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On cleaning up Ceres, Mesiti, dirty politics, and First Amendment
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My comments about Ceres residents needing to step up and clean their own city were mostly embraced by readers who are already doing their part. I was a bit bewildered, however, when Paulette Love Kinner posted on the Courier Facebook page: "Are you kidding me? The city has enough money in its coffers to pay for cleaning up the streets. It's a small city. It's not our job to pick up after what the street sweepers should be doing ..."

The city has enough money? That's news to me.

Street sweepers may keep the streets clean but trash exists in areas not serviced by sweepers. Trash is on sidewalks, in yards and in parks.

Michelle Cordes Donaldson agreed with me, posting: "We are all part-time unpaid sanitation workers. Our clients are the tweakers who destroy the streets every week around 1 a.m. digging through our garbage cans and let's not forget the largest population in Ceres leaving dirty diapers in every shopping cart, park & parking lot in town. #Movingasap"

Peggy Phelps suggested utilizing code enforcement, saying "That is what we are paying our taxes for right?" Well, yes, taxes fund code enforcement but about 80 percent of the city's general fund goes to police and fire and they aren't hired to pick up trash. The city is in the process of hiring one code enforcement officer but Ceres probably needs five or six of them with the amount of problems that need correction.

Good for Sue Junghanns who said she picks up trash all the time. She said she lives on a corner lot where people use her ivy as their trash bin.

It's not hard to take care of this issues. There's an old saying, "Many hands make light work." If everyone only picked up the trash around their own property, the problem would be solved. Walk outside the house and yard and pick up any trash you see. Others may be the problem but we can all be part of the solution.

It's as simple as: If you use the park, leave no trace that you were ever there. If you post yard sale signs - which you legally cannot do - then take them down before the sale ends, not after.

It's not hard, folks.

As Anthony J. D'Angelo said: "Without a sense of caring, there can be no sense of community."

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For some time I've commented about California's woes - namely about how too many people live here while jack rabbits outnumber people in Wyoming. But this is a case for putting too many rats in the cage. Not surprisingly, California was listed as the second state in the nation for road rage incidents. The first state is Hawaii. Paradise is in gridlock just as in California.

With all this so-called "global warming" you would think the Golden State would lose its corner market on nicer weather states.

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Very much on mind lately has been the tragic short life of Alycia Mesiti.

She was the 14-year-old Ceres girl who was abused so horrifically by her own father a decade ago that it's difficult to comprehend how depraved the mind of Mark Mesiti became.

Obviously a man with twisted ideas about sex and child pornography, Mesiti finally admitted his dirty deeds in court last week. He had drugged Alycia so he could sexually violate her repeatedly and gave her so much that she died. That should turn the stomach of any normal, decent human being. Then he buried her in the backyard and left Ceres, pretending the whole time to receiving periodic phone calls from her.

I sat in on his trial one morning and noticed how he willing glanced up at slides of photos of his devices taken from an Los Angeles apartment after his arrest. But when a photo of Alycia's unearthed body was projected, Mark Mesiti was not looking up.

For years Mesiti dragged his feet in our judicial system, delaying things until he couldn't delay any longer. He allowed an expensive trial to get underway and disrupt the lives of jurors and prosecutors. Then he pleads guilty he spare his life - something he didn't think of doing for his daughter.

In my mind, Mesiti deserves death. But as long as California is governed by a bunch of spineless, gutless, futile thinking, emasculating lawmakers who are enslaved to special interests and political correctness, we'll continue to see people like Mesiti rewarded with a life of three square meals a day, medical and dental care, laundry services and a roof over their heads. Meanwhile, I hope there is any semblance of a conscience remaining in Mark Mesiti to where the memory of Alycia sears him daily.

God forgives when the heart is contrite. But make no mistake - law He set down enacts severe consequences for such evil behavior.
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There's lots of fuss being trumped up on the left about Trump saying something insensitive to the widow of a U.S. serviceman. The quote was something like "he knew what he was signing up for but when it happens it hurts."

Why the outrage?

The charge is coming from Congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat who is relishing in the publicity and being a "rock star."

It's not every day a person gets a call from the president. It's pathetic that a call of sympathy would be twisted and politicized. But there is a dog pack mentality stirred up by the national media against our president.

It's not the first time a Democratic operative has worked dirty tricks. Remember in 1999 when someone just happened to record a private cell phone conversation of Newt Gingrich and hand-delivered it to Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) who then gladly turned it over to the press?

A lesser known local incident occurred when then Republican Assemblyman George House was running against Democrat Margaret Snyder. George told the Courier about the time he was on his rural Hughson ranch on a hot summer day and this hot blonde in a red sports car drove up and asks for water. (Who does that?) He showed her the garden hose and apparently she put her mouth over the end of the hose in a provocative manner, while giving him a come hither look. No dummy, he knew it was a setup and was certain somebody was out in the orchard with a zoom lens hoping to snap career-ending images if George went for it. George was a pretty straight shooter.

Whether it was Snyder or her party, who knows but it illustrates how dirty politics can be.

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Even Democrats get stung by the Democrats.

Gov. Brown sucker punched Adam Gray last week when he vetoed Gray's bill that would have broken up the power stranglehold of the State Water Resources Control Board - which Gray called an "out of control kangaroo court of an agency." It was a good idea but Brown apparently likes having all water policy in the hands of five individuals.

