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On vandals, trashy lyrics & the governor

I’ll tell you. The Ceres Gateway Center and its monument sign is nowhere near complete and some jerk has already tagged the concrete base.

We can’t have anything nice for all the low-class punks with spray-paint cans. Just look at the new sound wall along northbound 99 before you get to the South Ninth Street off-ramp. It gives that Central Valley ghetto vibe.

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Speaking of trashy, did you hear that Beyonce changed the lyrics of a song to some real trash talk just because the disabled community was offended by the original lyrics that used the word “spaz”?  Instead, our young people will be exposed to something more pornographically filthy.  If I were Beyonce’s dad I would be so embarrassed that I’d wish she had chosen a more honorable profession like pumping septic tanks.

We all know how it works. If recording studios have no problem producing this garage, it must be okay to listen to, the masses have come to accept. Now the disabled community can feel so much better that the youngest girls will be singing along filthy words that would make a street walker blush.

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Isn’t it enough, Gavin Newsom, that you support baby killing and have overtly extended all kinds of invitations for women to come to California to kill their babies with our funds? But then you feel the need to seek punitive measures against other states that don’t believe in such barbaric practices?

California’s egomaniacal governor last week called for Hollywood to boycott film and TV production activities in Georgia because lawmakers there believe in the sanctity of life.

TV shows like Family Feud are filmed in Georgia, which is a beautiful state where folks tend to believe differently than on the radical coast.

Newsom has great problems in California which he has done nothing to fix and shouldn’t be meddling in the affairs of a state on the other coast. His record on homelessness, crime, energy production, water storage, forest management and housing production is dismal. And this man – who locked down his state longer than any governor related to the pandemic – has the gall to say that California believes in freedom?

I cannot adequately describe to you how reprehensible this man is, not just as a governor but as a human being.

The supreme arrogance of the man is reflected in his voracious appetite to impose his leftist will on the state – and now the country if he decides to run for president – and he should be overwhelmingly rejected by Californians on Nov. 8.

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Thank you, Assemblyman Heath Flora (R-Ripon) for spending taxpayer dollars to let us know that you are “Working hard to ensure that every Californian can afford to live in the Golden State.”

A mailer went out to the 12th Assembly District constituents in Hughson and other locations – paid for by the State of California Assembly – to tell us in five paragraphs that we are seeing record inflation (we already knew that) and that some Republicans in Sacramento are fighting for a gas tax holiday and preserve Prop. 13.

I appreciate his support for a gas tax holiday and keeping property taxes at bay, but it’s wasteful and self-serving to send mailers to constitents (read that ‘voters’) in an election year.

To keep it legal, Flora sent out this as close to the election as possible since such mailers cannot be sent out within 60 days of an election.

We’ll never know how much this mailer – and others like it – cost but in my opinion it’s just a way for a politician to appeal to voters and have taxpayers fund it.

In 2010, the Los Angeles Times wrote an article, “Some California legislators pepper constituents with taxpayer-funded mailers.” The paper reported that then $4.6 million was spent by the Legislature on such mailers and that Assemblyman Joel Anderson spent $246,297 in taxpayer money to print and send 794,140 mailers from Jan. 1, 2009 to May 2010 which at that time was far above the average $39,122 that lawmakers spent.

The Times article quoted veteran GOP strategist Ray McNally as saying: “Essentially they’re free campaign mailers paid for by taxpayers under the guise of state business.”

It’s particularly wasteful since any constituent – if they care and most don’t – can go online to see how to contact Flora’s office and his voting record. Especially wasteful too because Flora, who represents District 12 but is running for re-election in District 9 due to redistricting, has no threat of a serious contender. Flora received 65,627 votes in the June 7 primary while Democrat Mushtaq Tahirkheli received an embarrassing 142 votes.

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Have you noticed how many vehicles are running around with window tinting so dark that it’s illegal? It’s a serious safety issue. It does make you wonder why window tinting operators are getting away with it and why police are not citing the many car owners who literally cannot be seen from the front or side.

The 2022 California window tint laws requirements are for the front windshield and front side windows to have a 70% Visible Light Transmission. California car window tint law has no restriction on how dark the tint on the rear and back side windows can be. However, if the rear window of a vehicle is tinted, it has to have dual side mirrors.

An important part of driving is being able to see the other driver, especially where their eyes are looking at an intersection. Dark window tinting on the front driver and passenger windows would also be very hard to identify what a driver looks like if he were committing a crime. Think about a driver’s ability to see adequately to drive safely too. Pedestrians crossing streets or in parking lots need to make eye contact with drivers to make sure they being seen.

