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Democrats don’t like sending people to prison

I’m convinced that the Democrats in both the California State Senate and State Assembly are either conspiring to make life harder for everyone or just certifiably insane.

They have deliberately attempted to poison a much needed reform to reverse the problem of crime in California. For some progressive reason, Democrats don’t want people going to prison when they need to be there to protect us.

California voters in 2014 were duped into passing Prop. 47 because of its mislabeling as the “Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act.” There was nothing safe about it. It was intended to lighten some minor drug offenses and free up prison space but what it did was make it a field day for thieves who could steal up to $950 and get away with it. It also allowed offenders to escape jail time, which is where lots of drug-addicted criminals reach bottom and decide to seek treatment.

Meanwhile, homelessness in California has increased by 51 percent, while it’s dropped 11 percent in the rest of the country. Conservatives note homelessness has skyrocketed because Prop. 47 reduced the legal consequences of both theft and possession of hard drugs like fentanyl, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and phencyclidine. That has led to massive increases in drug addiction, mental illness and property crimes, including retail theft, committed by addicts to support their addiction.

Fed up Californians have rallied to come up with an answer – the “Homeless, Drug Addiction, Retail Theft Reduction Act” for the November ballot. Democrat San Francisco Mayor London Breed supports the initiative – which should tell you something. 

But as the master of deception that he is, Attorney General Rob Bonta is out to tamper with the ballot measure title to confuse people into voting against it because he’s against it. So is Newsom.

The Democrats who supported disastrous Prop. 47 have thrown a monkey wrench into the process. They’ve offered poison pill amendments to a bipartisan public safety bill package moving through the Capitol.

It’s a confusing issue but follow along.

Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas and Senate President Pro Tem Mike McGuire – both Democrats – seek amendments to a bipartisan package of bills already underway in the Legislature to curb crime. Their amendments have been kept under wraps but essentially would automatically repeal the bills if voters approve the proposition to roll back Prop. 47. Why? It would force voters into a false choice between the ballot measure and legislative efforts to make California safer. The amendments would make the legislative package go into effective immediately upon Newsom’s signature, rather than the customary Jan. 1, and then repeal it if voters approved the Prop 47 reform measure.

The idea here is to bait voters into NOT voting for the ballot measure and if they do, rescind the Legislature’s bills since Democrats absolutely don’t want them stacked up to turbocharge the state’s ability to send offenders to county jails and state prisons.

Remember my long held assertion that Democrats work overtime to eliminate consequences for bad behavior because it doesn’t fit with the progressive mindset that is criminals are victims, cops are mean and abusive, and victims just need to suck it up.

The amendments would also allow Bonta to change the initiative’s title and summary with biased language designed to deceive voters into voting against the initiative. Bonta is skilled at mislabeling ballot measure titles – a trick he learned from his predecessor, Xavier Becerra.

Last week the legislative Republicans gathered at the Capitol with law enforcement officials and public safety advocates to condemn their crafty actions.

Senate Minority Leader Brian W. Jones (R-San Diego) called the Democrats’ move “pure political gamesmanship, it’s cynical and it’s anti-democracy. Democrats are too prideful to admit their mistake with Prop 47 and are now trying to manipulate voters into a false choice. There is no reason why we can’t have both a pragmatic series of bills and voter-led reforms to tackle crime.”

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) noted that “Democratic leadership is trying to confuse the public about this important ballot initiative that would result in stronger penalties for drug- and theft-related crimes.”

Here’s what the “Homeless, Drug Addiction, Retail Theft Reduction Act” – supposing the title isn’t altered by Bonta – would do:

• Enact a new class of crime called a “treatment-mandated felony” where prosecutors would have the discretion to charge a felony for hard drug possession after two previous drug convictions. If charged with this “treatment-mandated felony” for a third or subsequent drug offense, the offender would be given the option of participating in drug and mental health treatment. Successful completion of drug and mental health treatment would result in the courts fully expunging the charge and no jail time for the offender.

• Create stronger penalties for those engaged in repeated retail theft and trafficking hard drugs like fentanyl.

• Give judges the discretion to sentence drug dealers to state prison instead of county jail after conviction of trafficking hard drugs in large quantities or armed with a firearm while engaging in drug trafficking.

