I can't say I'm overjoyed at how the Ceres City Council has morphed into this panel which was originally only concerned about growing pot for the sake of kids suffering from seizures into this "what the heck, let's sell recreational cannabis too" group.
If it wasn't for the money, the city wouldn't have approved any marijuana permits and change zoning code. It's totally about the cash.
It's like Councilwoman Linda Ryno said back in January: "Are we selling the soul of the city for money? Are we selling our community just so we get this money for cannabis?"
Sure, the state voters have approved marijuana but some cities like Turlock are not allowing such activity within their city limits. Perhaps because they have a healther retail tax base.
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Don't think you won't be affected by marijuana use. Now that it's legal in the state - but not federally - expect people thinking everything with pot is legal. Driving with a burning doobie is illegal, just like an open beer can, and driving while on pot is also illegal.
Last week I was driving to Turlock on 99 when I noticed a car speeding in the slow lane - something no one should be doing. Two women were in the car. They got off the freeway at the same off-ramp and I saw puffs of smoke come out of the passenger window. The smell, without a doubt, was pot.
I pulled alongside of them at a red light next to a school and they both noticed that I was looking their way to confirm if they were smoking pot. They were hiding it but the driver was onto me onto them.
They pulled off at the next street.
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A law enforcement officer living in Ceres and working in a neighboring county got this message to me:
"Ceres local leadership is very disappointing! Marijuana is the most frequently abused illegal drug in the country. The future social and medical costs caused by the increasing use of marijuana and concentrates will far exceed any present economic benefits. The Colorado Attorney General's office noted in 2016 that legalization ‘has inadvertently helped fuel the business of Mexican drug cartels...cartels are now trading drugs like heroin for marijuana, and the trade has since opened the door to drug and human trafficking.'
"Unfortunately local law enforcement fails to go after illegal marijuana operations in our county. Organized crime has opened illegal commercial operations which are linked to homicides and robberies during the outdoor harvest months. Gang members continue to uncover hidden grow houses in respectful neighborhoods that draw unwanted crime and traffic. Shootings, home invasions and mortgage fraud are common when growers are turning out gardens every 60 days by utilizing two-stage grow technology. How are we going to track seed-to-sale, RFID systems, cultivation operations, processing / manufacturing and dispensary point of sale in our county? LE can't even shut down the 130 illegal indoor grows in the cities of Patterson and Ceres which have access to the addresses of these illegal grows provided to them by electric companies. Somehow I do not believe our city even knows where to start when it comes to monitoring dispensaries.
"Cancel the Red Ribbon Week festivities this October and send thank-you cards out to the drug dealers who we now rely on to balance our annual budget. No slippery slope here... Good times!"
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The parking lot behind the Courier office has two dumpsters which attract the bombed-out-of-their-mind homeless. I've often seen men and women in the dumpsters gleaning what has been tossed. They routinely scatter trash and take bottles out and smash them on the ground. Often they sit inside the dumpster enclosure to smoke pot and do drugs.
On Wednesday an emaciated women was near the dumpster and I walked past her only to hear her blurt out to herself, "Stupid b-----!"
Unless you've lived in a cave or don't leave your house, the homeless problem is growing out of control, especially in Modesto and Turlock. Ceres, of course, has the problem as well.
Candidates for the Board of Supervisors are tripping over themselves to stress how they want to deal with homelessness. Never mind that we've had a panel exploring the issue and headed toward a shelter in downtown Modesto. My solution is quit electing Democrats to statewide offices because as you know my philosophy about Democrats is this: They seek to create and guarantee poverty so that they will rely on the handouts given by Democrats. It's job security. Basically the liberals want people eating out of their hand because people don't bite the hands that feed them.
I like what Travis Allen, candidate for governor has to say about the problem. He wants them off the streets. He said: "It is not fair to the citizens of California to have these filthy streets and homelessness everywhere. Number two, it is not fair to the homeless people themselves. These are the most vulnerable Californians. It is not fair to let them simply lie on our sidewalks or sleep under bridges or on the sides of our roads."
Allen wants the laws against vagrancy and public camping enforced and proposes state-run safe and clean "institutions" for the mentally ill and drug addicts who can't provide for themselves. He also wants non-Californians sent back from where they came. Allen doesn't want to force people into shelters but also will not tolerate their presence on the streets.
We pay for this by tapping into the state's massive surplus. But again, Brown doesn't want to help the homeless. Maybe when he is ex-governor he will be out and see what he's helped to create on our streets.
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Mayor Chris Vierra was unhappy after reading the Modesto Bee's May 17 article, "Housing shortage, homelessness are top issues in Stanislaus County race." He wrote Ken Carlson (and CC'd me) explaining that he was offended about the District 4 supervisors race article as Carlson referred to the seat as the "Modesto seat" and later indicated it is made up of Modesto and Del Rio folks. Vierra told Carlson that he glossed over the fact that north Ceres is also included in that district but he failed to make mention.
Years ago Vierra was opposed to including north Ceres in Modesto's District 4 because he felt Ceres voters would be "just an afterthought." The mayor said the article confirmed his feelings. He felt Carlson should be "ashamed" by not mentioning Ceres voters, especially given they typically turn out to the polls in greater numbers.
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Little wonder why the left-wing media barely reported this story. It doesn't fit within their anti-gun agenda. School Resource Officer Mark Dallas in Dixon, Illinois, shot student Matthew Milby, 19, after he showed up at school to fire several shots during a high school graduation rehearsal. Imagine, a gun stopped what could have been another school massacre.
Why the left wants our kids as sitting ducks is beyond me. Armed guards are at banks, airports and on aircraft but not at many schools? There needs to be an armed officer or at least teachers carry concealed weapons on every campus.
