Controversy continues to follow Art deWerk, the former Ceres police chief and city manager. Last week he walked away from his job as city manager of Atwater.
Things are politically chaotic in Atwater, where five people have been city manager in two years.
De Werk was hired by the city of Ceres in 1999 and left in 2014. He previously served as police chief of Casper, Wyo., for eight years. He previously served with the Palo Alto Police Department for 18 years.
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A driver since 1978, I had never seen anyone dart across the freeway on a bicycle. That is until Thursday morning at 7:50 a.m. when this young man popped over the concrete center divider north of Hatch Road into the southbound lanes of 99 and peddled like hell to beat traffic.
Next time he might consider using the overpass before he becomes a roadkill statistic.
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Some were upset that the Ceres Post Office flew the American flag upside down one day last week. A photo of it was shared on social media, which opened up a discussion about why it occurred. Some suggested it was an honest mistake, others say it was a deliberate statement about the nation being in distress. At least one thought the flag flying upside down was a comment about President Trump tweeting that the United States Postal Service will lose $1.50 "on average" for each package it delivers on behalf of Amazon.
If the post office deliberately flew the flag upside down, shame on them.
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The insanity in California continues. What will it take for people to arise and protest the quick destruction of California?
Voters are in charge of politicians, not the other way around. Why are people just handing over control to the control freaks? And how do they keep getting elected? David Bahnsen, author of "Crisis of Responsibility: Our Cultural Addiction to Blame" has an idea. He notes that our culture is running from responsibility as evidenced by the 700 percent increase in disability claims in the past eight years. Our society likes shirking personal responsibility, being "taken care of," and thus elects nanny state leaders.
I can't be the only one who questions the sanity of leaders - more appropriately enslavers - in Sacramento?
Every time something goes bad, some legislator pulls a knee-jerk reaction and thinks a new law will solve something. And it often costs somebody a lot of rights and freedoms.
The latest social upheaval caused by the media is the shooting of a 22-year-old Sacramento man - who happened to be black - who did not comply with orders from police and ended up being shot to death as officers believed his cell phone was a gun.
Democrats (of course) in Assemblyman Kevin McCarty and Assemblywoman Shirley Weber are proposing legislation which would restrict officers to shoot suspects "only when necessary" rather than "when reasonable."
Hell's bells, what does that mean? Do you think most cops want to shoot people when it means nothing but personal grief? I mean, when a suspect is not complying to show hands or drop the item in their hand or refuses to get on the ground and makes a stupid sudden movement, should the officer wait o get shot first? It seems to me that a lot of these sensationalized shootings occur when a suspect does something on the order of stupid.
Should subject skin color be a mitigating factor in how police deal with someone who doesn't comply? My God, this is just plain common sense, no need to take to the streets and protest for someone's stupidity.
I'm all for ridding the nation of bad cops but it seems like every shooting leads certain groups to conclude police were racially motivated.
Let's review the Stephon Clark case. Sacramento Police received a call about a thug breaking car windows. A police helicopter tracks Clark as the suspect, watching him trying to break into a slider of a home and trespassing into another yard. Clark runs from officers on the ground. Two officers track him into a backyard where he is ordered to show his hands. Clark moves toward the officers with something in his hand. Clark gets shot multiple times and dies on the patio. They learn that what they thought was a gun was a cell phone.
It's not unlike the Jan. 5, 2016 fatal shooting by Ceres Police of Albert Thompson who was holding a torch-like lighter when he ran from them. The district attorney ruled the two officers were justified in shooting Thompson.
We can debate for months about whether or not police should have used lethal force. I don't want to see anyone killed but ask yourself: If Clark wasn't out thieving from people and trying to break into their property in the night time, would he have been in the position to be shot by police? Does Clark bear any culpability for his death? Of course he does.
Would the community have felt any better watching news coverage of funerals of two officers who took a chance that Clark was armed and used restraint and died for it? Why is the suspect lionized by the black community as some kind of martyr when the reality is that he apparently was out thieving and burglarizing?
