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Public reading of an email was sleazy

Politics can be a nasty business but does it have to be so underhanded?

A candidate for a local office reported to me that she was asked to abandon her Republican Party nomination in exchange for an endorsement of the local Latinos. The one making the offer was none other than Tony Madrigal, member of the Modesto City Council. She didn’t sell out, thankfully.

The second sleazy move of the month came at Monday’s City Council meeting when Vice Mayor Couper Condit underhandedly read aloud a private email that Bret Silveira sent him. It doesn’t take rocket science to know that ice has formed between Silveira and Condit. Silveira made it known in a recent meeting that he asks his questions ahead of time while Condit drags out meetings by asking questions – often pointed ones – usually to lay the groundwork for his “nay” vote.

So Condit shares the private email publicly so he could reply to it and toot his own horn in defense. It qualifies as perhaps one of the dirtiest, most serving-serving things I’ve seen a public official do in my 31 years of watching the Ceres City Council in action. Condit must have thought he was getting mileage in throwing Silveira under the bus and running over him a number of times before driving off. But Silveira was right on with his assessment.

As Condit read Silveira’s email addressing Condit’s “in-meeting antics of pulling items off of the consent calendar and asking open-ended questions and then voting no in it without any explanation or solution,” I was nodding in complete agreement. That’s simply what the Condit boys have done. Couper did the same thing on the Planning Commission and it’s why he wasn’t reappointed to a second full term.

Couper admitted he didn’t respond to Silveira’s email. Instead he grandstanded with his response of “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” pablum and setting us all straight on what his agenda is. Going public was about promoting image. Sure, who wouldn’t want 15 to 20 extra officers to meet the high bar of having 1.3 officers per thousand residents but the money isn’t there and he knows it, otherwise he would have found the funds by now. But the value of rhetoric, how it plays to voters, is what matters to Condit.

By contrast, Mayor Javier Lopez has shown you can work with him.

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There is an unsettling arrogance to some in the current generation.

I’m specifically talking about the dismissive “Okay, boomer” comment made by young people to people of my age.

I will be 60 in August, which means I was a kid on a bicycle in rural Stanislaus County in the 1970s, which seems only like yesterday. In fact, if you drive out to Pioneer Avenue in Oakdale and up the road to Valley Home, little has changed since the days when my brother and friends and I would dart across the highway to peddle down to the Ben Aker Store in Valley Home were we bought sodas and candy and peddled back.

We were connected as a family. My grandparents visited often and they took me to church. I was taught respect for my elders, others and God.

I went to Fair Oaks Elementary School in the early 1970s and the big social justice trial was a girl who bucked tradition and wanted to dress in blue jeans. I can almost see her in my mind’s eye, cowboy boots and jeans. There was a battle between the girl’s parents and Principal Gordon Byers and the School Board and I think the girl prevailed.

It was a different world then. We didn’t have kids dressed in Goth and there weren’t many students who were gay, and if they were they didn’t flaunt it. School shootings just didn’t happened. Transgender wasn’t a thing; people seemed happy with the gender they were born with and Bruce Jenner was looked up to as a male Olympic athlete whose image helped sell Wheaties.

What changed in America? I think a number of transformative changes occurred in the decades since I was a kid. The divorce rate went up, families began breaking up, Americans began leaving houses of faith and social media now allows unbridled vile expressions. So when you get everything you want unchecked, you tend to go off the rails. Common sense becomes a casualty.

Sure, you can smoke as much pot as you want and drink all you want but be prepared for the consequences.

The values I grew up with have become sidelined. “If you want to get ahead, put your nose to the grinding stone” was an old truism. Now the government aids and abets your laziness by paying you to stay at home and not produce. The pandemic has been used to push socialism down our throats.

Now you have wacky ideas coming from wacky people elected to Congress, ideas like defunding police. You have schools telling white children they should feel guilty for being white and causing black children to fail when they become adults. Silly me, I thought people failed in life because they ignored their education, chose not to work hard and made other unwise decisions (mostly about unsound relationships).

No wonder there was a huge backlash in the conservative community of Loudoun County, Virginia against the teaching of Critical Race Theory and transgender policy proposals. The proposed 8040 policy on restrooms was to allow students to use the bathroom that “corresponds to their gender identity.”

Progressives are great about berating those of us who don’t believe in climate change as anything man is causing as “science deniers.” But they conveniently deny the science of biology when it comes to gender.

There are two genders, male and female. It’s easy to tell them apart too. If a boy believes he is a girl, or vice versa, that’s a psychological issue. Bruce Jenner can pretend all he wants that he is a female but biologically (bone structure and all) he is a male – even if he has altered his body. You can call me mean and hateful all you want – I am not – in saying Bruce is not Kaitlyn but I am not the one denying biological fact.

Nightly on cable TV news and in films, Americans are subjected to the narrative that coerces them into to accept and embrace sexual orientations that traditional religion does not and shames them when they do not. It’s not enough to treat people with kindness; no, we are being told we must change, we must accept, we must agree with lifestyle choices that were on the deviant spectrum just generations ago.

I think God is tolerant in many areas – including the foolishness that mankind comes up with (and there’s been a lot of it lately). But He doesn’t protect us the consequences of these ungodly ideas. The one area he is not tolerant is rejecting Him and his Word.

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The inept leadership of Gavin Newsom continues to make the news.

In response to a disturbing news report Wednesday showing that Gov. Newsom not only cut funding for wildfire prevention in the wake of the tragic 2018 Camp Fire, but also repeatedly misled all of us by dramatically inflating prevention stats, the Assembly Republican Wildfire Working Group issued the following statement:

“It’s offensive that Governor Newsom ‘misled’ the public about his wildfire prevention efforts and slashed wildfire funding, especially right after the tragic Camp Fire destroyed Paradise and killed 85 people. Governor Newsom’s inaction and lack of transparency is unacceptable. As a state, we need substantially more acres treated, we need to streamline the process and we need more funding. Republicans have been calling for this but have been ignored. Newsom should answer why he inflated his numbers and why he has repeatedly not sought solutions to devastating wildfires.”

Capital Public Radio on June 23 broke news that Newsom had repeatedly claimed that his administration treated 90,000 acres with wildfire prevention methods like vegetation management, while the number was merely 11,399 acres.

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I saw another meme that I thought made a lot of sense: “You can’t have a filet mignon lifestyle with a hotdog work ethic.”

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