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Why is the mayor trying to lower standards for a special constituency?

Mayor Javier Lopez announced last week that he wants to bend the established rules for street peddlers and at least two members of the council stopped him. That’s why it’s important for the best brains to be elected to office.

As we all know there are a lot of folks out there who are peddling goods without a permit. They are typically Mexican immigrants who speak little or no English, don’t bother to get business or health department permits or the required liability insurance to protect themselves if they happen to accidentally poison or kill somebody.

The new and inexperienced mayor of Ceres last week wanted to see if the council would strike the requirement for insurance. “This might cost them too much to have liability insurance and we’d be better off if we removed the liability insurance.” Better off? In what world does any elected official think that if somebody can’t afford insurance just skip making them have it?

While we’re at it, why not just allow people to drive without insurance since some of them are breaking the law anyway without buying insurance. We’ll be “better off.”

If cost is deterring peddlers or vendors from obeying the law maybe they should find work with a company that bothers to buy insurance.

Ryno and Silveira said if vendors are selling on city sidewalks then insurance is a must but Silveira suggested maybe seeing if the $1 million policy is unreasonable.

The mayor also tried to get the council to agree to talk about allowing taco trucks to set up tables and chairs; Ryno said “no” because it seems like the new council is trying to undo what the previous council did. Silveira also said no to tables and chairs, saying the city is still in the test mode for mobile food vendors.

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A local conspiracy theory has developed.

Jim Casey has picked up nomination papers to run for the District 1 Ceres City Council seat. Casey, owner of a local moving company, did not apply to be appointed to the seat earlier this year but now he is interested in serving. Laurie Smith and Connie Vasquez have picked up papers but both were among the four residents who asked the council to appoint them to the empty seat left behind by Channce Condit’s bailing due to his thirst for higher office midway into his term. Of course you know the disaster that followed. Mayor Javier Lopez and Vice Mayor Couper Condit refused to support Smith – despite her having 14 years of Planning Commission experience – and would only support everybody else. Lopez and Condit fought her appointment tooth and nail and even voted for an applicant with a record of DUIs and fleeing the scene of an accident. Councilwoman Linda Ryno and Councilman Bret Silveira supported nobody but Smith. Every vote taken on a prospective councilmember resulted in a 2-2 tie which threw the entire selection process to a special election which is coming up on Aug. 31.

Now the entry of Casey into the race has raised an interesting theory. It’s no secret that Casey has been a loyal Condit supporter. In fact, when Chad Condit ran for Congress in 2012 the Caseys let their business office serve as Condit for Congress campaign headquarters. So why is he running now? The theory is that Casey has been recruited by the Condits to get on the ballot to derail Smith’s strong candidacy. Let’s face it, Smith has been serving on the Ceres Planning Commission and Connie Vasquez runs a daycare. If Smith is significantly weakened in a three-way race scenario, Casey or Vasquez gets on the council, giving Lopez and Condit their third vote to run roughshod over the “old guard.”

Smith knows her stuff and is no pushover, and that scares the new mayor and vice mayor. They want somebody they can wield influence over and call the shots.

Interesting times in Ceres politics.

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Now about another kind of snake in Ceres.

Fred Anderson of Ceres sent me an email on Wednesday with a photo of a snake wrapped around the inside of the door knob of his metal screened storm door. Fred had opened the door to go look for his Courier and that’s when he saw the snake.

Fred wrote: “It sure had my adrenaline flowing. At 72 years of age I found I could move my hand away from door faster than I knew I could.”

He called Stanislaus county Animal Control and an officer arrived to “save” him and “the snake from doing something that would not been good for either one of us. What a great hero our animal control people are.”

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Those Democrats don’t miss a beat, do they? They turn local crimes into pressing national action. I’m talking about the shooting massacre in San Jose last Wednesday that took the lives of nine. One nut job loses his mind and uses a gun to hurt others and the Democrats are ready to ratchet down on more gun laws. All this proves is that all the existing gun laws don’t and won’t eliminate tragic episodes like this. Take guns away and people will use knives. Take knives away and people will use cars. But we all know that it would be ludicrous to talk about knife and car control.

Make no mistake, the shooting in San Jose was a local crime. But the politicians were tripping over themselves to show us they cared, like Gov. Newsom who said “We are in close contact with local law enforcement and monitoring this situation closely.” What is there to monitor? A nut job shot up the workplace, he’s dead, it’s over. Unless, of course, he means Sacramento must pass more gun and ammo laws to prevent the good people from having weapons to protect themselves from the gun-toting nut-jobs at the workplace.

