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New crop of candidates know little about issues

One thing is for sure: Before this thing is over with, we’re all going to have slightly flatter noses and ears that protrude more than they did in 2019.

I think you know what I mean.

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Throughout my career as a journalist I’ve covered many local elections. Normally City Council candidates rise up from those already involved in city circles, such as serving on committees or commissions. Occassionally an “unknown” surfaces, despite being ill-prepared. This year there are a lot. I can’t recollect seeing any of them attend council meetings. They bring little understanding of how local government works and little vision as they approach elective office with a motivation to serve their community.

I realize the campaign just started but in preliminary talks, a few this cycle haven’t articulated much of a vision for Ceres other than attract more business and they are the ones to do it – all while failing to acknowledge the economic development overtures current leadership actively makes to bring business to Ceres. Mayoral candidate Javier Lopez, as an example, pledges on his GoFundMe page to “focus on driving business back to Ceres.” The city hasn’t been driving business out of town; the decision about whether a city can support a business depends on profitability. We heard that Rancho San Miguel left Hatch Road because they weren’t making it with high rents and the saturation of other markets in town like Cost Less Foods, Food-4-Less, Save Mart and Dollar General. Surely Lopez knows that every time someone orders from Amazon that they’re putting another nail in the coffin of brick and mortar stores. Kmart, Staples and Factory 2-U all closed their Ceres stores because they’ve succumbed to online sales. Lots of folks think if you just ask businesses, they’ll come. It doesn’t work that way. It’s a business decision based on market, the number of “rooftops” and disposable income before deciding if there is enough demand to make them profitable.

Apparently Lopez wants the city to get into the business of feeding children, saying that he wants to improve “meal programs to students.” Maybe he doesn’t realize the Ceres school board is in charge of food service and not the city.

He also wants to clean up Ceres. For sure Ceres needs to clean itself up but every member of the council has lobbied for increased code enforcement. But if we’ll be honest about the elephant in the room, the city isn’t messing up Ceres – it’s the lowest denominator of society here! If you can figure out a way to make people care about not trashing their town, leaving shopping carts scattered about or taking the time to make their yards look presentable, you could probably also come up with a cure for cancer too.

Ceres also suffers from the inaction of Caltrans and the Southern Pacific Railroad in cleaning up its right-of-way from the homeless bums that have invaded town.

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I am deal with words every day so I scratched my head when a letter came in from a young woman who labeled herself a “Latinx.” I thought it was a typo; that she meant Latino. No, Latinx is one of those new made-up words to redefine people. Apparently Latino wasn’t a good enough word; we neeed a word to describe a person of Latin American origin or descent who are confused about the genitalia they were born with. That’s right, in this day of “wokeness,” it’s a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina.

Pew Research Center found that only about one in four adults in the U.S. who identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard the term “Latinx,” while just 3 percent say they use it to describe themselves. The term comes from the “enlightened” newer generation of younger, U.S.-born, bilingual or predominately English-speaking and Democratic-leaning people, according to CNN. 

Since many who use this term have been indoctrinated by college leftists, you might figure out where this reinventing of language comes from.

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Kamala Harris, of course, is one of California’s U.S. senators but you may not know because you never see her coming around. It used to be that public officials would visit their state – all parts of it regardless of population. I mean, California Gov. Earl Warren didn’t scoff at the idea of making an appearance in Hughson. U.S. Senator Thomas Kuchel visited Ceres in the 1960s. Richard Nixon felt Ceres was important enough to drop by for a visit to the Richland Shopping Center in 1962. But in this day and age of political expediency where “flyover” parts of the state don’t matter, Dianne Feinstein, to my knowledge, hasn’t been here once. Neither has Kamala Harris. I think the only time she visited Stanislaus County was when she was running for office and visited MJC.

