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"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.

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Comments

PistolPete Dec. 15, 2009 @ 8:17 p.m.

You guys are just now realizing that America's Finest City is corrupt?! O_o AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! That's rich. sticks hooked finger into mouth and yanks on cheek :-D

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CuddleFish Dec. 17, 2009 @ 1:29 p.m.

"For some people, this means no extra money for Christmas...."

For people living in the Memorial area, towing is a daily occurrence and for the people whose cars they tow, it is not a question of extra money at Christmas. It is a matter of rent, food, milk for the baby, medicine for the grandmother, forget sending money to the family back home.

I have argued for a long time now that towing is a back door tax. If it weren't for traffic enforcement, San Diego would have been broke a long time ago. Poor people are supporting this City because the middle class and rich, who despise the underpaid laborers who are making it possible for them to live and eat and vacation cheap, refuse to pay anything in a City that is way overpriced by wealthy developers and their cronies.

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antigeekess Dec. 19, 2009 @ 6:16 p.m.

This kind of bulls*** is common in all cities. The cops are usually in collusion with the towing companies for all kinds of kickbacks.

Back in the early 90s, I had a car stolen back in Texas. The thieves got it only as far as around the corner, and ditched it. (It was running VERY badly.) Unfortunately, it was in an apartment complex parking lot, hidden behind the buildings, and it wasn't discovered until management there called the cops, who had it towed without contacting me.

It had sat for 6 weeks a couple hundred yards away from my apartment, towed clear across the county, and held for 4 days BEFORE I got a call from the cops about it. THEN, I called and told it would cost me $400 or so to get it back from the towing company.

I hit the freakin' roof.

I called the Chief of Police and told him I was wondering what kind of kickback arrangements they had with this towing company, and also what one of the local TV consumer advocates would have to say about the whole situation on the evening news.

(I also told him about how I had sat and WATCHED the car get stolen, on the phone with 911, just a half mile from his police station, and got no response until 30 minutes later.)

Guess what? I got my car back, and I didn't pay $400 to get it, either.

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CuddleFish Dec. 19, 2009 @ 7:43 p.m.

Way to go, AG!

Gotta say, you were getting off cheap, though I'm glad you didn't pay. Nowadays, car gets towed, you don't get off cheaper than $400 - 500 bucks, minimum. It is a total scheme to bring money into the City and enrich police departments and towing companies.

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