By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CYB jersey fiasco was not Daniel Martinez’s fault

David Carreon sent an email last week to say he takes issue with my column in which I said his opponent for Ceres City Council, Daniel Martinez was the only safe choice for District 4.

“I don’t believe he is by a long shot,” wrote Carreon.

Why am I not surprised that an opponent would say that?

Carreon said that while Martinez “seems like a nice guy in person,” he feels Martinez was responsible for the CYB jersey fiasco.

To make a long story short, when CYB was looking for a vendor to produce jerseys this year, Martinez went to the CYB board to basically say, “Hey, maybe try Central Valley Vinyl Plus. My dad and his girlfriend own it.”

If you read the Courier then you know what followed next. The product was never delivered and just who was responsible – CYB or Central Valley Vinyl Plus – is unclear. Trina Dodd cited issues with FedEx and that CYB was responsible because of “their constant failure to place their order in a timely manner putting them at fault for all the delays and drama.” CYB asserts that Dodd ripped them off and made excuse after excuse.

Dodd was irritated at our two articles on the matter and, after the last article appeared in print, wanted to meet me in-person and present her evidence. I made an appointment for Dodd to come in on that Monday at 9 a.m. but she was a no-show – and she didn’t call with an explanation or to follow up.

It seems that Dodd should have refunded the entire amount to CYB.

The CYB jersey fiasco may not be the best optics for Martinez, who is a member of the Planning Commission and on track to fill the District 4 council vacancy, but should he be held to answer for recommending a business his dad was connected to? Martinez obviously had faith that the business would produce for CYB judging by his devotion to the community and being a father himself. The last thing he’d want to see happen is a youth organization getting screwed over, tarnishing his reputation in the process. But he isn’t the one responsible for how the company handled CYB’s order.

Carreon suggested the unfortunate business dealing “demonstrates a lack of good judgment that will continue to harm the City of Ceres if he is elected.” His opinion.

I’ve watched Martinez at every meeting of the Ceres Planning Commission since being seated a year ago and found no fault with his questions or his votes. He’s been responsible and can hit the ground running hard for council service.

Carreon has no experience and no track record and as a virtual unknown has not made much of an effort to get involved in the community. In fact, when he showed up for the “One Table, One Community” event and introduced himself to Martinez, Martinez didn’t even who know he was talking to one of his two opponents.

By now voters have heard enough about Osgood to know to stay clear.

* * * * *

The race for the District 1 Ceres City Council seat is also a strange one. Councilman James Casey is running for re-election against another virtual unknown. Todd Underwood seems to have noble intentions but just wanting to get into local politics with no platform is not a compelling reason to vote for him over the incumbent.

* * * * *

I suspect that the District 2 race will go in Rosalinda Vierra’s favor since she’s everywhere all the time and seems to be trying harder than Paula Redfern. I’d say if you’re really concerned about code enforcement, Redfern is your gal since she’s a code enforcement officer for the city of Modesto. She knows how that part of the city should function.

Vierra raised a lot of eyebrows twice earlier this year when she made some controversial remarks on social media. 

In January she posted her displeasure that a city code enforcement officer had cited and fined $150 because her three trash cans were stored in public view. She called the law stupid.

Vierra’s three containers were in her driveway, partially obscured by three fence boards. The problem is the cans were still visible – mostly from a side angle.

On Jan. 22 Vierra posted a photo of the code enforcement officer doing his job, with this verbiage: “Ceres passed a ‘no trash can visible from the street’ ordinance last year. Although I felt mine were blocked with high fencing, apparently our new code enforcement officer doesn’t feel it is. Although he didn’t site (sic) my neighbor who has them on his lawn. Just be mindful if you live in Ceres, he’s out to make an impression.”

Vierra also posted something ill-advised of a Measure H Oversight Committee member: “Yes they enforce trash cans not being hidden over crimes and catalytic converter theft, robberies, etc. But this is easy money for the city. If I see trash cans that’s $150 fine.”

If she’s suggesting police aren’t looking out for thieves and robbers and she doesn’t believe codes must be enforced, she won’t make cleaning up Ceres a priority.

In April Vierra made a post on her campaign Facebook page related to Guillermo Ochoa Park where she stated that “white Councilmembers Casey and Ryno voted no.” Then Councilwoman Linda Ryno wrote a letter to the editor that she was “disgusted that, with all the racial divide in our country, that she would make such a statement that could profoundly affect our community.”

