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It’s the state that’s a bully, not Trump

This is rich – Democrats in Sacramento have just inadvertently admitted their taxes harm business! For years they’ve been denying that California regulations and taxes have caused businesses to flee to other states; yet they do nothing to stop the blood loss. Despite ramming taxes down our throats whenever they can, they still do it knowing it isn’t good for the economy.

Why do I say Democrats admit taxes drive down business? Because Democrats are now disappointed that their tax revenues from marijuana are slowing business and causing a burgeoning black market and now they want to lower those taxes. Voila! The hypocrites admit that taxes can drive business downward. Now if they could lower taxes on gas and everything else but you can wait until the 12th of Never – and that’s a long, long time to quote Johnny Mathis.

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Gov. Newsom and his brotherhood of California liberals have portrayed Donald Trump as a bully. But is not suing one of the most conservative cities in the state over its shortage of affordable housing not an exemplar definition of bullying?

It’s worth noting that 17 other cities are out of compliance with the law that prompted the suit, but Huntington Beach is the only one being targeted by Gov. Nuisance. Why? Is it because its City Council has opposed Sanctuary State policies? When have you ever seen a coastal city like Huntington Beach have affordable housing? And Gov. Newsom, will you be suing San Francisco because it’s housing costs are astronomically high? I didn’t think so. Brown gave Marin a pass for failing to meet the same needs. 

We should all have a problem with the state dictating what kind of housing local communities should build. Pre-empting local control by forcing cities to meet a quota of housing for the poorest of the poor seems dictatorial and oppressive.

If the state truly wants to tackle its shortage of housing, lawmakers should either scrap or overhaul the controversial California Environmental Quality Act or CEQA. CEQA delays projects and drives up the cost of projects. Consider that CEQA is one of the reasons it’s been over 10 years since the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center was proposed and it hasn’t broken ground yet.

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Besides trying to screw California cities like Huntington Beach, California State Attorney General Xavier Becerra is obsessed with shaking down businesses and milking millions from corporations to bolster state revenues. He’s probably the biggest bully in state government from sea to shining sea.

Becerra has joined a multistate coalition in an amicus brief supporting the counties of Marin, San Mateo, Santa Cruz, and the cities of Imperial Beach, Richmond and Santa Cruz, in their lawsuit, County of San Mateo et al. v. Chevron Corporation, to hold petroleum and coal companies accountable under state law for actions “contributing to climate change and the resulting harms from sea-level rise and other effects.”

Becerra charged last week that “California communities have struggled, and will continue to struggle, with the high costs of managing the devastating effects of climate change.” 

I can’t think of one thing Ceres or Modesto or Turlock is struggling with in terms of climate related “devastating effects.” I know that cities lost a lot of street trees when Gov. Brown dictated a rollback in watering during the drought so maybe Becerra needs to enact a class action suit against the state itself for the loss of street trees.

Obviously the agenda of the Left is to force oil companies out of business altogether. That’s apparent when Becerra says we need to hold companies accountable “which profit from fossil fuels that exacerbate the effects of global warming.”

To liberals, making any profit is a crime, especially when it’s from extracting and processing fossil fuels so that you and I can make it to work every day. I suppose Becerra’s dream is that we all take up bicycling or buy overpriced electric cars which the state can subsidize with taxpayer dollars. The problem there is if everybody buys an electric car do we all get taxpayer subsidies? Still, we haven’t found a way to power a jet airliner on solar.

How does Becerra adopt the liberal global warming hoax and plug it into a legal to quest to eliminate the gasoline engine? Consider this straight from his press release received on Wednesday: “…California cities and counties allege that the companies’ conduct exacerbates global warming and its impacts, including hotter temperatures, extreme weather events, rising sea level, and other irreversible harms – leaving local governments to manage the full costs of inundation, erosion, flooding, property damage, and threats to the health and safety of residents.”

Does Becerra mean the warmer temperatures like the minus-14 degrees in Chicago or minus-26 degrees in Minnesota last week? That kind of global warming? 

