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Police bashers go full charge without the facts

The “Citizen’s Comments” section of the Sept. 26 Ceres City Council meeting ended up being an emotionally-charged gang-up-on-the-police session in which a number of women made unfounded statements regarding the death of Erika Lopez, 39, of Ceres.

Lopez was found dead in her car in Modesto the day after she was reported missing late on Friday evening, Sept. 23.

Absent the facts, a number of tearful women – whipped into frenzy by claims on social media – took aim at police, suggesting that they didn’t respond to a missing persons case properly, calling them “negligent.” Since Modesto Police were conducting a death investigation, Ceres Police officials could only sit there and listen.

Modesto Police had previously stated that Lopez’s death wasn’t a homicide and that there were no suspects. That leaves one conclusion.

Police may conduct searches for missing persons if they have the resources but remember that Perez was driving home from San Jose, a distance of about 94 miles.  There was only speculation that her death was linked to a man who was reportedly seen at her house.

The truth will be out soon. Those who cast aspersions on the Ceres Police as people who don’t care and who didn’t do their job will be embarrassed by their unfair rush to judgement. They forget that police officers are fathers, brothers and sons and mothers, daughters and sisters.

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I had no time to write a column last week because I spent 4 ½ days visiting my son in Texas. I enjoyed seeing parts of Austin, the state capital and the 11th largest city in the United States. It is definitely a unique city.

It’s a bit of a shock to drop into another state to find Chevron selling gas for $3.19 a gallon when you’ve been paying much more in the Socialist Republic of California. I fill up about every other week and my last purchase was $5.19 per gallon. The same station is now selling the same gas for $6.19 per gallon.

Texas can sell gas for $3 per gallon cheaper? What gives?

If you believe the Washington Post (and I don’t), it’s because so many refineries are on the Gulf. They quoted Pavel Molchanov, director and equity research analyst at Raymond James, an investment bank and financial services company, saying that “Delivering gas in Texas is obviously cheaper because the refineries are right there. In places where there are no refineries, the fuel needs to be delivered maybe thousands of miles, and that costs more.”

Hmm, well, aren’t there four oil refineries in the Bay Area? Yet we always pay the highest gas prices anyway?

Another factor is recently, several California oil refineries have gone offline due to both expected and unexpected maintenance, leading to hefty spikes in prices. 

Ah, but you have to dig into the eighth paragraph to get into one reason: Taxes. We pay 58 cents per gallon in California for state tax. Texas charges 20 cents. Alaskans pay 9 cents.

The ninth paragraph of the Post article: “Clean energy regulations can increase costs at the state and local level.” The Post reports: “California’s Air Resource Board, for example, maintains a raft of requirements applying to the specific formulation that gas producers and importers can sell in the state, applying strict rules to chemicals like benzene, formaldehyde and sulfur. As a result, the state imports a lot of Middle Eastern gas, according to GasBuddy’s head of petroleum analysis, Patrick De Haan.”

Remember, too, that California doesn’t allow fracking and state lawmakers have been enemies of oil companies.

In response to high gas prices, what does your governor do? He wants to raise gas taxes on oil companies saying they are making obscene profits. Brilliant.

Who is Newsom to preach about obscene profits? The state of California is sitting on a whopping $308 billion budget surplus and by law should have given us a refund earlier this year. But being the political opportunist that he is, Newsom has arranged for Californians to receive an “inflation relief payout” weeks before his re-election bid. He doesn’t miss a beat. It’s not out of his benevolence; it’s because the state Constitution requires a rebate to taxpayers because the state took too much in the first place! But his timing is totally political. Newsom signed the state budget on June 30. You’ll be getting a direct deposit or check any day now. The election is Nov. 8. Figure it out.

This refund is only $9.5 billion of that $308 billion sitting in state coffers.

Funny thing is that the governor, who is all things Climate Change, decided to hasten the switch to winter-blend gas formula on Sept. 30 because it will immediately lower gas production costs and that means lower prices at the pump. Apparently he is willing to compromise his precious climate change agenda for the sake of his election season politicking.

Just remember that if they do go down that Newsom will brag about it, even though gas prices under Trump were hovering around $3.20 a gallon over two years ago.

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At times a resident says something at city meetings that are shocking. My jaw dropped at how Yasmine Perez spoke to the members of the Ceres Planning Commission during last week’s consideration of extending an amendment to the Conditional Use Permit (CUP) that allows El Rematito Flea Market to operate. A CUP essentially is the city saying “we’ll let you do this if you meet certain conditions for so many months or years, and if there are problems we need to resolve them or yank the permit.”

There was no indication that the commission was going to pull the plug on El Rematito; in fact, city staff recommended a six-month extension. Yet Perez approached the dais with a preconceived notion.

The first thing out of Perez’s mouth was to ask if the commissioners ever visited El Rematito. None indicated they had, to which she stated: “Okay, so that’s a problem.” After stating that the flea market is a “special place for our Hispanic community,” she made the quantum leap to say that commissioners who don’t shop at the flea market have a “disregard for the Hispanic community.”

And I thought flea markets were for all Americans. The flea market on Crows Landing Road may be the happening place for the local Latino community but that doesn’t mean problems should be ignored. Dust was one problem. Because of complaints about dust, the city caused the owners to disallow parking on the dirt lot (which outside of the purview of the CUP) on the west side. The city is also concerned how traffic is backing up into Crows Landing Road, causing safety issues. Apparently there are other concerns which were not public made known. Those concerns take precedent over someone’s wishes.