Harris now wants a bigger job and she’ll be helped by all the gushing-with-praise national media types. You might be concerned that the Al Jazerra news outlet praises Harris. She is no pragmatic moderate like the New York Times has now pronounced to be after tearing her up in the primaries. I watched the way she badgered Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in his televised lynching and was angered that a prosecutor could be so partisan and unfair in a line of questioning. No wonder Democrat voters didn’t like her during the primary election process. Her performance as dismal.

What you need to know about Harris is she likes to use race against people, she would love to take away guns and she’s no friend of the Christian church. She supports abortion rights. She’s also no friend to law enforcement. In 2018 Senate hearings, Harris suggested that ICE immigration officials were domestic terrorists just like the KKK.

In June Harris supported cutting $150 million from the Los Angeles Police Department budget and taking the police force below 10,000 for the first time in more than a decade.  “I applaud Eric Garcetti for doing what he’s done,” Harris told ABC’s Good Morning America host George Stephanopoulos. “Right now, what we’re seeing in America is many cities spend over one-third of their entire city budget on policing but meanwhile we’ve been defunding public schools for years in America,” she added.

Public safety is just as important and worthy as education. But Harris types love disparaging police as a wedge to obtain more funding for education and giving into teacher’s unions.

An ABC/Ipsos poll taken last June found that  64 percent of Americans reject the idea of defunding the police, including 91 percent of Republicans, 45 percent of Democrats, 43 percent of blacks, 58 percent of Hispanics and 74 percent of whites.

Harris is a suck-up to the BLM-Antifa wing of the party, and her pick a signal by Biden to the rioters “I’m with you.” It will cost him losing moderate Democrats who oppose such a radical idea.

Harris cried foul after she lost her presidential bid, suggested that her race – and not her unpopular radical ideas – caused her rejection by voters.

It was well reported how she slept her way to appointments in California with State Assembly Speaker Mayor Willie Brown – 31 years her senior – and how he rewarded her with an appointment to the California Medical Assistance Commission in 1994.

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I wrote many things in my Aug. 5 column about how our young people have a vastly different view of America than those of us boomers do. I suggested in my fourth paragraph that maybe it’s time we up the voting age to 21, mostly tongue in cheek, because it’ll never happen. But I think it’s a valid move. We don’t trust kids’ judgment to drink responsibly until they’re 21 yet we trust their judgement to vote responsibly?

CUSD Supt. Scott Siegel rebuffed that idea in a letter in which he stated: “Their diverse political views do not lessen their worthiness to vote.” No, Dr. Siegel, but it’s concerning – and you neglected to weigh in on this – that we have some young people in Ceres who feel threatened by the American flag, the very symbol of our nation’s founding.

Liberals actually embrace the idea of lowering the voting age to 16 – because they know kids with no real life experience overwhelmingly vote for Democrats since that’s the indoctrination at school. A few years ago Senator Kamala Harris said she was “really interested in having that conversation” about a constitutional amendment to allow 16- and 17 year-olds the right to vote. With a straight face Harris claimed that we are putting more responsibilities on kids at a younger age so we should give them a vote. Hmmm, more responsibility like when Obama and Democrats forced parents’ medical insurance plans to cover their “dependent” kids until 26 – even though they are adults at 18 and become legally responsible for themselves?

But alas, Harris was only pandering and really didn’t mean what she said. In 2015 she said, “We mold and shape and direct someone to become a productive adult. What’s the other thing we know about this population – and it’s a specific phase of life, remember age is more than a chronological fact – what else do we know about this population, 18 through 24? They are stupid!”

Yes she said it and it’s on tape. So while Harris thinks those under 24 are “stupid,” she feels 10th-graders are capable of understanding voter issues and make a decision. Talk about pandering.

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Recently I mentioned a letter writer living outside our area named Jake Pickering of Arcata as an example of someone on the left who has completely abandoned all decency and civility. His latest venomous rant – in a letter that won’t be published – attacks Rep. Louie Gohmert, a Texas conservative. Pickering calls out Gohmert for the high crime of not wearing a mask. Pickering uses the following terms for Gohmert:  “Lunatic fringe fascist fool,” “dumbest, most worthless member of Congress,” an “imbecile and a sick scumbag,” “corrupt,” “lamebrain,” “whiny little clueless conservative cry baby, “goofball,” “idiot,” “dishonorable dimwit,” “Louie the loser,” “Moscow-loving moron,” “sick psycho,” and “anti-American bigots.” Pickering calls Trump “demonic.”