• Warn convicted hard drug dealers and manufacturers that they may be charged with murder if they continue to traffic in hard drugs and someone dies from it.

• Increase penalties for people who repeatedly engage in theft.

Be smart when you vote and read the ballot measure arguments, not just the titles. Don’t be duped by the dupers.

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Linda Chambers got up before the Ceres City Council last week to hint at her dismay that Mayor Javier Lopez suggested the city skip out on paying a debt of $233,820 owed to the Tuolumne River Regional Park (TRRP) joint powers authority. She praised Councilman James Casey for his integrity in saying he was reared that if you owe a bill you pay it off.

Lopez made his remarks on May 28 as the council chose to leave the JPA with the whopping amount due, asking “why should we pay them $200,000 if they have not been working with us in conjunction of trying to benefit our side as well?”

Brandy Meyers also voiced her disappointment that she wasn’t notified that the council was planning to pull out of the JPA – and she is the city’s representative to the TRRP citizens’ advisory committee!

Chambers also expressed that she was “disheartened” about the council going against a unanimous decision of the Ceres Planning Commission to set earlier ending times for concerts and special events at the El Rematito Flea Market.

She said she’s heard music blasting into the night coming from that venue and fears more sleepless nights.

* * * * *

It’s interesting that President Biden suggested that his son wasn’t granted a plea deal to weapons charges because of his re-election campaign.

That’s an odd statement given that all of the Trump charges and trials happen to be occurring during an election year after all the other GOP candidates fell by the wayside. Let’s be honest – none of these cases against Trump would be happening if he wasn’t running for president again. The timing is fairly obvious to any savvy individual, which is why it is backfiring.

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Did you hear about Los Angeles’ very expensive “solution” to homelessness? They built a 19-story high-rise apartment project, dubbed the Weingart Center at 600 S. San Pedro in downtown LA at $164 million. At 278 units it cost roughly $594,000 per unit to build, or $1,000 per square foot.

Now that they have built expensive housing for 278 people, what about the estimated 75,518 homeless remaining in Los Angeles County?

So far, nobody has said if the towers will charge rent or if it’s really permanent housing or if there will be any behavioral standards or if it’s a “wet house,” meaning a place that allows substance abuse.

Remember, if you don’t cure the person, providing housing is a waste of time if you seek to reduce homelessness.

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Seniors may want to move to a red state after facing this reality:

New research notes California poses the highest risk of a senior citizen going bankrupt in all of our 50 states.

The study, conducted by Moneywise, analyzed 11 factors to determine which states put elderly U.S. citizens 65 and older at the greatest risk of bankruptcy. The study looked at poverty rates, debt-to-income ratios, healthcare expenses, and overall cost of living. For this study, bankruptcy is defined as a situation in which an individual’s income and assets are insufficient to cover their expenses or repay their debts.

California poses the greatest danger to the financial health of its elders, with a total risk score of 69.72 out of 100!

One out of every five California seniors has an annual income below 150 percent of the federal poverty line, which the Department of Health and Human Services has set at $15,600 per person, or $20,440 per couple.

In addition to low earnings, Californians pay high everyday costs, which contribute to great financial insecurity.

According to MERIC data, California faces 27% higher average utility costs, 26% higher average transportation costs, 12% higher average grocery costs, and 99% higher average housing costs than the national standard.

Further highlighted by its average debt-to-income ratio, which stands at 1.75 as of 2022, the average healthcare cost per person in California is $10,200.

My father left Oakdale in 2022 for Alabama which is friendlier to seniors. Chief among his reasons: no property tax for seniors and lower living costs.

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This Dan Gottlieb, who is a Democrat operative, has some gall. We routinely get his emails from the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) trying to extort donations based on his delusional portrayal of reality. Gottlieb has his scope aimed at Congressman John Duarte because the Democrats see him as vulnerable against Democrat Adam Gray in the 13th Congressional District.

