Press release: Unfairly dealt with when your vehicle was towed? Testify before a committee of the Ohio House regarding HB 382!

Editor’s note:  This press release, dated 1/24/2014, follows on the heels of the press release referenced in my prior post here at Buckeye RINO.  The Ohio House is looking for Ohioans to testify.  I’m unavailable, but I wish I could be there.  Please read the prior post for additional background, including links to the bill’s sponsors.  Additional contact info can be found in the concluding paragraph of this press release. –DJW

Reps. Mike Duffey, Heather Bishoff Encourage Ohioans to Testify on Predatory Towing Bill

Requesting personal experiences and stories about unreasonable towing incidents

COLUMBUS—State Representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Heather Bishoff (D-Blacklick) are teaming up to take action against predatory tow truck abuse, a bipartisan effort intended to protect Ohio drivers from being victimized by unlawful towing practices.

From unfair charges and payment procedures, to a lack of evidence of illegal parking, predatory towing can cost Ohioans money and time they can’t afford. In a media call with reporters, the representatives discussed the importance of addressing this issue through House Bill 382 as well as the important role that Ohioans will play in the process.

“Essentially what we’re trying to do is modernize the towing structure in Ohio and protect vehicle owners from predatory towing practices,” said Rep. Duffey. “The ‘wild wild West’ of towing should be regulated more thoroughly than it is right now. This is a consumer protections bill. We want to legitimize the hardworking, honest operators and we want to increase penalties and be a little bit more regulatory on the bad actors that are out there. We think that it protects the industry, and it will protect the taxpayers and public safety.”

“We’re excited to be working on this and we think it echoes the sentiments of a lot of different folks in Ohio,” said Rep. Bishoff. “We’re striving, through this piece of legislation, to provide continuity and understanding of the law no matter where you are in Ohio—continuity in the cost of the tow, and better understanding of how much and how you can pay.”

The House Commerce, Labor, and Technology Committee is slated to hear public testimony on House Bill 382 on Wednesday. Reps. Duffey and Bishoff hope that Ohioans will share with the committee members their personal experiences regarding predatory, unlawful towing practices and help make the bill as comprehensive and effective as possible.

Reps. Duffey and Bishoff have continued to reach out to the press and to the public in the hope of spreading awareness about the issue and encouraging interested parties across Ohio to participate in the committee process.

“House Bill 382 has been given sponsor testimony earlier this week, and we are moving into proponent testimony next week, where we hope to have a lot of Ohio citizens coming in and talking about their stories, having been predatorily towed, unfair practices, etc.,” said Rep. Duffey.

House Bill 382 is scheduled for proponent testimony on Wednesday, January 29th at 4 p.m. (or following the conclusion of House session) in Ohio Statehouse hearing room 114. Per committee rules, witnesses are asked to provide electronic or 40 copies of their testimony to Chairman Ron Young’s office by 5 p.m. the day prior to committee. For more information about Wednesday’s committee hearing, please contact Rep. Young’s office at Rep61@ohiohouse.gov or (614) 644-6074.

Press release: HB 382 would grant more consumer protection from predatory tow truck operations

Editor’s note: Two state reps from the Columbus area have introduced HB 382 to curb unethical practices among tow truck companies. For more information about this press release dated 12/12/2013, one may contact the offices of the bill’s sponsors, Democrat Rep. Heather Bishoff at (614) 644-6002 or Republican Rep. Mike Duffey at (614) 644-6030. IMHO, this bill is long overdue. Back in the mid-1990’s, I remember taking a bathroom break while moving furniture into a Columbus-area apartment only to find the vehicle missing from the parking lot when I re-emerged from the apartment. The van was blocking no one in, for it was in a space designated for the tenants of our apartment. I did not have a parking tag for the van, as I was only borrowing it because it was big enough to haul furniture in while my own vehicle was too small for that. I called the property manager’s office to figure out what happened. They gave me the towing facility’s phone number, but no one, to the property manager’s knowledge, had requested the van be towed, let alone complained about the van being parked where it was. Apparently, tow truck companies cooperated with each other to boost revenues. The towing facility I called, “Company A,” was not even the company that was hauling the van. Tow truck companies would patrol parking lots close to each other, whether they were the enforcing tow truck entity designated on the parking facility signs, or not. If Company A found vehicles to tow from its own lots, or from Company B lots, or from Company C lots, it would get the vehicles on the hook and tow them to the facility designated on the sign. In my case, Company B found the van and was hauling it to Company A. It is easy, under this scenario, to see why a tow truck operator would not unhook a vehicle even if caught in the act by a vehicle owner if Company B was grabbing a vehicle from a Company A lot. Company A expects to get paid for anything taken from a Company A lot. Company B expects to get paid for anything hauled by a Company B truck. If Company B were to accept a payment to unhook a vehicle prior to towing it from a Company A lot, then where is the Company A payday? When 2 companies cooperate to boost revenue, they both expect paydays. When we finally picked up the van from Company A, we paid the towing fee that reimbursed Company A for Company B’s payday and we paid the storage fee, which was Company A’s payday. The average consumer would suppose that Company A would only patrol and tow from Company A lots, but this was not the case in the mid-1990’s in the Columbus area. This bill, in calling for a 24-hour “grace period” for supplemental storage fees, would make cooperation between companies less lucrative, for Company A would have only been able to split a payday for hauling with Company B and would not be able to corner its own big storage fee payday. Moving apartments was expensive enough as it was without having to pay overzealous towing companies on top of that. The purpose for the parking policy at the apartment complex was so tenants would not have their allocated spaces taken by someone else. I was only using the space allocated to me. As unfair as it all was, I had no other recourse but to pay Company A whatever they demanded. I can only hope HB 382 moves quickly toward passage into law. –DJW

