Aggrieved car owners whose cars have been towed are frequent visitors to our law library and to other public libraries. “What can I do?” they ask. The answer is the same as what you would do when you have any other grievance, public or private. You research and document the facts, map out a strategic plan of action, and then you act – you Speak Out, with dignity and style. Success isn’t measured by winning. Success is measured by knowing you’ve fought the good battle, armed with good information, and that you are on the side of angels (you are aren’t you?).
Today’s Oregonian ran a story today about some of the towing bills before the state legislature. Hope springs eternal. They list some of the bills (click on the Factbox), but you can also find the whole list of towing bills by searching the Oregon Legislature’s web page. Type “towing” into the 2007 Legislative Measures search box and, voila! (This database is updated frequently.)
To speak out on this issue (and any other for that matter):
1. Gather the facts and write up a summary: on who, where, how, and what happened to you, on the law in the jurisdiction where you were towed, on local enforcement and official regulation of the towing services, from your landlord or the owner of the property from where you were towed, on the towing company, etc. (No one said this was going to be easy – but it can be very satisfying.)
2. Contact your elected state legislator (find him/her here) with your story. Don’t call Senator Gordly, who is sponsoring at least one of the towing bills, UNLESS she IS your Senator. Call YOUR State Senator and Representative, the ones you did or could have voted for and might be willing to vote for [again].
4. Write the editor of the local newspaper of your choice.
5. Treat yourself to something nice for civic responsibility well-done! Maybe that something nice will be calling another elected official on another issue (or maybe it will be chocolate). I’m sure you can think of several. But don’t forget to do your research first. Feels good, doesn’t it? Add Federal, City, County, and Regional elected officials to your Do Call List. And don’t forget to vote whenever you get the chance.