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They’re not getting away with it in Ceres

Last week at Burgers & Badges I enjoyed speaking to some of Ceres’ finest – officers who put their life on the line each day. It was an event to allow police and the public to mingle at In-N-Out.

I was told this was the first such event for the entire In-N-Out chain so Ceres made “history” last week.

In a discussion with one sergeant, I noted how many chases seem to come out of Ceres involving Modesto drivers or elsewhere out of town. Part of the reason, I was informed, is that other neighboring police agencies have a reputation of not chasing after drivers seen violating some aspect of the vehicle code. These drivers – typically young males under the age of 30 – foolishly think they can just accelerate their way out of a traffic citation. Not in Ceres which will typically pursue a fleeing driver.

An officer often must make a judgement call as to whether a chase is getting too dangerous. If it does, the officer can call upon the Sheriff’s Department helicopter to track it and once the driver has exited the vehicle, officers know where to get him or her.

One individual who led police on a chase told the officer he didn’t think they would chase him and said that didn’t make him want to ever visit Ceres. Good. Who needs troublemakers anyway?

Crime flourishes when there are no consequences. Remember that life lessen, when you vote.

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Change is constantly in the wind and some big changes will be coming to Ceres Police leadership this year. Word has it that Police Chief Rick Collins is planning to retire soon and there will be a search for his replacement. The favorite to take over will be second-in-command Chris Perry, who became captain earlier this year to replace Patrick Crane.

It’s too early to say if Perry will be chosen but the last two chiefs came from within the Ceres Police organization – Brent Smith and Collins. Previous chiefs were Art deWerk who was recruited from Wyoming and Pete Peterson who came from Moscow, Idaho.

There is a process that must take place but Perry would be a fine choice. He’s already impressed with the progress on code enforcement under his watch.


* * * * *

Have you noticed how TV media alarmists continue to report on our recent storms as “historic,” as if we have never had snow or rain in winter before? It’s ridiculous and has got to be the most inaccurate and worn-out phrase owing to their short-lived memories.

None of the storms that have swept through our region are “historic” or “record.” It’s winter and it snows and rains like it should be. And keep in mind that TV news station have no idea what the weather was like before California was settled in the 1840s.

It seems like TV news always likes to dramatize things worse than they are. It is, after all, about viewership (read that as ad revenue). This is why I prefer print media to TV media any day of the week.

* * * * *

Mike Rowe, the famous “Dirty Jobs” TV show host, continues to speak out about the scary situation coming out of the pandemic. Seven million able-bodied men are not looking for work, which means they aren’t producing, they are only consuming – and obviously doing so on the labor of someone else, notably parents, wives or girlfriends. What are they doing then? According to Rowe, 90 percent of them are spending 2,000 hours a year in their screens – smartphone, TVs, laptops, desktops – which equates to a full-time job.

Truly a sign of our times – many men are becoming lazy, irresponsible and self-centered – at the expense of others.

It’s a pathetic situation and such a contrast to the Kilcher men on the popular Discovery channel series, “Alaska, Last Frontier,” who use brawn and ingenuity to eke out a living from dusk to dawn. The whole country was like that once. Now our government encourages laziness.

* * * * *

I enjoy history so I was a bit surprised what I learned last week in the Special Collections Room at the Stanislaus County Library main branch. The pamphlet file cabinet is replete with interesting newspaper clippings, reports and other tidbits.

Did you know that Ceres didn’t top Oakdale as the third largest city in Stanislaus County until 1971? At that time, Ceres had 7,200 residents while Oakdale had 6,594.

Ceres has continued to expand its population gap from Oakdale. As of the latest population figures, Ceres has 49,282 residents while Oakdale has 23,235.

Also in 1971, Modesto had only 64,076 residents (218,771 now) and Turlock had 14,800 (72,682).

* * * * *

A few weeks ago I wrote about Senate Bill 357 written by that “genius” state Senator Scott Wiener and signed into law by that “genius” governor of ours. It ties the hands of police statewide from arresting anyone for “loitering with the intent of prostitution” or directing, supervising, recruiting, or aiding a person who is loitering with the intent to commit prostitution, or collecting or receiving all or part of the proceeds of an act of prostitution.

Last week Dave Nisleit, the police chief in San Diego, blasted the new law for sparking brazen prostitution on his streets. He said Wiener’s law makes “recovering trafficking victims more difficult while emboldening their traffickers.”

San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan stated “traffickers and the buyers were boasting on social media that because of the decriminalization new law that they just openly sell human beings for sex on our streets.”

Wiener defends his law, saying that under the previous law, police were allowed to arrest a person “because they were wearing tight clothing, high heels and extra lipstick.”

Really, Senator? It’s an insult that you think police are that stupid. Your ridiculous laws always seem to get a sign-off by an equally ridiculous governor.

* * * * *

Here we go again. Screwball state lawmakers want to take more freedoms away.