Jake, please see a doctor. We understand that you think wearing mask will really guarantee you won’t get COVID. But we do care about you and fear that all that bottled up hatred will cause you to suffer a stroke or earn you a heart attack.

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Most Americans realize that the national news media is in the tank for Biden and against Trump. Just read their headlines. ABC News ran: ‘Liberal?’ ‘Phony?’ ‘Nasty?’: Trump, GOP struggle with how to attack Harris.”

There is no struggle in attacking her. You just explain the truth, and yes she was nasty to Kavanaugh. Yes, she is also phony as evidenced by her flip-flopping on the issues.

You can bet that any headline from MSN will be deliberately slanted against the president. On Thursday was this: “Trump ramps up sexist rhetoric against political rivals.” The headline didn’t reflect reality though. Trump made no sexist remarks about Harris. The remark, which they labeled sexist, was: “Now you have a – sort of a mad woman, I call her, because she was so angry and such hatred with Justice Kavanaugh. I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it. She was the angriest of the group. But they were all angry.”

Politico called it an incendiary remark. I call it the plain truth. Harris was trying her level best to smear Brett Kavanaugh.

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We have some real pieces of work in the state Assembly. State Assemblyman Rob Bonta, an Oakland Democrat – Oakland seems to be a breeding ground for radical politicians – has authored a bill to add even more taxes onto the state’s successful residents. Socialist Bonta and more than a dozen of his fellow socialist lawmakers have introduced legislation that would establish a first-in-the-nation “net worth tax”. This proposed tax would screw an estimated $7.5 billion per year out of Californians who earned their money and became financially successful. Dubbed the California Wealth Tax (AB 2088 as amended) would apply a 0.4 percent tax on the portion of a taxpayer’s net worth that exceeds $30 million. It would affect approximately 30,400 Californians. Expect many of those people to leave California for good. I know I would!

The halls of Sacramento are teaming with enemies of entrepreneurs who want to punish successful people to garner the votes of the so-called downtrodden. One of them is the uber socialist Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-San Diego) who said: “The extreme wealth gap that plagues our state pre-dates the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, middle-income and working class folks are faced with being unemployed or they’re forced to return to jobs that put them at a higher risk of getting sick.”


Bonta has authored some pretty strange bills before, like the one forcing schools to teach the role that Filipino immigrants played in California agriculture. No doubt because he was born in the Philippines.

Bonta also is also communist friendly. In 2017 he introduced AB 22 that would protect government employees from being fired for being members of the Communist Party. It was design to repeal an almost 70-year ban on Communist Party members holding government jobs in California.

Bonta heaped praises upon praises on Gov. Newsom in July for making approximately 8,000 Californians eligible for release from prison out of COVID concerns. Isn’t it great that Bonta is looking out for prisoners and not the law-abiding citizens who have managed to live life honestly to avoid prison?

In June Bonta authored another weird bill, AB 1550, which makes calling 911 a hate crime if it’s deemed to be racially based. It’s one of those slippery slope bills that puts people on a dangerous predicament. See, in Bonta’s world, all white people are scared to death of black people and they call 911 when they shouldn’t. Bonta said: “If you are afraid of a black family barbecuing in the community park, a man dancing and doing his normal exercise routine in the bike lane, or someone who asks you to comply with dog leash laws in a park, and your immediate response is to call the police, the real problem is with your own personal prejudice.”

Okay, that’s weird. Why would it be a hate crime to report someone of any color dancing in a bike lane because the logical conclusion would be that the person is probably high on drugs and a danger to himself and others. Under Bonta’s bill, if the dancing man were black, you could be convicted of a hate crime.

No wonder Californians are getting out of this patient run insane asylum.

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