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Letters to the Editor published June 9, 2010
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Great editorial piece on Hughson's political woes

Editor, Ceres Courier,

Thank you so much for running such an insightful editorial on the Hughson and Riverbank council members who are causing so much trouble in their communities. Even though, in Hughson, we focus on the Brown Act violations - numerous violations - there were many other questionable acts.

The Civil Grand Jury also found that that Mr. Crowder violated the Fair Political Practices Act. Then, not only did the three conspire to fire the city manager, but to replace him with long-time buddy Dave Whiteside, who orchestrated many of their activities behind the scenes. And they did this via a special session three days before the regular council meeting. It could have waited, but then special sessions don't have to be posted to the public as prominently as regular council meetings.

The councilmen voted not to approve street repairs to be paid for through a grant because they didn't like the streets chosen by the city engineer. Two weeks later, they reversed their vote when they were told in no uncertain terms that the city could lose the money due to their delays.

They voted not to let the Sheriff's Office dispose of old records, which is standard procedure, because Ben Manley wanted to go through them personally to look for the juvenile who stole a gun from him. (The law wouldn't allow him to do that anyway.)

They have already cost the city over $60,000 in unnecessary legal fees. And then they wanted to fire the city attorney because he testified before the Civil Grand Jury, and they wanted to fire the IT manager because he didn't give them the answer they wanted concerning hacking into city files. There were so many self-serving votes not in the best interests of Hughson.

I agree with your editorial. If these three had the best interests of Hughson at heart, they would resign and run again at a later time, if they feel they have the support.

Candice Steelman,

Hughson property owner

living in Arizona

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Hughson government can be corrected Aug. 24

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I thoroughly enjoyed your editorial a week ago regarding politicians' excuses. You did an excellent job of analyzing and commenting on the current state of affairs in Hughson. You did it succinctly, but without meanness or negativity. It means a lot to me when citizens outside of Hughson accurately grasp the extent of current dysfunction in our government. It's unfortunate that initial lapses in judgment (broken laws) have been compounded by the three council members' unwillingness to step down. Tenacity is usually a quality I admire in leaders, bit it now presents as stubbornness, selfishness, and arrogance.

The registered voters now bear the responsibility to reclaim their town by recalling Councilmen Crowder, Manley, and Humphreys on August 24. Hughson will begin to mend soon thereafter but the reputations of these three individuals will be tainted long after the ballots are counted. onest, representative government starts at home and I'm confident it will return to Hughson. The clamor, the conflict, and the strife leading to the recall have effectively mobilized the citizens of Hughson. The opportunity to cast a ballot in this situation demonstrates democracy in action. Let the voters decide on August 24 whether we've suffered enough ridicule and embarrassment at the hands of these three. If so, its time to demand transparency, integrity, respect, and honesty from our elected officials by supporting the recall. Then, and only then, can the healing begin.

Peter Sugia,


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Many thanked for role in 'Every 15 Minutes' event

Readers share their opinion in letters to the editor

Editor, Ceres Courier,

My apologies for this being long overdue. On behalf of Ceres High School, the students and staff, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those that made the Every 15 Minutes program possible. In order for this program to be successful, it takes

school personnel, district personnel and community personnel working together.

Special thanks go to the California Highway Patrol - Eric Parson and Matt Gisler, the California Office of Traffic Safety, American Medical Response, Medi-Flight, Memorial Hospital and personnel, the Ceres Department of Public Safety- Sgt. Danny Vierra,

Captain Sonny Snyder, Captain Dan Foster, the Modesto Police Department Chaplains, Stanislaus County Coroner's Office, the Ceres Police Officers Association, Lakewood Memorial Park and Funeral Home, city of Ceres, Ceres Police Explorers and Volunteers, Ceres Unified School District Personnel, Kim Chapman, Kathi Foster, Eric Holley, Shellie Coutrakis, Darryl Long, Diamond Bar Arena- Shane Parson, Ceres Pro Tow, Ceres Lions Club, La Huerta Vieja, Valley Meat Company - Gus and Evin Coutrakis, The Floral Cottage and Wal-Mart. The businesses in town that donated food are: Donut Factory, Donut Town, Donut Delite, both Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurants, Little Caesar's Pizza, Marco's Pizza, McDonalds at Hatch and Herndon, Producers Dairy Foods, Food 4 Less, Raley's, Richland Market and Save Mart.

Special thanks also go to the CUSD personnel that moved bleachers, translated, donated the bus for transportation, the donation of custodial time and much more. Thank you to Dr. Hanline, Mr. Siegel, Dr. Van Vleck, Dr. Jones, and the Blaker Kinser staff and principal.

I would personally like to also thank the Ceres High School staff. Without your support of this program, it would not be possible. We, the staff, believe in this program wholeheartedly because if it saves on life, it is worthwhile.

Last, but not least, I would like to thank the students and parents who participated in

this program. It is an emotional two days for everyone, but especially for the students and their parents.

Thanks again everyone and I apologize if I missed anyone. It really does take a village to accomplish a task this big for our students.

Linda Cooper,

Activities Director,

Ceres High School

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Reader shares disappointment with different aspects of life in Ceres

Editor, Ceres Courier,

I find it disappointing and ironic, that for the last 17 years that my family and I have lived in the city of Ceres, we've been through three mayors - none of which have really made some major changes and fulfilled promises that they have said they would do at election - and a police chief that prefers to do columns rather than be more visible, except perhaps to the more recognizable authoritative figures and politicians alike. Whatever happened to the taxes we were asked to vote upon election two years ago to increase police? I've been robbed a few years back, and not one Ceres police came to our home. We got the county sheriff!

I apologize for venting, only because as an adopted citizen of Ceres, who like many transplants from the Bay Area, many years ago, decided Ceres would make a better city for my children to grow up, having lived with my family in major cities such as Fresno, Clovis and Riverbank. We've seen the decline through the years. For example, in one of our daily walks on a weekend, and hardly on weekdays nowadays, either for that matter, we find even adults making an excuse of watching their kids play baseball or softball, to drink beer. Case in point, we see more and more suspicious dealing in the parking lot with young adults, going in and out and no law enforcement around.

And on a litter note, dog owners making their backyard extended onto the park, and not cleaning after their beloved animals. Granted that some may forget to bring doggie bags to put their pets' "jewels," at least, be creative and take time to find something to clean your pet's mess. I'm not the pet patrol, but it does says something about how the owner lives.

Last but not the least, as a baseball patron, and a baseball mom, would be behoove someone from The Ceres Courier to please cover more CVHS varsity players other than the same people? I realize that the photographer who comes to the high school has to take pictures and find the real story, but does he have to take the same pictures, and noticed they're mostly soccer girls, basketball girls/boys, tennis players, and Ceres High players. Our varsity has the best roster it's ever been, and we'd like to at least have that acknowledged.

We're not all hicks here, nor are we at the low totem pole. Most of us are just as educated, we may not show it nor flaunt it, but we deserve a fair shake as well.

Maria Olsen,


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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