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Why are voters rewarding non-performing officials with their votes?

After Tuesday’s election results, I’ve lost faith in Americans casting votes with common sense.

America’s quality of life has gone down and its expense has gone up. So a vast number of officials who put us in this mess – or haven’t done much of anything to fix it – were rewarded with another term.

Newsom has had four years to make progress on significant problems in the state and has produced no results, yet he gets an affirmation of re-election.

This isn’t surprising. I remember listening in on Lt. Gov. Newsom’s July 2017 speech in Salida in which he cited how the state has suffered as the most impoverished state in the union which would lead people to ask why they would keep the state ruled by the Democrats. Yeah, why would they I almost asked aloud? They turned to him for answers in 2018 and then tried to recall him last year after he unconstitutionally took away our rights.

Here we are five years later and homelessness is rampant and California still has the highest level of poverty. We are shy millions of housing units and rents are sky high. Criminals have been released early from prison only to break into homes of politicians and plumbers alike. Taxpayers are footing the bill for lawbreakers who snuck across the border. Now we are paying for abortions for women who don’t even live in California.

Apparently Californians want more of it judging by how they passed up another chance to change leadership and finally get rid of Newsom. This, my friends, defies logic.

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Although Newsom was re-elected, his support is slipping – no doubt because some folks resent the way he shut down life in the once Golden State and because the state hasn’t improved life here. The cost of living is forcing thousands to leave – and Newsom couldn’t care less.

When Newsom ran for governor in 2018, he captured 61.9 percent of the vote against John Cox. Last week he won against Brian Dahle with 58.9 percent of the vote – a loss of 3 percentage points.

Even if this rate of erosion of support continues, it will take decades – or maybe a well-known Republican – before California will ever see a governor with an “R” behind his name.

If only the entire state could vote as did Stanislaus County, which soundly rejected liberal politician Jess Self for Assembly and which supported Dahle over Newsom by nearly 13 percent.

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It’s 2022. We can send probes to Mars, men to the Moon and created the greatest medical advances. But states like California, Arizona and Nevada cannot figure out who won an election until days later? This is a problem that needs some leadership. This is what makes people question the legitimacy of elections.

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Have any of you actually studied the new legislative districts that go into effect very soon?

Do you have any idea what Ceres has in common with Bodie or even Death Valley? Yeah, not much except Ceres and Death Valley are in the same state Senate District 4. In fact, District 4’s southernmost point is about 25 miles from the Las Vegas metro area.

If you think that’s nuts, three congressmen will be representing Stanislaus County. Ceres is in the 13th Congressional District and right at Faith Home Road on your way to Hughson it becomes Tom McClintock’s new 5th CD. The very pointy top of Stanislaus County that includes Valley Home and Eugene is in the 9th CD which likely will be represented by Josh Harder of Turlock. I guess Carpetbagger Harder has to move again.

Need another example of more nuttiness? To make matters confusing, there seems to be no apparent order to the numbering of the districts. For example, Ceres is in the 22nd Assembly District (won by Juan Alanis) but neighboring Hughson is in the 9th Assembly District represented by Heath Flora.

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I’ve long believed that we get the kind of government we deserve. Generally speaking, the American public is disengaged from the governmental process and is pathetically apathetic about voting. Only 28.25 percent of registered voters in Stanislaus County voted. Rosalinda Vierra told me that people were complaining about the cold and rain on Election Day when mail ballots went out weeks ago, so where is there an excuse not to vote? If they do vote they tend to vote for the politician whose negative TV commercial shredded his opponent the most effectively, while learning nothing not one position about  he one doing the attacking. Theodore Roosevelt was right when he said: “A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends on the character of the user.”

Every registered voter is obliged as an American, I believe, to vote – after they studied the issues and the candidates. Instead it’s like, “I don’t know who to vote for so I’ll vote for Joe Smuck because I saw more of his signs.” It’s the most fundamental way we participate in the political process. There is a lot of talk about disenfranchisement of voters but they disenfranchise themselves. This past city election saw a dismal voter turnout.

Consider the election results from 2020, a presidential election year. Top vote-getters in the Ceres City Council races that year were Bret Silveira who collected 1,900 votes and Couper Condit received 1,229 votes.

Consider the vote counts from last week: James Casey received the most votes in the three council races: 1,113. That’s an underwhelming voter turnout.

The voter turnout in the Ceres City Council District 1 race was 27.55 percent; in the District 2 race, 19.23 percent; and District 4, 21.92 percent.

In other words, 72.45 percent of District 1 voters were AWOL; 80.77 percent in District 2 didn’t give a rip; and 78.08 percent were a no-show in District 4. That’s sad.