There is safety issues in other ways. Last year I was visiting a cemetery in Modesto one afternoon about 4:30 p.m. I was just about the only one in the entire cemetery and standing just outside my car when a suspicious car pulled up right next to my car and idled. Nobody got out. I couldn’t see what driver – or if he had any occupants ready to pile out and attack me – for the dark tinting. I didn’t wait to find out what it was all about when I immediately got in my car and drove off. Just an example of how tinted windows can jeopardize someone’s safety.

John Warren complained last week that a large number of city vehicles have tinted windows that include the street sweeper. He wrote: “I do believe this puts enforcement officers and city staff in a compromising position when there windows are darker, and citizens are being cited for this violation by all agencies surrounding our community.”

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I know that our schools ended driver’s training a long time ago, which could be why so many young drivers are driving insanely. I’ve seen a lot of crazy driving by truck drivers as well.

This trend of running red lights is very dangerous and has to end. We’ve all seen the blatant running of red lights and a driver gunning the engine just because they don’t want to wait. 

Last Thursday in Windsor Hills (a Los Angeles suburb), five were killed when a selfishly impatient driver ran a red light at South La Brea and Slauson avenues and caused a fireball that sent a baby flying into the air to its death. A 40-year-old female nurse who caused the carnage went through the red light at 50- to 60 mph according to video. A nurse!

The headlines are filled with other stories of impatient people killing others by running red lights.

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It’s apparent to me from reading knee-jerk reactions on social media that we need to start educating citizens on how local government works.

Every time we publish a story about the approval of something new to be constructed in Ceres, folks will attack the Ceres Planning Commission. Readers will also divert and say we need a this and we need a that, not knowing that the city doesn’t pick and choose which businesses want to come in. Why isn’t there a Red Lobster in Ceres? Why isn’t there a Texas Roadhouse or Olive Garden here? Because they don’t think it would fly here. Would the city love them to come to Ceres? Absolutely, but unless a business takes the initiative, it’s not going to happen. You can wish for it all day long.

The city has been begging Cracker Barrel to come to Ceres and I’d love to see it happen. But so far Cracker Barrel thinks Sacramento is about the only place in the Valley that deserves one. Landing a Cracker Barrel would give Ceres a little respect, to borrow Rodney Dangerfield’s thoughts.

Recently someone said he wants to see Winco in the old Walmart building at Hatch and Mitchell. It would be nice, only one problem: the building is owned by the Walmart Corporation which isn’t going to sell or lease that building to a competitor like Target or Winco.

Our posting and link to our article about Woodspring Suites planning a hotel in Ceres resulted in the typical bellyaching from the naysayers who complain about everything new that wants to come to Ceres.

Our story about a state grant going toward improvements at Smyrna Park prompted a number of comments that I need to address.

The state snagged a $2.9 million grant to specifically upgrade Smyrna Park, the largest and most used park in Ceres. Susie Richards suggested that the money “would of (have) went a long way housing the homeless.” Aside from the fact that the money is to be spent on a park, do you know how many millions of dollars have been dumped into the Stanislaus County homeless problem yet the numbers keep growing? In fact, in March 2020 then Supervisor Jim DeMartini told the Courier: “Last year in Stanislaus County we spent $35 million on the homeless and I’ll tell you it’s gotten us nothing. The problem is still there. It’s just as bad or worse than it was the year before and $35 million is gone.”

It’s hard for people to understand that while the city is still struggling to find ways to finish Ochoa Park and Lions Park, that the state would hand the city $3 million to upgrade an existing park. But as Walter Cronkite said, “That’s the way it is.”

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I am encouraged to see ordinary Americans rejecting the wokeness of the Left and the do-nothing partisans.

Kari Lake, a Phoenix TV anchor woman who quit her job last year because she couldn’t stand how TV news media is biased and created fear over COVID and fomented hatred for President Trump, is running for governor of Arizona as a conservative who wants to end the tide of illegal immigration. She just won the Arizona primary, beating out an establishment Republican in Karrin Taylor Robson. Lake now faces Democrat Katie Hobbs in November.

When she quit in March 2021, Lake said on the air: “The media needs more balance in coverage and a wider range of viewpoints represented in every newsroom at every level and in each position. In the past few years I haven’t felt proud to be a member of the media. I’m sure there are other journalists out there who feel the same way. I found myself reading news copy that I didn’t believe was fully truthful, or only told part of the story and I began to feel I was contributing to the fear and division in this country by continuing on in this profession.”

The media, predictably, is on the attack. “The media has been just disgusting,” said Lake on Monday. “When I walked away I knew it was bad but I didn’t think it could go any lower…. It’s been personal destruction and the sad thing is they’re not even telling the truth.”


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