Thursday, June 19, 2008

Why Can't Orlando, Florida Just "Ban The Boot?" photo, downtown Orlando

According to coverage by, city commissioners are fed up with renegade towing operators, but state law prevents them from "banning the boot" like the City of Minneapolis recently did...

To this I say, "Why?" Why can't the local city commission--which clearly knows best the needs of a tourist mecca such as Orlando, Florida, since the commissioners are its local grassroots government representatives--just ban booting?

After all, Minneapolis banned booting. Of course, Minneapolis left a minor exception, and it seems to me Orlando could do the same thing. Ban all the booting EXCEPT for the minor exception of small parking lots where tow trucks can't maneuver, and then be in compliance with Florida state law. My little suggestion to stir the pot.

In the meantime, signs are going up all over Orlando, warning drivers they will "get the boot" if they park illegally. The city apparently has to step in to be the "nice booters" because the towing companies were acting outrageously as "bad booters."

City residents are described as "sick of it" and one resident said towing companies were try to "sandbag" residents to squeeze out as much dough as possible. Commissioner Patty Sheehan said there were "egregious violations (by towing operators) with people legally parked."

(Note to self: try to contact Sheehan for more details)

Sheehan is pushing a number of reforms to booting law, including waiting 15 minutes and notifying police before putting on a boot. OK, at this point I have to wonder why Orlando doesn't look into technology to notify drivers of an impending tow or boot.

(Apparent predator towing operator) Paul Gren says the reforms won't "run him out of downtown Orlando" because Florida state law still allows booting.

Huh. Yeah. Why is that the case? Why should the state thwart cities in this matter, when even business owners like Dave Beatriz are saying booting "doesn't do any good."

To this I would add: tourism is the lifeblood of Orlando, Florida, and reading stuff like this sure doesn't make an outsider (such as myself) want to visit with their car. I remember well how defensive folks were in Birmingham, Alabama about their downtown in a different blog post, but you can't say Birmingham depends on tourism the way Orlando does.

I hope folks with a good head on their shoulders like Commissioner Sheehan can reign in the renegade towing operators.


Anonymous said...

I work for a large employer here in Washington State, yes a software company. Several of us were on a scouting mission to UCF in part to open a new support center in or near downtown Orlando. Well you guess it, we got the boot, WITH SEVEN MINTUES LEFT ON THE METER. One of my collegues took a picture of our car and the meter and when the tow company began hooking us up, we were told to tell it to the judge.

Well I didn't and paid the fine. But what I did do was not sign off on opening the 150 man office in Orlando but in Jacksonville.

Thanks for the memories Orlando!

Johnny T. Utopia said...

Anonymous, if you come back to the blog to check this, I'd really, really like to know more details about this. Throw me some clues! The date this took place? The particular kind of software company?

If you can turn up that old picture, I'd totally put that on this blog. Contact me at