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Taxes, cleaning and crime

With a sigh of relief, the yearly income tax filing period has passed, and it will be eight months before the subject will again cross my mind. We use a professional tax preparer to scramble up the numbers to give Uncle Sam his cut of our income. Filing taxes and serving on jury duty are two of the ways responsible citizens participate in the process that makes this great country of ours function. Voting is another.

The IRS tax codes are complicated, which is why we hire a professional to prepare our taxes. In the past we have been less than prompt getting the information to the accountant and he has filed for an extension.

When filing for said extension, the taxpayer must still pay what is owed to qualify. If the tax preparer knows how big a check we need to send, why are the returns not ready to be filed?


It appears to be spring cleaning time in our fair city. Each year about this time the solid waste department allows residents to participate in its curbside cleanup project. Notices began going out in February and the pickup dates began on March 20 and will finish on April 25.

This week, Granada Drive was the area under collection. Broken furniture, toys and bags of who knows what are piled on the curb and in some cases the street-side parking spots.

I hope this program keeps people from dumping their junk on the side of the road in the county. For information on the curbside pickup project, call the City of Madera at 661-5406.


The power poles and traffic signs in Madera are looking trashy again, littered with illegal homemade signs. It is frustrating that people who hold garage sales so rarely remove the signs posted after the sales are over. The same can be said for out-of-town events such as gun shows that post signs in Madera but never return to remove them. The recent rain has done its part in adding to the forlorn look of the signage.

Posting these signs without permission violates a couple of different city codes. Someone should remove these garage sale blights and toss them in the yard at the address printed on the signs.

Code enforcement is the department charged with keeping Madera tidy, and can use all the help it can get. Feel free to rip down the signs when out for a walk or bike ride. Can code enforcement remove the signs and bill the residents for the trouble?


In Fresno, our neighbor to the south, the rising violence and crime rate is alarming. Some of the crimes can be attributed to illegal immigrants but not all of it. Poverty, gangs and drug abuse all play parts in making the Central Valley an increasingly dangerous place to live. The nightly news is terrifying. Stories of criminals who have been deported 10 and 20 times or more are extremely frustrating.

Until we secure our borders these people will keep returning to this country and wreaking havoc. The sentencing rules and low bail amounts turn the gate of our correctional facilities into a revolving door.

It does little good to deport people who in many cases just return to what they consider is their home.

When Crime Stoppers broadcasts the photos of the suspects on its most wanted list, they use mug shots of these people. That means at some point these people were in custody and were released. Had they been able to keep these people incarcerated their next victims might not have been in danger.

The waiting room during visiting hours at the Madera County Department of Corrections is one of the saddest and most disturbing places I have ever experienced. Mothers, wives and girlfriends bringing small children to these visits is depressing.

As a notary public, I am occasionally called on to witness signatures of inmates. Typically a mother or other family member will need a power of attorney document issued to claim the inmate’s personal effects or conduct other business on their behalf.

On one such visit, I observed an obviously pregnant woman of about 18 or 20 years old making arrangements for a jailhouse marriage ceremony to an inmate that weekend. She had her mother and two small children with her. I can’t imagine what type of lasting psychological effect this interlude had on these kids.

Have a great weekend.


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