Someone Disagrees with JVH


Someone Disagrees with JVH

Charles DeBow, Parking Manager at State College, PA, Responds to my screed:

 I agree that the  free market should handle  this and I would rather see the market handle this than a government body. But, it just does not work that way in some cases.   I emailed you a couple weeks ago about Philly Council proposing legislation requiring private  lots to call the PD or the Parking Authority to issue a ticket before towing, it passed the other day.

Here are the minutes to the meeting where it was publicly discussed… testimony starts on 17.  Philly has regulated the towing and it still has a major problem.  The Lieutenant nailed it by saying that the tow company is “judge, jury, and executioner.”  Yes technically the market would handle this, as the likelihood of the customer returning to that business is small,  but what about the $150 or so fine, the inconvenience of this single trip and the aggravation . Does that not warrant regulation?  

Now back to State College..just this morning I had a citizen in my office..quick rundown…drove car to laundry mat..loaded up 6 washers and went around the corner to get a bite to eat. In the meantime a Private Enforcement Person(don’t know what to call them yet) comes, sees a car in the lot but no one in the laundry mat, issues ticket. Man comes back to find ticket, assumes it’s  from my legitimate department, complains to me. I have no answer for him. He cannot appeal it and they do send them to collections. Would you risk a credit report ding for $15? No, so you pay it. Is that fair?  You argument is that he will not go to that laundry mat again, well in a place like State College where a few own a majority of the property, you don’t have too many choices.  All I want is a fair process, the same process that the public demands my department to have. What would the public do if I closed my offices, provided just a p.o. box to pay, never returned a phone call and then told my officers that that all rules and regulations are not in play anymore, just write as many tickets as possible tickets? That is what they are doing.

I know we could argue this forever, but it’s a good discussion. We claim on the public side that parking enforcement should be done to get compliance but yet we don’t want to impede on the private lots right to make money. I  agree that in private pay parking lots the ability to issue a ticket is a needed tool. But it’s the non-paying lots that cause the problems by the private firms and tow companies.  At least in a pay lot you can say you “didn’t pay ” or ” you overstayed” .

I think the industry forgets that many of the people  on the public side of the industry deal with non-paying lot issues as much as the pay lots. If all parking was paid for then I would have a much easier job, because I could look at the guy sitting across the desk from me and say did you “not pay or did you overstay”. CDB

Being the blogger I get to respond: The Laundromat issue isn’t one with the company writing the citations, its for the company who owns the laundromat. It would seem that the exact problem would happen often. I understand that the laundry owner needs to protect his parking, but also he needs to protect his customers. It would seem the conversation would go like this: “I did six loads of wash, spent 12 bucks with you, went next door for a bite, and I got a ticket –What are you going to do about it?” The problem is that the lot is not properly controlled. What if I parked there with my wife, we went in to do our laundry. You parked there and went for lunch. The citation writer would see two people in the laundry, assume they were in the two cars, and you would have parked for free. The Laundry owner needs to get his act together. JVH

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John Van Horn

2 Responses

  1. I agree that the laundry mat lot is not properly controlled, and thats the problem. Isnt that when governement should normally step in(in the perfect world) to protect its citizens?

  2. JVH misses the point by only commenting on the “laundry mat problem” and that the solution is for the owner to “get its act together”.
    The laundry mat example serves to make the point that instances exist where the public is better served by regulation that controls the purely market-based control. Can you comment on that, which is the point of the post? Thanks.

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