garbage can. (You’ll find plenty of them left out in public view because roughly half the town doesn’t care about stowing them away). It’s illegal to put directional signs on poles or trees or street signs in Ceres and most cities. Consider those signs as litter on a stick. Think of how much time you’ll be saving the already-overworked code enforcement staff.

3). Put your garbage cans behind the fence or out of view if it’s not garbage collection day (ahem, Bret Durossette). They visually degrade and detract from your neighborhood and, besides, you stand to get a warning and $100 fine if you keep doing so.

4). Don’t play your music too loud in the house or your car. You’ll spare your neighbor the aggravation and you’ll save your own ears.

5). If you have a dog, keep it from yapping. Most incessant barking is from dogs calling for someone to give it attention. So if you’re the type of person who has a dog in the backyard that never gets any owner attention or human interaction, do everybody a huge favor and find it a new home. There is nothing more nerve shattering than hearing a lonely dog barking at all hours.

6). Keep your yard in nice shape. So many yards in Ceres are weed choked, neglected, dead or untrimmed. It seems like at least every block has one of those types of owners whose yard screams, “We just don’t care about anything.” Besides, think of all the exercise – the bending, pulling, stretching and pushing – you’ll get tending to the care of your yard!

7). If you have an RV, great, but don’t park it on your residential lot or the street. Remember, you can’t park an RV on the street for more than 72 hours for loading and unloading purposes only. There are special permits you can get at City Hall to park them for up to 30 days. Your RV may your pride and joy but don’t do that to your neighbors.

8). If you see a shopping cart loose in your neighborhood, consider calling the store to let them know where to pick it up. I have even run them back to the store if within a reasonable distance just to get them out of my neighborhood.

9). If you insist on your kids playing basketball in the street rather than use one of the many parks Ceres has, at least hide away the portable hoop after they’re done. I’ve literally had to walk over them lying on sidewalks.

10). Stay informed, read the Courier and attend council meetings. That’s the best way democracy can flourish.

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Did he do his homework? There were indications maybe not as much as the other councilmembers.

At one point during the discussion on the Ceres Municipal Code update last week, Vice Mayor Linda Ryno, who was running the meeting in the mayor’s absence, must have noticed Condit being really quiet when she said, “Feel free to chime in.”

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I am finding a growing unrest with this governor we have. He is about as sleazy as they come.

I was traveling down Taylor Road north of Turlock on Friday and I saw a lot of cars pulled over on the side of the road. It was someone collecting signatures in the Recall Newsom effort. People were pulling over to sign it!

If you value life, you should especially upset with his signing of SB 24 and his veto of AB 624.

First about SB 24. The bill requires all state Universities and Colleges to distribute the dangerous chemical abortion regimen, RU 486. Brian Johnston, chairman of the California ProLife Council, noted that both the California Department of Finance and the Department of State Colleges and Universities were opposed to the bill. Johnston said RU 486 itself presents dangers to women and their unborn children for the drug can only be taken after the mom has missed her second period. This measure also is destructive of the institutions it wishes to use, says Johnston, and dismisses “the significance and importance of innocent human lives and forces itself on all other members of the community.” Johnston goes further when he asserts Newsom has abused the state governmental process by taking state commissions which are legally established for policy advisory Commissions and twisted one to implement and institute abortion medical procedures. “This is absurd and reflective of the governmental destruction that a one-party, progressive oligarchy will bring to any state or nation.”

Just another reason to recall Gavin Newsom and remove him from office.

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Talk about dishonest national media reporting! The headline on the website on Thursday read: “Mulvaney admits quid pro quo, says military aid withheld to get Ukraine to probe Democrats.” The first paragraph reads: “After repeated White House denials – including from President Donald Trump himself – that there was a quid pro quo in the Ukraine affair, White House Acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney on Thursday admitted there was one, saying Trump had ordered him to withhold military aid in part to pressure Ukraine to launch an investigation of Democrats.”

Lo and behold buried in the story was this: “After hours of backlash, Mulvaney attempted to clarify his comments in a statement the White House released shortly afterward.

“Once again, the media has decided to misconstrue my comments to advance a biased and political witch hunt against President Trump. Let me be clear, there was absolutely no quid pro quo between Ukrainian military aid and any investigation into the 2016 election,” Mulvaney noted. “The president never told me to withhold any money until the Ukrainians did anything related to the server. The only reasons we were holding the money was because of concern about lack of support from other nations and concerns over corruption.”

This is why the national media is losing credibility. They suffer from Trump Derangement Syndrome.

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I sadly had to burst my cousin’s bubble when she posted a comment on social media about being happy that the IRS penalty for not buying health insurance was disappearing because of President Trump. I informed her that the state Legislature and governor worked to undo the president’s decision and they are continuing with the penalty for Californians. So basically you’d pay a penalty of at least $695 per year or 2.5 percent of your annual household income (whichever is higher) and wouldn’t have insurance for the money they steal from you, just to force you to subsidize somebody else’s insurance. It’s out-and-out socialism at work.

She was not happy. No wonder about half of Californians are considering leaving the state. Nero fiddles while Rome burns.

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