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Letters to the Editor published Dec. 5, 2012
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Optimism about county's economy is misplaced

Editor, Ceres Courier,

The California Employment Development Department released a recent report that indicated Stanislaus County's unemployment rate rose slightly in October. Reports for the county show the unemployment rate pegged at 13.9 percent, up half a point from the 13.4 percent rate given in September.

There has been some optimism about the number, since it remains much lower than we saw at the start of the recession in 2008. The optimism is somewhat unwarranted; just because Stanislaus County is not in as dire of a position as it was years ago is not a reliable sign that we are in the clear. The Modesto Bee reports that these numbers follow historical patterns, and that a rise in unemployment is typical as manufacturing and agricultural sectors leave their busy season. Further, they argue that the "natural" unemployment rate for the county is 12 percent.

The data suggests otherwise. According to rates recorded by the Federal Reserve, prior to 2008 peak unemployment (typically in the first few months of the year as retail winds down) is at about 11 percent. The low points in the first half of this decade hover around 7 or 8 percent.

Bad news tends to be positioned with a rosy outlook, probably because people do not want to seem alarmist. But eventually this behavior borders on irresponsible. Jobless claims are still much higher than they were prior to the recession. The numbers do not and cannot reflect people who have been unemployed longer than the state is willing to pay them unemployment insurance. The jobless claims do not account for people who have left the area since their homes were foreclosed on. The statistics will never be able to adequately measure the impact that the stress of economic uncertainty has on Stanislaus County residents - which we might guess is contributing to the surge in mental health crises residents are facing.

No amount of wishful thinking will make the recession go away; people who take comfort in artificially happy news are doing a disservice to their unemployed friends and neighbors. The American public has taken false comfort in loose Federal Reserve monetary policy, inflated media reports, and inefficient stimulus packages. People need to stop allowing themselves to be distracted and start finding ways they can survive the recession on their own.

Mark Tully,

Owner of

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Electoral College must go

Editor, Ceres Courier,

No, I'm not crazy. I'm just fed up with the Electoral College. All of you who voted for Gov. Romney should be disgusted as well. In California, the popular vote was approximately 6,000,000 for Obama and 4,000,000 for Romney. But winner of the popular vote takes all of California's 55 electoral votes and the electoral total, 269 or more, elect the president. So I and 4,000,000 Romney voters ended up casting our vote for Barack Hussein Obama.

Why couldn't the percentage of the popular vote that went to Romney be applied to the 55 electoral votes? This would have given me and millions of California voters representation and a mathematical chance of winning the election. Remember in the Presidential election of 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote but lost the electoral vote and thus the election to G.W. Bush.

The original reason for the electoral college was to give small states some representation but today it has been negated by the mere dominance of one political party or another in the heavy populated or swing states. We need to have a constitutional amendment for one person one vote in a presidential election. Several states have already apportioned the electoral votes by the ratio of the popular votes. It's a start! What a revolting development to end up voting for the opposite candidate!

Brewster Burns

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LETTERS POLICY: 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