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We had a lot of recent complaints about late deliveries of the Courier from those who get it by mail. We were informed by the post office that mail was dragging slowly because of all those damned slick political mailers. I know you were sick of them too. I must have received 20 for the Assembly race alone. Each one I had to tear off my name and address to shred and throw the rest into my green recycling container.

While that happened, NO candidates for Ceres City Council purchased a single campaign ad in the Courier! Interestingly, the only political ads you saw in the Courier this cycle were from TID board candidate David Yonan who decimated his opponent. Wayne Zipser didn’t advertise once. I’d like to think Courier advertising was partly responsible for Yonan taking 70.96 percent of the vote.

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On Wednesday the Ceres Police Department posted a photo of a Ceres motor officer sitting on his motorcycle on Whitmore with a radar gun, captioned: “You never know where we’ll be…”

The officer was stationed on Whitmore Avenue just west of Cesar Chavez Jr. High School and La Rosa Elementary School. Obviously the point of the post was to get people to remember to slow down.

Then comes this comment from a Matthew Saldana: “Imagine being this cop, signing up for the police force, just to hide behind bushes on a bike and pick-pocket local civilians of their hard earned money in the name of justice. Y’all are civil servants, but use fear based slogans like, “You never know where we’ll be…” to keep the working class in line. Why don’t y’all lay off the traffic collections and work on stopping actual crime. Wasn’t someone just murdered in Ceres in a home invasion? But y’all wanna focus on stealing money from your community instead.”

I bet I know how this fellow voted – if he bothered at all. He sees people as victims. Most of us see speeders as potential killers, especially around two schools and often people only learn when it hits their pocketbook.

When you get a license to drive you know you are to obey all traffic laws, not just the ones you like. You know police will cite you if caught. You know it will cost you money.

Ceres Police responded to Saldana: “We’ll have to agree to disagree. This particular picture was taken while school was letting out. As you can see by the comments, parents are clearly concerned about their kids and how bad traffic can be around schools.”

“The other incident you mentioned did not occur in the city limits of Ceres and is being investigated by the Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Department.”

Saldana apparently doesn’t see speeding motorists as a recipe for disaster. Apparently he’s never been to a fatal crash like the many times I have. I doubt if he’s seen what can happen when somebody watches their smart phone instead of the road. Or when a young lady passes a big-rig over double-yellow lines and goes straight into an oncoming pickup. I have.

Maybe he doesn’t realize that citing someone for speed is designed to make it hurt financially so you’ll change your dangerous ways, not to collect revenue. Most of the fine money does not go to the city.

Whenever I hear somebody suggest that catching speeders isn’t an “actual crime,” I shake my head in disbelief. I can tell you that the majority of lawbreaking that occurs every hour is when people are behind the wheel disregarding speed limits and red lights; as opposed to breaking into cars and houses, or raping and killing.

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Remember the 1970’s song that went, “He’s got the whole world in his hands”? It was a song about God being in control. We used to believe that.

Those of us who are believers know that God – not man – is in control. He can withhold rain or make it flood depending on His purpose.

Of course God is never considered in the state’s alarmist attitude about droughts being something man has caused. To government regulators, the onus is on government to “save the planet.”

In a press release from the state Water Commission, the agency announced the hosting of a “panel of experts to explore the impacts of droughts on communities and species.” In other words, basically laying the groundwork for more control over our lives. They already want to take away our cars.

I laugh because state lawmakers seem to think California has its own little atmosphere that it can control. California is 163,696 square miles in size and much of that is rural. The Greater LA Basin is 33,954 square miles in size. What is the square miles of the entire planet? 197 million square miles, of which 139.5 million is covered by ocean. Sorry to say, any sacrifice we make in our lifestyle will be offset by other countries that share the same air. If you eliminated every car off the road of California, you’d have nations like China and Mexico spewing crap into the air. The arrogance of these humanists, believing  they have control over the weather of the entire planet by regulations here. 

The great thing about God’s design of the planet is that is its own self cleansing machine. The oceans, for example, act as a huge oxygen making machine and air filter.

The state agency continues the mantra of manmade global warming, asserting: “Climate change is spurring drier and warmer conditions in California, leading to more frequent, more prolonged, and more intense droughts.”

I had to laugh because in the sixth paragraph down is this jewel: “A growing body of evidence shows that our current drought situation is an extension of the 2012-2016 drought, interrupted by just a few wet years.”

Really? Pay no attention to those wet years now, peons. And pay no attention to the man behind the curtain to quote my favorite line from the movie “Wizard of Oz.”

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