Under standards imposed during the Bloomberg administration, the city can boot or tow cars of owners who owe as little as $350 or have five unpaid parking tickets in the course of one year, even if the tickets have not gone to judgment.
The mayor says the tougher standards will “save lives.” Nonsense. The tickets accompanied by excessive fees will help balance a bloated budget. The policy was set by a man with a 24/7 chauffeur who has no idea what a car means to the average New York family.
With added fees, the cost to get a car back can double the amount owed. They include a $185 tow fee, $70 for the sheriff and $35 for the pound. The tow trucks take the cars to a nearby trailer. The fee is more than double the normal towing charge.
Two men can easily tow more than 50 cars in less than a day. With the added poundage fees the company makes $10,000 a day or more. The sheriffs can collect $3,500 or more for sitting in a car and watching the tow trucks.
The Council should stand up to the mayor on scofflaw towing. The standard should be reset to something reasonable like $1,000. The fees should be cut in half and the city comptroller should investigate how the towing contracts are awarded in each borough.
Under certain circumstances, government has the right to seize private property, but that power should be carefully used and monitored. Under the mayor, the scofflaw towing program has become abusive.
Troubled Dream Act
As of this writing, the Dream Act, a bill that would help undocumented immigrants obtain public funds to pay for college, is stalled in Albany. Even Gov. Andrew Cuomo is reluctant to take a stand.
This bill is made for the Tea Party activists opposed to spending taxpayer money on anything other than the deportation of immigrants.
In the end, the Dream Act controversy is a tempest in a teapot. It is estimated that the cost of giving these students access to funds will be less than $1 million a year.
The state Legislature should pass the Dream Act before the current session ends.
©2012 Community News Group
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