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Letters to the Editor published Aug. 17, 2011
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It's time to approve Supercenter

Editor, Ceres Courier,

As the community is well aware by now, Walmart has plans to relocate to a new property near Mitchell Road and Highway 99, property designated by the City Council as the most appropriate location for a major regional shopping center.

By design, "regional shopping centers" are intended to be large retail centers with many stores and restaurants, anchored by a major tenant like Walmart. They offer the economic benefit of encouraging local residents to shop locally and also serve as shopping destinations, attracting consumers from neighboring communities, just like malls and outlets do.

While the Walmart project complies with all the city's building standards, the project is at risk of being denied due to politics and not the merits of the project, and if this happens, the consequences will be lasting. For one, no other retailer will even consider taking the financial risk of developing the property. Most likely they will look to build and create jobs in Turlock, as so many other retailers have done. And secondly, the property would remain vacant and sadly, dirt does not generate revenue for city services or create jobs.

So, one would think that the City Council will simply approve the project. However, a so-called "concerned citizens" group - organized and financed by local competitors Save Mart and Food 4 Less - is rallying opposition against Walmart, knowing that attacking the project's economic benefits has no merit, they are challenging Walmart's assertion that the company can't re-tenant the existing store before the new store opens and on these grounds, they asking the city council to deny the project.

If requiring current employers to sell or lease their property before moving onto new property is going to be a stipulation for new development, the City Council will have to be fair by consistently applying this new rule to every future employer who wants to expand and create jobs in Ceres. But, what business will consider locating to a city that infringes on property rights by determining when businesses can move and to whom they should sell or lease their property? Or will this rule only apply to Walmart and not others like Rite Aid who abandoned the Save Mart Shopping Center? The bottom line is that even during the toughest of economic times Walmart has been able to re-tenant all its old properties in California. While this is a senseless debate, the precedent it will set is alarming. This idea is simply a job killer, starting with the 200 jobs promised by this shopping center.

In a city that has an unemployment rate of some 20 percent, monkeying around with the market like this is dangerous and will only continue to encourage risk adverse employers to invest elsewhere. When an employer meets all the local building standards and offers the promise of new jobs, they should be welcomed to the community with open arms.

Simply put, the City Council rolled out the red carpet for a regional shopping center and Walmart delivered just that. On these grounds alone, the City Council should approve the project and expedite the permitting process as fast as possible. At the August 22 Walmart hearing, the fate of the project is not the only thing at stake. So is Ceres' business reputation.

Mike Singh,

Ceres shopping center owner

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Wrong direction under Pres. Obama's watch

Editor, Ceres Courier,

With S&P's AA+ downgrade, there is sure to be a negative impact on everything from bank loans to mortgage rates.

The spinning and spending spree of the president and Congress has to be defused. It's time they accept responsibility for the massive budget deficit, mounting debt problems, lingering high unemployment rate, dismal Wall Street slide, and the monumental decline in consumer confidence.

It's reassuring to know we have legislators that are working hard to restore order to America's fiscal house - representatives such as John Boehner, Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann and our local congressman, Jeff Denham. Mr. Denham voted for the Cut, Cap and Balance Act (struck down by the Senate), and subsequently the Budget Control Act, at the time, the only way forward to reform.

While denouncing S&P's credibility, the president gave the U.S. a quadruple -A ranking.

Could he be considering starting a credit-rating agency? A new career for the potential one-termer might be a wise decision, especially if he gains some business experience.

Everything seems headed in the wrong direction on Mr. Obama's watch. Perhaps all those vacation destinations, fund-raising events and rounds of golf have obstructed his view.

Bruce Lutes,


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How about a skating rink?

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Raley's building would be an ideal place for a skating rink. It is on all three bus routes so Turlock, Keyes, Ceres and Modesto could all come to skate. Parents could then shop while children skate. Would help pizza places greatly as well as the other stores.

The top floor could be used for RC cars and get them off the streets and out of Modesto and Merced.

Let Ceres think outside the box.

No insult to Mi Pueblo who is rumored to take over the building but I would rather the skating rink be there,

DeEtta Perdue,


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Letters to the editor will be considered for publication but must be signed with the author's name, address and telephone number. Letters should contain 250 words or less and be void of libelous statements. Letters may be sent to The Ceres Courier, P.O. Box 7, Ceres, CA 95307, or emailed to