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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 18, 2003 4:06 AM. The previous post in this blog was Gee whiz, you don't say. The next post in this blog is Instant classic. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Saturday, October 18, 2003

Birds of a feather

If Hitler were on his rise to power today, he'd likely be selling his agenda as a "jobs program."

All manner of evil is being done in the name of "jobs" nowadays. Most of the time, the argument is specious. For example, the Bush tax cuts aren't really about creating jobs, and they're not in fact going to create many (or perhaps any).

But even when jobs are in fact on the line, sometimes you just have to say no.

Take the wicked people who run the auto towing business here in the Rose City. If you're illegally parked and they come and tow you away, they can charge you between $200 and $400 to bail your car out. The ransom they charge, of course, is on top of any parking fines you may have to pay to the city. Oh, and on the way to the tow yard, be sure to have the cab driver stop at an ATM (or maybe two ATMs, given the way the towing folks gouge). Because a lot of the "impoundment" lots don't take credit cards of any kind. They deal in cash only, leaving the hapless driver to wonder what kind of people he or she is dealing with.

Well, a voice of common sense, Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard, wants to change that. He's proposed a new set of rules that would limit the amounts the tow companies could charge, institute a vehicle owners' "bill of rights," and force them to accept plastic, among other reforms.

The tow companies' response? If the new rules take effect, they'll lay people off.

"I'm not screaming wolf here," said Steven Preston, owner of 35-employee Sergeant's Towing. "I'm going to have to lay a lot of people off."
Where else have we heard this one recently? Sounds an awful lot like the telemarketers to me. And my response is the same: If the jobs you provide depend on your engaging in behavior that the vast majority of the public thinks is offensive, perhaps those jobs shouldn't be there in the first place.

No sympathy for these people. None whatsoever.

Preston and Retriever Towing owner Gary Coe said rates for private property impounds must be higher to cover costs unique to private-lot tows compared to tows after breakdowns where owners want their vehicles towed.

About one-third of vehicles towed from private lots are never claimed. And about one in five calls for tows from private property result in no tow because the motorist has driven off by the time the tow truck arrives. The frequency during consensual tows of unclaimed cars or motorists driving off before the tow truck arrives is much lower, said Coe and Preston.

Coe said the proposal will hurt tow companies and businesses trying to maintain order in their parking lots.

"I'm concerned about the perceived antibusiness attitude from City Council," Coe said.

I'm not. This time, the council is doing exactly what we elected them to do. Stop acting like jerks, gentlemen, and you won't draw so much fire.

Besides, Leonard's move is pro-business. It's pro-restaurant, pro-tavern, pro-retail, pro-performing arts. Under the current "wild west" tow system, when you get towed out of the lot next to a restaurant like Esparza's, your ostrich enchiladas wind up running you more than $200.

That cuts into people's budgets for patronizing real, nonpredatory businesses.

Comments (4)

I too applaud the City's move to reign in Sergeant's, et al. $200 or more is excessive, and they should be required to accept credit cards. However, I humbly maintain telemarketing is not predatory; it's the transmission of a message you're free to ignore. It's harder to ignore someone who's demanding a big chunk of cash to return your car to you.

NOTE: If you post a comment that constitutes or contains a solicitation for any commercial enterprise, you hereby agree to pay me $100 per day for every day until the comment is removed, up to a period of 100 days.

PLEASE!!!! You complain about people making money, then end your post with THIS!!!

As the owner and operator of a towing company I can sympathise with the plight of towys the world over.. I too have running cost and I am frequently called upon to justify my costing to ingorant motorists who require my services, "until it comes time to paying"! Perhaps you need to walk a mile in the shoes of a tow truck operator to see just where the money goes..??
I can tell you for a fact that fuel cost for "my" business are approximatley $20,000.oo per year! Insurance $6000.oo per year, registration $2500.oo per year and yard/lot rental $26,000.oo per year and rising!!!!!!!!
These are cost which HAVE to be met PRIOR to turning a key and heading off to pick up the next job...
Please don't think that because we don't wear a suit and tie, drive a luxury sedan and work in an office where our bin gets emptied daily by somebody else, that we are not honest, hard working, tax paying members of society..
You will be happy to know that I do not charge any extra for helping pick up the dismembered remains of those who think they are ok to drive twice the speed limit after a full night of drinking alcohol, (and I am probably doing this, whilst you're sleeping)!
So you had your car towed and you had to pay for it...BIG DEAL!!! But I meet people like you every second day of my 7 day working week and don't tell me, "it wasn't your fault"... Right..???
Please try looking at things from the perspective of others. "MY" prices are set by local authorities but are not dissimilar to those that I see you complaining of. Yes, we only accept CASH as time has long since taught me the valuable lesson that the calibre of some pepole that "I" am "normaly" forced to deal with would only be holding credit cards with SOMEBODY ELSES NAME ON THEM!
I hope this message goes part way to helping you get over the feeling that you have been victimised or hard done by, but everything happens for a reason and just maybe, when all is said and done, you've learnt NOT to park in a tow away zone..

Dear "Dan" with the hotmail address:

How laughable. Sorry, but if you can't figure out how to take a credit card, the way 99.9% of businesses do, you don't deserve to be in business.

And sorry, $200 or $300 for a tow is gouging.

What does the fact that you don't like to assist with crashes involving fatalities have to do with this discussion? Has having the right to seize someone else's property distorted your ability to reason?

Enjoy the new regulations. Your industry deserves worse, and unless you clean up your act, you will probably get worse, from our City Council.

Your comrades cry that you're so broke, but I wonder how they're paying all those thousands for lawyers to fight this. I hope all the recent publicity brings the IRS in to help you guys count all your cash.

OK, can someone tell me how it is legal for a tow company and/or an apartment complex to tow a vehicle, which is in its designated and covered parking space because it had expired tags which the owner forgot to renew? You just took $240 from my sister-in-law, who had forgotten to renew her car tags. You took it out of a rented carport designated to her at 3am! That has got to be illegal!

If anyone knows of a really good attorney who knows about this particular issue, landlord-tenant laws, and can give me a reasonable rate to fight this, let me know ASAP! It occured in Beaverton Oregon, Washington County




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In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
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Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
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Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
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Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
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Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
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Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
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Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
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Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
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King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
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Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
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Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
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Dunham, Trautina 2012
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Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
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Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
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Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
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Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
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Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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