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Ceres seems split over garbage can decision

So many are poisoned by their hatred of the man and want him gone that they ignore and dismiss the facts and fabricate theories that don’t hold water.

Our congressman knows this and yet plays into it. Josh Harder was one of 232 Democrats to support the impeachment inquiry vote against the 196 against it. It was mostly along party lines … except for two Democrats who could not go along with their party’s “trumped up” charges. Reps. Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey and Collin Peterson of Minnesota are honest and not delusional like the rest. Harder should have voted with them.

You’d think Americans would wise up over the fact that everything the Democrats have thrown at the man has backfired on them. The Ukrainian flap is just another attempt to take him down.

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There was a lot of fall-out to my article about the council relaxing garbage can standards.

To recap, the council moved to change an existing code section on the books that forbid residents from placing their garbage cans within public view when it’s not the 24-hour time frame around garbage pickup. Three members decided the city should relax that standard by saying “next to the house” in front is acceptable.

Bret Silveira, Chris Henry, Patricia Ramsey, Sheryl Trout and Bob Gobble agreed with me. Bob said: “It appears this city has a bunch of lazy individuals that don’t care what their property looks like they probably have dead lawns also and are probably renters. If you guys want to live in the slums go to Keyes.” Agreeing with statement was Valerie Leuenhagen Casal who is bother with the way many Cereans keep their property. Valerie also addressed the old deflection argument of those who like waste wheelers on display. She noted: “Just because there are more important things to worry about doesn’t mean we should let this go, there is always going to be something else more important, take care of things one at a time, I hope everyone in these council members’ neighborhoods start leaving their trash cans out, I bet things would get straightened out then, this town is a dump, wake up everyone and look around.”

Councilman Mike Kline took some much deserved flak. After Kline explained how he would support keeping the code, he flipped a 180. On our Facebook page Lee Brandt commented, “We could not believe how Mike Flipped in the matter of 15 minutes... Very disappointed in his service to the citizens. He is still a friend but we disagree with him....”

Andy Constantinou, as he normally does, is always looking for a bogeyman in the city manager. In accusatory fashion, the former councilman asked, “Who is behind the campaign to unravel our city ordinances?” Andy knows the code has to be updated periodically but I would assume that the city manager was just as shocked as I was that the council was 3-2 to undo the garbage can storage section.

Andy sharpened his axe again at the city manager when he suggested that Toby Wells was the one who opened up the discussion about changing the zip code north of Hatch Road from Modesto 95355 to Ceres 95307. Once again, Andy is wrong. Will Schlarb, irritated at having the incorrect zip code applied to his Ceres address, brought up the matter. Wells didn’t; he only answered questions the Courier posed to him about that.

There were a few with the “By God, the city can’t tell me what to do!” mentality. Never mind that half the community doesn’t have the ambition to wheel cans behind the fence and it negatively affects how whole neighborhoods look.  If you’re in that group, let me pose this: If you were selling your house, any realtor worth his salt is going to advise you to stop storing your garbage can in the front of the side yard fence or in front of your garage. It’s a no-brainer. Cans detract from the aesthetics of your property and the entire neighborhood.

John Osgood suggests that owners can do whatever they want with the property on the side of homes even in plain view. He said neighbors don’t have a right to be annoyed. (Tell that to the officer who knocks on your door if you’re playing your music too loud.) He then went on to suggest I and others “should be ashamed of themselves.”

And for those who think government has no right to determine what you can and cannot do with your property, guess again. Just start a construction project on your house without a permit and paying the fees and watch the red tag appear on your door. Stop paying your taxes for any extended period of time and your house will go to public auction. Is it right for government to sell your house if you don’t pay your taxes? Well ask yourself how many people wouldn’t pay their taxes if there was no fear of the government taking it from them?

Obviously laws are passed for the common good. There is a balance between freedom and community standards. That’s why we have a bunch of laws and codes regarding people setting up businesses in homes or having perpetual garage sales.

* * * * *

Well, it’s started, folks. Democrats are starting their quest to chisel away at Proposition 13. Despite a massive state surplus, they want nothing more than to take as much as they can. They should be giving us a refund because a surplus means they’ve been bilking us too much!

Liberal LA Mayor Eric Garcetti is pimping for his labor union buddies by backing an initiative to get rid of Proposition 13 protections for business properties worth more than $3 million and tax on current market value – not the value when it was last purchased. Basically it’s a “milk-businesses-of-everything-they’re-worth” measure – done under the guise of “for the children” and “for schools.”

