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On illegal fireworks, so called LGBTQ pride & water woes

I thought it was interesting that freshman Congressman Josh Harder spoke at the CSUS graduation and spoke of his memories at Stanislaus State, where as a high school student he was a drummer in the university’s Fourth of July band. He said a mistake and misdirection from his conductor led to Josh performing an impromptu drum solo, which led him to make this pronouncement: “You gotta fake it ‘til you make it.”

Apparently his “fake it till you make it” modus operandi helped net him a congressional seat.

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While the effort to stop the use of illegal fireworks in Ceres is a good start, us journalists tend to be a cynical lot. Actually scratch that; we deal in facts so we know reality. I predict there will be a whole lot of people who don’t get the message and blow off their aerial fireworks to give Disneyland a run for their money. How do I know? It would surprise you how many don’t care enough to read the newspaper so do you think they will read a yard sign or a posting in the city’s utility billing?

This year the proliferation of illegal fireworks may be hampered slightly but it’s still going to continue. The only way to stop it will take a dramatic citation crackdown that hits where it counts – in the pocketbook. It will take years of citing and making it hurt to where the word goes out that, man, it’s just not worth the risk of getting caught and fined.

Maybe, just maybe if Ceres ever held its own fireworks show like the Modesto A’s offer occasionally it would pre-empt the desire to blow off the illegal fireworks.

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I’ve been hearing a lot of talk about pride this month in relation to the LGBTQ community. Maybe there should be a little less pride and a lot more humility in the world.

You don’t hear any talk about Heterosexual Pride Month. Maybe that’s because the LGBTQ community is trying its best to convince the rest of us that they are proud when many are really confused individuals.

I really laugh at all the downright silly stuff the Democrats come up with in Sacramento. There is an agency known as the California Department of Veterans Affairs but it’s termed “CalVet” (in California we make things sound informal by shortening them, like Caltrans for California Department of Transportation.) But are you aware that “CalVet” has a Deputy Secretary for Minority and Underrepresented Veterans? What is the purpose of that? Instead of treating all veterans the same, apparently if you’re a veteran who is gay or a minority you get special treatment. No doubt this was a creation of those with a D behind their name.

And I have a question, how do you become “underrepresented”? Doesn’t everyone in LGBTQ have the same public officials as straight people? Quit with this politics of division. Every group has their own constituencies and advocacies. We all breathe and eat and sleep the same. Just quit shoving the sexual orientation in our face. I don’t need to know what bedroom activity you’re into and you shouldn’t have to make that activity the thing that identifies you other than an Americans; quit dividing us into groups where we have our own advocacies.

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Nancy Pelosi wants our president in jail? What’s wrong with this woman?

I saw a video of Pelosi wanting to lower the voting age to 16. Next it it were videos of teens biting into Tide pods and setting their arms on fire after dousing it with hair spray and a driver jumping out of a moving car. You get the idea. My response is of course she wants younger and younger voters  because they fall under the spell of their liberal/socialist teachers.

I say raise the voting age to 21 to give their brains time to mature.

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Shelia Brandt admonished the Ceres City Council on May 28 for not going with Channce Condit’s suggestion for a Beautification Committee. The entire concept was vague and loosely presented and four members didn’t see a need for it when the city already has a code enforcement operation. An overview of the code enforcene operation was given in detail by Sgt. Jason Coley at a prior meeting.

Brandt said she didn’t “understand why we would not want to beautify our city.” She suggested what’s in place does not work and shamed the council for not going with it.

It wasn’t a matter of the council desirous of blight; rather a failure to demonstrate why such a committee is needed. I was at the council discussion of the Beautification Committee and it sounded as if it was an effort to have a committee to micromanage the code enforcement process.

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I know some people have a problem with memes (short little sayings, typically with an illustrating photo, and spread on the internet.) Some are just inaccurate, I get it. But this one – featuring a photo of Indiana Jones – was rich with truth. It read: “Why is it that whenever an archeologist finds human remains they are always clearly identified as man or woman and never one of the other hundred genders the Left keeps telling us about.”

Another meme I liked shows an angry old man Clint Eastwood with rifle in hand, with the words, “The problem is not guns. It’s hearts without God, homes without discipline, schools without prayer and courtrooms without justice.”

Thanks for sharing that one, Lee Brandt!

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Looks like I was right when I said months ago that there is a cult following of Channce Condit. A few Conditistas were on our Facebook page over the weekend applauding his decision to vote against approval of encroachments as just one small but significant step to advance the joint surface water project for Ceres and Turlock, which has been in the planning since Condit was a baby. To be fair, some of those comments were from Turlock residents who don’t want their city participating in the plant.

