RALEIGH, N.C. — The predatory towing debate heated up again in Raleigh. A committee previously turned down the mayor's proposal to ban towing overnight in downtown Raleigh. On Tuesday, Mayor Charles Meeker tried to get a revised plan passed on his own, but his compromise still got the boot.
Mayor Charles Meeker has tried and tried to stop what he calls predatory towing in downtown Raleigh. He said when people are stranded without their cars, it becomes a safety issue.
"If the city council and mayor don't protect the public, who will?" he said.
Instead of an all-out overnight ban, his newest idea was to prevent cars downtown from being towed at night if they have been in a private lot for less than six hours. The lot owner could boot the car instead.
"I actually agree with you that booting is the better solution, but I don't think we have the right to make that decision for the people who own the lots," councilor Mike Regan said.
Councilmember James West worries about the image the downtown area is getting with aggressive towing.
"I think we need to create an environment downtown where people want to come," he said.
The city wants people to come to four downtown lots it started operating Aug. 1. For $3 a night, officials are hoping patrons will park legally and avoid the towing hassle. Councilor Jessie Talafiero thinks the public lots and not a ban could be the solution.
"I have an inherent problem with people who break the rules and then want to be forgiven for it," she said.
Talafiero wants to give the lots three months. If they do not seem to be working, she said she then may support Meeker's plan.
Two council members -- Neal Hunt and Philip Isley -- were not present at the meeting. However, officials tell WRAL that they would have also voted against Meeker's plan.
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