By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
It’s time to permanently disregard the concept of reparations

I believe most Americans think the harebrained idea of paying so-called “reparations” to black folks is not only a Democrat attempt to buy more votes, but it’s nonsensical, unaffordable, immoral and unjust.

True reparations are called for when a person pays a victim for damages caused to them. President Ronald Reagan was justified in paying those American citizens of Japanese descent imprisoned in FDR’s internment camps during World War II. The payment was $20,000 to those who actually lived through that process. Fast forward to today’s Democrats who want to pay over $1 million to someone whose far off distant grandparent, generation far removed, was a slave.

There is nobody alive today who experienced slavery in the Jim Crow sense. The real slaves today are taxpayers who work hard to see Democrat programs take more of their hard-earned money. Think of it as a scheme to buy off voters. It’s not sustainable. Some experts say the state could then owe upwards of $800 billion, or more than 2.5 times its annual budget, in reparations to black people.

Of course, the state’s nine-member so-called reparations task force suggested lawmakers use our tax money to pay off their voting bloc and tie it to not just slavery but discriminatory policies in the arena of voting, housing, education, disproportionate policing and incarceration and others.

I will be the first to admit that some California governors were horrible in their attitude and policies toward blacks. Heading that list is Gov. Peter Hardeman Burnett, the state’s first elected governor who supported laws keeping black folks out of California. Historians know how bad he was and so did others and that’s likely why he resigned after one year in office. So calling for a condemnation of him some 127 years after his death is supposed to make the black community feel better? I don’t understand why this has to be done when educated folks already know he was a scoundrel.

“An apology and an admission of wrongdoing just by itself is not going to be satisfactory,” said Chris Lodgson, an organizer with the Coalition for a Just and Equitable California, a reparations advocacy group. Of course not. It’s all about the millions in free money. Only it’s not free – you and I will pay for it. It’s truly a scheme of having persons who were never slaves living in a “free” state pay off people who were never slaves just so the Democrats can hold onto their power.

We live in an era in which we’ve had blacks as high-ranking military generals, cabinet members, Supreme Court justices, a U.S. president and highly-paid entertainers and those who gathered at a Mills College gathering in Oakland, think the U.S. taxpayers owe it to black folks for past injustices.

It’s over folks. Move on and quit using race as a crutch.

* * * * *

Facing a $31.5 billion deficit, Governor Gavin Newsom last week released his $306.5 billion revised spending plan and Assemblyman Vince Fong, a Bakersfield Republican and vice chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, didn’t like what he saw with more overspending. 

“The fact that the governor continues to overspend creating structural deficits in future years is fiscally irresponsible,” said Fong.

Overspending keeps happening and yet nothing gets fixed in California. We have a high cost of living that is forcing middle-class Californians to flee while the homelessness and crime continues to worsen. Our roads are falling apart and we aren’t building housing. We aren’t building new water storage to capture rains when God opens up the skies.

As Fong stated, “Contrary to the governor’s rhetoric, success is not defined by the amount of money spent; it is defined by measurable results. We must focus on the basics and the Legislature must demand real accountability.”

* * * * *

Did you hear about regulations in Palo Alto throwing a monkey wrench into the plans of renowned World Central Kitchen chef Jose Andres into opening up a new restaurant there?  

The owner of Stanford Shopping Center is threatening to sue the city of Palo Alto over the city council’s refusal to approve the use of natural gas in a building being constructed to house Andres’ first restaurant in the Bay Area called the Zaytinya.

Approximately $100,000 was spent to equip the former space occupied by Macy’s with gas lines. The mall owner fired a letter to the city saying it should be allowed to connect the new restaurant building to a gas line installed in January 2021 — well before Palo Alto approved its natural gas restrictions in October 2022 — and that previous approval of the project gives the shopping center the right to use the gas line.

Andrés is not interested in opening a restaurant there if he can’t use a gas burner.

This is just another example of how government regulations are ruining businesses and causing them to go elsewhere.

* * * * *

Were you aware that the children’s book publishing industry is unfairly discriminating against conservatives?

I’ve been into Barnes & Noble and seen how there are tons of biographical books about liberals but not conservatives. Apparently it’s worse in the children’s section where you have 27 books about the late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, a lot on Kamala Harris, AOC, Hillary Clinton, Justice Sotomayor, environmentalist Rachel Carson, Elizabeth Warren and Greta Thunberg. You won’t find books on Elizabeth Dole, Amy Coney Barret, Sarah Palin or Margaret Thatcher.

Apparently that’s because librarians who buy books – with taxpayers’ money, of course – tend to be liberals (just like teachers) and libraries buy lots of books as opposed to a mom who buys few books. So the publishing industry likes catering to the liberal book buyers. While people who make their living by brawn and hard work tend to be Republicans, environmentalists and librarians tend to be mostly Democrats.

Bethany Mandel has done something about it – self publishing books in the “Heroes of Liberty” series that includes conservative giants like Thomas Sowell, Clarence Thomas and Ronald Reagan.