The all-caring White House, we are told by principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, “is monitoring the situation.” And then while confessing they had no details, Biden insists “we are suffering from an epidemic of gun violence in this country, both in mass shootings and in the lives that are being taken in daily gun violence that doesn’t make national headlines.”

Yeah and the Democrats’ policy of releasing felons from prison isn’t helping matters either.

Politicians can talk about eliminating such crimes until they pass out for lack of oxygen but here’s the reality: We live in a fallen world and nothing will stop evil things from occurring. (“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Jeremiah 17:9). You could make every law-abiding citizen give up their guns – but that won’t and should never happen – and the criminals would be ruling the streets with theirs.

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Rep. Josh Harder’s office turned out a press release on May 21 calling on Biden to address runaway lumber prices. The release notes that “throughout the pandemic, lumber prices have risen almost 300% across the country. In the Central Valley, the price for a single board of wood has gone from $2.99 to almost $10.”

He mentioned how he’s heartbroken to hear “about projects like the Sikh Temple in Turlock that can’t get built because lumber is just plain too expensive right now.”

Guess what, Congressman? The federal government created the problem of high lumber prices! This is what happens when you pay people to stay home and not produce products like 2x4s; and it’s also a direct result of the inflation to you guys in Congress are creating by infusing trillions of dollars chasing too few products. Supplies were overrun when lumber was also snatched up when the government ordered people to stay home with nothing to do so they did home jobs requiring wood. The low interest rates and a pick-up in home starts also caused demand to outstrip demand.

The government never should have quarantined healthy Americans in the first place. They were operating from faulty pandemic death forecasts. Paying people to not return to work is the continued sin of government. It must stop.

Politicians know they are abusing the nation’s credit card but they don’t care. They want to hold onto power even if it drives the country into the ground.

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I have my doubts that the Newsom recall effort will be successful. There’s just too many folks not paying attention to people fleeing the state.

But some must be scared. You read it when you see press releases from labor unions. Like the one from the SEIU that came out last week. Union President Bob Schoonover said they support Newsom – no surprise there – “as he fights the distracting and costly partisan recall.” Strange that he didn’t back Trump during the distracting and costly impeachment proceedings that had zero basis in fact. But we understand; the unions buy and own their Democrats in office.

Newsom unnecessarily destroyed thousands of small businesses and depressed millions of kids in his state lockdown. He’s also broken his own lockdown orders. He’s lied about supporting the death penalty. He’s let tens of thousands of prisoners out of prison to make them “safe” while making our homes and cars and street unsafe.

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As you know I like to share memes occasionally that make a lot of sense to me. This one said something akin to: “If being shot at is a risk that officers take, isn’t being shot at a risk you take committing crimes?”

Boy does that fly in the face of today’s social justice crowd?

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Sacramento Democrats really make my blood boil.

They shut the state down when it didn’t need to be, made people lose their jobs and destroyed businesses.  That caused a lot of folks to not have money for rent but now we are going to save them from that. And boy we are going to always make the case that they are ready to help communities of color – their favorite constituency because that’s where their voting base lies.

On Friday the Democrat-dominated California State Assembly approved legislation to establish a statewide eviction defense program to “protect California’s most vulnerable renters.” (When you don’t pay your bills you are just a vulnerable victim.)

Authored by Democrat Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, AB 1487 would create the “Homelessness Prevention Fund” to fund education, outreach, and legal services aimed at preventing displacement and homelessness.

Gabriel notes in his press release that “COVID-19 has exacerbated already concerning rates of eviction and homelessness…” No, COVID didn’t do the damage; Gov. Newsom ordered stay-at-home orders of healthy people did. Gabriel decries the “power imbalance” between tenants and landlords in legal proceedings.” He points out that 3 percent of tenants have lawyers in evictions while 81 percent of landlords do.

In a nut shell, Newsom’s budget infused by federal debt dollars includes $60 million over three years to provide legal aid services to renters and homeowners to avoid eviction and foreclosure. “Free” legal services for landlord-tenant issues, including legal assistance for counseling, renter education programs, and preventing evictions. But Gabriel wants $200 million.

It’s all about giving out free stuff, enslaving people to being a permanent underclass so they can hold onto power. Remember, those who rob Peter to pay Paul will always have the support of Paul.

Meanwhile, we are indebting our future generations to drown in the sea of debt.

Government needs to get out of the way but we have generations of young people who think that “free” stuff falls like manna from Heaven.

Thank God some of us work daily to pay for all the freebies the Democrats are doling out.

 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