Perhaps Greensboro, North Carolina resident Mark Robinson (a black man) said it best when his City Council contemplated a form of gun control and he told them: "We demonize and vilify the police and make the criminals into victims and we're talking about restricting guns?"
Instead of raising hell with police, the black community needs to rise up and deal with the problem of black youth crime that is tearing apart black families and destroying lives. There is a huge crime problem in the black community.
According to the New York Post, police have much more to fear from black males than black males have to fear from the police, contrary to the narrative of Black Lives Matter. In 2015, a police officer was 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male was to be killed by a police officer. Black males have made up 42 percent of all cop-killers over the last decade, though they are only six percent of the population. That 18.5 ratio undoubtedly worsened in 2016, in light of the 53 percent increase in gun murders of officers - committed vastly and disproportionately by black males.
White people are roughly 62 percent of the U.S. population but only about 49 percent of those who are killed by police. African Americans, however, account for 24 percent of those fatally shot and killed by the police despite being just 13 percent of the U.S. population. So is it skin color that is getting them killed or is it the disproportionately higher criminal actions leading up to the shooting?
Part of the problem is the media frenzy from reporting of these shootings and crazy left-wing politicians who desire mollycoddling criminals as a result. Police are constantly denigrated and branded as racists for stopping to question suspicious characters at 1 a.m. on a street corner known for drug sales. Thus the police back off from proactive policing of certain black communities and thugs become more emboldened. The thugs take over the community and strike fear in residents who sit by idly and watch everything go to hell in a handbasket.
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Often I disagree with the stands taken by the ACLU and they've blown it again. Mind you, ACLU stands for American Civil Liberties Union, not the Foreign Civil Liberties Union. Why then would it condemn President Trump's decision to beef up border security with our National Guard troops?
In a press release issued Wednesday, Astrid Dominguez, director of the ACLU Border Rights Center, had the following reaction: "President Trump is trying to create a crisis where there is none. This is another impulsive reaction to not getting his wall fully funded and a maneuver to distract the American public from the crisis he created for 800,000 young immigrants when he ended DACA, whose lives and futures are at risk.
"Military troops don't belong at the border; there is no security crisis and this deployment wastes valuable time and resources. Armed forces would further harm some of the safest communities in the U.S. at a time of record-low migration.
"This is an opportunity for governors and Congress to focus on the real issues and reject Trump's gimmicks."
No security crisis? What is Mr. Dominguez smoking? Did he read about the 5,000 Mexican nationals headed to the border with the assistance of the Mexican government to crash our gates in defiance of our immigration laws? Does the phrase national sovereignty mean anything to the ACLU? Or is it just to hell with any semblance of the legal immigration process so we can pack the Democratic Party with future voters?
Protecting the borders is now a gimmick? Tell that to the American people who side with the president.
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By the way, a Pulse Opinion Research poll conducted March 21-24 reveals that most California midterm voters want annual legal immigration numbers lowered.
"We want California voters who favor less immigration to know that most of the state's voters agree with them - as do most voters nationally," commented Roy Beck, president of NumbersUSA. "Armed with that knowledge, we hope the people of California will encourage all of their members of Congress ... to use their leadership to slow immigration so American wages can rise and so employers will more actively recruit from the tens of millions of working-age Americans who aren't working at all."
The survey of 1,000 likely voters in were asked "Current federal policy adds about one million new immigrants with lifetime work permits each year. Which is closest to the number of new immigrants the government should be adding each year?" Voters were offered options. Thirty-four percent want less than 250,000, 15 percent say 500,000, seven percent say 750,000, 13 percent say one million, six percent say one and a half million, 13 percent say more than 2 million, 11 percent are unsure.
Poll results were similar in Wisconsin where NumbersUSA has also launched TV ads in Speaker Paul Ryan's district.