Gottlieb is one of those folks who were licking their chops to use the term “felon” on Donald Trump after a New York judge handicapped his defense team and gave jury instructions that they didn’t all have to agree on a verdict. The NY court goal was to get a conviction at any cost because they hate Trump and so Democrats can hinder his popularity during an election year. It’s quite disturbing and underscores just how desperate they are to destroy Trump. But now that his supporters have dug in their heels, what will they do next? Pull a Sirhan Sirhan?

The higher courts will likely reverse the New York kangaroo court conviction because it was not fair and only about handicapping a political opponent à la New York County District Attorney Alvin Bragg.

Gottlieb writes: “A week after Donald Trump was found guilty on 34 felony charges, vulnerable California Republican John Duarte is already cosigning new methods of manipulating the American judicial system to support the former president and recently convicted felon.”

Stop. Right. There.

Who was it who manipulated the judicial system to get Trump? Bragg in elevating a misdemeanor charge to 34 felonies?

Gottlieb goes on: “Duarte quickly rallied to Trump’s defense, but he’s now taking it a step further – telling Axios he plans to support far-right Speaker Mike Johnson’s new legislation that “would allow current or former presidents to move state-level charges against them into federal court.”

Gottlieb alluded to a Duarte quote: “My district is full of very smart people with a firm grasp on reality. They can smell bull - - - -.”

Some Republicans want to introduce the “No More Political Prosecutions Act” which would allow current or former presidents to move state-level charges against them into federal court. That way activist Democrat judges and prosecutors can’t unjustly interfere with an election by engaging in lawfare against political opponents.

In another email, Gottlieb trolls out the abortion issue again, suggesting that Trump and Duarte are two peas in a pod.

Let’s delve into his email of June 11:

“This week, 34-time convicted felon Donald Trump addressed an anti-abortion group that wants to ‘eradicate’ abortion ‘entirely’ and calls the procedure ‘child sacrifice.’”

I’m sorry, Mr. Gottlieb, but Trump is right – abortion is child sacrifice. Women often chose to sacrifice their child because they are inconvenienced.

Nobody in their right mind would call John Duarte a rabid pro-lifer because he hasn’t been. Yet, Gottlieb states that “John Duarte has fully embraced Trump and his extreme anti-choice agenda.”

I believe that snuffing out lives of the unborn is more than extreme – it’s evil.

Gottlieb is a master of the straw man style of propaganda when he states: “Duarte owes Central Valley voters an answer about why he is backing Trump’s anti-choice, anti-woman agenda.”

The right needs to start playing their word games.

Wanting to preserve lives of the unborn – of which half will be women if allowed to grow up – is hardly anti-women. It’s pro-child. Democrats are anti-child and anti-family and pro-murder – on top of being biology deniers.

Gottlieb is also full of crap when he states Duarte “will fall in line behind Trump’s plan to take away Californians’ reproductive freedoms and pass a nationwide abortion ban.”

The abortion argument may be good political fodder for Democrats but they are just blowing smoke. The U.S. Supreme Court has already ruled that states have the right to make up their own abortion laws, removing it as a federal issue.

Next issue please? How about we talk about how few Americans are able to afford to live? And about how the border is so porous that it’s now threatening national security? What about the national debt and government overspending causing inflation? About why Democrats want us to depend on foreign oil and not drill here?

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I find it nauseating how California voters appear willing to send one of the biggest liars in Congress to the U.S. Senate. Adam Schiff for years promulgated the Trump-Russian collusion/election interference hoax and once was proven a liar did not apologize nor resign. The partisan Democrat hack is now leading in the race against 75-year-old baseball giant Steve Garvey who seems to have shown little campaign fire in his belly.

But this is what happens when people are paying more attention to shopping on Amazon than they spend shopping for elected representatives.

Remember, you get what you pay for.

* * * * *

Did you pay attention to what Gov. Newsom did last week? He had the audacity to shoot a selfie video bragging how he was protecting the border with National Guard. None of it is true, but he hopes you’ll believe the swill coming out of pretty boy’s mouth.

No governor has done more to encourage the influx of illegal immigrants than Gavin Newsom. I haven’t forgotten how he fought Trump’s expansion of the border wall and made California a sanctuary state and provided free medical care to them. He also supported forbidding police from referring illegals to immigration officials! This guy is a complete self-serving egotistical phony.

 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