Monday, September 15, 2008

In St. Paul 21 Minutes Turns Into TWO DAYS At The Impound Lot

Photo By John Hoff, September 1, 2008, St. Paul, Minnesota

This story comes from a friend of mine who works for the Hawthorne Neighborhood Association, Jeff Skrenes, who thankfully now lives (once again) in Minneapolis instead of St. Paul. The picture above just shows, well, St. Paul and its touching concern for the rights of citizens.

Jeff writes as follows...

Several years ago (2001, I think, but maybe 2002) we had ourselves a mighty snowstorm. I had just moved in with my now ex-wife and wasn't entirely familiar with the parking rules in St. Paul versus Minneapolis. I thoguht I had parked on the right side of the street.

Well, we look out the window and what do we see? A tow truck hooking up to my car. I ran outside immediately, with no shoes or boots on, to try to get the tow truck driver to let my car down so I could park it appropriately. he refused, despite the fact there were at least six other vehicles right there he could have picked up after letting mine down.

His reasoning was that once he hooks a vehicle up, it's his legal obligation to bring it in, especially after doing initial paperwork and notifying others about the pickup. But he would be able to let it down for a $50 fee which--not surprisingly--would have to be in cash, not a check or a credit card.

he could go on about his legal obligation, but was clearly willing to let that go for a few extra bucks. We didn't have cash on us, and it was late enough that the stores nearby with ATMs were closed. If I'd had anything more than socks on my feet, I would have stood in front of the truck until either he let my car go or the police came. but even with my high tolerance for cold (readers note: Jeff is from the "UP" of Michigan) I couldn't stay out there that long.

We followed the truck directly to the impound lot and proceeded to wait in line behind plenty of other p***ed off folks, mainly poor and minority families. By the time we filed out the necessary paperwork, the car had been in the lot for a grand total of 21 minutes: 11:43 p.m. to 12:04 a.m. Since it had passed midnight, I was charged for having the car on the lot FOR TWO DAYS!!!!

Yup, $147 towing fee, $25 for sixteen minutes and 59 seconds, and other $25 for the remaining four minutes and one second. This was twelve days before Christmas. Do the twelve days of Christmas begin on the 25th or the 13th? Because if it's the latter, then "on the first day of Christmas my city gave to me: frostbite and a towing fee."

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