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Homelessness grows on Democrats’ watch

A cousin of mine just wrapped up an 11-state road trip of 3,973 miles and reported that the only homeless seen were here in California. Ask yourself why. 

How bad does the California homeless problem have to get before our state leaders do something?

I say state leaders because this is a statewide problem, caused by policies enacted by the state Legislature and the governor this county wanted to recall.

Some of the latest headlines:

“Woman badly burned in fire outside Brenden Theatres in downtown Modesto early Sunday.”

“Annual count finds record number of homeless people in Stanislaus, its cities.”

“Turlock homeless emergency set to end. City seeks suggestions for long-term plan.”

“Homeless man set on fire while asleep in San Francisco dies”

“4 injured after car crashes into homeless camp on sidewalk, California officials say”

“Santa Clara County takes first step toward $250 million homeless housing challenge”

“Audit: California agency bungled COVID-19 funds for homeless.”

“Lawsuit demands Oakland crackdown on homeless camps.”

“Fentanyl linked to increase in overall homeless deaths in Santa Clara County”

“San Jose: Fire breaks out near encampment on Apple land”

“San Jose to begin clearing massive airport homeless camp”

“Federal agency demands closure of Bay Area’s largest homeless camp”

It’s not a problem in every state.

While we continue to build billions of dollars of a rail line between Bakersfield and Merced – which nobody will be riding on – we could be building homeless camps. Or building facilities to incarcerate the mentally ill drug addicts flopping around on our streets and onto streets and railroad tracks.

By doing something about the homeless problem I’m not talking about throwing money at the problem like the state has done with no results.

It is cruel to allow folks to live on the street or in our parks and it should not be tolerated.  I still believe that our homeless problem is a spiritual problem. People need a relationship with God and when they don’t maintain it, lives go haywire, they turn to drugs, they lose their grip and position and spiral into the abyss.

California has the most homeless in the nation (161,548) and don’t say it’s because we have good weather. Texas has good weather and has 27,229 homeless. Arizona too and they have 10,979. New Mexico, 3,333. Even sunny Florida has only 27,487.

Why California? California has welcomed millions of illegal immigrants with little or no skills and no money. California also has stringent environmental laws that kill any chance for affordable housing.

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There is something Ceres residents can do to help fight blight by reporting abandoned vehicles.

On Oct. 14 the Ceres Police Department posted on social media this message: “We’ve all seen vehicles parked on our streets for weeks or months. If you see a vehicle that has been parked for an extended amount of time, has weeds under it, or is covered in spider webs, give our Abandoned Vehicle Abatement team at call at 209-538-5619. Make sure to have the location and description of the vehicle ready.

“Our AVA team works Monday through Friday and will get the removal process started as soon as possible.”

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Have you ever noticed that when the media picks up on a big story regarding a tragedy and runs it into the ground for rating’s sake (read that as ad revenue), that lawmakers in Sacramento have to come to the rescue with a knee-jerk piece of legislation?

Alec Baldwin’s unfortunate mishap with a prop gun in New Mexico which took the life of the film’s cinematographer now has prompted a California Democrat to introduce a bill that would ban “live”guns on movie sets. I knew it was a bill proposed by a Democrat before I read the story because that’s what Democrats do … ban things.

State Senator Dave Cortese said there is “an urgent need to address alarming work abuses and safety violations occurring on the set of theatrical productions, including unnecessary high-risk conditions such as the use of live firearms.”

Funny how this wasn’t an urgent need until the news story about Baldwin shooting Halyna Hutchins. Honestly, this shooting on a movie set was a rare event. You have to go back pretty far to mishaps with Brandon Lee (1993) and Joh-Erik Hexum (1984) to find similar tragedies taking place. Even then, Hexum wasn’t shooting a scene, he was playing around unnecessarily with a gun.

Let Cal-OSHA deal with the problem but don’t come up with yet another ban. Sacramento is going to ban us all into oblivion out of legislators’ quests for 15 minutes of press attention.

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Ronda Young found out what a waste of time it is to contact Rep. Josh Harder’s office to tell him NOT to vote for Biden’s and Pelosi’s whopping overspending program. The tax-and-spend Democrat Harder explained why he would support this massive spending bill: “I’ve decided to vote for this deal because it will deliver the investments and jobs our Valley needs and will do it without raising taxes on our working families.”

Imagine that, folks, it’s all just free money with no additional taxes. What a line of crap.

