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Good for Ceres residents. They supported Measure H to generate more funds for police and fire services.

The measure needed one vote over 66 percent for passage. Instead, it was supported by a margin of 74.3 percent to 25.7 percent.

The overwhelming vote of support said a number of things. It expressed confidence in the Ceres Police Department and its ability to fight crime in Ceres. It also was a strong show of support that more needs to be done to fight the growing trend of gangs and drugs. We are confident that while police cannot do away with crime, the department will make greater inroads to fighting the element that is preying upon innocent Ceres residents.

Passage of Measure H will allow Ceres Police Department to add sworn officer, thereby allowing the creation of a Street Crimes Unit. Anyone reading this paper is aware that neighborhoods are being victimized by street gang thugs who are beating up innocent residents, shooting up cars and houses, stealing property, tagging on walls and dealing drugs. We believe that the Street Crimes Unit will be able to identify the trouble-makers and deal with them effectively.

The council said all along that it wanted residents to make a decision. If they wanted more police protection and increase fire protection, they would have to decide if it was worth digging a little deeper for taxes.

The beauty of the tax hike is that it won't affect the poor and elderly as much as it affects those who have more disposable income. The tax does not apply to food at the grocery store nor medications. Also, shoppers outside of Ceres will be contributing when they buy goods in Ceres.

Something needed to be done. New personnel is needed due to the increased volume of calls for both police and fire services. In the past five years, calls for police service have increased from 39,443 in 2002 to 62,065 calls in 2006. Frankly, the City Council was allocating a very high percentage of its discretionary general fund to public safety. Approximately 71 percent of the city's general fund is already spent on police protection and fire suppression and emergency services.

To those who voted against Measure H, that's your prerogative. But some of the excuses we heard were based on some bad information. We heard voters say they voted against Measure H because they felt the council was being wasteful since they voted to spend $350,000 on a downtown revitalization study and plan. What they failed to learn first is that the project was paid for by redevelopment agency dollars, which by state law cannot be spent on police and fire services. It's sad that they didn't get the facts before they made their decision.

We live in dangerous times. We have kids who weren't taught right from wrong, who think it's okay to harm others - even kill them - for personal gain. If society is going to thrive, we need to embrace the concept of strong law enforcement. Thank God Ceres voters put their faith in the local law enforcer and made a statement about the future of local law-breaking.