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.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.
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.
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.