By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
So much pessimism for a truly positive project

I don’t think I have seen a more collective of pessimists in my life on social media.

Last week Ceres approved an exciting project to fill the ugly vacant triangle lot across from Ceres High School and people had Chicken Little meltdowns with armchair planners painting a doomsday scenario where kids will be mowed down by cars and traffic impact like the Bay Bridge at rush hour.

Lighten up, folks, lighten up.

Michelle Rocha “lost it” the most in our Facebook post of the exciting new restaurant project approved by the Planning Commission last week. While most people should love the concept – any many do – Michelle went nuts over Bret Silveira’s comments supportive of the project, to which Bret asked, “are you this negative about everything in your life?” Michelle Rocha turned Facebook into Fecesbook by posting, “It is only negative to those living in fantasy land! Hope you get hit by the plane!”

Michelle inaccurately (or dishonestly) reported that she counted 20 parking spaces in the photo we published of the project’s architectural rendering. Her count was way off – try 52.

Others were wringing their hands over predictions of traffic calamities. Folks, settle down. We’re talking about a maximum capacity of 52 parking spaces for this project. That pretty much limits traffic to it. I bet 100 cars go through the intersection of Whitmore and Central every two minutes. So we’re not talking about a lot of traffic being generated by this project.

Andy Constantinou, who has a personal vendetta against the city manager for whatever reason and who is not a fan of mine either, took off on a tangent when he posted: “Wasn’t this piece created by eminent domain? This was supposed to be a park with a welcome to Ceres sign and a cornucopia? Eminent domain is ONLY for public use. How does the City transfer this to private use?”

Constantinou once sat on the council – a long, long time ago – so he should have known that Caltrans (not the city) bought the right-of-way for the Whitmore interchange through eminent domain. There was some excess property which the state later sold to another owner who has the right to develop it. (The state also bought the eyesore Lazy Wheels Mobile Home Park which will be phased out of existence.) The city never owned the triangle piece and I don’t recollect ever hearing about plans to use that land for a Ceres sign let alone a cornucopia. Perhaps it was an idea that was never adopted. The property has been in private hands for years and has been posted with marketing signs so why is Constantinou trying to throw a wet blanket on this project?

If Andy is really concerned about the direction of the city, you’d think he’s occasionally show up at some meetings.

It’s an exciting project and I hope the naysayers won’t enjoy the project or contribute to the future traffic that they are wringing their hands over.

* * * * *

Wasn’t Channce Condit’s main council campaign theme (against no opponent) last October to make Ceres the safest city in the county? His work isn’t done as he seeks to move on a quarter of the way into his term. I thought about his pledge when I received a list of the 50 safest cities in California and didn’t see Ceres or any city in the county make the list.

But then again, the safest cities tend to of higher socioeconomic status. Here they are in order: 1). Danville. 2). Irvine. 3). Rancho Santa Margarita. 4). Yorba Linda. 5). Murrieta. 6). San Ramon. 7). Rancho Palos Verdes. 8). Folsom (ha ha). 9). Laguna Niguel. 10). Aliso Viejo. 11). Chino Hills. 12). Eastvale. 13). Lincoln. 14). Diamond Bar. 15). Temecula. 16). Rocklin. 17). Mission Viejo. 18). Poway. 19). Pleasanton. 20). Sunnyvale. 21). Fountain Valley. 22). Foster City. 23). Oakley. 24). Cupertino. 25). Moorpark. 26). Central Marin. 27). Corona. 28). Thousand Oaks. 29). Palo Alto. 30). Glendale. 31) Menifee. 32) Dublin. 33). Davis. 34). Yucaipa. 35). San Clemente. 36). Martinez. 37). Cypress. 38). Newport Beach. 39). Milpitas. 40). Simi Valley. 41). Temple City. 42). Walnut Creek. 43). Wildomar. 44). Orange. 45). Menlo Park. 46). Lake Forest. 47). Camarillo. 48). Morgan Hill. 49). La Quinta. 50). Novato.

Note that our Valley cities did not rate anywhere. 