They call it by an innocent name, the Schools & Communities First campaign. It should be Keep Driving Businesses & Jobs to Arizona and Texas initiative.

Have you noticed this insatiable appetite for money for public schools –indoctrination facilities for liberal ideology – while the quality of education still ranks as toward the bottom of the 50 states?

I predict such a money grubbing measure will pass, though, because the voters of California haven’t realized they are cutting off their nose to spite their face.

* * * * *

I keep entertaining the idea of fleeing the Socialist Republic of California for Idaho, which is where Chief of Police Brent Smith fled to. He’s no dummy.

In fact Idaho has 497 new arrivals from California for every 100 leaving to go to California. 

In fact 691,145 Californians fled the tyranny of state policies last year. Texas got 86,164 of them. Arizona took in 68,516 California refugees. Washington took another 55,467. Nevada 50,707 and Oregon 43,058.

* * * * *

Next year Harder faces re-election and expect the same tricks of ballot harvesting. As I’ve said, the GOP needs to play the same game of ballot harvesting since it is what got Harder elected. As long as the Democrats in power in Sacramento refuse to end the practice, Ted Howze or Bob Elliott should gear up.

On the face of it, it might seem like ballot harvesting is an innocent service for the voter. It’s legal but it’s shady business. Steven F. Huefner, a law professor from Moritz College of Law at The Ohio State University, said harvesting increases the risk of voting fraud by allowing harvesters to:

• Destroy or discard ballots from those whom they know or believe voted for the “wrong” candidate;

• Collect ballots in unsealed envelopes, or open sealed envelopes, and either alter votes or fill in blank portions of undervoted ballots (those in which the voter did not vote in some races).

• Exert improper influence on voters while the voters are completing their ballots.

• Collect unfilled ballots and fill them in themselves.

Republican Congressman Ken Calvert introduced bill amendment to end the practice but Democrats shut him down. In response, Calvert said as Democrats make a lot of hay about foreign interference in our elections, the Democrats “have not only left the door open to involvement from foreign nationals in our elections they have welcomed it. The bill under consideration was an attempt to protect our election from foreign interference. It is a weakness that basically rolls out the red carpet to foreign interference.”

Calvert ended his speech on the floor saying, “There are no requirements to document the chain of command of ballots. There is nothing in the California law prohibiting foreign nationals from collecting and handling ballots. Let me repeat that, ……….In reality, the only rule is there are no rules.”

* * * * *

Don Cool of Ceres was spitting mad the other day when he posted he’d never shop at Walmart again. He was irritated that he went on to look for socks and underwear and found them locked up.

I had a similar experience when I went into a Walmart to buy Legos for my grandchild’s birthday and they also were locked up.

Don ranted on Facebook about the situation and I commented that he shouldn’t be mad at Walmart – he should be absolutely furious about Democrats weakening punishments for thieves. Voters also foolishly approved Prop.47 which reduced the penalties associated with property crimes by preventing prosecutors from charging these offenses as felonies in most cases. As a result, it’s open season for thieves to steal from stores. We’ve all seen the surveillance videos of leaches walking into Ulta Beauty and Apple stores and walking out with thousands of dollars of goods and nobody stops them.

This is California under the Democrats. 

* * * * *

Someone remarked to me how incredulous it seems that someone could be elected to the Ceres School Board with under 400 votes to represent more than 50,000 district residents and 11,000 students.

You can thank two factors for that:

1). Apathetic voters. Try 18.6 percent voter turnout. In other words, only about two out 10 voters gave a hoot. That’s right – 20,257 were registered to vote in Trustee Area 1 and only 3,768 voted. As someone who loves politics and the demographic process, I am aghast. Apparently many think elections are a spectator sport.

2). Unwarranted district elections. You know how I feel about them. District elections might work for large metro areas like Fresno, San Jose or Los Angeles but for a small city like Ceres are ridiculous. It means some people skate into office with no opposition (Channce Condit, Faye Lane and Hugo Molina to name a few). There are seven CUSD board districts which means for each district election, only a sixth of the population can run. In the city council district elections, only a fifth can run.

Of course, you can thank the liberals and Democrats who passed the California Voting Rights Act for forcing cities and school districts to have districts all so that minority candidates feel they have a better shot at winning them.


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