House Bill Introduced to End Predatory Towing Abuse in Ohio

Columbus, Ohio – State Representatives Mike Duffey (R-Worthington) and Heather Bishoff (D-Blacklick) yesterday introduced legislation to boost Ohioans’ protections against predatory tow truck abuse.

“For decades, vehicle owners in Ohio, especially college students, have been victimized by predatory towing practices such as bogus charges, no evidence of improper parking, unfair payment practices, and outright lies about Ohio’s existing right to stop tows already in progress,” said Duffey. “Now is the time to pass legislation to establish consumer protections for Ohio vehicle owners against predatory towing.”

Features of HB 382 include:

· Making explicitly illegal any and all bogus “administrative” charges or other fees not explicitly authorized in the Ohio Revised Code;

· Requiring signage at tow-away zones to clearly explain what qualifies as an “authorized vehicle”, including the purpose and hours for which vehicles may park;

· Providing a 24-hour “grace period” for supplemental storage fees, also known as overnight fees;

· Requiring that towed vehicles travel no further than 15 miles if possible or 25 miles maximum;

· Requiring tow trucks to accept major credit cards for payment, both onsite at the towing spot if caught in progress and at the storage facility once the tow has been completed;

· Prior to towing, a tow truck service must take at least one photograph of the vehicle showing it is parked illegally, and shall record the time and date of the photograph;

· “Stop, Drop and Pay Half” – Requiring the tow truck operator to actively notify the vehicle owner of their existing legal right to pay half of the normal tow charge for release if caught in progress;

· Tow trucks will be required to display business phone numbers on both sides of their trucks

· The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) will be provided rule-making authority to aid in the enforcement and implementation of the provisions in this bill.

“Great tow truck operators exist in Ohio, but they cannot compete with the unfair practices of predatory companies,” said Bishoff. “It is time to ensure Ohioans receive fair treatment as vehicle owners and to ensure that good operators are not put at a disadvantage compared to those who operate illegally.”

HB 382 will now be referred to a standing House committee for further consideration.

No Monday morning quarterbacking here . . . GOP candidates did well

The projections are in, and, aside from good news for the GOP in the U.S. House of Representatives, much of the rest of the news for the GOP was not good.  However, I think Ohio’s GOP candidates did a good job, and so did the Romney/Ryan ticket.

I know that pundits will say that the race for the presidency was winnable (and it was), thus Romney should have been able to cross the finish line with a different strategy.  I am comfortable with the job he did.  I think Josh Mandel ran well, too.  Therefore, I will not be playing a blame game that finds fault with the candidates.  In fact, I will not even place blame on Obama and the opposing camp.

I think voters had enough information given to them to make their own decisions.  I didn’t like the eventual election outcomes, but I do believe that the responsibility for these outcomes rests with the voters.  If I had thought that the candidates had not done enough to inform the electorate about the choices involved in this election, then, yes, I might be looking to cast blame upon candidates.  Even above and beyond the call of duty, both Republicans and Democrats had excellent GOTV ground games.  Therefore, I commend the candidates for doing anything and everything that could reasonably be asked of them.

I foresee unpleasantries ahead as I see a White House on a collision course with the Congress.  These consequences are the responsibility of the voters.  The voters were forewarned.  The voters decided.  Now a word to the voters:  Fasten your seat belts, because we’re in for a very rough ride.

Vote for love of your country

The time has come.  Vote.  Vote for love of your country.

