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Governor keeps pushing his progressive agenda

Our judicial system has gone haywire.

Scratch that. The ones who are making the laws governing the judicial system – the Democrats – have gone insane.

The news report about Stephen Tisdale facing 285 years to life – 285 years would exceed his life, wouldn’t it? – for killing two people during a shooting spree had me relishing in a sense that justice is being served. But the possibility that this depraved individual might be released after serving 25 years has me flabbergasted.

Why would someone who committed as many heinous crimes as Tisdale and who justifiably earned a life term, get only 25 years instead of the death penalty? That’s a better question to ask Democrat lawmakers who wrote and signed the law that goes easier on thugs if they’re 24 and younger when they shoot and kill people than, let’s say, 25 or 125. 

Twenty-five years for taking two lives – including a grandfather who was holding his small grandchild – and attempting to kill four others? Let’s add home invasion and vehicle theft and I think we have the right ingredients for putting this man in the electric chair. But I remind you that Gov. Gavin Newsom did away with capital punishment despite telling us during his campaign that he supported the death penalty. That’s what you call bait and switch (kind of like when Barack Obama campaigned on the platform of heterosexual marriage only to do a 180 in his last term).

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California’s king of tax-and-spend, Gov. Newsom, wants us to approve a $15 billion bond measure to improve school infrastructures.

That’s billion with a ‘B’ not million with an ‘M.’

Don’t do it! I urge everyone to vote no. Let the state use its surplus cash. But as you know Californians always get hoodwinked over bonds and tend to think it’s free money.  Bonds are an expensive way to finance anything. The proponents might as well word the proposition: “Shall the voters approve the state using the Taxpayers Credit Card and run up a debt of $15 billion plus interest?” Here’s a better concept: pay as you go.

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You know you suck as a governor when the editorial board of a liberal paper like the Fresno Bee rips you apart for your bait-and-switch tactics. That’s right, that massive and controversial tax in SB 1 that jacked up our gas tax and registration fees on our vehicles so we could have better road, is being diverted by the Joker. Newsom wants to divert money needed to replace failing roads, highways and bridges to reducing congestion via “innovative strategies designed to encourage people to shift from cars to other modes of transportation.” So while we need to improve highways and roads, the governor wants our tax money to figure out ways to separate us from our gas-burning cars so we can walk, bike or take mass transit to work. Any business that operates in bait-and-switch fashion faces fines and this governor should be jailed.

I totally agree with the Fresno newspaper’s editorial statement: “At some point, Sacramento – meaning Democrats, with their supermajority domination and the governor’s office – have got to get real. Money might grow on trees for them, but not for the rest of us brave enough to continue to live in California.”

But I disagree with the Bee when it says climate change is a “real threat”; the evidence does not bear that out. It’s nothing but a scheme to tax the public and business while the needs go unaddressed.

Newsom must go. Sign one of the recall petition circulating.

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My eyes popped bulged when I saw a press release from the CHP announcing that a $1.5 million grant is being spent to tell people not to speed and drive aggressively, with a special emphasis on street racing and sideshows. Specifically the money would be spent on traffic enforcement and public education. You might as well consider this babysitting money to watch after the under 25 male crowd who hasn’t grown up yet and should be the last ones entrusted with a driver’s license.

I think my idea works better: Anyone convicted of shutting down freeways with sideshows needs to serve a year in jail, have their car forfeited and driver’s license revoked for several years. Word would get out and that would stop this crap in a hurry. 

The CHP news release notes that it’s estimated that about 45 percent of all fatal and injury crashes in California in 2016 were related to speed. The flip side to that is 55 percent were not related to speed, likely caused by lapses in judgment, cell phone use while driving and pot, drug and alcohol impairment.

If people just used their brains, were courteous and not in a hurry, think of how many lives and taxpayers we could all save.

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Speaking of a waste of the taxpayers’ money, I was a bit appallled to see state Assemblyman Heath Flora waste taxpayers money with a pink brochure promoting breast cancer awareness. It just happens to have a whole half a panel that sort of promotes his name and offices.

I’m all for women being aware of breast cancer and the exams that come with that. But I’m not sure a state Assemblyman needs to spend tax dollars to tell women what their doctors and public health clinics should be telling them.

I’m also skeptical that buying a special Pink Ribbon License Plate is going to suddenly remind a woman driving down the road to say, “Oh, hey, I need to get a breast exam.”

State lawmakers needs to quit spending taxpayer money this way. This is money that working families have to scrape up every April. The average woman who is burdened by the state tax burden would fare better without such spending and taxing so that she can afford to pay for her medical expenses. 

