The heated topic of predatory booting and towing in Provo was brought before the city council on Tuesday after Mayor John Curtis requested a review of what he says “has been bugging (him) for years.”
Two types of towing were addressed during the meeting: nonconsent police-generated tows (or impound tows) and nonconsent, non-police generated tows.
Nonconsent non-police generated tows received the majority of the attention from the council.
The issue exploded into a frenzy of hundreds of emails and posts, as well as tens of thousands of views on the mayor’s blog when Mayor Curtis publicly requested detailed “stories” with the purpose of “(compiling) a record of the unfair practices.”
“I’ve heard enough to believe that some, not all, booting and towing companies are predatory in nature and take advantage of students and visitors,” he wrote. “To be clear, this does not include legitimate companies that offer towing services. I’m talking about those bad guys who lurk around waiting to jump on a vehicle left 30 seconds to run a plate of brownies to a sick friend. Instead of finding a $15 parking ticket (the drivers) find their car across town with a bill over $250.”
Until an hour before the meeting, the mayor had printed every email and post from his blog, compiled and categorized them into a file totaling about an inch-and-a-half thick, and given one to each member of the council at Tuesday’s meeting.
The mayor said that the most complaints came from the ‘I left my car for only a few minutes’ category. He listed several examples from the emails and blog: “‘I was taking my friend home from the hospital on crutches, and I wanted to help him up to his apartment,'” he quoted one person. “‘I walked up to the apartment, and by the time I got back, my car was being towed.'”
He described another story from a bishop. It was raining, and he went to ward prayer with his wife. He walked his wife up to the clubhouse with an umbrella, and when he turned around, his car was being towed away.
The mayor also commented on how predator tow companies take advantage of all the dating that goes on in Provo.
“It seems like every young man who goes out on a date and wants to walk his date to the door, turns around and his car is being towed,” Curtis said.
There were other complaints that consisted of an, “I know I shouldn’t have parked there,” “I was there for a nano second,” and another with a 30-minute visitor parking time window, “I was there for 27 minutes and was towed.”
The meeting closed on the discussion with a motion for the council to gather together recommendations for the state, put together some recommended legislation by the next council meeting in November and provide a means to educate landowners, tow companies and those who are towed of their rights.
During the intermission, Mayor Curtis talked further on his thoughts.
“This is such a big issue,” Curtis said. “All of us would like to solve it. It’s so complicated that it’s going to take a number of meetings, a number of discussions and a large amount of brainstorming. It’s multifaceted, and we are going to need some help on the state level. We are going to have to do some volunteer work with the landowners, and we have to come up with some legislation. I’m glad so many people are engaged in contacting me; I hope that they continue to contact me, and I hope they are patient with us.”