Rising sea levels? Well, I have photos of the beach near the Cliff House in San Francisco from over 100 years ago and guess what? The beach is lapping at the shoreline at the same spot; the sea hasn’t risen. But, hey, keep telling non-critical people the planet is warming because of mankind and they’ll believe all the hysteria and fear mongering.

Do liberals really believe that the planet has never flooded or been on fire or rains washed hillsides away before we arrived? Do they believe that the coast line hasn’t crumbled into the sea for the thousands of years without us on scene? Are today’s politicians that delusional? Or is it a case of envy, allowing government to be “greedy” like they accuse corporations of?

To say Chevron is guilty of making it rain excessively one year while there is a drought three years later is such a far stretch that I can honestly say people must be stupid or just plain gullible.

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If you live in Hughson, your new state Senator is Andreas Borgeas, one of the few Republicans who survived the election in November.

If you can believe it, the 8th Senate District that includes Hughson also includes Mammoth Lakes – one of my favorite vacation spots – some four hours away on the other side of Yosemite National Park. How would you like trying to represent a district sliced in two by the winter snow pack? Tioga Pass is closed this time of year, meaning one has to either fly over the Sierra or drive up to drive over Highway 88 to Gardnerville, Nevada and down Highway 395, which is about 5 and half hours of drive time.

The district has a million constituents but that’s small when you consider that geographically it encompasses 11 counties and is larger than 10 U.S. states!

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Want to know what a political opportunist looks like? Just Google the photo of turncoat Assemblyman Brian Maienschein, who decided last week to switch from being a Republican to a Democrat.

Maienschein had a really close election in November as ballot harvesting makes California hopelessly blue forever. Maienschein’s switch means San Diego’s entire delegation in the state Assembly is now Democratic. With Maienschein’s defection, Republicans now hold just 19 of the 80 seats in the California Assembly.

It’s obvious that Maienschein abandoned principle as he seeks to stay in office.

I agree with Assembly Republican Leader Marie Waldron who said that “Unfortunately some people run for office simply because they want a job, regardless of political philosophy. It appears that Brian falls into this category. Running away from the fight for a more affordable, efficient and accountable government for hardworking Californians is not the answer.”

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Kamala Harris, California’s junior senator who now wants to renege on her six year pledge to serve in order to a quest to change jobs, said an amazing thing recently. Pushing for yet more gun control, Harris suggested that all Congress persons should be forced to see photos of the 20 dead children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary in 2012 before taking a vote on gun control. But she will never say that senators should be forced to take a watch an abortion take place and inspect the dead fetus on the cold table before they vote for liberal abortion policies.

By the way, the Sandy Hook massacre was committed by a disturbed young man who stole four of his mother’s legally purchased guns, killed her and headed down to the school. It’s a defective person problem; not a gun problem.

Harris is proof that there are no more centrist leaders of the Democrat Party.

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You can’t fix stupid.

Azcentral of the USA Today network ran an op-ed from some conspiracy sap in Phoenix who was “offended” by a photo hanging on a restaurant wall. The photo was of a century-old gathering of coalminers enjoying a brew after a hard day of work. The workers’ faces were blackened, covered in coal grime – a throwback before the days of OSHA. But in his derisory op-ed Rashaad Thomas stated: “A business’ photograph of men with blackened faces culturally says to me, “Whites Only.” It says people like me are not welcome.”

Where do you start? Answer: You don’t. No matter how stupid his argument is, the Left will not move from finding offense where there is none intended.

This is a prime example of a culture that seeks to gain one’s 15 seconds of fame for pretending to be offended while deep down knowing they’ll be perceived as a fringe kook but, no matter, it furthers their whole dialogue of so-called “white privilege.” If you ask me, a photo of white men – the Left’s biggest punching bag is white men – all sooty-faced and who subjected them self to all kinds of respiratory health hazards and risked having the dark bowels of the earth collapse on them in order to put food on his family’s table is the farthest thing from an example of so-called “white privilege.” Their generation was of a work ethic that built this nation to be the land where pampered and ever-offended Leftists who demand freebies like free college and free healthcare for less than stellar effort want to be.