* * * * *

Oh for Pete’s sake. Democrat Secretary of State Alex Padilla on Friday announced a first-in-the-nation partnership with an LGBTQ civil rights group to train poll workers in ways to make it easier for transgender people to cast ballots. It seems that as people hack off their genitals and/or grow a new pair of breasts or gonads and identities change they may be registered to vote under a name that doesn’t match their “gender presentation.”

How many transgender people actually exist in California that Democrats want to waste tens of thousands of dollars training poll workers to deal with their failure to update voter registration?

Where is the same push to train poll workers to deal with heterosexual women who have changed their last name for marriage that may differ from their voting registration? There’s a helluva lot more women in the latter case, I can tell you. Why doesn’t Padilla cater to them? Perhaps because they tend to vote in more conservative ways?

* * * * *

I loved Ronald Reagan and actually met him and shake his hand in 1994 but his two youngest offspring are an embarrassment to his legacy.

There’s Patti Davis (she didn’t want her dad’s last name) who posed nude on the cover of Playboy with a man’s hands reaching around to wrap around her breasts.

Then there is Ron Reagan Jr. who sunk to new levels of shock on Oct. 15. The sad sack atheist that he is, with huge bags under his eyes that make him look like he last slept when his dad was president, appeared in a TV commercial that aired during the Democrat debate to bang on religion, how stunned he is that Christians have an influence in government and finishing with “I’m Ron Reagan and I’m not afraid to burn in hell.”

I hope Ron changes his mind because what’s in store for him is eternal separation from God when his body dies and releases his demented soul. When he heard Ron’s ad – appropriately chosen to run during a Democrat debate – I immediately thought of Psalm 14:1: “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God.’”

But then again Ron has been wrong before; like the time he said that there was no way Trump would be elected president.

Based on surveys in 2018 and 2019, The Pew Research Center says there are a lot of others right behind him. Two weeks ago they released the results that say 65 percent of American adults now describe themselves as Christian, down from 77 percent in the past 10 years. Meanwhile, the portion that describes their religious identity as atheist, agnostic or “nothing in particular,” now stands at 26 percent, up from 17 percent in 2009. Church attendance is dismal too.

Little wonder why a recent poll found that only 35 percent of Americans are truly happy. Meaning 65 percent aren’t very happy.

It’s no wonder that people are drifting toward socialism the way they are. If over a quarter of our population doesn’t believe in God, that could explain why they live their lives and fear nothing at the end of life. They believe there’s no accountability in life or in death. Truly, if you boil it down to its essence, for this segment, there is really no motivation to treat others with love and respect or to serve others. After all, they have 70 or 80 or 90 years to live and after that it’s fade-to-black so make life all about you and your pleasures.

The churches are dying too. Charitable giving to churches is drying up. Empty Tomb, a Christian organization based in Illinois, says the decline in giving money to churches continues on the downslide. Americans gave about 3 percent of their disposable income to churches in 1968, and less than 2.2 percent in 2016.

This is truly unfortunate given that life can be made so much more wonderful if people found a church “home” and held to the religious principles taught within it. I see so many happy people inside the church and so many miserable ones outside.

* * * * *

An acquaintance of mine – actually a kid who grew up with my kids – is an aide to state Assemblyman Heath Flora. Josh Whitfield, who ran Denham’s failed campaign in 2018, was disappointed by my comments critical of the state Assemblyman’s office spending taxpayer funds to promote breast cancer awareness. As I had explained, I’m not against reminding women to be aware of breast cancer and to check themselves. But why is the state Legislature sending out that message on the taxpayers’ expense? That’s something doctors and medical clinics are doing. I have an issue when it’s done with taxpayer money under the guise of promoting awareness when it’s really about promoting a candidacy, whether Democrat or Republican. They all do it because the other guys do it. So $20,000 here, $40 million there, $31 billion here, $2 trillion there – it is bleeding taxpayers dry and somebody needs to step up and say, ‘Nope, not I. I won’t waste tax money just to promote my name for the next election.”

How about using campaign money to promote breast cancer awareness, not use tax money?

No hard feelings, Josh.

* * * * *

If you’re governor and the Wall Street Journal rips you a new one, you’d best watch out because it’s a sign you are screwing up big time. The newspaper called out Newsom and Democrats for working “hard for years to inflate gasoline prices, but now they’re searching for a fall guy as voters gripe about how much they’re paying to fill up. Round up the usual fossil-fuel suspects!”