The book on Sowell is especially inspiring, because it explains how he got ahead of poverty and racism by working hard. Contrast that with today’s message that blacks are only “victims” who can’t get ahead without protest or government rescuing them with handouts.

Mandel hit the nail on the head when she said “when you promote this hyper awareness of race, kids didn’t necessarily see it before but now they see it everywhere. It’s a pretty toxic way to grow up because they are seeing their friend as black, white or brown instead of Lucy or Sally.”

The book on Amy Coney Barrett stresses her feeling that being a mother is just as important as sitting on the Supreme Court. Remember the message from the Left is to abortion your baby.

Mandel’s series found itself being cancelled out by Facebook in late 2021 when Meta, the company that owns Facebook, told the publisher that its account had been “permanently disabled” because it violated the company’s rules against “Low Quality or Disruptive Content.” Well it wasn’t low quality so apparently it was more about content they didn’t like. Facebook ended up restoring the account, saying the ads account was “disabled in error.” Mandel isn’t buying their load of crap, saying, “We are not in politics, we are in the business of creating beautiful stories about great people that will entertain children and give them life lessons. To cancel children’s books because they celebrate American values that 90% of Americans believe in isn’t even anti-conservative bias, it’s anti-American. Pure madness.”

She also added: “There was a small but noisy group of responders to our ads who didn’t like the fact we published books about Ronald Reagan, Thomas Sowell and Amy Coney Barret; people we called Heroes of Liberty. They made nasty comments, especially about Reagan, and about us for publishing these books and even shared their desire to burn them.”

Remember, the Left wants to cancel free expression.

* * * * *

Must the state of California make everything about race or class warfare?

I’ve noticed that most press releases streaming out of a state agency include a narrative that somewhere out there is a class of people who are victims because of their skin color. Former AG Xavier Becerra, on his way to milking oil companies of money, would often suggest “disadvantaged communities” were more affected by polluted air than the rich people breathing in the same bad air. Now we the California Office of Traffic Safety doing the same with its press release announcing the “Go Safely Movement to address roadway crisis and create safety culture.”

The release cites the fact that more than 4,400 people were killed on California roads in 2022 – horribly tragic indeed. Then OTS Director Barbara Rooney states: “We can no longer accept death and serious injuries as just a consequence of using our roads.”

We had better accept it. It’s reality – whether or not the bureaucrats believe it – that while it’s worthwhile to try to lower the death rate, people will always continue to be killed as long as people drive carelessly and stupidly and as long as unforeseen things happen – such as blowouts and tires flying off of trucks and bouncing into windshields. You see, we live in a world where you just cannot stop bad things from happening.

But then the OTS continues: “A disproportionate number of those deaths affect Californians of color and low-income communities.”

We thought it was nuts that U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg suggested that roads are racist, so why not believe that Newsom appointee Toks Omishakin, the secretary of California State Transportation Agency, would say the biggest impact of traffic deaths is “on underserved communities and people (code words for minorities, namely black folks) who do not have equitable access to safe transportation options”?

Hold on, Toks. What in the world do you mean when you assert that people have no “equitable” access to safe transportation options? Are you referring to the ne’er-do-wells of the big cities, which all have public transit systems which us taxpayers subsidize and which are very safe? Why infuse the campaign to reduce traffic fatalities with the overplayed class victimization card?

Progressives truly have an insulting view of minority communities, which they deem so helpless and stupid that they need government to rescue them from a system stacked against them. Their ideology is always linked to a never-ceasing parade of government programs costing millions of dollars that never produce any meaningful results. 

Want to do something about traffic deaths? How about restore driver’s education to our public schools? In the 1970s I had to go through those classes and watch the films of grisly road deaths – which impressed upon me the need for safety behind the wheel. Here I am 45 years later alive and healthy.

All of us, regardless of color, have the ability to live as safely as we want or as dangerously as we care. It has nothing to do with race and everything to do with education and common sense and let’s face it, lots of folks out on the road have neither.

* * * * *

People generally take the path of least resistance. A group of Petaluma mothers demonstrated over the weekend and called for more gun control in California. They decry that “gun violence” has killed thousands of children. I’ll tell you, those damned guns going around killing people by themselves. What to do?

Passing laws hasn’t reduced evil in the world. What will it take for well-meaning folks to figure out that it’s not the guns that are committing the violence – it’s the defective people. Fix the disintegrated family which is causing a lot of kids to become violent with guns.

* * * * *

It wasn’t too long ago I heard people being rather dismissive of the need to build dams to create more water storage. I would hear, “What good are dams when we have a drought?” It would make as much sense to hear someone say, “What good is a fat bank account now that I am out of a job?”

If California state officials – read that as Democrats who oppose building dams – had planned ahead, we would have more places to put all that water that rained down earlier this year. But, because nobody prepared for that, the state is flushing water downstream and right out to the ocean because there is nowhere to put the rapidly melting snowpack. Brilliant.

Until the voters wake up we won’t elect the right people to solve any of California’s woes.

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