After City Council approved a bill yesterday that could give tow-industry oversight to the Philadelphia Parking Authority, tow operators mulled their options. Besides filing an injunction and lawsuit, another option mentioned was finding at-large candidates who could “get rid of” Councilmembers James Kenney, Blondell Reynolds-Brown and Bill Greenlee, among the 10 who voted for the bill.
“Our jobs, revenues, are being taken away from us,” said Joseph Parente of the Philadelphia Independent Towers and Salvors Association. “Some tow companies were doing some things illegally, but they put all of us into that same ball of wax.”
Kenney, the bill’s sponsor, said it authorized the city to ask the state for authorization to transfer responsibilities to the PPA, which represents a victory for consumers.
“I didn’t just wake up one day and say ‘let’s go mess with the towing companies.’ If they treated people fairly, we wouldn’t be here today,” Kenney said. He recounted “horror stories” of cars being held by for up to $800 at “unfriendly” cash-only lots. “If it’s 10 or 11 o’clock at night, what are you going to do? You’re going to just pay it.”
Hearing he’d been mentioned as an election target, Greenlee said, “If it was just a couple companies, like they always say, we’d just go after those companies … but it’s almost an industrywide problem.”