By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Local politics is about to get very interesting

It’s shaping to be another interesting cycle in local politics.

I’ve never thought that district elections were a good thing for a small city that’s only three miles from north to south and five miles from west to east and less than 50,000 inhabitants. While the minority groups felt districts would be a good way to get minority candidates elected to office, all it does is prevent voters from putting into place the best candidates. Let me explain. In the good old days, all council candidates competed for the open seats at large. You chose the best from one pool.  By virtue of districts and multiple pools, you could have incompetents unchallenged with better candidates unable to run because their districts aren’t up for grabs.   

Just some casual observations about the three races for Ceres City Council as they are shaping up.

We have a newcomer who has says he’s running to enter politics with no specific ideas on how to improve life in Ceres taking on a councilman who sometimes has trouble following what’s going on at meetings due to hearing loss.

We also have a District 2 candidate who raised eyebrows in January with a social media post voicing her displeasure that a city code enforcement officer cited and fined her $150 for having three trash cans stored in public view. She called him overzealous. Ceres resident John Warren opined that her disrespect of the code enforcement officer warranted her removal from the Measure H Committee.

She also made a controversial social media post that mentioned two “white councilmembers” voted against changing the name of Eastgate Park to Guillermo Ochoa Park.

In District 4 we possibly have three candidates. One who hasn’t filed yet was been banned from commenting on Courier Facebook articles years ago because of his disrespect. The other was picked to fill a council seat last year but denied taking that seat when the council learned of the disgusting things he said on his podcast.

This could be a wild election.

* * * * *

I saw another meme that I agreed with: “People cry ‘My body, my choice.’ Well I say, ‘Your student loan, your payments.’”

* * * * *

Governor Newsom – who wants to be president – is trying to look like he wants to do something about water but nowhere have I seen an effort capture more water in the mountains by building new dams.

In Antioch on Thursday Newsom announced his strategy for providing water to those living here, saying the water supply could drop by 10 percent by 2040.

Newsom’s always uses language to try sounding so intelligent and pontificate – which is always off-putting. After stating that all of a sudden “science and data” is saying we could see less rainfall and that – here we go with the flowery bloviation – “As a consequence of that deeper appreciation, that deeper understanding, we have a renewed sense of urgency to address this issue head on but we do so from a multiplicity of perspectives and ways, not just from a scarcity mindset.”

Newsom claims to desire creating storage space for up to 4 million acre-feet of water. We’ll see if he’s serious as he and his party have fought water storage projects. Remember, our last dam in California was built in 1978, New Melones!

Newsom must have had an epiphany when he stated these projects would allow California: “to capitalize on big storms when they do occur and store water for dry periods.” Thanks, Captain Obvious, but we used to build those things called dams long ago. No thanks to California bureaucrats, we are flushing water out of our reservoirs like there’s no tomorrow – even in a drought.

Assembly Republican Leader James Gallagher (Yuba City) issued this statement saying his speech contained more empty promises and that “his administration that is holding up water storage projects we desperately need. If he wants to do something on the drought, he could stop the press conferences and go tell his staff to act. Ultimately, the governor didn’t announce much at all today. With this current policy, we will continue to see fallow fields and abandoned farms well into the future.”

Some of Newsom’s projects I agree we should do, such as desalinization plants and recycling wastewater.

What troubles me, as a Christian, is to hear the language of our leaders. Of course, they never acknowledge that God and His provision since they don’t have any control over His control. Joaquin Esquivel, chairman of the State Water Resources Control Board, said “Mother Nature is not providing us the budgets that we all thought that we were going to depend upon.”

My Bible doesn’t say anything about any Mother Nature. Often drought is God’s way of getting the attention of a misguided people. Unfortunately, as our leaders have enacted policies that demonstrate total disregard for God and His desires, I can’t help but wonder if our drought is Him withholding blessings. Unfortunately, all suffer because of the leaders.

Remember the “Pray for Rain” signs that began appearing a few years ago? Do you remember how it did rain for that year or two? 

* * * * *

I’ve often believed that the climate change mantra is all about control and extorting money from business. But they can’t seem to get the story straight.

On one hand the so-called experts are saying we are headed for prolonged drought while UCLA researchers now claim California could be due for a megastorm because of climate change. Of course such dire predictions are all part of the scare tactic.

There is nothing wrong with being prepared but if anything, the UCLA researchers give us reason to step up planning for additional dams, which are critical to our livelihood. And yet no Democrat outside of Adam Gray seems to want to build any.

A megastorm would spell disaster for many communities, including our Valley, and especially if the state doesn’t build more basins to catch that storm water!

UCLA researchers note that California gets hammered by a megastorm every 100 to 200 years. It’s been 160 years since the likes of the storm California saw in 1862. Remember that in 1862 there were about 500,000 living in California; today under 40 million.

In 1862 none of us were here. It would be years before Modesto and Ceres and Turlock would come along in the 1870s with the Southern Pacific Railroad. In the 1862 flood had essentially similar conditions that led to the 1997 floods but the difference was in 1862 we had no flood controls, i.e., dams.

A tremendous amount of snow fell in late 1861 and along came several days of warm air from the south. That quickly melted the snow, sending torrents of water which flooded the Valley, from Atwater to Sacramento. The future town sites of Modesto and Ceres were inundated by feet of water! The bridge in Knights Ferry was wiped away and that town flooded.

The same fate would have been ours in 1997 if it weren’t for the dams on the Stanislaus, Tuolumne and Merced rivers. They literally saved us from further flooding. Even those dams weren’t high enough to capture all the water and we saw the results as flood waters crested Mitchell Road near the Modesto Airport and closed down 132 on the west side. Without Don Pedro, Modesto and Ceres would have been flooded.

So next time you think dams are bad, think of what your house being under 12 to 20 feet of water would do to your life. Yet your state officials have refused to plan for it and have fought dam construction for decades.

* * * * *

Last week I chastised Assemblyman Heath Flora for wasting taxpayers’ money in sending out mailers in the guise of a legislator communicating with his constituents. I didn’t know he would be sending out a second one over the weekend!

When you have to scrimp and sacrifice to write a check to cover your state taxes think about how your lawmakers have no problems taking advantage of your money for their benefit.

* * * * *

Congress continues to spend our great-grandchildren’s money like drunken sailors with no checks on their power. As you know Congress just passed its $740 billion Inflation Reduction Act. If that isn’t the most dishonest name for overspending I haven’t heard of one. It’s basically a green energy act on steroids.

The act is expected to force working-class Americans to pay billions of dollars in new taxes. That’s the word of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

The CBO estimates those earning less than $400,000 — the group on which Biden promised not to raise taxes — will pay an estimated $20 billion more in taxes over the next decade. Isn’t that great? Another lying politician who doesn’t give a rip about destroying the middle class.

The bill also comes with a $80 billion expenditure to hire 87,000 IRS agents to go after us all. They really care about us.


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