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I’ve been in the newspaper business now for 37 years – much greyer and much wiser. I’m keen to the games some politicians play with letters to the editor sent in under the guise of someone other than a candidate or his family. (I saw the same orchestrated letter writing machine at play back in 1997 when Irv Gilgert was propped up as a council candidate.) Some letters are just too polished coming from people who are not interested enough to attend meetings. Those who don’t attend meetings can’t see what we see; things like the mayor calling out a councilman who, out of one side of his mouth, states support for more police and fire funding while opposing a COLA increase in Community Facility District fees that fund police and fire because it plays well to voters. It’s just one of the games being played to throw others under the bus for political reasons.

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Things continue to worsen in California and especially the Valley.

Nearly one in three cost-burdened renters live in California, New York or Florida.

Apartment List’s latest report breaks down newly released American Community Survey data to identify key trends among the millions of U.S. households who struggle with housing costs. They found that the share of renters who struggle to afford their housing is on the rise in California. 

Their findings include:

• The cost burden rate in Modesto increased from 49.9 percent in 2017 to 52.4 percent in 2018. Modesto has the #25 highest cost burden rate of that nation’s 100 largest metros.

• A total of 28.2 percent of renter households in Modesto are severely cost-burdened, while 24.2 percent are moderately burdened.

Republicans have made attempts to suspend or water down the tight environmental regulations that both delay the building of needed apartments and add greatly to their cost but the party in charge refuses to budge.

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Why is it that everything Sacramento does is framed to promote race baiting and this false liberal notion of white privilege?

AB 1313 was signed into law that forbids colleges and universities from withholding the transcripts of students who have not paid their college debt. I get that it’s probably not the most productive thing to withhold college transcripts of someone who needs to find a job and hopefully pay off their debt – even though the Democrats are trying like heck to forgive everybody’s debt in their quest to buy votes. But why do the liberals feel the need to interject race baiting?

I’m specifically referring to the remarks of Assemblywoman Luz Rivas, a Hollywood liberal Democrat. She cited a study that concluded that students of color and low-income students are three times more likely to take on student loan debt than their “white and wealthier peers.” As if inherent racism is the culprit.

Why aren’t we blaming families being impoverished on not learning English? Or why aren’t we blaming the extraordinary high rate of fatherlessness in the black community which contributes to poverty? Why are the liberals always trying to make every problem faced by the minority community as caused by white people who are successful? Of course, I know the answer is so they can push their Robin Hood agenda of stealing from the rich and giving to the poor. Besides, it’s a way to punish all those successful white people who vote Republican. 

My grandparents were white and impoverished when they started out from their 1939 wedding as dirt-poor farmers in Oklahoma. They were Democrats. But they worked their butts off in life – never once accepting government handouts – and they saved and scrimped and seized opportunities to buy property that increased in value. White privilege is a rather flippant concept so liberals can dismiss the notion that one can get ahead by hard work and personal determination and not looking for a government (taxpayer) handout! Most people aren’t willing to work as hard as my grandparents did but if you have, I salute you.

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I find it sad seeing lifelong Democrats being forced to defend their party’s indefensible actions now that it has been hijacked by radical leftists. I’m sure Walt Butler, Ceres resident and Vietnam War veteran, wants to stay in his party because he’s been there forever. He should reconsider as his party is on a trajectory of lunacy. Last week he emailed me: “Hi Jeff, I see you like to callout the Democrats for there (sic) shortcomings as you see it. How come you do not call your leader for all his violations of the CONSTITUTION?” I promptly emailed him back: “I would if I saw any evidence of one rather than the illusion of one presented by a media hell-bent on destroying him from the moment from Day One.

“Where do you get your information about the Ukraine mess because everything I see outside of mainstream media points to a real collusion the Democrats have with Ukraine.

“So what about your governor actually trying to thwart the Constitution? Why does this not concern you that he is trying to rig an election here in California? That is the true malfeasance and Newsom needs to be removed from office for violation his oath to defend it.”

No Democrat can keep a straight face as they defend a governor’s violation of the Constitution by illegally keeping a sitting president from being on the March ballot because they demand him to release his tax returns – which are private and confidential. It’s not Constitutional, folks.

Butler has been unable to answer me why he chooses to ignore lawmakers who violate law.

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It really bothers me that Josh Harder has attempted to portray himself as someone who would work in bipartisan fashion yet he has consistently drunk the Democrat Kool-Aid.

Rep. Adam Schiff thought he had Trump in his crosshairs with this bogus whistleblower claim relating to the Ukraine setup. Schiff wasn’t counting on Trump going public with a transcript of the phone call in which he was alleged to have ordered dirt on Biden or U.S. aid would be withheld. The transcript doesn’t bear out the Democrat allegations. Turns out there was no quid pro quo, or a favor granted in return for something.

The day before Trump released the transcripts, Rep. Josh Harder (CA-10) shot from the hip and released this statement: “Last week, we found out that the president himself may have put our national security at risk, invited another foreign government to interfere in our election, and used American tax dollars to further his own political agenda.

