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Few know how city expenditures work

Jim Delhart is finally doing some façade improvements on some of his downtown buildings – definitely a good and positive thing.

I was curious about the age of the buildings and he didn’t really know. I guessed 1930s or 1940s. This question was still in my head when I took a look at my telephoto shot of the traffic streaming off the Golden Gate Bridge on my Sept. 23 visit. Because the red towers always grab the attention, I hadn’t really noticed the pronounced towering concrete art deco columns of the southern abutment. They reminded me of the architectural fluted features on Delhart’s buildings. For reference, the Golden Gate Bridge was built between 1933 and 1937. I’d say that’s a good guess on the age of the Delhart buildings now being renovated.

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The City Council can’t seem to win for losing.

You’d think people would be supportive of the council pushing forth a plan to upgrade the fire apparatus to the tune of $2.7 to $3 million. Our story on Facebook generated negativity and at least one strange response, however. It’s obvious that citizens have allowed themselves to fall behind in how government funding works.

In the category of weird I’d place this one: Stephanie Aleo-Correll:  “Well they just paid $1 million to fix 5.5 miles of roads in Ceres. I truly believe our fire, education and police are way more important than some damn streets...just my opinion.”

Some damn street? Granted, fire, police and education are of great importance but so are streets. But does Stephanie not realize that the current street fixes are being done with special road tax money approved by county voters in Measure L? It passed in 2016 with a support of 71.3 percent majority!

Rachel Salazar posted: “If the City of Ceres can waste money in decorating streets, how much more should they be truly investing in saving lives....what’s wrong with this city.” Rachel, the downtown project was paid for with the last remaining redevelopment monies intended to redevelop the city. They were the last remaining of such funds since Gov. Brown arbitrarily decided to steal all the cities’ redevelopment funds to cover the state’s money shortfalls. 

Steve Webb posted that the fire apparatus isn’t coming “before they get enough police officers to where the ones we have aren’t having to work so much overtime.” (Steve, the dirty little secret is many officers LOVE working overtime because of the money.) Despite the fact that all Valley towns are having trouble recruiting police officers, Ceres just hired three new officers (announced Monday).

The fact is that it is hard for Valley cities to hire officers for several reasons. While fire candidates come a dime a dozen, few want to be police in this day and age where leftists have vilified the job. Who needs that kind of abuse? And many of those desirous of becoming an officer have something in their past that disqualifies them, such as an arrest. Sometimes candidates don’t pass the psych evaluation. About three out of 100 make it.

Once they’re hired officers work for a while and leave, either for better pay close by (such as to Sunnyvale which has more money because of retail and industrial tax base) or for more exciting locales.

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I grew up in the country between Oakdale and Escalon. One evening a bully made his way into our rural neighborhood. He was mean. I rode my bike past him and he jerked me off my bike by grabbing the bar on the back of the seat. Nobody saw it but me. He then lied to my parents right in front of me. I was shocked to see him skillfully tell a bald-face lie about how I flipped him off.

Good people can be maligned by liars and evildoers. Keep that in mind as you think of Brett Kavanaugh.

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Community newspapers are a far cry from the TV and big newspaper industry. We’re not into the sensational and flashy. We cover kids at the county fair, council meetings, arrests of your neighbors and sports games. So many of us engaged in covering the local communities don’t like being lumped in with the same ones who promote “fake news” at a national level.

I get the public’s problem with the left slanted news rooms and biased 24/7 cable TV coverage. It’s obvious to many that they gloss over facts they want to gloss over and push a narrative that is less than honest. It’s frustrating to me as a journalist, just as it is frustrating to see so many social media users sharing stories from bogus “news” groups or sharing doctored photos, like how one of my FB friends shared a photo of Obama kissing a man (totally Photoshopped).

A study of the TV news cycle showed that during the 12 days since Senator Dianne Feinstein announced the existence of an unspecified allegation against Brett Kavanaugh, the ABC, CBS and NBC morning and evening news shows spent nearly six hours (344 minutes) regurgitating various unproved allegations against the Supreme Court nominee. Only a tiny percentage of that coverage — a measly eight percent — was devoted to Kavanaugh’s denials and the lack of corroboration for his accusers’ accounts. They ignored or paid little attention to other pertinent facts: that Kavanaugh denied Ford’s allegations, that witnesses didn’t confirm her story, the fact that Kavanaugh has support from women in his past, that Ford is likely politically motivated since she is a liberal Democrat.

One has to wonder why 36-year-old allegations of past improprieties would only surface as Democrats exhaust their attempts to take out the Supreme Court nominee. It seems to be from the playbook used in taking out or trying to take out conservatives like Robert Bork, Clarence Thomas or presidential candidate Herman Cain. Why a charge like this didn’t come up earlier as Kavanaugh rose through the ranks. Why Democrats think a nominee should be taken out of consideration ONLY because someone made an allegation that hasn’t been proven. 

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In 2012 the decision was made to relocate the office of the Ceres Courier from Fourth Street in Ceres to downtown Turlock. It forced me to spend a lot of time in Turlock and I see all of its problems now. 

