Progressive Voice is a weekly opinion column. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the individual author and do not necessarily reflect the views of their organization or ARLnow.com.
Last weekend’s Women’s March on Washington saw hundreds of thousands of people gather in Washington and millions more around the country and the world to show their concern about the direction of our country and their commitment to progressive values and actions.
That commitment and the resulting sense of empowerment will now be carried forward to address federal, state, and local issues – especially those of government overreach.
This time of year is a time that Arlingtonians are greatly affected by the meeting of the General Assembly in Richmond. Decisions made in the General Assembly during its six to eight-week sessions can greatly affect our lives here in Arlington.
Too often those effects reflect state overreach in trying to control how Arlington addresses concerns raised by its residents. A prime example this year is a threat of state weakening of County protections against overly aggressive towing of parked cars.
Many have heard or experienced “predatory” towing. The reports of predatory towing are increasing all over the country, including in Arlington. And many residents are getting really angry.
Have you ever had your car towed within just a few minutes of parking it because someone employed by a towing company was spotting the lot and you stepped over an ill-defined property line?
Or perhaps at night you missed seeing a small sign in a poorly lit parking lot?
Such a small, often unintentional, mistake would cost you $185, along with lots of panic about what happened to your vehicle and the stress of having to find where the vehicle was being held. The punishment, not even handed down by a court of law, is certainly excessive.
Who actually benefits from aggressive towing practices?
While I appreciate the need for businesses to have parking spaces available for their customers and for apartment buildings and condominiums to have spaces available for their residents and residents’ guests, many unsuspecting people get very harsh punishments for rules that were not clear. This creates ill will that is not beneficial to retailers and landlords. The real beneficiary is the towing company.
As Chairman of Arlington’s Trespass Towing Advisory Board, I now know more about towing than I ever wanted to know. The result is my strong support for the County Board’s 2016 amendments to the towing ordinance to strengthen consumer protections against predatory towing. I am also pleased that a dialogue has been established with the local Chamber of Commerce to consider best practices and protections.
This positive outcome is under threat at the General Assembly via two bills that would gut the County’s actions and protect companies engaged in predatory towing.
As originally introduced, House Bill 1960 (Delegate Hugo, R-Centreville) and Senate Bill 1468, (Senator Marsden, D-Western Fairfax County), would hurt Arlingtonians in at least three ways:
Raise fees again. If these bills are enacted, maximum towing fees in Arlington will have increased by 60% over three years — from $125 to $200 per tow. These increases are imposed on Arlington and the County may not set lower rates. By contrast, you can get a private, consensual tow for $65 and $3 per mile!
Prohibit Arlington from protecting its residents. Arlington’s plans to require an authorization at the time of a tow in some circumstances would be nullified. When Virginia Beach and Stafford and Montgomery Counties do this successfully, Arlington should not be stopped by the state from doing the same.
Limit service by residents on towing advisory boards. The board is dominated by towers already. There is only one voting resident permitted. The Chairman is chosen by a vote of the advisory board members – not appointed. Instead of adding resident voices to the towing board, the bills leave only one citizen member and mandate that the Chair be a representative of the towing industry.
If predatory towing practices concern you, please express that concern to your Delegate and State Senator and to the members of the House and Senate Transportation Committees in the General Assembly.
Let them know that you believe overly aggressive and expensive towing practices require fair and reasonable consumer protections. Ask them to oppose HB 1960 and SB 1468.
There is also an online petition where you can also sign on to express your concern.
Let’s stop this overreach.
Nancy Iacomini has resided in Arlington since 1980 and has undertaken many civic endeavors during that time, including leadership positions in various boards, commissions, and working groups.
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The 44th Leeway Overlee Community Day and Yard
Sale will be along the John Marshall Drive/Ohio Street greenway on
Saturday, June 3 from 9 a.m. until 1 p.m. The community will be out in
force to exchange information and greetings, sell unneeded household
items, and pick up a few bargains.
About 100 families set up tables for the festivities, which take
place along the six-block stretch of the greenway from near Langston
Blvd. to Washington Blvd. Attendance is free, but
a $10 fee will be collected from individuals and families selling
household items during the event. Ensure that all goods and rubbish are
removed from the greenway by 1 p.m. Leave dogs at home.
For more info, call 703-532-6101. If planning to sell, start labeling
your items for sale NOW! Event will take place as long as there is not
active rain. Rain date is June 10.
36TH FESTIVAL ARGENTINO
ARLINGTON JUNE 3RD, 2023
Sat, June 3rd I 3:30 pm / Shows 5:50 pm I Kenmore Auditorium I Glencarlyn
The 36th Festival Argentino USA celebrates Argentine Day and Cultural Freedom. The folkloric group Los 4 de Córdoba and 25 more artists from Argentina, World, and Solidarity Tribute, 200 years of friendship between USA and Argentina!.
Homebuying 101: Steps to Getting Pre-Approved
Are you ready to jump into homeownership or started considering it but don’t know where to start? Financial preparation is key when thinking about purchasing your first home and the first step to getting pre-approved.
Join ACFCU’s mortgage loan officers
4th of July Celebration & Fireworks
Treat yourself this Independence Day with a world-class, private 4th of July extravaganza at the Military Women’s Memorial – a premier National Capital Region site.
Great food, fun, and the best views of Washington DC’s spectacular fireworks display. Relax, enjoy,