"I was not illegally parked. I urge you to explore not my unjust treatment, but the Mafia-like collusion of tow companies and the City of San Diego; $15,000 for a few hours of work smells fishy to me," wrote one North Park resident to media outlets in regards to a Saturday, December 5, mass towing operation for the North Park Toyland Parade. On that day, from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. approximately 40 cars were hauled away from Oregon Street to a tow yard owned and operated by JC Towing.
Most residents say that no signs were visible on Oregon Street, while others say the sole "No Parking" sign that was posted in front of an apartment building at 3930 Oregon, on a three-foot-tall A-frame makeshift sign, indicated that it was Idaho Street -- not Oregon Street -- that was off limits to parking.
When residents returned to their empty parking place, traffic cops directed them to the JC Towing yard. Once there, some waited as long as five hours to retrieve their vehicles, while accumulating hourly impound fees. After tow fees, parking tickets, processing, and impound fees were tallied, some residents had to pay nearly $500.
"It seems tow companies sort of make up charges as they go along. JC Towing made over $15,000 from this little haul, which they kick back some to San Diego," wrote one resident.
"I am under the impression the city tried to scam us to make some extra money," wrote another.
Dozens of those who had their cars towed met at the corner of Oregon and Polk on December 14 to stage a protest. Residents invited the media, San Diego police's assistant captain Bob Kanaski, and council representative Travis Knowles from Todd Gloria's office to the gathering.
One resident, Ron Lanthier, passed out a packet that included a long thread of emails, the city's parking requirements, and pictures. The residents are asking the city to reimburse the money they were forced to pay. Lanthier is also asking the city to look into passing new restrictions on towing.
"We would like to keep with this [until] the city [passes] new laws governing how towing can be done.... It will be the city that has to pay to tow away and tow back vehicles," read Lanthier's 30-page packet.
"For some people, this means no extra money for Christmas.... The entire towing incident...is an illegal misuse of law enforcement.