Harder said he voted for the bill for “much-needed funding for roads and bridges, broadband, and water projects in the Valley” and that he’s “especially proud that it includes over $8 billion for western water projects with $1.15 billion specifically to build water storage in communities.”

Voters have been hoodwinked before. Remember how California voters supported the water bond measure to build water storage projects and yet none were built. The day a water storage project ever gets built in California is the day I will eat one of my columns.

The federal government is not the appropriate entity to provide goods and services. State and local governments own 97 percent% of all infrastructure, including the entire interstate highway system, the sewer systems, water systems, and 98 percent of all streets and roads, so they should take the lead on infrastructure investment. Our state has misplaced its priorities with high-speed rail boondoggles while ignoring – strike that, fighting – water storage needs.

Harder ends his email with: “…it’s also very important to me that we are not raising taxes on any working families here in the Valley. Our families pay way too much already! I’m happy to say we made sure this bill would not raise any Valley working family’s taxes. I know our families pay some of the highest taxes in the nation, and it shouldn’t be up to us to foot the bill while billionaires are getting by scot-free.”

There he goes with untrue class warfare rhetoric. It’s the bottom half of Americans who get by scot-free by paying no taxes while taking ours! According to the Tax Foundation, “the U.S. individual income tax continues to be very progressive, borne primarily by the highest income earners.” More specifically, in 2017, the top half of all taxpayers paid 97 percent of all individual income taxes, while the bottom 50 percent paid the remaining 3 percent. Also in 2017, the top 1 percent of taxpayers paid a 26.8 percent average individual income tax rate, more than six times higher than taxpayers in the bottom 50 percent (4.0 percent).

And don’t believe for one minute that the excessive federal spending won’t be a burden on us all with resulting inflation and the debt laid upon the backs of our grandchildren. Harder and his party are fooling all of us.

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What universe does Joseph Robinette Biden live in? On Thursday Biden said police officers, first responders should be fired for refusing to comply with city vaccine mandates and mocked “freedom.”

“I have the freedom to kill you with my COVID,” Biden said, mocking what he sees as the attitude of mandate opponents. “No, I mean, come on, freedom.”

Remember, the COVID survivability is somewhere like 99.6 percent. If you have bad health, by all means feel free to vaccine but don’t force people to get a shot or lose work. And they say Democrats are the empathetic ones. Ha!

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A pro-life group met for a candlelight prayer vigil on the campus of University of North Texas in Denton, Texas and what did Antifa protestors do? Pro-life members of Young Conservatives of Texas (YCT) chanted, “Christ is king!” to which a protester responded by chanting, “F*** your God!”

There will be a rude awakening one day for the mockers.

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Good for former Kings announcer Grant Napear suing over his June 2020 firing after he Tweeted that“all lives matter.”

Napear did absolutely NOTHING wrong when he tweeted in response to a question from former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins about the Black Lives Matter movement.

Napear simply told the truth when he wrote: “I mean, all lives matter…every single one is deemed racist by a company? Or by others? I mean, who doesn’t believe that all lives matter, every single one?”

He is now suing KHTK and parent company Bonneville International, saying he was wrongfully terminated and discriminated and retaliated against.

Corporate political correctness is out of control but we are the ones who choose where we spend our money and time.

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Newspapers have long abandoned the practice of publishing obituaries for free and since many folks aren’t willing to spend money for them it’s easy for some of the significant names to go by without mention in print.

I was recently made aware that Phyllis Simpson Thornton passed away by an individual who criticized me for not knowing about it. Apparently I am supposed to know through osmosis about every death occurring in Ceres without so much as anybody informing me about them.

We are sorry to know that Phyllis is now gone and that we don’t have any more information to share with our readers about her life.

I had met Phyllis a few times as she was the daughter of Ruth and Bob Simpson, who owned the Burger 19 back in the 1950s and the Chew ‘N’ Chat in the 1960s. If memory serves me correct Phyllis was also a member of the Ceres Women’s Club. I had written a newspaper feature on Ruth over a decade ago. Bob died in 1996 and Ruth in 2012. Ruth was quite the spitfire and a character. She provided the photo that I used for the cover of my book published by Arcadia Publishing in 2010.

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Gov. Newsom announced that California will have a historic budget surplus next year, which means he took too much of our tax money and we all deserve a refund, not just the measly $600 he gave the lesser earning families. Instead of refunding taxpayers or maybe even fixing our crumbling roads that Josh Harder thinks Uncle Sam should pay for, he wants to pay down $11.3 billion in pension obligations, in other words, appeasing his labor union buddies.

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