Time to Tow Jones & Mayer Away?


Attorneys are expensive for a reason… they’re supposed to be smarter than the rest of us. But once again our high-priced legal experts from Jones and Mayer have failed to impress.

In haste to find a new revenue generating scheme, the Fullerton Police Department worked with Jones & Mayer attorney Elena Gerli (of former bicycle nuisance fame) to draw up an ordinance that would raise towing fees and create a new “franchise opportunity” within the city. For Fullerton motorists, that translates to more fees for the same ‘ol service. But I digress.

A series of tow operators gave detailed testimony that passing the ordinance would be a violation of several state laws. The City Attorney then gave a sketchy rebuttal (more on this subject in a future post) that failed to mitigate the council’s concerns, Sharon Quirk-Silva quickly took the lead in sending the attorney back to the drawing board and calling for a study session to prevent another legal mess for our city.

Was our attorney outsmarted by a group of tow truck drivers? It seems like it. We’ll find out in a few more weeks, but not until they’ve squeezed out another round of billable hours.

Why do I feel like we’ve been here before? Let’s see…  a bureaucracy’s insatiable desire to increase revenue combined with poor legal advice, leading to eventual lawsuits and thus diverting any potential “profits” into the welcoming arms of Jones and Mayer.

Ah yes, it’s the red light camera disaster all over again.

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  1. #1 by Kat on July 7, 2010

    What’s wrong with assigning seasoned and approved tow companies to represent Fullerton and NOT every tow company is the USA? I think almost everyone would agree that having tow companies that can’t afford a franchise fee and don’t have Fullerton tow lots will end up costing the residents more. Overnight storage fees, travel time/gas to the outside fullerton lots, wasted time just trying to find out where your vehicle is, etc. The vehicle stays IN fullerton- it will not be shipped to Walnut (where one of the tow companies who are vying for the contract) and they will not charge you for multiple days’ storage because they picked up your vehicle at 11pm and it arrived at 12:31am. Yes a fee might go up- but what do you think it will cost to get it from Walnut!? Or better yet the taxes will go to Walnut and NOT to Fullerton. Think people….
    Money on or OUT of Fullerton? That’s the bottom line.

  2. #2 by Been there done that on July 7, 2010

    It also reminds me of the Redevelopment expansion. Money grub and bad legal advice = FAIL.

  3. #3 by Chris Thompson on July 7, 2010

    It’s amazing how people (Kat) view government as an income generating mechanism first…as though government ever did well by us with that income.

  4. #4 by West Side Guy on July 7, 2010

    I like the idea of keeping towing in the city, not in LA county 10 miles out. Should have been fixed a long time ago

    • #5 by Travis on July 7, 2010

      That would be nice, but limiting the tow companies to Fullerton businesess (via a 5 mile radius from city hall) violated some state laws, at least according to the tow operators who spoke at the meeting.

  5. #6 by Greg Sebourn on July 7, 2010

    Excellent post, Travis! What Kat missed is that the problem pointed out by many of the tow operators was concerning the City’s authority to regulate and even prohibit ALL tow operators, not just those under contract to provide services to the City. It would be the same as prohibiting ALL plumbers except for a chosen few. That’s unfair and certainly not in the spirit of the pro-business changes needed in Fullerton.

    • #7 by West Side Guy on July 7, 2010

      talking about just the Police Tow contract here. They should be able to choose who they do biz with based on qualifications and distance.

  6. #8 by Dahspunks on July 8, 2010

    Sure it would be nice to keep the jobs in Fullerton but, the problem is the State law and another pitiful performance by that Bozo Attorney. Quirk was the only one that had the balls to tell that know-it-all blabber mouth bitch to shut up. At least we didn’t have to listen to the high priced marble mouth Jones lie ( as usual, he gets one of his junior cronies to do that).

  7. #9 by Krusty on July 8, 2010

    You assume the truck driver knows the laws better then the attorney…

    • #10 by Travis on July 8, 2010

      Wrong. Our city council had little confidence in the opinion of the attorney. That’s what this post is about.

  8. #11 by ECS on July 11, 2010

    The problem is that the police department is trying to copy and paste together a new municipal code using the old illegal one and sections of the California Law that they changed themselves. They are also trying to regulate PPI towing and Police Rotational Towing in the same law which not even the State of California does. The towers who spoke are the PPI towers (who you call when someone abandons a car on your private property) and they pointed out that the state law in California Vehicle Code Section 22658 subsection (n) regulates PPI tows to 10 miles. In Section 21 of the same code, it states that cities and counties cannot enact or enforce a code that governs any topic already covered in the state code. Therefore, the 5 mile radius is illegal and the towers will sue the city if the police try to enforce this. The same towers spoke at the city counsel meeting 2 years ago and slammed the city attorney and the police then as a last resort to litigation over the exact same issue. The towers don’t want to pay for court and attorney fees and I am sure the city doesn’t either.

    Additionally, has anyone asked the police why they are pushing for a 5 mile limit? Look a little further down in the new municipal code they are trying to pass. It states the police can open their own storage facility within the city limits. Also read the 5 mile clause a little closer. It doesnt say that only companies within 5 miles can tow, it just says the cars can only be be taken to a storage facility within 5 miles of city hall. That means the police want to open up their own storage facility and force the towers to take their cars there. That is flat out illegal and a violation of US Code 14501, the unlawful regulation of motor carriers of property.

    The new municipal code needs to be thrown out and they need to seperate the rotational tows and PPI tows because they both fall under different sets of state laws.

    The towers have nothing against the city counsel, it’s the police that are harrassing them by trying to enforce the old municiapl code which was dilapidated and illegal. Now they are trying to pass this new municicipal code. The towers have nothing but respect for the counsel members especially Quirk. Quirk was the one that bitch slapped (figuratively) the city attorney during the counsel meeting 2 years ago while she was the mayor and didnt let him push the towers around the last time the police were harrassing them.

    And yes, us towers know the law MUCH better than the city attorney and the police. Or isn’t that evident yet? We have been harrassed by the police for years. We aren’t doing this to be asses, we just want to run our businesses without harrassment and serve the citizens of Fullerton as well as possible.

  9. #12 by Travis on July 11, 2010

    ECS, thank you for detailing the incompetency of our PD and Jones & Mayer.

  10. #13 by ECS on July 17, 2010

    Make sure you try to make time to go to the study session and the city counsel meeting. I am interested to see what happens…

  11. #14 by ECS on July 17, 2010

    I think the PD does a good job on PD matters. Private property Impounds are a civil issue having nothing to do with the police. If any towing companies were violating a state law, the PD could have done something like ARREST them. So until a towing company is violating a state law, why can’t they just do the job that the private property owners and managers are calling on them to do?

    These towing companies are operating in other cities besides Fullerton and all of those police departments are letting them do their job. Why can’t Fullerton PD just leave them alone as well?

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