Hypocrisy of Ted Strickland at the DNC

At the DNC on 9/4/2012, Ted Strickland said President Obama is “a president who stands up for average working people.”  What would Ted Strickland know about that? Strickland never stood up for average working people as governor of Ohio.  His policies increased the number of unemployed people of Ohio.

If Strickland was concerned about the survivability of the auto industry, why were Ohio Democrat politicians around the state, from people like Joe Koziura to people like Jimmy Dimora, empowered to shake down companies via fines or kickbacks in ways that cannibalized free enterprise in Ohio for decades without being held accountable?  Strickland could have improved the business climate for the auto industry in Ohio, but he did not.

Strickland has a problem with Americans who offshore money?  Really?  Strickland single-handedly handed over Ohio to the gambling industry, the ultimate predatory industry that targets the working class and sends its fraudulent ill-gotten gains offshore.  On top of that, organized crime, that also preys upon the working class, now has a permit to launder their money inside Ohio’s state lines now that casinos are opening for business.

The Republicans lie about waiving welfare’s work requirement?  The President’s executive order on the matter is not written in plain English, so parsing the words themselves is not exactly illuminating. Therefore, we need to look at the function of the executive order.  If the executive order did not change the work requirement, then why does it exist?  If there’s no change, why not rescind it?  It still stands, so evidently it represents a change of the requirement.  It functions as a waiver.  Therefore, it is a waiver.  This is a problem because the statute specifically forbids the exercise of presidential power to alter that requirement.  The Democrats lie.

But as far as calling out someone for lying, let me take the opportunity, once more, to call Strickland out as a liar of the Nth degree.  Prior to his gubernatorial election, he postured against the gambling industry.  During his term as governor, he ushered those wolves into the fold so they could glut themselves upon the sheep.  Turncoat.  What a whopper of a lie.

Strickland, who worsened the labor market in Ohio, eventually fed Ohio to the wolves.  He could easily conjure up a fiction of Santa Clause laying off reindeer and outsourcing elves because, in reality, he, himself, has actually done something many times worse.

David Arredondo guest blog: About Ohio’s New Congressional Districts

Editor’s note:  David Arredondo is a Lorain resident, very involved in the Lorain community and a highly visible member of the Coalition for Hispanic/Latino Issues & Progress (CHIP).  He is the vice chair for the Lorain County Republican Party.  He’s often a featured guest on WEOL radio to discuss his work with international students at Lorain County Community College (LCCC) as well as sharing a center-right perspective on political issues.  He’s also appeared as a Republican pundit on Feagler & Friends, which airs on the PBS affiliate in Cleveland, WVIZ.  Professionally, David Arredondo is the Director of International Student Services at Lorain County Community College.

ABOUT OHIO’S NEW CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICTS

Elections have consequences and it is clear that the GOP has had the upper hand on redistricting following the census in 1990, 2000, and 2010. Given this trend, it is entirely possible that we can expect more of the same in 2021. Our current law dictates that the state legislature is required to re-draw congressional district lines based on the census results and this census shows that Ohio has lost enough residents to warrant a loss of 2 seats. One of the requirements is that each district must be comprised of a similar number of residents. This time it is about 720,000 residents.

Another requirement is that the plan must provide for “majority-minority” districts which means that a significant number of black residents must be grouped together so as not to dilute their voting power. So the plan must adhere to this or risk being thrown out and re-drawn. Republicans have done as such the past three times and so first, Louis Stokes, then Stephanie Tubbs Jones, and now Marcia Fudge have the district seat in Cuyahoga County set aside for them.

This means that the plan is not democratic giving an equal opportunity for all candidates. Even if Republicans, or Democrats for that matter, wanted to create a fair, non-partisan plan giving all citizens equal opportunity to run for Congress or vote for a congressman in a 50-50 district, it is nearly impossible given the Voting Rights Act requirement providing for a Democratic Party set-aside seat.

The current Voting Rights Act is a relic of the last century and of a time that no longer exists. It is time for it to be abolished in so far as it perpetuates unnecessary practices such as congressional minority seat set-asides and provisions for bi-lingual ballots. It essentially sets-aside a Democratic seat based on race or ethnicity. The days of lasting institutional racism are long past.

If you want proof of how far we’ve come, just look at the faces of recently elected governors in New Mexico, Nevada, South Carolina, and Louisiana—all Asian-, or Hispanic-Americans and all Republicans. Marco Rubio, a Cuban-American Republican was elected senator from Florida. Here is substantial proof that so-called minorities can be elected state-wide without set aside districts. Six of the sixty-three new GOP congressmen elected in 2010 were Hispanic-Americans and two African-American. None was from a majority-minority district. One new Puerto Rican congressman was elected from Idaho. How many Puerto Rican voters might there be in Idaho?

