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The election was a huge letdown to many

Lots of folks were disappointed in the election results for different reasons.

Jeanette Gillman Mullens commented on Facebook that she was disappointed and ashamed that only 44 percent of registered voters in Ceres cast votes. Nationwide about 65 percent of eligible voters came out to vote. Apparently lots of people are content to be complacent and let others decide who should be their leaders.

Like the Plato quote I ran on the opinion page a few weeks back stated: “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.”

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The votes are still being counted but it appears that the new Ceres City Council has been picked.  I’m surprised and then again I’m not surprised that Bret Durossette lost the Ceres’ mayor’s race to a political novice, somebody who has not attended a council meeting let alone run one.  

Durossette had 13 years of city council experience and served on a number of important committees yet he lost by 946 votes (even though as of Monday the county still had 40,000 more votes to count).

Cancel culture was at play. So was the “we need more Latino representation” push – even if it means bypassing someone with experience in exchange for somebody with zero experience. Our electorate is really ill-informed and if you vote on race alone you shouldn’t be voting.

Young voters, who are keen to the concept of socialism despite it failing in countries like Venezuela, were also out in force casting ballots.

During the Modesto Bee candidates’ forum, it was apparent which candidate had the experience and answers and who did not. Several times Lopez was asked about an issue and deferred to Durossette to answer. It was a telling moment. Lopez did not articulate vision and gave rather vague responses.

If I were guessing why such an upset was pulled off I would refer you to my original comments published earlier this year and that race and identity politics were factors when young people voted. There were other factors, of course. Do I think Durossette would have lost if he wasn’t a teacher and coach while serving the past 13 years on the City Council? Probably not. Do I think Durossette has “enemies” formed because of his role as a teacher and former coach? Likely.

No doubt some voted in retribution of the council’s direction to begin cracking down on itinerant peddlers on the streets because they refuse to obtain a business licenses. The majority of those peddlers are Latino which apparently is the overarching excuse for giving them a pass in violating city and health and safety laws. 

The Ceres City Council will be one of the most inexperienced in recent memory. Only Linda Ryno of the current five members will remain. Mayor Chris Vierra is leaving as is Channce Condit and Mike Kline. A seat will be vacant.

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I was spot-on in my prognostication on who would win the District 5 supervisor race between Channce Condit and Tom Hallinan. Now voters in Council District 1 will be without its representative for a while since Condit bailed on his four-year commitment. Supervisorial District 5 voters will likely see Condit bail on his new seat when Adam Gray terms out of the state Assembly in 2022, which, if that’s the case, look to former state Senator Anthony Cannella running. Makes you wonder why Cannella held back from running this year, doesn’t it? 

I was spot-on that Bret Silveira would take the District 3 Ceres City Council seat.

I was also right when I told you Mike Kline was in trouble up against the Condit machine – and he was.

Where I was totally wrong was the outcome of the Ceres mayoral race. I just underestimated the support he would find among “Latinos who will vote for him just because of his ethnicity despite zero experience and no vision” as I wrote in my Oct. 28 column.

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I assert that the Democrat Party is the party of death. They continually rush to defend the “right” of women to kill their babies.

Take note of this case, which is likely not getting a lot of attention in the newspapers. AG Xavier Becerra, perhaps the most radical leftist in state government beside Newsom, is urging criminal proceedings to be dropped against a meth head in Kings County who lost her baby because of drug use.

The Kings County District Attorney alleged that Chelsea Becker’s methamphetamine use while pregnant led to the death of her baby and constituted murder. A year ago the DA charged Becker with violating section 187 of the California Penal Code. Becerra argues that when the Legislature amended the California Penal Code in 1970 to include the death of a fetus, the intent was to criminalize violence done to pregnant women that caused fetal death not her own actions that might result in a miscarriage or stillbirth.

In July Becerra fought for another Kings County woman, Adora Perez who was prosecuted and is now serving an 11-year prison term for “fetal murder.”

As a radical, Becerra is a champion of baby killing and as part and parcel of the Democrats’ way of viewing life, always makes it about race. Per his own press release he wants women to be protected for “Additional and unnecessary scrutiny by law enforcement on every miscarriage and stillbirth” which “could have disproportionate criminal justice impacts, as the rates of miscarriage and stillbirth vary dramatically by race and ethnicity.”

I bet Xavier Becerra is pretty happy that his mother didn’t abort him or use meth during her pregnancy but he’s more than happy to help women who do.

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Another Ceres giant has passed. Jim Bergamaschi was a delight.

He was one of the barbers who were operation in the 1960s and 1970s and quite active in many community affairs when Ceres was the close-knit community.

I shall not forget how he always sought me out at the Ceres City Council meetings. He’d amble back to the press table and press down on it. At first I didn’t understand and he explained “It says “Press table.” Oh, ha ha. From that point on until he slowly faded from sight, he would come over and press on that table.

He was a gem of a man and I’ll miss him.

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It seems like the new City Council has its work cut out for it. By the sound of the drumbeat of complaints lodged at council meeting by John Warren and Gene Yeakley about the visual blight and loud noise, the city might have to change something. 

One thing that I hopes comes up again is the matter of garbage cans left out in public view. The current council voted 3-2 to allow cans to be left in view 24/7. Reversing that decision and enforcing it would do wonders to combat blight in Ceres.

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