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The Madera Tribune

Letters: Car-towing system ‘grossly unfair’

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webmaster | 03/16/12

I am writing about a system in Madera that I think is grossly unfair.

When someone is arrested, and there is no one to immediately retrieve the car of the person arrested before he is incarcerated, the car is towed or driven to a towing yard. Towing is $195 and storage is $55 per day, so the charge is $250 at that point. If the owner gets 30 days, by the time he is able to redeem the car he owes something like $1,700.

Many times the car is not worth the charge or the owner can’t pay the fee, so the towing company sells his car at a lien sale. Their investment is minimal — the cost of transporting the vehicle to their facility. The profit is substantial.

The police and towing company both assert that no one but the registered owner can redeem the car, but Vehicle Code Section 23109 says the car can be released to “the registered owner or his agent.”

The same goes for the legal owner, who may be a lien holder or someone who just bought the car and hasn’t registered it yet.

However, when someone other than the registered owner attempts to pay the storage and towing fees, even the next day after the car is towed (or driven) to the towing yard, the agent is turned away.

The vehicle code does not call for power of attorney or anything more than that the agent be an adult and present a valid driver’s license, but nobody tells you that.

When the police say “no one but the registered owner can redeem the car,” you tend to believe them, and it was not until much too late that I checked the law and found that this statement is untrue.

On Oct. 28, there were 20 vehicles listed at auction. My grandson’s car brought $1,600. It was “towed” (it was drivable) some 3-5 miles — maybe a gallon of gas and the time it took two people to bring it in. Around $20 expense and $1,580 profit.

Now, my grandson has no job, and no car to help him find — and keep — another job. He dropped out of community college because he couldn’t get to classes.

Thankfully, he is determined to overcome this setback, and hopefully he will profit by the experience. But what did it really teach him, and what about all the people who lost their cars because they believed the lie that since they could not personally redeem their car there was nothing they could do, and their car would be sold at auction?

Elizabeth Phillips,

Consul thanks the U.S. for its help

One year ago, on March 11, 2011, Japan was struck by one of the most powerful earthquakes in modern history. The earthquake and accompanying tsunami claimed thousands of lives and, coupled with the nuclear accident, presented one of the gravest challenges Japan has ever faced.

Yet in the darkest hours, Californians from communities large and small, global and local, offered us unbounded compassion, comfort, and hope. Please accept our deepest appreciation for every condolence, show of support, and demonstration of our common humanity.

Japan’s reconstruction has advanced greatly with your help and friendship, but there is still much to do in the days ahead.

Our country is dedicated to working with you to share lessons from the earthquake, build disaster-resistant societies, ensure nuclear safety, and promote security and economic stability.

We will continue to keep you updated on Japan’s recovery and development.

Thank you once again for everything you have done for us.

Hiroshi Inomata,
Consul General of Japan in San Francisco

Thoughts on right to bear firearms

Do “we” have a right to have a gun? Yes, we do. Clear and simple. That firearm is to protect our homes, our families and our country.

For those that want to change our Constitution ... why don’t “they” choose a “country” that matches their idea of a perfect state?

Here in the United States of America, let’s do a “government study” of four years. Let’s eliminate (by public hanging) all those that commit a crime using a gun. Just to make sure our study is accurate, let’s duplicate it for another four years. After the first four years let’s see if the crime rate went down. Record it officially and let’s do it again. After another four years let’s tally the results. Bet the welfare and illegal immigration went down as well.

Owning a gun is not a crime. How you use it might be. If you understand the uses, it might be used correctly.

Bill Hoffrage,

Faith and state can’t be separate

It is written in the Holy Bible that “Righteousness (Godliness) exalts (raises up) a nation, but sin is a reproach (disgrace) to any people.”

Do we really think that the state of our economy is more important than the state of our morality?

The majority of people need to realign their morals to God’s standards so we can continue to receive God’s blessings. We were created for God’s pleasure. He will pleasure us if we please Him by living His way. It is not too late to learn of His ways by reading and studying the Bible.

We can separate church and state, but not faith and state.

Katherine Atilano,


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