“Anyone willing to sacrifice the national security interests of the United States for their own benefit is unfit to be president. If these allegations are true, it’s time for the House to open impeachment proceedings.

“I’m keeping my focus on the issues that affect people in the Central Valley every day like the high costs of healthcare, employment opportunities, and access to water. My colleagues on the relevant committees will keep leading their charges as I lead mine. But during a time like this, I feel it’s my responsibility to add my voice to the chorus calling for a return to accountability, transparency, and honor in government.”

Notice how Harder builds on innuendo: “may have….” and a “return to accountability” after the Democrats conducted a 2-1/2 year investigation that found no evidence of Trump colluding with any foreign government. Harder made no mention of a desire to get to the bottom of the uber-shady dealings of Joe and Hunter Biden and Ukraine. Or his call for transparency in finding out if Hillary Clinton and the DNC actually ordered the so-called Steele Dossier that was the basis for the now-proven false Trump-Russia collusion allegation. Harder’s silence over those issues truly make his call for transparency and accountability ring hollow and make him appear to be a partisan hack.

Since Trump released the transcript, maybe Harder will issue a press release apologizing and denouncing Schiff for lying and Pelosi for grandstanding?

But don’t hold your breath.

* * * * *

Now to answer Cortney Mann’s letter at upper right. (I haven’t seen her at meetings so I didn’t know she kept abreast of council issues, unless a little bird filled her ear, or pen).

1). I’ve attended nearly all the meetings this year – indeed back to 1990 – and yes, Condit’s voting record is flaky. (More like puzzling).

2). Condit’s insistence that managers should live in Ceres is not legal and would set up the city for a discrimination lawsuit. So, yeah, I believe his insistency defied common sense.

3). I’ve never commented on a raise for the city manager but I’ve consistently said Toby Wells knows his stuff and has brought a lot of progress in Ceres. His knowledge is extensive. If the council wants to keep him it must remain competitive in salary.

4). Free healthcare for the council? Free healthcare? No, the council receives healthcare as a benefit to serving, or if you will, working. You wouldn’t say that one gets a “free” paycheck in exchange for working, would you? (Besides, free healthcare is a concept pushed by Democrats for illegal aliens.) 

5). No, I’m certainly not a fan of Mello-Roos but it is already set up to make new arriving residents to pay their fair share of the police and fire services required to serve the newer areas. And when you don’t keep up for inflation, you end up with operational deficits and defeat the purpose of the districts. So for Councilman Condit to beat the drum that Ceres needs to hire more cops and then vote against a slight COLA adjustment for one of the funding mechanisms yep, that qualifies as flaky. You can’t legitimately try to have it both ways.

6). I didn’t claim that Condit voted against Kevin Wise as fire chief because he had cancer. What I wrote on May 8 was: “Condit went so far as to vote AGAINST the hiring of new Fire Chief Kevin Wise – presumably because he lives outside of Ceres and not because of a medical history of cancers. In a wild inconsistency, Condit didn’t dispense the same treatment for Rick Collins in his vote for police chief, even though Collins resides in Modesto just as does Wise.” Was Condit being inconsistenr or consistently flaky?

7). I don’t believe I ever called Condit any names. I have, however, called out his record. I’ve not spread any information; I have been accurate in reporting his actions.

8). I have not consistently disparaged Condit. I have applauded his stand on keeping garbage cans out of public view, suggesting a return to strike teans and I was critical of the four members of the council – Condit included – for voting against a Mitchell Road apartment complex. I might note that I also complimented him on his Memorial Day speech last May. If anything I have been consistent about commenting on his voting record as puzzling.

9). You’re right, Cortney Mann, about voters being the ones to decide. We’ll see if they have misgivings about someone who campaigned in the fall of 2018 to serve on the City Council for four years, only to decide in the fall of 2019 that he wants another job. They might see his sense of commitment is, shall I say, flaky.

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It’s ironic, isn’t it, how people rob stores or homes at gunpoint, point the gun, and then get shot by the armed victim – only to have the family of the dead thug cry and moan about the robbery victim having a gun?

Roosevelt Rappley, 23, of Dayton Ohio was killed while committing an armed robbery of the Dollar General. His family went on TV not to condemn the dead man’s actions but to attack the victim! They say the clerk shouldn’t have had a gun. No, the thug shouldn’t have had a gun and the clerk definitely was right in defending himself. Do you see how upside down society has become?

It would be refreshing if the dead man’s relatives went on TV to say, “Damn! I told him he’d better change his ways and quit thugging around. I guess he got what was coming to him.” Or a mom saying, “I hope my son’s death serves as a lesson for all them other cocky thugs out there who want to do stupid things like my son did. Stay in school and quit being a fool.”

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