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Our AG is a political hack & no city council race this year
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Our state Attorney General Xavier Becerra has overstepped his bounds once again. It's unbelievable what this guy can come up with. If he isn't positioning himself to run for governor of the People's Republic of California I'll be very surprised. He's very much playing to the blue state audience.

Now he doesn't want the state of California to pay for any employee travel to four additional states which have enacted policies against his leftist agenda. (The AGs in those states won't be returning the favor because they are states that don't believe in such manipulation and black mail.)

The states that Becerra is railing against are Alabama, Kentucky, South Dakota and Texas because they each adopted laws the LGBTQ community doesn't like. For reference LGBTQ means Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Queer.

Actually, the laws have more to do with protecting religious liberty and we all know Becerra has zero interest in protecting religious liberties.

Becerra doesn't like Alabama for HB 24, the Child Placing Agency Inclusion Act. It prohibits the state from taking "adverse action" against a foster or adoption agency that declines to place a child in a situation that conflicts with its religious beliefs. Hence, if an adoption agency is Christian based, and doesn't wish to place a child under the care of a gay couple, they can't be punished.

South Dakota passed a similar bill in SB 149 in March. Texas did the same in HB 3859 weeks ago. Proponents of the billd have been adamant that the legislation does not discriminate against anyone, pointing out that faith-based groups must still make referrals to different organizations.

What did Kentucky do that was so bad, besides produce clerk Kim Davis who refused to issue a marriage license to gay couples? Well Gov. Matt Bevin signed into law SB 17 which specifically protects religious student groups at high schools and colleges who "voluntarily express religious or political viewpoints.... in classroom, homework, artwork, and other written and oral assignments" and enshrines students' right to "distribute religious or political literature in a public school." The law was called the Charlie Brown Law after a Kentucky school cut a Bible verse from a school production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. We all know it's the verse about the birth of Christ. The gay community cries foul because it says gays can be excluded from such clubs or activities when this is about Christians being silenced on campuses.

The assault on religious freedoms continues, and sadly coming from elected officials such as Becerra.

* * * * *

This would have been an election year for the Ceres City Council.

Would have been.

In November 2013 Ken Lane and Linda Ryno were elected to four-year terms, which means their terms should have ended this year and candidates would be presently scrambling to make plans and raise cash to seek those offices.

That changed as the direct result of your interfering Sacramento mob - more specifically because of the California Voters Rights Act of 1993.

Let me explain.

Somehow someone came up with this cockamamie theory that in our fair election system - which have been working just fine for decades - that minorities (code word for Latinos) are somehow at a handicap in running for office. They claim that at-large elections - where any eligible candidates in any given jurisdiction all run for the same specific number of seats - were stacked against minorities. So someone came up with a theory that creating district elections would make it "easier" for minorities to run for office.

So because there is a group of money-grubbing lawyers rattling their lawyer briefcases at city and school district officials who stay with the tried-and-true method of electing representatives, cities are being coerced into creating district elections. Ceres put the council district election concept to a vote of the people and Measure D passed in Nov. 2015. Thus, starting in 2016, council candidates could only run within the district they reside. (The office of mayor would continue to be elected on at at-large basis since there is but one mayor.)

But wait, there's more confusion. Along came a SB 415 bill - authored by a Democrat and signed into law by a Democrat Gov. Brown - that dictates that council elections can't be held in an "off-year," or a year in which we aren't electing a president or governor. State lawmakers took note that many voters are so apathetic that they won't usually turn out if only local races are on the ballot. So they made a law that requires cities to adjust to the pathetic apathetic voters and come up with a transition plan by Jan. 1, 2018 and implemented by November 2022. Ceres wasted no time in complying.

SB 415 specifically states that cities cannot hold an election in an off-year if the historical trend of voter turnout is at least 25 percent lower than in major election years. Ceres absolutely falls in that category. Average Ceres voter turnout over the past four statewide elections (including two presidential elections) was 51 percent. However, average voter turnout in the past four municipal elections held in an "off years" was a dismal 17 percent. That puts Ceres directly under the dictates of SB 214 to modify council terms.

To accommodate the state law the council had three options to comply with SB 415:

• A one-time expansion of the current four-year terms to five years so elections fall in an odd-year election;

• A one-time reduction of the otherwise four-year terms to three years;

• Extend the next council terms by a year.