What’s got my ire? Well, let’s start with the worst roads in the county. I don’t know where city leadership has been but Turlock roads have been allowed to degrade to the point where my poor car is taking a beating. Ceres roads are beautiful in comparison. Many of the stoplights are on a cycle and don’t have traffic loops in the road to favor actual traffic conditions. 

The bigger problem is the homeless which are overrunning downtown and creating considerable animosity among the business community. Homeless have been trespassing – scaling over a locked steel gate, mind you – into the sally port of our business and using it as their Motel 6 and leaving their bags of garbage and trash. I tried to open our back door Wednesday morning and couldn’t for the man and woman stretched out. They use the dumpster enclosure as their urinal and place to shoot up.

Our dumpster is routinely pilfered through with items strung along the alley. We finds doll heads on posts, discarded CDs and carpet in the flowerbed and had food thrown at our building last week. If you think this is bad, wait until Gavin Newsom gets into office – God forbid. 

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One of the things that make America a great nation is its freedoms, including free speech. That protection of speech extends to those who carry a message we don’t like or appreciate. In Turlock the subject of free speech comes up because college students try to shut down speech they dislike to the point that the college president must lecture them on our constitutional guarantees of free speech.

So it didn’t surprise me to learn there was this same sentiment when someone scrawled the word “FAG” across the political yard sign of Mayor Gary Soiseth. Ceres residents may not be aware that the Turlock mayor recently came out and announced he is gay.

I don’t like it when people do unkind things like that. I equally recoil in reading how others respond. Sarah Beekman whose yard contained the defaced sign, called the police and told the Turlock Journal: “I know Turlock has a zero tolerance for this type of hateful language.” Whoa, what? Zero tolerance for language? Vandalism is a crime, to be for sure, and what was written on the Soiseth sign was tasteless and uncalled for. But free speech is protected in this country. Whether or not you like the message has no bearing on a person’s right to express it. Government does not have the right to set “zero tolerance for hateful language.” 

The term “hate speech” is highly subjective and is often used by the Left to silence the right, such as the church. It’s intended many times – maybe not necessarily here – to shame the holder of the view with which they disagree, especially in regard to this topic.

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I find it very ironic that the very groups that scream for diversity and tolerance want nothing to do with conservatives or Christians. Case in point: how leftists harassed and hounded White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders out of the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington, Va., on June 20; Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen hounded while dining at a Mexican restaurant in Washington D.C.; and now U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and his wife from at Fiola near the U.S. Capitol. (Why aren’t these hecklers being arrested for disturbing the peace?) Conservatives are excluded from their brand of “tolerance.”

The reason that Turlock City Council voted unanimously on Sept. 11 to create a “Joint Taskforce on Diversity and Inclusion” – which sounds like utter liberal goobledygook – is because students at CSUS didn’t like the message coming from a fellow student in Nathan Damigo. He espouses the view that diversity is a cult-like religion and actually promotes division. Apparently it’s fine for Hispanics to promote Hispanic Pride Month or blacks to promote Black Pride Month but whites are not allowed to promote one’s European heritage because there is an all-out war on the white male. He’s right to sound the alarm of groups that won’t assimilate into the fabric of America as evidenced by the way Sharia Law is being advocated. There are some things Damigo says that are way out of line but let’s remember, he has a right to say them in the marketplace of public discourse.

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Democrats are trying hard to unseat Congressman Jeff Denham. Tons of flyers are hitting mailboxes – all distortions of the truth. The one in front of me, paid for by the California Democratic Party, is titled, “Washington is broken because politicians like Jeff Denham don’t keep their promises.” It said, “Denham claims to support bipartisan immigration reform” but that he “caves to politicians and voted against border security.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard Jeff Denham say that we must secure the border first and how he has supported a pathway to citizenship for those who were brought here illegally by their parents.

Denham is only one of 435 people in Congress. Here’s the truth: Denham bucked GOP leadership in April and signaled that he had enough votes needed to force a vote in the House on four immigration bills to protect Dreamers. At the time Denham hoped the announcement would prompt Speaker Paul D. Ryan to voluntarily bring the bills up for a vote, rather than risk the embarrassment of being forced to do so by fellow Republicans. But Ryan said he didn’t support Denham’s idea of a “Queen of the Hill” vote on immigration because Trump would veto it. Additionally, Ryan said the Senate already had rejected versions of the bills Denham wanted to bring to a vote.

The Harder hit piece suggests “Denham approved of a local detention center that is incarcerating children, saying after he visited it that he liked it so much he’d send his own kids there.”

Stop. First. The kids weren’t “incarcerated”; they weren’t in jail. They were being cared for in a home looking after their welfare because they were either detained for illegal U.S. entry of their parents or they were sent across the border – sometimes from South America and all the way through Mexico – alone.

Denham found the facility clean and the two girls there were even treated to field trips. But on Aug. 1 Denham also told Fox News: “We should not need any of these facilities at all. We should be securing our borders, stopping the catch and release program and fixing our overall broken immigration system, including an earned pathway.”

The fact that Democrats make hay over children detained at the border is proof that they really thirst for open borders. Denham has publicly condemned sanctuary cities but Harder seems to advocate for them when during a debate publicly stated: “I think we need an, uh, uh, uh, an immigration policy that allows cities to do what’s best for them.”

How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at