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You may have missed the Centennial Gala but you can still catch the special video made for the event, featuring interviews with numerous Ceres residents. It is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/w5nofqHZADM
It features Paul Caruso, Jay and Kathy Casey, Marge Derby, Sophie and George Pallios, Phyllis Thornton, Ruth Strange, Kadin Richardson, Art McRae, Bettye Welsh, Becki and Brian Nicholes, Amy Peterman, Libby Callahan, Shelia and Lee Brandt, Brandi Meyer, Don Goudeau, former Mayors Louie Arrollo, Barbara Hinton, Anthony Cannella and Sal Cannella and former Vice Mayor Lisa Mantarro Moore.
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Speaking of videos, in my leisure time I've been busy creating my own YouTube show called "History Hunters" exploring various historical spots in the area. I have uploaded seven episodes, including two on Black Bart, one on Bill Dalton's grave, one on the Chinese Tong War of Chinese Camp, one on Theodore Roosevelt's trip to Yosemite and one on the Secret Service crash during Queen Elizabeth's trip to Central California. The latest is on Charlie Chaplin movie filming locations in the Bay Area and may be seen at youtu.be/YdFsgqq70wA and runs like a half-hour TV reality show. So if you're not doing anything, grab some popcorn tonight and give me a watch.
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As you know, Ceres is celebrating its Centennial. City government in Ceres is a century old. Part of the celebration included a reading of a narrative written by Mrs. Daniel Whitmore in 1895. She died three years later on Sept. 30 1898. At the time of the writing, Mr. Whitmore had been dead for over two years.
On page B7 of today's edition we are reprinting her remarks that were delivered at a town reunion of 1895.
A couple of things stand out about her remarks. She expresses disdain that a saloon has opened in Ceres but relishes in the fact that it quickly shut down. Mrs. Whitmore shortsightedly hopes there would be no other saloons in Ceres' future. There have been plenty of bars in Ceres since and we're in different times now; city leaders have embraced Blaker Brewing and marijuana dispensaries coming to town.
I was struck by this line: "Everybody was happy in those days, for crops and times were good and money and work was plenty and there were no idle men - all were needed to do the work."
No idle men. Wow. She would roll over in her grave to see so many able-bodied homeless men flopping around on our sidewalks and asking for a buck or two from those who do work.
She was orrect that water and the railroad would bring prosperity to Ceres and spoke of a day in which "new faces will appear and the old will have passed away."
It is helpful to remember that water remains the lifeblood of our Valley as certain bureaucrats seek to steal our water for the benefit of certain fish species.
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I'm not surprised our new U.S. Senator Kamala Harris made a disparaging remark about the president and his administration on the Ellen Degeneres Show last week. Harris was asked, "If you had to be stuck in an elevator with either President Trump, Mike Pence or Jeff Sessions, who would it be?" "Does one of us have to come out alive?" replied Harris asked, prompting cheers from Ellen's brain-dead audience. Harris laughed hysterically at her own joke and took a second to compose herself.
Half the country doesn't think that's the least bit funny, but the left lives in a world where it's porting to joke about Trump's execution ala Kathy Griffin decapitation photos.
It was no laughing matter on Tuesday when I tried to contact Harris' D.C. office about a matter and could not even get anything other than her voice recording, asking me to wait and then being cut off after hearing a recording that went like this, "So many other Californians are sharing their views with my staff that nobody is available so try back some other time."
How is that for representation?
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You may not have heard that farm workers in Livingston protested on Sunday. They were supposedly meeting in memory of Cesar Chavez to protest what they called the "stepped up and indiscriminate ICE enforcement actions striking terror in many rural communities across California and the nation." The march came six days after Delano funeral services for a farm worker husband and wife who fled ICE agents and were killed in a car crash as a result.
So hold on. ICE is striking terror? I suppose you should be terrified if you're here illegally and are about to be caught and sent back to the country were you legally belong. Even the Bible talks about those who do wrong are always in fear of authorities and looking over their shoulder. But if you're a legal resident there should be no fear, no need to run.
And another thing, Cesar Chavez was actually no fan of the illegal immigrant. In 1973, the United Farm Workers set up a "wet line" along the United States-Mexico border to prevent Mexican immigrants from entering the United States illegally and potentially undermining the UFW's unionization efforts.
Do you have any feedback about this column? Let Jeff know by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org. He will read it, promise.