You guessed it. Earlier this year they gave Lane and Ryno a free year, making their terms up in 2018 instead of 2017.

The seats of Mayor Chris Vierra and Councilman Bret Durossette and Vice Mayor Mike Kline were set to expire November 2019, an off-year for elections. Adding a year to their terms mean they will be before voters until November 2020, which will be a presidential election year.

The city did not need to seek voter approval to expand the terms under SB 415.

So there you have it. Confused still? All you need to know is Sacramento did this to you. Oh, and that you won't be electing two councilmembers this year.

* * * * *

The new Save Mart opened Monday and today is a 9:30 a.m. grand opening. From what I hear, it's a store of which Ceres will be proud.

* * * * *

City Finance Director Suzanne Dean was not happy with me Monday. After the council meeting she told me that the budget report I quoted and attributed to City Manager Toby Wells were her words. She put a lot of time in the budget and is to be commended. I was schooled in the fact that just because a staff report is from Wells to look for the second name beneath it for authorship. News to me, but I've taken note.

* * * * *

Ever get the feeling that California just has way too many people in it? I felt that way two weeks ago when my girl and I traveled the 110 miles to Watsonville to enjoy the beach and were turned away on account of no places to park. Didn't even get out of the car and turned right around and headed back to the threshold of hell, AKA, the Valley in summer time.

Seriously though, 39.14 million people? Wyoming has 586,107, roughly the population of Las Vegas.

* * * * *

Things are not the same as when I was growing up in Milpitas and Modesto. I took inventory of the things we could do back then that we can't today. It's enough to make your head spin:

• We used to be able to ride in the back of a pickup and boy that was fun;

• We used to have one McDonald's in Stanislaus County;

• We used to wait until 6 p.m. to hear what happened in the world that day;

• Write and send letters;

• Remember phone numbers;

• Check paper folding maps before taking a road trip;

• We used to be able to walk into a theater and buy a ticket for any seat, first-come, first-served. Now you have to go online and buy ahead of time. What a pain.

• We could go about our business without being enslaved to that taskmaster called a smart phone;

• We used to have our pick of a roller rink. None exist in the county today.

• We used to swim in canals and nobody bothered us;

• We used to ride around in cars without child carriers. The seat belts seemed to be just fine;

• We used to be able to go to Disneyland without paying any admission charge but had to buy tickets to ride. Now you have to budget a small fortune for a trip to spend two hours in line for a 3 minute ride and pay $8 for a churro. What fun!

• We used to be able to sing real Christmas songs in school programs, not celebrate this multi-cultural gobblygook.

* * * * *

Really? Did Johnny Depp suggest it was time for another actor to shoot a president? He may be a great actor but he's rather despicable for such words. He said Trump needed "help," but after seeing a video of Depp acting abusively while intoxicated, slamming around cabinets and glasses, I'd say Johnny Depp has the problem.

And did you hear that Phil Montag, the co-chair of the Nebraska Democratic Party's technology committee, was fired after a recording was made saying he was glad that Rep. Steve Scalise was shot. In fact, Phil said: "I wish he was f***ing dead."

The list of those who have uttered such disgraceful remarks against the president is growing. The unhinging of the left goes on and their rhetoric foments violence like we saw against Scalise.

They really should think about checking themselves into anger management classes.

* * * * *

The anti-Denham folks don't give up their organized slams of our congressman, who I feel is a pretty decent guy. They consider him an extension of Donald Trump and you know how the left loathes him, and even wants him dead. It's reprehensible. Denham had a piece recently published in the Washington Examiner titled, "A long overdue change at the VA is about to improve the lives of our veterans" and there were some naysayer comments that traced back to the district.

One person, Laura Irwin, complained that comments were being removed by the newspaper, saying "Surely Rep. Denham is not afraid but to hear what his constituents think? I know! He could have a town hall!!" The comments were likely so over the top that the newspaper had to eliminate them. And besides, Denham has been at Town Hall - many of them where the left screams and berates him in the most forcefully disrespectful way.

Lise Talbott posted this comment on the Examiner website: "You know what veterans could also use? Clean air, clean water, access to health care for their extended families through the ACA, and all the other things that your BFF Trump is against. If you really want to stand up for veterans, take a stand against Trump. Take a stand for the people of your district."

Lise is a local woman. Seriously, clean air and clean water? I didn't know those were issues in our country any more. Has she been to China and seen the air quality there?

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