Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Predatory Towing Is "A Great Way To Kill Local Business And Send A 'You Are Not Welcome Here' Message In Falls Church, Virginia"
A blog called "Blueweeds" is operated by none other than the husband of the mayor of Falls Church, Virginia. Somehow their marriage succeeds even while he puts forth very substantive commentary on civic issues in Falls Church, including a gutsy assessment of predatory towing which includes--be still, my foolish heart!--VIDEO, BABY!!!!!
On Memorial Day, 2008, while city visitors were...
...doing stuff like putting flowers on the graves of soldiers, or so I would freely assume, predatory tow trucks were doing their best to mess up this sacred American holiday. But the predators didn't manage to be unnoticed. Somebody had a video camera and now the whole world can watch.
Following the posting of the video on YouTube, and on Blueweeds, a lot of substantive and detailed civic commentary came out of the woodwork. Here is the thumbnail summary:
* Whether the city of Falls Church benefits from this activity is doubted, "since the tow trucks are operated out of Fairfax County." The businesses at the shopping center pictured in the video lose clients despite popular stores and restaurants.
* "Who thought up this barbaric practice? Too many of us have been victims of this and the fees to get your car out of impound are no different than paying ransom for a car held hostage. Recently, I was in the Giant Food store next to GMHS, and a woman with three small kids was desperately trying to find out where her car had been taken.
"She seemed so distraught, I felt compelled to help her as any decent person would. She explained that she had been shopping at the Giant Food and her car would not start when she returned. Her in-laws came to pick her up as she had a lot of perishable foods and didn't want them spoiled waiting for a tow truck to take it for repair. The next day they returned with a 'Triple A' tow truck to take the car to a repair shop and her car was gone.
" One of the managers said the strip mall management company had a sign stating cars left over a certain period of time would be towed as it is assumed they are parking there to use the West Falls Church Metro. She had to pay to get her car out of impound so she could have it towed for repair! IS THIS HOW WE TREAT CITIZENS AND GUESTS OF FALLS CHURCH? I have lived here all my life and this is not the same lovely community I grew up in and USED TO cherish until it became so commercialized!"
* "My own recent fav(orite) tow truck story came on the Fourth of July in Arlington. (Virginia) There's a parking lot on Wilson where you've got a straight view of the Mall, perfect for fireworks watching. During that time, at least three cars were towed from the lot. This only ended when one person blocked off one of the lot entrances with her car, and we kept watching the other, going back to our cars when another tow truck came around.
"The best part? The lot is for the long-closed Taco Bell. No one uses it for anything."
* Towing is regulated by the state and there is only so much the city of Falls Church can do, despite having a Towing Commission and a recently-updated towing ordinance.
* Blame was placed on "stand alone" parking and inefficient use of parking resources by businesses with their own lots, who don't make agreements to share.