The truth is Democrats want higher gas prices. It works toward their quest to get rid of the car and have you depend on their expensive mass transportation projects. Remember, they want you to depend entirely on government. They are the enemies of independence and self-sufficiency (they tend to vote Republican). Climate change is the ruse by which to gain that control.

Governor, look in the mirror to see the reason gas prices are so high in California. Last year our gas prices tracked about 77 cents higher than the U.S. average. And your cap-and-trade policies and low-carbon fuel standards are responsible for about half of the price difference between California and other states. Higher refiner and retailer margins account for another third, noted the WSJ. “California refineries boast larger margins because they face higher regulatory costs and less competition.”

And to feign phony outrage and demand an answer to high gas prices! The governor deserves to be recalled.

* * * * *

I’m not alone in wanting to leave California. The Institute of Governmental Studies at UC-Berkeley conducted a poll that found 71 percent of Californians have considered leaving California due to the cost of housing and that 84 percent cited the “political culture” and 76 percent identified high taxes as the biggest reason.

It’s an odd paradox indeed. Californians are the ones who are electing these buffoons, who in turn ruin their state to the point that 84 percent want to leave. Why the disconnect? The solution is to quit electing Democrats and Republicans who act like them and you will eventually have a state you wouldn’t want to leave!

A gentleman named Arkadia Ziri said it best in his social media post: “There are over 39 MILLION of us in the State of California, with at least 19 MILLION registered Republicans yet just a few hundred liberal politicians are deciding everything for us. WHY in the world are WE ALLOWING THEM to destroy OUR lives and OUR state? Why are WE ALLOWING THEM to push us out? Why don’t WE PUSH THEM OUT???”

* * * * *

Your state Legislature – governed by a Democrat supermajority – has waged war on the Christian church, as hard as that is to believe.

The California Legislature last month passed ACR 99 which is a direct affront on the Biblical teachings pertaining to sexuality and the need for repentance, believe the gospel and follow Christ — blames “religious groups” for the “disproportionately high rates” of suicide among homosexuals and so-called transgenders.”

The resolution, written by Assemblyman Evan Low, a big-city openly gay Democrat, formally declares that homosexuality and transgenderism are “part of natural variations that occur in sexual orientation and gender identity” and condemns the counseling of individuals to change from living homosexual or transgender lifestyles, citing that such actions have resulted in suicides.”

Low thinks it’s all of us straight people who make life so miserable for the so-called LGBTQ crowd that they want to kill themselves. It couldn’t be that a vast majority deal with deep-seeded psychological disorders, could it? Low thinks the church should be silent on moral issues, which is an affront to Christianity in particular.

There is a huge difference with treating all people with kindness and respect and being shamed into being okay with lifestyles that the Bible clearly condemns.

Low and the Legislature stepped over the line.

Assemblyman Adam Gray supported Low’s bill and Heath Flora was AWOL on the vote. So much for Valley values.

* * * * *

I was a kid in 1974 and I remember Sam Ervin conducting those televised Senate hearings on Watergate. Daniel Inouye, Lowell Weicker, Howard Baker, and Edward Gurney became media stars. Those proceedings were all out in the open.

Now we have a crew of Democrats plotting in secret in the bowels of the Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility (SCIF) to remove Trump.

The Democrat claims transparency is their hallmark but this is just dirty dealings. I think they don’t know how badly this will bite them in the rear.

* * * * *

Lots of people were thinking the Modesto Bee was race baiting in their weekend story, “Modesto’s mayoral candidates are older white men. Is that bad? Experts weigh in.”

That the Bee would ask that question smacks of race baiting, in my opinion. Remember, it’s hunting season for “older white men” for those on the Left. Let me put it this way: If all the candidates for mayor were Hispanic, would the Bee dare print a story titled, “Modesto’s mayoral candidates are Latino men. Is that bad? Experts weigh in.” I think you know the answer to that.

The conclusion is that nobody but older white men are running because nobody but older white men are running. I guess the better headline would be, “Why are minority candidates AWOL in running for local office?”

As someone who recently visited the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis, I can see how we’ve strayed from Martin Luther King’s belief that we need to judge people not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. Apparently all the Left sees is color.

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