AB 313 would have broken up the power. As Assemblyman Gray stated, "For more than half a century, the State Water Resources Control Board (is) ... the judge, the jury, and the prosecution in the water world. They have zero accountability to the people of California, yet their decisions impact the daily lives of millions of people."

Under current law, the Water Board issues complaints against water users for alleged water rights violations and provides 20 days for the user to request an appeals hearing. The hearing occurs at the Water Board itself, with Water Board staff acting as the prosecution and a member of the Water Board acting as the judge. A legislative report found that out of more than 2,500 cases in the last decade, the Water Board has only overturned a single complaint.

Assemblyman Heath Flora and state Senator Anthony Cannella expressed disappointment and vowed to keep fighting.

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Any respect I had for Brown - it wasn't much - has been eradicated by his decision to sign a bill giving Californians a "third option" when listing gender on their state-issued driver license.

This is not about the rare cases of people born with genetic abnormalities. The bill, SB179, makes California the first in the nation to offer the non-binary option for people who want their documents to match their gender identity. "Non-binary" is the umbrella term for people who do not consider themselves either female or male. So in other words, if a man who has a male part believes he is a woman he can declare himself as non-binary.

It's rather funny how the left labels those of us who don't believe in manmade global climate change as "science deniers" but they ignore the science of human biology because it earns them political correctness points. Laughable, really.

What is going on in our sad world? We live in a country that feels girls should be part of the Boy Scouts now. And Bruce Jenner can pretend he is a woman all he wants but he is a huge denier of biological truth that says no surgery can erase his male bone structure and DNA of a man. It's also a society that has some members pretending they are sovereign citizens and don't have to abide by any of its laws. We have people calling cotton artwork at Hobby Lobby as racist.

We don't have the right to determine our gender. That certainly is God stuff and how arrogant of us to think differently.

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Donald Trump, the most hated man in national media circles, can do no right. He made four trips to hurricane ravaged areas. He's taking hits now for not visiting areas of Northern California ravaged by fire. Some are wondering if it's political. I can't say I blame him for not wanting to visit a state that just declared it to be a sanctuary state, defying federal immigration law. I imagine Trump is thinking if he were to show up in California, the press would attack him and his wife for what they might be wearing, any words he might misspeak or how dare he sneeze at the improper time.
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Don Cool, our resident Ceres freelance photographer, called from Santa Rosa Friday afternoon after viewing the devastation of the fires. He was beyond words, saying it was the worst disaster he had seen up close. Don told me he was at the corner of San Somita Drive and San Salvador and all the homes were gone, lying in ash. I pulled up the google photos of a lush, green modest income subdivision as it no longer appeared. I snapped the photos and sent them to Don's cell phone.

Nobody can believe how embers from miles away ignited and destroyed a city subdivision in such a destructive manner. Hard to believe, indeed.

The deadly fires, which started October 7, destroyed structures, forced thousands of evacuations and caused major highway closures.

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Paranormal, parasch-normal.

I'm a history lover but I have an aversion to people trying to introduce technology to reach the departed. Or when history is packaged with the unusual. Being Halloween season, the Turlock Historical Society held its Downtown Turlock Ghost Walk to take folks on a stroll through the haunted history of some of the more antiquated buildings, including some so-called findings of various paranormal investigators who have looked for evidence of specters.

Odd, Ceres dates back to the 1860s and in the 30 years at the Courier, not once did anyone ever report to me any ghost sightings.

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Speaking of Ceres history, town founder Daniel Whitmore was adamant about his town not being a place where people were imbibing alcoholic beverages. I wonder what old Mr. Whitmore would think about leaders in 2017 approving marijuana dispensaries in exchange for exorbitant fees?

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You would think by the time one reached University that a student would be solid on the concept of Freedom of Speech. Isn't this sixth grade material? Yet it's amusing that a professor at Stanislaus State felt the need to conduct a seminar to teach the snowflakes there that they don't have the right to shut down speech they dislike.

Communication Studies professor Dr. Shannon Stevens told them speech is protected by the First Amendment and will continue to reside in "the free marketplace of ideas" where only the best ideas emerge through civil discourse.

Stevens added that the people with the most offensive ideas are the ones who need the First Amendment's protection the most. "I don't want to see a world where (college) administration gets to decide what is an okay thing for people on campus to say," said Stevens.

Such voices of reason on college campuses are refreshing.

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I received an interesting handwritten letter from a 47-year-old prisoner at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada. Having watched some recent reality programs on prison life, I can empathize with how it must feel locked away like an animal. Inmate Jeff L. Jones says he is from this part of California and that he is lonely and wants pen-pals or friends to correspond with him. He wrote: "I really need to make some loving friends in my life to help me continue to grow as a positive person. I have been in prison since I was a juvenile, 17 years old. I have made a lot of strides in my life to change who I was and it would be great to share it with like-minded people. My family doesn't care about me." He wanted a free classified ad but I thought I would include it in this format. If you feel prompted to reach out and offer him some encouragement, write to him - Jeff L. Jones #25525, Lovelock Correctional Center, 1200 Prison Road, Lovelock NV 89419.

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Remember how Democrat lawmakers in Sacramento forbid cities to hold city council elections in years in which we are not electing a governor or president? SB 415 specifically says that cities cannot hold an election in an off-year if voter turnout is more than 25 percent less than major election years.

Do you find it odd that the Democrats in Sacramento have not forbidden tax measures from being held in slower election cycles?

Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at
He will read it, promise.