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Reflecting on blight, sideshows & recall

At times I wish the city could hire John Warren to be in charge of code enforcement. Not that he wants to break from the ranks of the retired – John is a retired CHP officer – but he routinely keeps the city on task with eyesores that seem to go on unchecked.

Now he’s on the Board of Supervisors’ case. He fired off an email last week noting that he was driving on Tenaya Drive between S. Riverside Drive and Mitchell Road on the other side of the river and noticed the large number of semi tractor-trailer rigs parked “willy-nilly along both sides of the street – mostly on the wrong side of the road facing the wrong way.” He counted 20 of them, some along a curve in the road. Apparently the truck drivers are enjoying free parking while ignoring no parking signs. 

John said while the industrial park area is vital to the county’s economy, it looks blighted with piles of trash and wants to see what county leaders could do to get business owners and law enforcement teamed up to fight it.

Unfortunately, our area is populated with people who just don’t care. Case in point is the recent dumping of tons of garbage near the Lazy Wheels Mobile Home Park within sight of Ceres High School. How nobody caught those perpetrators in the act is beyond me.

What the city and county needs to do is get aggressive, catch someone in the act and make an example of a violator with some well-deserved publicity. Too many know they can get away with trashing our roads and countryside to save a buck while transfer stations are a short drive away.

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It’s unfortunate how many young people are willing to create problems for the motoring public and law enforcement for their entertainment. I’m talking about street racing and sideshows, which are lawless gatherings in the road by large numbers of people while car owners spin donuts in a reckless manner and do other dangerous things while they block traffic.

Those of us who are responsible drivers see reports of these reckless displays and wish the irresponsible drivers could lose their right to drive cars for a year or more, maybe even have their cars impounded for months.

Last week, Assembly Bill 3, authored by Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), cleared the Legislature unanimously and is now headed to the governor’s desk for final approval. The bill aims to crack down on street racing by allowing courts to issue a driver’s license suspension for up to six months for participating in sideshows.

As defined in AB 3, “sideshows” occur when two or more vehicles block or impede traffic on a highway, for the purpose of performing vehicle stunts, speed contests, or reckless driving, for an audience.

Last year, the California Highway Patrol responded to over 25,000 calls involving street racing. The Bakersfield Police Department fielded over 6,000 calls involving street racing activity in 2020.

AB 3 is supported by a coalition of statewide law enforcement, local government, victims’ rights groups, and traffic safety groups. AB 3 will be presented to the governor for final approval in the coming days. He has until Oct. 10 to either veto or sign AB 3 into law.

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The Newsom recall election ended last night at 8 p.m. and I am writing this before the results are known. We may not have a clear picture of the outcome for days or weeks with mail ballots and the way this state counts ballots.

It was interesting that Sierra, Plumas and Tuolumne counties – all strong Republican areas – showed the greatest voting enthusiasm as of last week. The areas where voters were less than enthused were Imperial, San Benito and Tulare – all predominantly Latino (read that as Democrat) areas.

As one who voted for Newsom’s recall, I wouldn’t be surprised if Newsom survives this. But if he does, he remains one of the least liked governors of the last century.

Last weekend Newsom falsely spun the recall as part of a GOP trend in red states to limit voting rights but even a kindergartener can see through that slice of bull-covered baloney. His ego won’t let him see it’s really all about failed leadership on multiple levels and his inability to solve problems.

So for you Californians who enjoy Newsom’s brand of control, just know that if he does survive, he will be more emboldened than ever to tighten down on your freedom in whatever venue that means.Also look to nothing getting solved when it comes to wildfires, homelessness, crime, businesses fleeing the state, no lessening of taxes and expect more lockdowns. Some of us will be strongly looking into a move out of state.

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Can you imagine how the media would react if a white male donned a gorilla mask and threw a banana at Vice President Kamala Harris? MSNBC would run that footage for hours while the talking heads would spin how white supremacists are receiving their marching orders from Trump and how they want that guy’s head on a platter.

What did happen is that black candidate for governor, Larry Elder, was accosted by a white woman wearing a gorilla mask and throwing an egg at – but missing – him. When Fox News asked Newsom’s office if he would condemn the attack it was crickets. The conservative radio host also said after the attack that his security detail was “shot with a pellet gun,” vowing the “intolerant left” will not stop his campaign.

Conservative Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, tweeted on Thursday: “That a black gubernatorial candidate can have eggs thrown at him by a white woman in a gorilla mask, with zero condemnation or coverage, tells you all you need to know about the left and their media allies. Everything is racist unless racism is targeted toward a Republican.”

When the security guard confronted the woman – she should have been arrested – he was accosted by her and more people who threw punches his way.

This tells us what we already know – many on the Left are unhinged. It’s not enough they have the right to vote for whomever they please but they want to intimidate conservatives, including the black ones they claim to matter. It also tells you they were fearful Newsom would be tossed out.

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Your big liberals in the state Legislature are at it again – catering to lawbreakers in their attempt to curry favor – and votes – from the minority community.

