CITY HALL — After months of conflict with the notorious "Lincoln Park Pirates" — Lincoln Towing — Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) pushed a self-proclaimed Towing Bill of Rights through the City Council License Committee Tuesday.
"I think people are tired of being abused by towing companies," Pawar said. "If you get towed, I don't think it's too much to ask that you're not beat up, threatened."
As originally proposed, it includes provisions that a car be released if the owner arrives with the keys before it is towed, along with requirements that signs be posted and that a car be photographed with its location before it's towed. The tow firm must also present a copy of the Towing Bill of Rights to the owner of the impounded car.
It also calls for tows to be taped with dashcams, with the footage maintained for a year and made available upon request to the car owner, aldermen and the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection — a requirement Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) called "a really good step forward."
Ald. Ariel Reboyras (30th), chairman of the Public Safety Committee, said it would "deter unscrupulous companies."
Pawar saved his strongest language for Lincoln Towing, the firm with a lot at 4882 N. Clark St. and first made famous for bullying tactics in the 1970s, as depicted in Chicago folk singer Steve Goodman's 1970s sea chantey "Lincoln Park Pirates."
"They're a bad operator," Pawar said. "They routinely engage in abusive activity." He called on the Illinois Commerce Commission to conclude an investigation of the company by putting it out of business, adding, "It's time for them to go."
Lincoln Towing representatives complained of "bullying" treatment at an earlier committee hearing in March. The company did not have a representative at Tuesday's committee meeting.
The measure heads to the full City Council for final approval on Wednesday.
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