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Cities need to push back for freedom sake

Councilwoman Linda Ryno emailed me last week, after reading about my criticism of her, Bret Silveira and James Casey not willing to place on an upcoming agenda the matter of allowing employees the right to decide if they want to get vaccinated or not.

At the meeting of Sept. 27, Ryno did not explain why she didn’t want the item to be on the agenda. But in her email she explained: “Just to be clear: I don’t believe in vaccine mandates, but if the Feds or State somehow can tie funding we receive from them into such a mandate, the city would need to see what that would cost us. I believe the vice mayor wanting a discussion when we don’t have all the facts was premature.”

That’s the problem in California: If cities or counties don’t do what the state DICTATES, they threaten to withhold funding. We saw what happened when the conservative mayor and City Council in Atwater declared Atwater a “sanctuary city” from the lockdown in 2020 even through Newsom illegally mandated a shutdown. Mark Ghilarducci, director of the California Office of Emergency Services (OES), an unelected bureaucrat, sent threatening letters to Atwater and Coalinga city leaders saying that the state would withhold Coronavirus relief money for their actions. I would have said, keep your money and had every resident head to Sacramento and raise holy hell.

Apparently only the supreme leaders of California are the only ones who can declare “sanctuary” status to thumb their nose at federal immigration law but when cities want to do that to save their own businesses from being plowed under by illegal state mandates, they pull the old “we’ll withhold your funding” threat.

The people have the power to pull the plug on anti-freedom office holders but they’re too used to being told what to do and being compliant little subservient servants.

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The crowd which protested in front of the Stanislaus County Office of Education last week was a high-caliber group of concerned Americans who believe freedom is being usurped at an alarming rate. There was no need for undercover police detectives spying on them from the towering parking structure nearby. Some of the signs were straight to the point: “Children will NOT be an EXPERIMENT to make you feel safe,”  “God gave immunity stronger than vaccines,” “Don’t make your political decisions on students,” “My choice, no mandate!”

If you think about it, this entire COVID disaster in this country has been about money. Obscene amounts of money that has helped usher in a Democrat’s dream of socialism. They shut down your business, making you lose work so you can’t pay rent but then they rescue you by printing money we don’t have. Hospitals are rolling in the COVID dough. The drug manufacturers have made billions. Now Pfizer is asking the federal government to allow use of its COVID shots for children aged 5-11, even though kids only get mild symptoms. Do you think money might be the motivating factor?

Meanwhile a lot of folks are finally catching on. COVID is no more of a threat as was the annual flu to kids. My own grandsons got COVID and they had mild chest congestion for a small stretch. They are back playing youth football healthy as a horse.  I’m left asking: “And we shut down schools last year for this? Why?”

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A lady named Fernanda Borges told me at the rally that she feels California has become a Third World nation. As one who has lived in the Valley since 1966, I can say she is absolutely right. California is looking worse as time goes on. Tesla is moving to Texas now.

Over the weekend we see that a homeless woman was burned in a warming fire she set outside of the Brenden Theater. If that doesn’t smack of Third World nation status, I don’t know what does. People sleeping in the oleanders along 99 in Ceres, come on, governor!

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The Biden Administration has sicced the FBI on parents who speak out at school board meetings. As you probably have heard, parents are sick of the liberal agenda in public schools and are fighting back at board meetings where they are not being listened to. In Virginia a board meeting got wild when some parents were arrested after speaking out of turn about Critical Race Theory (CRT) being taught. That’s where white kids are made to feel guilty for being white, which is a classic example of racism itself. Now those common sense parents are being declared by their government as “domestic terrorists.”

And you wonder why people are longing for Trump to get back in power?

I am not in favor of anyone threatening elected officials with violence. But to arrest someone for speaking out of turn? I’ve seen more disrespect and threats at Ceres City Council meetings from one individual yet I haven’t seen him carried out in handcuffs.

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I know I’m a bit old-fashioned and cringe at the myriad of ways American society is sliding in language and fashion but really, do educators think it should be okay to lower standards and let students to wear pajamas to school? They do in Turlock where the school board adopted some kind of nonsensical “gender-neutral dress code” designed to make it “fair” how girls are to dress.

Their first mistake was allowing students to provide input in an effort to be “inclusive” (I detest how the Left uses that word). Students (read that girls) didn’t like the old policy which forbid midriff-baring tops and spaghetti straps. They claimed jocks could go around without a shirt during P.E. and sports. They want to show their bellies and their shoulders.

Two years ago I was dropping off a teen at a high school in this county and saw how many girls walking to school dressed like South Ninth Street hookers. Let’s face it, in this TikTok generation, sex sells and girls get attention by the way they dress.

So the students passed a petition which would not pass the logic smell test. It protested the old dress code as, and I quote: “unfairly target female students, sexualize minors, and humiliate/shame women for their bodies, but they promote the belief that male students are unable to control themselves. They reinforce that a male student’s education (heaven forbid they be distracted by someone’s shoulder) is more important than a female student’s education.”

So midriff-baring tops and spaghetti straps un-sexualizes girls? Huh? The old dress code where you couldn’t show thigh, stomach and shoulders somehow humiliates and shames women? I think that’s a bit backward. 

The students suggested that some boys were allowed to go shirtless while a female cannot. I happen to think even male athletes shouldn’t take off their shirts because the intent is usually to show off the biceps and six-pack to others with less developed chests. 

If we’re going to be really, really honest, lots of teenage girls dress the way they do is because they do being the focus of male attention. Why else would teen girls wear the word PINK right across their butt? So guys won’t notice it?

At least one Turlock School Board member had some common sense. Mary Jackson didn’t want the bar lowered and said she wanted every student to graduate and know how to dress for an interview.

Letting girls wear PJs to school is really poor taste.

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I caught the Homecoming Parade in Hughson on Friday and couldn’t help but think this small town really does things right.

Hughson is a refreshing rewind in time. It’s almost like it’s in the 1970s still. Kids are allowed to climb on floats and parade downtown and the whole town comes out. Ceres used to but not anymore. The kids even hand out candy, a bygone practice in this era of lawsuits. The floats obviously had a lot of adult help. It’s like the whole community rallies around its schools and youth.

Hughson Avenue, the main street in town, was clean. Then I noticed a sign on the pole: “Litter Free Zone strictly enforced.”

Even the Hughson water tank is painted in a classy way. Ceres’ water tower has looked trashy for over a decade now and everybody up and down Highway 99 sees it daily.

Ceres might take some cues from Hughson.

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Joe Biden’s vaccination mandate is creating hell for the country. 

Southwest Airlines cancelled over 1,000 flights this last weekend. The official words was that it was due to air traffic control issues, but many suspect it has to do with Southwest’s new COVID-19 vaccine mandate, which its pilots asked a court to block. Were the cancellations the result of a pilots ‘sick out’ as they refuse to get vaccinated? Amtrak cancelled trains Sunday afternoon as well due to “unforeseen crew issues.” There is talk of a general strike brewing, a response to the mass firings of other working-class and middle class Americans—nurses and police officers—who have refused the vaccine. 

What a mess Joe and Newsom have caused.

This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation. How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at