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Mayoral candidate has no clue what he’s saying

I had a chance to listen to the 42-minute bluff session mayoral candidate Javier Lopez had with a group of young girls on YouTube asking questions. The main takeaway is that while Lopez may seem like a nice guy, he has no clue what he’s doing. He’s over his head.

He has no ideas as to why he offers the best leadership for the city.

I heard a lot of “I’m gonna try,” “once I’m there and talk to …” and “we need to figure out these issues” and “it’s something to look into” in response to questions.

When asked about his experience, Lopez spoke about being an entertainment writer in the niche publication the Modesto View, in which he apparently got too political at times.

While admitting Bret Durossette has a lot of experience in city government he said “new leadership is important.” His answers reveal, however, that he’s short on real solutions and vision other than generic cliches.

He offered up no specific plans to tackle blight or homeless.

Lopez showed his lack of understanding when he said he wasn’t sure if street preservation projects were using “COVID money they’re wasting.” Ever hear of Measure L, sir?

“There’s no way I’m getting COVID money and I’m paving roads.”

Huh? Roads are being paved by county Measure L funds.

Another telling point is when he was asked about the surface water project. He said it wasn’t “fair” that residents have to pay for the water plant that will provide the water they drink. Who is then? Residents of some other town? He suggests he will vote against a plant already underway.

In a rather bizarre statement Lopez then suggests he wants to see “more water stations in Ceres.” He’s kidding, right? His solution to clean water isn’t building a surface water plant but having everyone haul their blue containers down to the watermill dispensing machines.

One of the young ladies asked about his plan to feed students dinner, since apparently parents have abdicated their responsibility in feeding their own children and now that’s a city responsibility. Lopez falls right into it, saying he will have to work with the school district.

Lopez also stated that he is “not really fond about is waiting” for the Walmart Supercenter calling it a “waste of time.” He said the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center is inexplicably “probably going to set us back … we’ve been waiting too long for that.” Tell that to all the merchants on the southeast corner of Mitchell and Service who can’t wait for the project to build to bring in more customers to their shops. He rambled on about building a park on the Walmart property and maybe a Cheesecake Factory and building a lake. Never mind that the Mitchell Ranch Shopping Center comes with a lot more shops and that they are supposed to be up for approval of a final subdivision map next week.

Somewhere out of left field, Lopez states he wouldn’t want the empty Kmart building to become an Amazon fulfillment center, as if that is being proposed – or even feasible.

Lopez suggests the budget might be mismanaged – but he’s not sure but by golly he’ll look into it – and refers to a $4.5 million budget apparently not realizing that figure is just the reserves!

Of course being young people influenced by the Left, they ask if he’s in favor of defunding police. Fortunately, Lopez said police and fire are underfunded. Unfortunately he goes on to say the conversation about channeling public safety funds to social causes “doesn’t end there.”

“That will be talked about – trust me,” he told the students.

The questions continue about what he would do about all the racial injustice in Ceres, as if that really is a legitimate problem. They get a strange answer about job training and teaching kids about using credit. 

When asked if he supports Black Lives Matter, Lopez gives an affirmative and cleverly says “I support black lives.”

Lopez states, “If we stay with the same councilmembers it’s going to be difficult to move anything.” Perhaps his performance works with 17-year-olds grilling a candidate but to the people who know how local government works, it was a dismal interview.

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The news that Ceres will be going to a three-can garbage can system on Jan. 1, 2022 has me wondering if the Ceres City Council will regret their recent relaxation of the city’s garbage can storage laws.

I was a vocal critic of the Ceres City Council changing the municipal code and allowing residents to now keep their garbage cans in public view and not screened behind a fence. Households are now allowed to take the lazy approach to keep their cans where they can be seen on the side yard. In some places you’ll see four cans side-by-side at the side yard. Imagine the blight that will occur now with six cans out in some locations.

The change in policy was approved by Mayor Chris Vierra, and Councilman Bret Durossette and Mike Kline. Councilman Channce Condit and Vice Mayor Linda Ryno, if you will recall, opposed allowing cans in public view on non-collection days.

The council may want to rethink their recent change in policy and go back to the old law that stated residents must keep their cans either behind a fence or screened off some other way.

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The liberal mayor of Portland is a piece of work.

Trump hater Ted Wheeler lets violence in his city get out of hand and lays the blame at the president’s feet. “It’s you who have created the hate and the division,” Wheeler shot at the president.

You see, in Wheeler’s mind, only Black Lives Matter has the right to protest and take over the streets. There is no room for conservatives to protest. Wheeler asked: ““Do you seriously wonder, Mr. President, why this is the first time in decades that America has seen this level of violence?” Yeah, we know why, Mr. Mayor. It’s because of the rise of militant radical socialists who have been left unchecked in their level of violence. They couldn’t handle the results of the 2016 presidential election and are throwing a fit. So in their worldview, everything that happens is Trump’s fault.  If a black man dies at the hands of police, he is automatically lionized while his deeds are ignored and the police are vilified.

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