It’s important to note that the contract to build the surface water plant was not being voted on; that should come in September. But Condit did insist on waiting on encroachments; had anyone else agreed with him – thankfully they didn’t – would have stymied the project. City Manager Toby Wells explained that the encroachment permits are needed to get ducks in a row to apply for low-interest financing through the State Revolving Fund administered by the California Department of Water Resources. Condit didn’t care about a delay after asking what the hurry was and being told costs always go up when one waits.

The Conditistas summarily dismiss any notion that their man has made any obtuse vote and pronounce each one as a brilliant decision for “the people.” (As if Linda Ryno, Chris Vierra, Bret Durossette and Mike Kline don’t give a hoot about “the people.’) Because I’ve clearly enunciated my criticisms of some of Condit’s votes, I’ve come under attack. One Conditista (read Kevin McClarty’s letter on A-4) claims that I have a longstanding hatred for the family. Of course I don’t hate the Condits; but Mr. Clarty thinks if you question votes or policy positions that means you’re a hater.

But back to the surface water plant.

Around the time Condit was an infant, seasoned officials realized something needed to be done about water. After all, water is essential to life and Ceres need water for drinking, bathing, cooking and landscaping. The city of Ceres – like most cities in the Valley – gets its water solely from the ground. Decades ago, local officials realized that trouble was on the horizon as the state came up with more and more onerous water refinement measurements for the screening of harmful elements such as manganese, trichloropropane (TCP) and arsenic. As measuring tools become more sophisticated, standards continue to be tightened to make it harder for cities to meet those standards and thus having to go to great expenses to comply; or else shut down the well.

Then there is the drought issue. Water quality degrades during prolonged dry periods as all Valley cities overdraft the water table and it drops, leaving a higher concentrate of contaminants, so to speak.

As a solution, forward-thinking officials talked to TID about tapping into the Tuolumne River since it always flows due to the Sierra runoff and storage in Don Pedro Reservoir. River water (or surface water), is cleaner than ground water and never goes dry! Getting TID to sell water at a reasonable rate was a huge accomplishment and Ceres and Turlock breathed a sigh of relief. So the plan moved forward – after great study – to build a plant to filter and pipe river water to Ceres and Turlock to be comingled with water pumped from remaining wells.

One detractor this weekend suggested Modesto pulled out of the surface water project because it was too expensive. In reality, Modesto didn’t need to be a participant because it had, in the meantime, built its own surface water plant at the Modesto Reservoir. As a result, Modesto no longer solely relies on groundwater.

Conditistas say, “but water rates are gonna go up!” Duh, and they have been going up in anticipation of the plan. It’s already in motion.

Think of it this way. If you need to buy a big ticket item like a new car, you will have a car payment. Likewise, this new plant needed to filter river water and pump it to Ceres is an expensive item. Try $100 million expensive – between Ceres and Turlock sharing in the cost based on how much water they take. To pay for that, residents have been paying more for their water. As Mayor Chris Vierra has stated for years, the costs are a hard pill to swallow but it’s better than finding the taps running dry. And, I might, add, will cheaper in the long run than expensive wellhead treatment.

All this information is in past editions of the Courier and available online but let me explain it to those who question the to the whole project. Back in 2017 the City Council approved water rate increases designed to enable the city to pay for its expected share of the plant’s construction and operation. The rate increases also pay for the higher costs of operations and maintenance of the existing water system as well as capital projects to upgrade the existing water system. Capital costs continue to climb, including $10 million for wellhead treatment over the next five years.

The proposed rate increases cover the period from Jan. 1, 2018 to 2022. The increases were expected to raise the water bill for the average Ceres single-family household from $40.13 per month to $56.18 on Jan. 1, 2018; to $76.97 on Jan. 1, 2019; to $80.82 on Jan. 1, 2020; to $84.86 on Jan. 1, 2021; and $88.25 on Jan. 1, 2022. That’s a big increase given that in 2013 the average water bill in Ceres was $35.57.

As they say, that’s the price of doing business in California.

The control freaks at the state level have forced the cities’ hands.

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Really, the NBA will no longer refer to team owners as “owners” beause it illicits notions of slave owners? Is this a joke? None of those overpaid basketball players were ever slaves, nor were their grandparents. What to do now when the NBA players buy a car or house and become the “owner” of it?

I’m telling you, the Left has lost it’s collective marbles and few are speaking out about the continuing insanity.

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