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Reversing a culture of trashiness
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Ceres is being trashed and it needs to stop.

If you stop and look as you drive or walk down the streets, check out and see how much is really out there.

Whenever I'm walking I try to pick up what I see, especially along Fourth Street in the heart of the business community.

My hunch is that 90 percent of the trash is caused by youth who haven't been taught better. My assessment is based on the fact that most of what I pick up are candy and snack wrappers, soda cups and lids, and fast-food wrappers. I'd say the other 10 percent is due to adults who throw down cigarette cartons after they're done with them, and garage sale signs that aren't removed after a sale and blowing off of utility poles (another eyesore being practiced here).

Can you imagine how things would look if we all cared. Aside from that fact that I don't understand the mindset of people who throw down trash, it drags down the whole community environment. It's akin to urinating in the pool that you swim in; everyone is contaminated by it.

Here's a novel approach: Start caring. We can all do healthier things like walking in our neighborhoods and carrying along a plastic bag for garbage. Or at the very least we can make sure the sidewalks and gutters in front of our own houses and businesses are cleaned up.

Parents must teach their kids that it's illegal and not okay to drop a candy wrapper on the corner rather than carry it home and dispose of it there.

Police should start citing people for littering if they aren't already.

The city should sponsor quarterly community clean-up days, like the big one staged in April 2008 which netted 13.4 tons of garbage picked up on Herndon Road by 35 volunteers. We haven't seen another Take Pride in Ceres campaign cleanup.

Ceres has so much potential. But if residents don't start caring and change their practices, it will not break free from this abysmal state of blight, which in turn breeds crime and gang activity. It's proven that communities that don't stay on top of code enforcement and graffiti and trash are throwing down the welcome mat for the criminal and gang element.

Come on, Ceres, cast off the trashy appearance.

How do you feel? Let Jeff know by emailing him at