In March 2013, Vierra wrote a letter to the editor as the Legislative Chair of the Latino Community Roundtable in which she hinted that Ceres voters were racially prejudiced because none of the three Latinos among the eight candidates seeking three open seats in 2011 won “despite Ceres having about a 56% Hispanic population.” She pushed for council districts as the answer. Vierra’s letter also suggested that Latinos weren’t getting  “equal representation” because of the skin color of their elected representatives.

* * * * *

No, Governor, killing babies is not a “core value” of the California I reside in. You continue to speak as though you are spokesman for all of Californians’ values but that’s deeply offensive to me. Many Californians see your abortion stand as evil as you promote killing as a convenient way to deal with consequences that should have been prevented before sperm and egg met to create a life.

At last week’s only gubernatorial debate, an arrogant Newsom continued with his Chicken Little scaremongering about the climate, making claims that man is causing the doomsday at our doorstep, saying “the hots are getting a lot hotter, the drys are getting a lot drier, we have atmospheric rivers – we’ve unprecedented extremes, leaving us in a position where we’re dealing with unprecedented drought and wildlife.” The claim is bogus.

Forget that 2018 was one of the wettest years in state history – so much so that Oroville spillway began breaking up. Forget that an 1886 entry by Allura Ulch in Ceres reported 10 straight days of triple-digit heat in July that reached up to 114!

If he tossed out the term “Big Oil” once at his opponent he said it a thousand times. Apparently he’s against you putting gas in your cars to save the planet which doesn’t need saving.

Also offensive was his claim that Brian Dahle opposed rebates to help provide relief for gas. Funny, coming from a guy whose policies have driven up the cost of gas and the man who consistently rejected a gas tax holiday earlier this year.

Newsom claimed he’s not running for president but had to leave the state to fight the evil GOP as they go about banning books and such. Huh? What is he talking about? Does he mean how parents and lawmakers are trying to get rid of sexually inappropriate books from appearing in school libraries?

Playing to his liberal base, Newsom said he is tired of Republicans “demeaning the gay and lesbian and transgender community.” I’ve not heard anyone demean them. Apparently he’s upset that parents are fighting back over public schools freely promoting sexual perversions and encouraging boys to become girls and girls to become boys.

Newsom touts all the new green energy jobs in California while absolutely refusing to expand the clean energy jobs that await us if we ever build another dam for water storage. Newsom is no friend of agriculture in the Valley.

Dahle accurately pointed out that even after the Prop. 1 water bond measure was passed in 2014, not one dam has been constructed – even though $2.7 billion was set aside for Sites Reservoir. Newsom does his little laugh when he says Sites is a $3.9 billion project, to which Dahle replies he had a $101 billion budget surplus to make up the gap. 

Seconds after saying Californians pay higher gas prices because of greedy oil companies, Newsom then boasts about a 65-cent reduction in the per gallon price of gas since the peak due to switching to the winter blend. Folks, the summer blend gas formula is nothing but an environmental mandate that makes us pay more at the pump. Big deal, a 65-cent drop. We’re now paying over $5 per gallon. Newsom can boast when it drops below what we were paying on Trump’s last day in office, which was about $3.20.

Midway into the debate, Newsom had more to say about abortion and side shuffled away from points Dahle made about Newsom policies making California more unaffordable than ever. After Dahle said he is pro-life, Newsom put on his progressive spin, saying “You’re not pro-life – you’re pro-government mandated birth.” What are those laws against murder, Governor? Should the government not protect the lives of those post birth?

The point Dahle made is why is the governor taking $200 million of tax dollars we pay to encourage pregnant women to come here from other states to kill their babies?

Newsom then suggests Dahle isn’t pro-life because he opposed Democrats’ massive Nanny State expansion into education and other areas. Talk about an illogical conclusion. But this is the difference between a Big Government governor and a Limited Government candidate.

Dahle’s performance wasn’t as polished as I would have liked but he did well in summing up Newsom’s tenure: “Talk is cheap, Governor. You gotta perform. You throw money at it but you get no result. Your policies don’t end up with results and Californians know that. We have to suffer. We’re in a constant state of crisis under your leadership. Your leadership has not solved one problem. We’ve got fires you haven’t solved. We have (water) storage you haven’t solved. We have electricity (shortages) you haven’t solved.”

Let me add homelessness, too.

