City Council returns, votes on tow trucks

February 3, 2011 3:46:36 PM PST
Philadelphia City Council returned to business and the talk was about tow trucks.

For years, Councilman Jim Kenney heard complaints of wreck chasing. He heard of violent turf battles among rival tow truckers including shootings and arsons. He heard how some private operators haul off cars from accidents to sometimes high priced storage lots belonging to a favorite body shop.

And he's heard enough.

"The body shop gets a hold of the car, perhaps there is a little more damage inflicted to the car so that the insurance number goes up, I want to get away from all that," Kenney said.

Today, by a 10 to 7 vote, council moved to do just that.

Soon towers will be required to bring cars from accidents only to a Parking Authority impoundment where storage costs are fixed at $25 a day.

But private tow truck operators are not happy with the move and they are vowing to go to court to stop it.

"What's been done here is totally wrong; it is taking business and jobs from the towing industry," Joseph Parente of Independent Towers & Salvors Association said.

"I'm sorry, but if they had treated people fairly over the last 25 to 30 years we wouldn't be in this situation," Kenney said.

Equal Employee benefits

Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown introduced a bill today that would require city contractors to extend employee benefits to same sex partners that they now extend to spouses of workers.

For Reynolds Brown it's a matter of equality.

"Parity is still a challenge for us as a society and opportunities come to us where we believe we can move the needle, we need to do that," Brown said.

There was, however, no activity in council today on Mayor Michael Nutter's request last year to kill the controversial DROP program. A council study of the mayor's study expected in October is still a work in progress, but Action News is told it should be available soon.