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They're coocoo, folks. Downright coocoo.
Whatever President Trump says, some Democrats will say the opposite, even when it defies logic and common sense.
When President Trump referred to MS-13 gang members as "animals," a host of Democrats rose to the thugs' defense. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said "We believe that - some of us who are attracted to the political arena, to government and public service - that we're all God's children, there's a spark of divinity in every person on Earth, and that we all have to recognize that, as we respect the dignity and worth of every person, and as we recognize our responsibilities with that spark of divinity within us."
I guess Nancy likes MS-13 in our Valley terrorizing and killing people and peddling their drugs. Whose side is she on, anyway?
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Word is that as the Ceres City Council wants to take a position against the matter of Sanctuary State policy that one key city official asks what purpose it will serve. How about taking a stand for law and order? Is that a good enough reason?
We've all heard the saying, "Evil triumphs when good men do nothing."
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How do you feel about all those slick political mailers you're getting as Election Day draws near? I find politics amusing and disgusting at the same time.
Most of them feature a list of endorsements, which can influence others. But after seeing how Pelosi defends gang members, I'm sure anyone can get a list of endorsements.
There is one showing District Attorney Birgit Fladager having coffee with an elderly couple. Somehow I don't think she goes out and does this regularly - only for campaign pieces.
Speaking of Fladager, one of her pieces kind of takes the low road, sizing her up against opponents Kolasinski, Mayne and O'Connor (black and white photos, of course) and dissing all three. She doesn't say who her financial backers are but tells us that Mayne is financed by "self," that Kolasinski is financed by "rich Bay Area interests," and O'Connor is largely financed by a "marijuana dispensary owner."
By the way, I saw O'Connor's antics in court defending Ceres murderer Mark Mesiti and lambasting attorney Martin Baker who came to understand that Mesiti was an animal - there's that word again - and I wouldn't vote for O'Connor for dog catcher.
Frank Damrell, candidate for county supervisor (Ceres is not in that district), says in one piece that he is not a politician and is not making promises. Another piece goes on to make promises that he "will" do x, y and z.
Scott Kuykendall's piece is borderline insulting when it states, "Our children are too important ... That's why we need Scott Kuykendall." Oh, you mean electing either Don Davis or Shannon Sanford would be signaling that our kids aren't important? Both his opponents have excellent records in school administration.
Sheriff's candidate Jeff Dirkse, hand-picked by Adam Christiansen, likewise issued a piece in a roundabout way of dissing his opponent, Juan Alanis, as not qualified by ad nauseum touting about his military service and other qualifications. I just don't like the tactic. I think both men are qualified.
It's Sue Zwahlen's pieces that make me retch. She is a registered nurse Democrat running for Congress. Apparently she loves Obamacare. She vows to "strengthen the ACA, not undermine healthcare coverage like the Republicans are trying to do." She states healthcare costs are skyrocketing. Hold on then, I thought Obamacare was going to fix that? Instead, lots of us ended up with medical plans with high deductibles and that don't cover jack squat. She also states that "a lack of doctors and healthcare services in rural areas is a problem." Thank you, Captain Obvious. Denham has been addressing this issue for years now.
Sue - she won't win - also states, "Every child should have a quality education and college should not leave young people in crippling debt." A veiled reference to "free college" which isn't free but would be placed on the backs of taxpayers? Sue also states, "We need to support our small businesses while we work to attract high wage employers to provide careers for our young people and families." Well, Sue, this is primarily a state problem since Democrats have added so many taxes and regulations that businesses have left - with their jobs - to states like Nevada, Utah, Texas and Idaho. So want to attract new business? Quit electing tax-and-spend Democrats like Sue Zwahlen.
Another piece suggests she wants to seek federal funds to teach daycare providers how to prepare kids for school. The federal feeding trough is not needed. Just read to the kids!
One last thing about Sue's pieces. She ditched her white lab coat to don a green flannel shirt to take a stilted pose with a dairy farmer with cows in the background with the words, "Sue understands the importance of agriculture to our economy and the struggle families face running a small business." Like Denham, an actual farmer, doesn't? Give me a break.
I wonder if Sue stands with Jerry Brown in regulating cow flatulence? But then again, she's creating her own manure.
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The state is back to its bullying tactics. There isn't anything they won't force upon anyone.
Now the state Water Nazis are trying to force the city of Ceres to provide water service to a 47-unit mobile home park outside the city limits which the county approved in 1969. Apparently their wells are failing. The City Council has twice stated it won't provide the service as they did to Monterey Park Tract outside of Ceres city limits. The last attempt was in July.
KS Mattson Partners LP of Vacaville, owners of the Ceres West Mobilehome Park, has been turned down to have a four-inch water line extended down Central Avenue to the park at the southwest corner of Central and Grayson roads. The park has limited options to supply drinking water to the units because water from an on-site well exceeds state limits for arsenic.
The park used about 2.6 million gallons of water, or 7,887 gallons, in 2014.
Members of the City Council remain opposed to the idea, fearing there could be collection problems for monthly service. The council also expresses fears about an agreement not being honored should the park change hands.
There is a difference between Ceres West and Monterey Tract. For one thing, Monterey Park Tract is a rural neighborhood governed by an elected Community Services District whereas Ceres West is a for-profit business. Secondly, the county guarantees it will financially step in should Monterey Park fail to pay its bill.
The council fears it would be setting a precedent that could result in a flood of other requests from rural mobile home parks surrounding Ceres which may find wells failing to meet state water quality standards.
There is a meeting to take place on this issue at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, May 30 at Beaver School cateria, 4927 Central Avenue.
Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will read it, promise.