Newsom also made a claim that eight of the top 10 states with the highest murder rate are GOP led. For the record, those states are Mississippi, Louisiana, Alabama, Missouri, Arkansas, South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Illinois and New Mexico. What he conveniently left out is those states make the list because of the high crime rates in Democrat run cities with high poverty rates. For example, New Orleans in Louisiana, St. Louis in Missouri, Jackson in Mississippi, Florence in South Carolina. Why is the murder rate in mostly rural New Mexico so high? Christopher Lyons, a professor of sociology at the University of New Mexico suggested one explanation is the left’s protests against the police and calls for defunding, which has undermined police morale. The Albuquerque Police Officers’ Association surveyed its officers and one wrote: “I used to love coming to work. Now I find myself doing as little as possible to avoid getting into a situation where my video may be reviewed and searched thoroughly for any POSSIBLE mistake or infraction.”

And when police look the other way, crime flourishes.

* * * * *

Want to know why most people are sick of mainstream media’s style of reporting? Because of BS stories like this one, headlined: “Americans die younger in states run by conservatives, study finds.” That comes from The Guardian and promoted last week by MSN.

Maybe this is an example of a clickbait headline but it’s in keeping with their full court press to make conservatives look like a bunch of backwoods hillbillies who don’t manage their lives well. The implication is that Republican governors and legislatures are reckless and their residents die faster because of policies.

The study’s authors state that if liberals got their way in all 50 states it “might have saved 171,030 lives in 2019, while changing them to a fully conservative orientation might have cost 217,635 lives.” A spurious conclusion indeed. One important factor not mentioned is the 625,346 lives of babies that wouldn’t have been snuffed out if conservatives controlled all 50 states.

Digging deep past the headline is this nugget: “Bucking the trend, the study found that ‘more conservative marijuana policies’ were associated with lower mortality rates.” Hmmm, so liberal marijuana policies are causing folks to die? Why wasn’t that the headline?

I submit to you that mortality rates have everything to do with lifestyles, not legislation. Vermont is ultra-liberal – they love Socialist Bernie up there – but it is the healthiest of all states because people eat better and exercise more. I think it’s true that folks with a higher education tend to be better stewards of their bodies and finances – and drive smarter with correspondingly fewer traffic fatalities.

The same is true of Colorado. If you visit Denver, take a look at the fit and trim folks walking around there and you’ll see you’re not in the Central Valley anymore, Toto. But if you suggest that those Colorado votes blue because they’re smarter and know better than the rednecks in Florida, I’d argue it has more to do with them being brainwashed by liberal college and university professors. Some of the most rudest, ignorant and narrow-minded Americans right now are students walking around on college campuses.

The Guardian article acknowledges a stall in the decline of cardiovascular disease mortality among us working stiffs, but most importantly cites “rising mortality from alcohol-induced causes, suicide and drug poisoning.”

Gun policy also doesn’t have any effect on suicides as the study suggests. How can it be that the blue state of Colorado is fifth out of 50 states for suicide rates? Red states of Wyoming and Alaska have the highest incidence of suicide, likely because of the isolation.

Newsom can blame guns but I could argue that a lack of faith and not being connected to a church body impacts the suicide rate to a greater factor. A Michigan State University sociologist reported in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior that religious participation in America and Latin America is associated with low suicide rates.

The Guardian article wants us to draw a correlation between longer lives with “more liberal policies on the environment, gun safety, labor, economic taxes and tobacco taxes.” That flies directly in the face of the fact that the leading cause of death in the U.S. is heart disease – in every state. What causes heart disease? A lot of factors, including diet, exercise and whether or not one smokes. Cancer is right behind it and also somewhat related.

Folks in Tennessee or Alabama or Mississippi may eat all that heart-stopping southern cooking but they are good people with down-home values – and vote that way.

* * * * *

Does anyone else find the irony that the Democrats and liberal media always manage to dig up a sexual scandal before an election or appointment in an attempt to smear a conservative? (Clarence Thomas, Brett Cavanaugh, Donald Trump, etc.) The latest example: the media going with a claim of an unnamed woman that Georgia senatorial candidate Herschel Walker paid for an abortion 29 years ago. The media ran with the story despite no name or face of the accuser and no evidence.

If it’s true, who didn’t do regretful things earlier in life?

More ironically is that Democrats bend over backwards to defend and promote women to have free choice to have an abortion, yet they’ll use an alleged personal matter of abortion to slam a Republican because they know Republican voters tend to have a conscience, a standard. Democrats can gloss over any current defect of their candidates – whether it’s a stroke, senility or adultery – but if a Republican has an abortion skeleton in the past, it’s grounds to torch him. 


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