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The national media really has some screwed up ideas of what makes news but tabloid fodder seems to be what our dumbed-down society looks for. Here are some MSN headlines from last week:

• “Grande tries to fix botched tattoo, makes it worse.”

• “Pitt, Jolie seen in heated discussion in Beverly Hills.”

• “JT shares video of Biel sleeping on date night.”

• And on Fox: “Man caught on video stealing steak from restaurant.”

Am I the only one who asks, “Who gives a rip?” Here’s something worth talking about: Why is nobody concerned with our national debt being $22 trillion in debt? 

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While I’m at it, yet another classless Hollywood type went on Jimmy Kimmel last week to give the president the bird.

It’s really sad to see this kind of behavior on national TV. They have lost their minds, folks. I sure wish the pharmaceutical firms could come up with a pill for these folks to cope with their Trump Derangement Syndome. Types like Tom Hanks can go on TV to plug it. Maybe call it Trumpazin and show Hollywood actors smiling again instead of frowning in a continual state of anger.

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I don’t know what I’m supposed to do with this message that came our way other than share it. It came from a Brandi Francisco who complained about the condition of her room at the Howard Johnson Inn in Ceres and she sent a lot of embarrassing photos. She wrote us: “I am currently staying in a room in the Ceres ca location of this hotel. Today when we arrived I noticed the bathroom was covered in black mold. When I had went to the desk to complain they said that they were aware. They told me that upstares rooms are better they can move me there but I told them I want a downstairs room because of my children. At that point they just said okay then and didn’t offer any other kind of compensation. This place is nasty. Something needs to be done asap!”

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Has a brand of cult politics followed Channce Condit into city politics? I ask because of the tenor of comments received on our Facebook posting about our story, “Condit in flap over general plan task priorities.” Some posted “Atta-boy” comments for Condit relating to the article, leading us to wonder if anyone read it. The Jan. 14 council discussion had nothing to do with one councilmember being more pro public safety than another; but was about the seeming disconnect in Condit’s understanding of setting General Plan priorities.

The state of California mandates that a General Plan have seven elements: Land Use, Circulation, Housing, Conservation, Open Space, Noise and Safety (not police and fire but  protecting the community from risks associated with seismic, geologic, flood, and wildfire hazards.)

All members of the City Council have made public safety as a priority but you don’t get more police and firefighters through a General Plan. You get it through budgeting and spending priorities – and even then you are limited by your revenue.

This isn’t the best example but it may serve as an analogy to what occurred at the Jan. 14 council meeting:

Imagine your family is planning a trip to Europe and there’s a bunch of things you must do to plan the trip. You make a list and because you can’t accomplish all the steps at once, you prioritize the steps to be taken first. One member of your family says, “I think we need to make it a priority that we have a good time when we get there.” The rest of your family says, “Well, that’s great but that’s not a step on the list.” He insists, “Well, I think we need to declare that as a priority.” The others chime in: “But we’re trying to accomplish a checklist of things to do first before we get there. Once we get to Europe it’s up to us to have a good time.”

The General Plan and the city Strategic Plan are two different subjects. The circular discussion irritated Mayor Chris Vierra who snapped twice at Condit: The first him asking “How many general plans have you been a part of?,” and later, “Are you listening to what I’m saying?”

With no understand of policy, Crystal McCoy posted for Condit to “keep them on their toes and the incompetence of their position will ooze out for the entire town to see.” No, it’s actually Condit’s inexperience oozing out for the entire town to see. Not all are Condit fans. Nancy Peterson posted how she’s attended council meetings and came away “very disappointed in Chance Condit. He seems to want to impede staff and the growth process.”

I learned some lessons when I was the young newcomer on a City Council back in 1990. I was elected at age 29 and got the top vote in the election so I thought I had a mandate. I was a bit cocky and pushed too hard for a new park project – which in itself wasn’t a bad goal – but I alienated others on the council and the park wasn’t built. Young officials can be a bit Gung-ho and think they can reinvent the wheel, but as I learned, they must educate themselves and respect the system and those who have the experience.  


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