Assembly Bill 937, supported by Democrats like Wendy Carrillo, Ash Kalra, and Miguel Santiago, would prohibit any state or local agency from arresting or assisting with the arrest, confinement, detention, transfer, interrogation, or deportation of an individual for an immigration enforcement purpose. The bill would additionally prohibit state or local agencies or courts from using immigration status as a factor to deny or to recommend denial of probation or participation in any diversion, rehabilitation, mental health program, or placement in a credit-earning program or class, or to determine custodial classification level, to deny mandatory supervision, or to lengthen the portion of supervision served in custody. The bill also allows such an offender to sue for not complying.

To his credit, Assemblyman Adam Gray, D-Merced, voted against the bill. Finally a Democrat with common sense.

I was made aware of this bill by the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s office which issued a press release regarding Arvind Vyas Gopal, 55, who was denied parole on Sept. 1. Gopal slashed a coworker on his face and neck in June 2003 and he went to prison for attempted premeditated murder with great bodily injury and use of a knife, aggravated mayhem, assault with a deadly weapon and criminal threats. 

You need to know Gopal is not a model prisoner, has had weapons in prison, has stolen and has not participated in classes to deal with his obvious issues. He was denied parole in 2020 – supposedly for three years but they gave him another hearing this month after taking some AA classes. The Parole Board could see that he still doesn’t own up to his crimes and minimizes his criminal past. However, while the board said it’s denying parole hearing for three years we all know the board doesn’t know how to keep track of time.

If the state Parole Board lets him go, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) stands ready to deport Gopal to the Fiji.  But your soft-on-immigrant criminals Democrats have AB 937 waiting to spare him that deportation if Assembly Bill 937 is passed and signed by Gov. Newsom. That bill would limit state cooperation with immigration authorities when it comes to deporting convicted criminals who are released from prison.

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In case you’re wondering how lopsided things are in the state Legislature, there are 60 Democrats in the state Assembly and only 19 Republicans.

There are 30 Democrats in the state Senate and nine Republicans.

That’s why Democrats get what they want – all the time.

This one party rule is a problem – especially if you are concerned about crime, the homeless problem and the lack of water storage.

Nearly three months after the constitutional deadline to pass the state budget, the governor and the Democrat controlled Legislature passed its fifth and final budget of the year. According to Assemblyman Vince Fong (R-Kern County), Vice Chair of the Assembly Budget Committee, the budget does nothing to fund new water storage “nor does it do much to strengthen the conveyance infrastructure needed to deliver the limited available water.”

Fong notes that not only is the state refusing to invest in more water storage, it’s sitting on $2.7 billion of unspent bond monies voters approved seven years ago.

When food prices go up because Valley farmers are told they get no water for farming – for a lack of stored water – you can thank the bastion of fools in Sacramento who care more about fish.

I agree, Mr. Fong, it is mind-blogging that water storage is not a top priority.

The last dam built in California was New Melones in 1979. Back then the state’s population was 16 million and today stands at 40 million people. The state’s farmland to produce vital food supplies has increased by 3,140%. It goes without saying – California’s water storage infrastructure needs to increase to meet growing needs.

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Are you kidding me? The Nanny State – excuse me, I meant to say the state Legislature – has passed a law that now makes taxpayers feed college “kids” now?

Remember that H.L. Mencken quote I shared from last week: “The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it.”

It never ceases to amaze me how the Democrats rush to rescue people who really don’t need rescuing.

On Wednesday, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill (AB) 396, which will “expand access” to crucial food and nutrition resources for thousands of California students.

Expand access? What? College kids have no trouble finding beer and condoms in the store but they can’t find vegetables and meat?

DEMOCRAT Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel said it’s “shameful that so many students in California go to bed hungry at night.” It’s news to me that they do. Maybe they should think about working.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic is “exacerbating our student hunger crisis.”

How? The stores I go to look well stocked. If there is any hunger going on now it’s because the state has trained people to get paid for doing nothing for a flu that is 99.5 percent or more survivable.

Gabriel pulled the old race card when he suggested that black and Indian students are especially in need of food because of the pandemic. He doesn’t say why black college students are unable to buy food like the white kids. Sounds like liberal hogwash to me.

When you dig into the details you learn the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) denies CalFresh eligibility to all college students unless they are working at least 20 hours a week! So really, this is about appeasing young folks who aren’t working so they can meet their own needs first like eating. Democrats wanted an exemption that allows students to get free food.

The sense of entitlement screams through this quote from UC Berkeley student activist Yun (Raina) Zhao when she said: “Students should have the freedom to be a student and focus on their education without the added stress of meeting their basic needs…”

Oh, I see. College kids might be too stressed to work and go to school. If that’s the case, don’t go to college expecting everybody to pay your tuition AND feed you.

There just is never any sacrifice expected for those who choose not to work and feel they are too good to work like the taxpayers they constantly want to drain.

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