Perez continued: “The population is over 50 percent of Hispanics here and we can’t be ignored.” She accused the city of “bullying” El Rematito. Someone should have pulled out a violin and played as she stated: “Often we’ve been ignored and that’s gonna stop, I’m gonna tell you guys right now. The Hispanic community is going to be here and we’re gonna show up and if you guys don’t start representing everybody in the city, we’re gonna vote you guys out and November’s coming by the way.”

Whoa, wait. Nobody’s been ignored.

Representing everybody? Or did she mean give preferential treatment to her ethnicity class?

If she was keyed into the happenings of the council and commission Perez would know that the city hasn’t ignored the Latino community but it does have regulations and must give considerations for “everybody” as she states – which includes those who have complained about clouds of dust generated by people parking where they aren’t supposed to be. The city serves its residents, not just Latinos. The city is not supposed to cater to one ethnic group or another, but serves all residents.

Perez should understand things before she speaks so boldly. Planning commissioners aren’t elected, they are appointed so they can’t be voted out.

Perez, who must consider herself some kind of self-appointed social justice warrior as she was the same woman who in 2020 suggested that the City Council had no right to crack down on unlicensed sidewalk or street vendors (who happen to be Latino), insisting that was “victimizing vendors that are making a living.” Never mind that lots of people try to make a living with brick and mortar businesses must jump through regulatory hoops and pay the accompanying expenses.

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Something stinks in the California Secretary of State’s office. Democrat Shirley Weber is being sued by Judicial Watch, claiming her office had YouTube censor a video produced by Judicial Watch questioning election integrity in California.

The lawsuit states that the California Office of Elections Cybersecurity (OEC), which Weber oversees, caused YouTube to remove the video on Sept. 25, 2020, and thus violated Judicial Watch’s First Amendment and other civil rights.

The 26-minute video featured Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton discussing the vote-by-mail processes, changes to states’ election procedures, ballot harvesting and states’ failures to clean up their voter rolls, among other topics. Fitton noted in the video that Judicial Watch filed successful lawsuits against Los Angeles County and Weber in 2017 to compel the county and state to comply with the National Voter Registration Act’s voter list maintenance requirements.  In June 2019, Judicial Watch was informed that Los Angeles County had sent notices to 1.6 million inactive voters on its voter rolls after a settlement agreement had been reached. Previously, Judicial Watch estimated that census data and voter-roll data showed that there were 3.5 million more names on various county voter rolls nationwide than there were citizens of voting age.

Fitton charges that “smoking gun documents show California government officials, who were being advised by the Biden campaign PR operation, caused YouTube to censor a key Judicial Watch video just before the 2020 election.” He said the suit seeks to stop and expose the growing corruption of “leftist government officials colluding with Big Tech allies to attack the free speech rights of Americans.”

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The only discrimination and racism that is okay in America today is that geared toward white men. I may be a white man but former gubernatorial candidate Larry Elder, a black man, notices it too.

On his YouTube channel on Sept. 23 Elder pointed out something that I’ve long noticed: Many TV commercials show white men as a “dumb sap” while the black men are “all knowing.” He cited a Corona beer commercial with Snoop Dogg and Andy Sandberg. Another commercial shows a black guy smooth and smart while making fun of white people who are shown as absolutely clueless and awkward. A sickening Dorritos commercial shows a white guy watching a black guy eat Dorritos on a park bench and when he finally shares an empty bag, the white guy sucks on the black guy’s finger for the taste and is told “Dude, so not cool.”

I won’t do business with Woke corporations.

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Another YouTube channel, The Officer Tatum (2.1 million subscribers), points out how a social justice warrior had a race-based meltdown when pulled over. (Officer Tatum is black and he used to be a police officer.)

Last week Tatum showed a video of black activist Marie Mott, who recently lost her campaign for City Council in Chattanooga, Tenn., pulling the old race card in a traffic stop for an inoperable headlight. The woman kept defying the white woman officer saying multiple times that police had no right to pull her over because “it’s not a crime” to have a non-functioning headlight. Stupid.

Police asked Mott to produce proof of insurance and a copy of her registration and had the audacity of saying “You’re harassing a black woman. You’re asking me that because I’m black.”

Tatum said: “Why does it always have to be a conflict when people of color get pulled over for legitimate reasons and they can’t take a ticket.”

It’s a great thing that Mott was defeated in the council race last month. You won’t be surprised that Mott claimed that she “won” even though she lost by 70 votes.

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Does Hollyweird really think Americans are obsessed with gay and lesbian issues like they are? A new gay romantic comedy film, Bros, proves how wrong they are. The film generated only $4.8 million during opening weekend, about 40 percent less than anticipated. The film cost $22 million to produce. It’s a bust.

The trailer was appalling and the poster depicts one man grabbing another man’s butt. I am equally appalled at producer Billy Eichner saying his movie failed because “straight people just didn’t show up,” calling them homophobes. Maybe most Americans are repulsed by such forms of “entertainment.”

The movie is rated R for strong sexual content, drug use and language. Catholic Review rated the film “U,” for unsuitable for all. Critic John Mulderig said this: “Given prevailing social mores, it’s perhaps inevitable that the film, while implicitly endorsing the value of emotional connection over mere lust quenching, fails to take an ethically balanced approach to the lifestyle it portrays. No line is, accordingly, drawn between sympathy for those persecuted in the past and an all-out celebration of contemporary behavior at odds with Christian morality.”


This column is the opinion of Jeff Benziger, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Ceres Courier or 209 Multimedia Corporation.  How do you feel about this? Let Jeff know at