By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Politics has always been a game for votes

On the surface it might appear that politicians who vote against pay increases for themselves are looking out for the best interest of taxpayers. Maybe, maybe not.

Supervisor Channce Condit gets his cake and eat it too. Voting to forego a 3 percent pay increase earned him the reward of having a front page headline and hand-to-chin photo courtesy of the Modesto Bee which can be used in campaign flyers when running for yet another higher office.

Condit said he’ll be giving his raise to charity, specifying it will be made to charitable organization in his district. Don’t think this won’t gain him favor among recipients.

Channce Condit is right: his seven months on the board don’t justify himself a pay raise. One could argue that he shouldn’t even be on the Board of Supervisors because if you remember he sought votes in 2018 to serve four years on the Ceres City Council. He was elected and he was to serve until 2022. Instead, he resigned two years later and his vacancy – combined with the election of an inexperienced mayor, vice mayor and councilman – has left a severely dysfunctional council in Ceres.

* * * * *

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see a member of the council audience in cahoots with one member of the City Council.  They seem to work in tandem with one another.

It’s easy for some to spew all kinds of abuse at city staff knowing they have to take it calm and collected but charges of staff being derelict in duty is a baseless potshot designed to elevate the accuser. Of course, this is the same audience member who uttered a threat to Bret Silveira (“I’ll slap your face, b----” if he ever again suggested cutting off his mike.) Silveira only suggested cutting off the mike after his language became profane.

Be careful what you wish for when calling for equality in the disparity of what a home in the city’s two separate Community Facilities Districts pay. As City Manager Tom Westbrook stated, homes built before 1987 don’t pay into the Landscaping & Lighting District and homes built before 2003 don’t pay into the CFDs. One way around that inequity would be to make a citywide CFD so that all homes pay, even the ones in Morrow Village. But I suppose that’s not the kind of equity one seeks, is it?

* * * * *

The Democrats just keep up their mollycoddling of criminals in our society. After all, mugging and stealing is not the fault of the perpetrator; it’s because of the conditions stacked against them. The ideology of the Left is dangerous.

The district attorneys in California are livid that Democrat state Senator Nancy Sinner has authored Senate Bill 82 which calls for reducing violent felony crimes such as strong-arm robbery from a person – currently a felony punishable by incarceration in state prison for two, three or five years – to merely a misdemeanor petty theft punishable by up to one year in the local jail. Sinner is a liberals’ liberal from the Bay Area, a product of U.C. Berkeley. On her website she appears to be proud that she is a social justice advocate. In other words, she thinks we just need to go easier on criminals because life is just so stacked against hard work to get ahead. This woman needs to be recalled with Newsom.

Our own District Attorney, Birgit Fladager accurately stated that the bill is “not reform in any sense of the word and only encourages victimization of the aged and infirm in our communities who are already helpless to defend themselves.”

Already there are people stealing from stores because they know the system is letting them get away with it.

* * * * *

If I were a suspicious man I’d be looking at the abuse heaped upon city staff members as reason for recent departures. City Engineer Daniel Padilla has left for Menifee and City Manager Tom Westbrook will soon be off to Red Bluff, a much smaller city with a lesser title.

Maybe they are fatigued from having to run the Council Training Session (City Council meetings) every other week and tired of doing homework for the newcomers. Maybe they’re afraid of what the council might look like come September with yet another inexperienced member who needs months of being brought up to speed.

I had a chance to talk to the newest member of the Oakdale City Council who gave his body praise, saying everything was sailing along pretty good there. Not in Ceres I told him. Ceres cannot get anything accomplished with the personalities involved. They couldn’t agree on a council replacement, couldn’t agree on a budget and nearly didn’t agree on an extension of a developer agreement, which if they hadn’t would have sent Mike Reynolds and Kase’s Journey dispensary packing.

Laurie Smith wouldn’t need to be educated. She already knows how a city works.

* * * * *

Speaking of abuse, some obsessed individual who’s enamored with the Condits or a senior member of the Condit family – and I would bet money on the latter – continues sending anonymous letters with hateful notes referencing my editorial comments on the Condits’ actions. Comments like “you would never recognize courage” (despite my opinions against woke culture resulting in me being the target of having me resign last year). Or call me an “empty suit” (I’m not a politician and don’t wear one).  Or that I’m “the worst reporter in the county.” (I need to write a book titled, “How to Be the Worst Reporter in the County & Keep Your Job for 34 years.”) Or calling me a “biased a------,” and telling me to “go to Reno.” Trust me, I would if I could.

* * * * 

I like the social media post made recently by state Senator Melissa Melendez, R-Riverside: “To register a 2021 Toyota Forerunner in Idaho – $32 for two years. To register the same vehicle in CA – $627 for just one year. Roads in Idaho are ranked in the top three best in the country. Roads in CA are ranked second worst in the country. #CADeservesBetter”

* * * * *

Walt Disney would not like what’s being done to his park by the PC liberals who run it. According to Todd Starnes: “Disney World has canceled Christmas.” They are calling the popular “Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party” the “Disney Very Merriest After Hours.” 

Disneyland has been going on a politically correct rip through its rides. Remember how they got rid of the drunken sailors chasing women in Pirates of the Caribbean? They wanted to retire Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln but the outcry was deafening. The Jungle Cruise ride, well, that casts a bad light on natives. Splash Mountain has been cleansed of the “Song of the South” because of Uncle Remus and is to be rethemed to the film The Princess and the Frog. 

Disney has also eliminated the words “ladies and gentlemen” and “boys and girls” from park emcee recordings. Now it’s, “Good evening, dreamers of all ages.” That’s a twofer – you appease the gender confused ticketholders and the illegal aliens who might be in the park. What a happy little place.

Of course Disney wanted its white staffers to complete a “white privilege” training workshop.

It’s sad to see the park that was so much a part of my childhood – we saw Walt Disney who posed with my Mom on our 1966 visit there – falling to the woke nonsense that is so pervasive of our culture. Maybe it’s worth a boycott and finding another park that isn’t so PC. Silver Dollar City in Branson, maybe?

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