They want to pass a bill that would make it illegal for retailers in the state to sell tobacco products to anyone born after 2007.

But whoa, we’re gonna let people smoke pot like it’s going out of style?

I’m not a fan of people smoking  – God knows I was around a grandmother and great aunts and uncles who were taken down by cancer. But in a free country we need to let adults chose their own vices.

I’m having trouble reconciling why the state is fine banning the sale of tobacco products while giving carte blanche approval to smoking marijuana. Perhaps they desire the American electorate being so stoned they won’t be interested in staying on top of the stupid laws they pass.

Does marijuana not come with all kinds of harmful health affects as well as affect driving? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention marijuana subjects smokers to many of the same toxins and cancer-causing chemicals found in tobacco smoke. The CDC said limited evidence has shown a connection between chronic marijuana smoking and testicular cancer.

If signed into law, it would mean by 2073 people wanting to buy cigarettes would have to show ID to prove they are at least 67 years old, the Orange County Register reported.

Can we just let people decide for themselves if they want emphysema and lung cancer to be a part of their life?

* * * * *

Ceres Unified is seeing it. So are most school districts. Student population is decreasing or leveling off. Why? Folks are leaving the state because they can’t afford Newsom’s policies.

In 2021 about 360,000 people fled California to other states or the country. In 2020, 275,000 left. Los Angeles Times reported that California lost 500,000 residents in 2021 and 2022.

There are a lot of factors. Chief among them, the ridiculously high cost of living and lack of affordable housing. Many conservatives are fleeing the tyranny of a governor and Legislature passing laws which in direct conflict with their values.

I spent some time visiting family in Pahrump, Nevada two weeks ago and wasn’t surprised to learn it’s been settled by a lot of Californians. Nevadans like their guns and wide open spaces and just got rid of their liberal Newsom-like governor in Steve Sisolak, trading him for a conservative Republican Joe Lombardo, the sheriff of Clark County. His website says this about Lombardo: “More important to him than anything, Governor Lombardo is a devoted husband to First Lady Donna Lombardo, a dedicated father to his daughter Morgan, stepdaughter Lacey, stepson Jackson, and a grandfather to his 1-year-old grandson Teddy.”

I like that guy already. It’s a stark difference to Newsom who refuses to call his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom the first lady, preferring instead to call her “First Partner.”

Newsom is not the poster child for family values. He wants women to kill their offspring. And while he was mayor of Sodom City, he had an affair with Ruby Rippey Gibney, his appointments secretary and wife of his campaign manager. Alex Tourk. Newsom was married to Kimberly Guilfoyle Newsom but they split in January 2006.

The affair came to light in 2007.

* * * * *

My jaw hit the floor when I heard Newsom slam the idea of sobriety in a press conference three years ago.

In January 2020 while talking about trying to solve the addiction crisis in California, the governor criticized the idea of being “clean and sober” because sometimes the world requires some self-medication.

This is the quote: “Clean and sober is one of the biggest damn mistakes this country ever made…We all need to self-medicate periodically.” 

Sober living advocates must have fainted and hit the floor on that.

I can come up with a ton of other “biggest damn mistakes” the country has ever made. Oh, here’s one: slavery maybe? Denying women the right to vote? Or how about the wholesale slaughter of babies after the Supreme Court decision of Rowe v. Wade? Or letting too many immigrants come into the country with no jobs skills and expecting U.S. taxpayers to fund their medical care? Or what about spending billions of dollars we don’t have to usher in socialism or pay money to lazy folks who don’t work? Or how about taking God out of schools and letting the queer folks entertain?

But to call sobriety a mistake? What is the dude smoking? He set back recovery programs 30 years.

* * * * *

Well, well, well.

So now the U.S. government is acknowledging that COVID-19 likely originated from a Wuhan, China lab.

And what were the national news media and officials like Kamala Harris saying about those who promoted that theory in 2020? Social media companies like Facebook were shutting down conservatives who suggest that. Joy Behar ridiculed those who reported the Wuhan lab theory. Now the U.S. Department of Energy is saying they were probably right.

Let me highlight something I wrote on May 27, 2020 in this column:

“The political correctness of the Left gets old.

“The latest eyeball roll comes from Sen. Kamala Harris, who was overwhelmingly rejected for the presidency not because she’s a woman but because her liberal ideas were rejected.

“Harris – unfortunately elected by the liberals of California and not the people of our conservative Valley – last week condemned references to the Chinese coronavirus or the Wuhan virus. She and her Democrat cohorts have jumped on the China propaganda bandwagon by introducing a virtue signaling resolution condemning references to the China virus as the Wuhan virus.”

So Harris was wrong and folks like Ben Shapiro and Glen Beck were spot-on. This is another huge black eye on the national news media which has proven time and time again that they no longer have journalistic ethics. We truly do have a dishonest corporate news media.

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