And Republicans are supposed to be bigots?

For self-serving purposes, former Secretary of State Jennifer Brunner is spreading the word that Democrats dropped the ball last year by not offering a new law providing for a reform of the Ohio congressional redistricting process. She claims that Democrats’ hubris precluded them from working with Republicans, namely then-Senator Jon Husted. Nonsense, sheer nonsense. I have my doubts about the reality of such a scenario given that at least as early as summer 2010, polls showed that some state races would be toss-ups, the House could shift back to GOP majority and add seats in the Senate. I saw no speculation anywhere that Democrats would run the table and win the House, Senate and governorship. Even if Democrats wanted to pass a law for redistricting reform, GOP Senate leader Paul Harris would never have approved. He, not Jon Husted, would have been the decider on such a ploy.

Within the past few weeks more talk has surfaced, primarily from media pundits and aggrieved Democrats like Brunner, to change the current redistricting law, if need be, by a ballot referendum. It seems these days ballot initiatives are the only means that Democrats have to push their agenda. No doubt they believe that voters have forgotten that a few short years ago in 2005, Democrats and their Academic elite MSM allies proposed not one, but four initiatives to change the redistricting process, provide for Early Voting, and a reorganization of the Secretary of States office, among other things I recall. All four of these so-called “reform” initiatives” failed by no less than 2-1 margins, even in Cuyahoga County. I don’t agree that Ohio is a 50-50 state. Certainly over the past twenty years Republicans have largely had control of the state offices as well as the legislature. Democratic dominance is long in the past. The majority of “likely” Ohio voters are Republicans and Democrats, partisan voters. I can’t see how anything has changed to expect a different outcome for a redistrict initiative today or next year.

So in 2010, the GOP won 13 Ohio districts, Democrats 5. It would appear that the Republican redistrict map was an exercise in ensuring re-election for most incumbents, both Democrat and Republican save for three. Republicans were more than generous in giving up one seat and creating a possibly new minority seat in Columbus for a Democrat while the Democrats only lost one seat.

Those on the bubble are: Democrats Marcy Kaptur, Dennis Kucinich and Betty Sutton from Northern Ohio and Republicans Steve Austria and Mike Turner from the Dayton area. Two have no seat and one has a chance for a seat in an adjacent district in which she’s have to beat the Republican incumbent.

Right now a “death match” is shaping up between Kucinich and Kaptur in the 9th District. Since this includes much of Lorain County which is Sutton’s district, I wouldn’t discount the possibility that she takes on Kaptur and Kucinich rather than run against Renacci in the 16th.

Last but not least a change needs to be made whereby college students are allowed to register and vote in districts where they attend school: Columbus, Oberlin etc. as well as their home districts. Our system does not have portable registration such that you only have one residence to register and vote. College students do. Whether or not some or all vote multiple times at school and at home is unknown but the possibility exists that some do. That is fraudulent and needs to be fixed along with other measures. It is my understanding that currently the Cuyahoga voting rolls show more than one million registered voters with an eligible voting population of fewer than 800,000. The city of Oberlin has more registered voters than residents. The current electoral system leaves a lot to be desired.

BizzyBlog nails Husted for compromising the integrity of Ohio’s elections

BizzyBlog, easily one of the most respected right-of-center Ohio political blogs, posted an entry yesterday that’s not only worth reading the whole thing, it’s worth reading the source material, too, notwithstanding the fact that BizzyBlog’s Tom Blumer provided full quotes (it’s always okay to verify a source, even if it’s not OK, in Ohio, to verify a voter’s identity at election time).

Ohio SoS Jon Husted, a Republican that I didn’t endorse during the 2010 election cycle, is preventing the Ohio General Assembly’s attempts to restore the integrity of Ohio’s elections, i.e., in this instance, putting the kibosh on voter ID.  As I’ve pointed out, this is the same Husted who, as Speaker of the Ohio House, shepherded the passage of legislation that created loopholes big enough for 18-wheelers to pull through.  Former Ohio SoS Jennifer Brunner was only to happy to drive through each and every one of those loopholes in 2008 to secure a partisan advantage for the Democrats.

Too few see through Husted’s pretense to see him for who he truly is.  If not so, he wouldn’t have prevailed in the 2008 GOP primary.  Kudos to Tom Blumer for compiling the sources and synthesizing them into a more accurate portrayal of Husted.