Towers protest regulations

The power struggle between tow-truck operators and lawmakers continued on Thursday when dozens of drivers drove circles around City Hall to rally against proposed Philadelphia Parking Authority oversight.

Next month, City Council is expect to vote on a bill aimed at reducing wreck-chasing. It would give the PPA authority to license tow operators and require companies to take accident vehicles to a PPA lot unless the driver specifies another location.

The PPA has “the facilities, they have the places to keep the [vehicles]. … We can audit them. They will keep good records,” said Councilman-at-Large James Kenney, the bill’s author. “The Parking Authority is not the most beloved agency in the world, but they’re consistent in their approach and what they do.”

Council’s interest comes after several violent incidents over the summer involving tow operators and a reality-TV series that doubles as a real-life drama. Some say the proposed measure would penalize small tow companies.

“In any field, there are people who are bad apples and they should be dealt with accordingly. I’m in compliance. I don’t understand why I’m being penalized,” said Anthony D’Angelo, owner of George Smith Towing. Increasing regulation and licensing fees would cut down on the number of tows for a company and cost the industry “thousands of jobs.”

Kenney disagreed, saying, “Bottom line is they want the car and the bottom line is they’re not going to get the car.”

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