Ceres citizens hope the City Council will begin to approach growth more thoughtfully and intelligently. We will be watching the newly appointed council member, Bret Durossette, in hopes that he will not blindly go along with his high school pals (Mayor Anthony Cannella and Vice Mayor Chris Vierra), but will think and vote independently.
During the height of the building boom, citizens such as myself repeatedly went before the council and planning commission and had conversations with officials regarding out-of-control growth and its detrimental effects. At one point, I said, "Why not institute limits on development to preserve farmland and so developers would compete to bring the best projects to Ceres?" I was told it is best to leave development supply and demand to the market. We all see how well that worked out.
City leaders need to ask whether, in 10 years, they will look back and see the Super Wal-Mart as a mistake. Yes. Short-run thinking of increasing sales tax revenue is exactly that, shortsighted. Long-term thinking (what would my children or grandchildren want Ceres to look like?) takes guts. Fighting Wal-Mart instead of selling out is the right thing to do; unfortunately, it requires thinking outside the box.
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No Wal-Mart vote until May at earliest
Some of my friends and neighbors are confused about the proposed Ceres Wal-Mart Supercenter.
From my understanding, an application has been submitted by a Florida-based developer. As part of the application, an environmental impact report is required. According to the city Web site, www.ci.ceres.ca.us, the draft environmental impact report is one of two main stages of the process left to be done. The draft EIR is scheduled for public review in January. Citizens will be able to comment on the draft at a planning department meeting to be scheduled and/or by letter.
When the final EIR is finished (tentatively in May), then and only then will the Ceres City Council decide whether or not Wal-Mart will be allowed to build its supercenter.
Neighbor on verge of being dangerous
We have a bully in our neighborhood. No, this person is not a menacing bear of a man, but rather a middle-aged white woman with a thirst for drama, particularly if it involves the police. She has screamed, taunted, turned one of her three dogs out of its yard to attack my 14-year-old dog and, most recently, threatened to put a bullet in my head. Why? Because I like to walk my dog past her house. I live in a new subdivision adjacent to hers. Before our homes were built, it was a dead-end street near an orchard. Her home was built in the '90s, part of that same orchard.
Am I her only target? Absolutely not! Many of us have listened to her rants. The Modesto police do nothing but take a report and tell me that they can't blame her for hating us. She had a nice little dynasty before we moved in. But for the $5,800 in property and supplementary taxes we paid last year, I think I have every right to walk my dog wherever I please and deserve to have better police protection.
Voting machines are certified safe
Regarding "Voting machine challenge taken" (Jan. 15, Letters) about Merced County's ES&S election equipment: The writer has made some statements that are just not true. No. 1, no vulnerabilities were found with the ES&S equipment that reads paper ballots in any tests by anyone. Second, the additional conditions for use were 11 pages, not seven. In addition, Secretary of State Debra Bowen issued a waiver of those conditions for the Feb. 5 presidential primary election.
In think if the secretary of state felt the systems were vulnerable, she would not have issued a waiver on the conditions for such an important election.
JOHN H. WALKER
special projects coordinator, elections
Equal rights for unborn Americans
So the abortion rate has "plunged" to only 1.2 million babies and Planned Parenthood is upset? In case they are unaware of it, every single abortion stops the beating heart of a baby.
I believe we should have equal rights for all Americans, even the unborn ones. It is not the baby's fault the pregnancy happened, so why kill it? There are so many people who are unable to conceive a child who would cherish your unborn child. There are ways to handle this other than abortion.
JACK R. MORRIS, D.C.