Sunday, July 6, 2008

Need a Tow? Just Call State Senator Terry Link

See any resemblance in the photos?

Well, recently, the Lake County News-Sun noticed a connection between State Senator Terry Link and the underworld of towing companies--a new consumer protection law aimed at combating so-called "predatory towing" took effect in most of the Chicago metropolitan area--EXCEPT Lake County, home to Senator Link.

In a nutshell, according to the News-Sun, the new law requires that "prior to towing a vehicle the towing company must notify the customer with a written disclosure providing the business name, address, information about where the vehicle will be towed and a reliable telephone contact number. The company must also advise customers of the full cost of all services prior to towing a vehicle, and return the vehicle upon request during regular business hours after prompt payment of all reasonable fees."

I dunno, sounds kind of common sensical and fair to me. Sad that we really need a law to guarantee these rights, but if you've ever had your car towed unexpectedly for parking in the wrong place at the wrong time, it's not often a pleasant (or cheap) experience getting your car back.

So why in the world would we NOT want such a consumer-oriented law to apply to Lake County residents? Well, Senator Link, once confronted by the press, simply said that he had not heard any "outcry" from citizens in Lake County that led him to believe the law was needed up here... as opposed to those consumers in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Will and Winnebago counties (and, as of Sept. 1, McHenry County). I guess the towing companies operating in Lake County must simply be so different and above-board that Senator Link doesn't think we need any protection, unlike every other county in and around Chicago?

The Lake County Board, once it became aware of the situation, has now decided to evaluate opting in to the protections offered to consumers under the new law. It also turns out that a similar law has been on the books for years that never applied to Lake County, perhaps because no elected officials (other than Link, apparently) even knew about it.

As she told the News-Sun, "I've never seen this before," Lake County Board Chairman Suzi Schmidt said of the legislation. "I can't imagine that we would opt out of something like this."

Sadly, the angle the News-Sun failed to explore was how well Terry Link serves his constituents. No, we're not talking about the citizens of Lake County. We're talking about the well-heeled towing companies that have been filling Link's campaign coffers for years. A quick search of Link's campaign disclosures reveals that several Lake County towing companies have been plowing thousands of dollars into Link's campaign year after year. The most notable towing company listed is J.R.'s Wrecker Service, which contributed $5,000 to Link between 2005 and 2007, but there are others, including Ernie's Wrecking Service in Vernon Hills.

Too bad the News-Sun missed this most interesting part of the story, but there's always room for a follow-up, especially when such a story could shed some more light on what may be the real reason behind the fact that, once again, Terry Link has failed to stand up to protect Lake County citizens and instead seems more worried about the business interests of his campaign contributors. Could the largess directed toward Link by the local towers and Link's involvement with the lack of application of this law to Lake County (the exact nature of which was not clear from the articles) be a coinkydink (as Rich Miller would say)? Maybe. As Fox News would say, "we report, you decide."

I would imagine GOP challenger Keith Gray will be looking at this issue with interest in the weeks to come. Stay tuned.

MEANWHILE, NATIONAL EYES ARE ON GAS PRICES: Mark Kirk and his Dem opponent Dan Seals were both mentioned in a Wall Street Journal online article on how annoyed Americans are with gas prices, and they are looking for someone to blame, like... Congress. Whether the public ultimately holds the Democratic-controlled Congress responsible is anyone's guess, but it appears that more and more people are seeing domestic drilling as the answer.

There wasn't much in the WSJ article that TA regulars don't already know as to the Kirk-Seals race, but it was interesting that Seals was notable for his gas giveaway debacle which now seems to have defined him as the candidate that caused a traffic jam and got a bill from the police. Good job, Dan!


Anonymous said...

Now even the Wall Street Journal has discovered the Seals Gasgate story. Seals wasted more gas than he saved and got Lincolnshire's mayor to endorse Kirk.

Anonymous said...

Looks like your guy Kirk raised almost $900,000 over the last three months -- $300,000 more than Seals.

DCEyes said...

$900,000 for Kirk? Jesus!

Anonymous said...

dceyes, it's actually OVER $900K for this quarter! The question of the hour might be why didn't Seals release his cash on hand figure. The Kirk cash on hand is over $2.8 million with checks coming in faster than ever. Can't wait to see the FEC filing on Seals. Wonder if it will show him having his fingers in the "till" again.

Anonymous said...

dceyes, it's actually OVER $900K for this quarter! The question of the hour might be why didn't Seals release his cash on hand figure. The Kirk cash on hand is over $2.8 million with checks coming in faster than ever. Can't wait to see the FEC filing on Seals. Wonder if it will show him having his fingers in the "till" again.

Joe McCarthy and the Red Scarecrows said...

Even though Seals had fundraisers with nearly every congressional leader (and Michelle Obama!) he STILL couldn't outraise Kirk.

Guess the rumors in Chicago Democratic circles are true - Seals' sense of entitlement is catching up with him.

He's been moaning for a year-and-a-half that he didn't have national support in 2006. Now he has it, and he's actually lower in the polls.

But I'm sure will be there waiting after November for a financial bailout.

DCEyes said...

Seals had Michelle Obama fundraise for him and Kirk still outraised Seals by over $250k. Most candidates don't even raise $900k in a year, Kirk raised it in just 90 days -- its $300k more than he raised last quarter.

Seals had Obama, Hoyer (D-MD), Emmanuel (D-IL), Wasserman (D-FL), Durbin (D-IL) and Schakowski (D-IL) all raise money for him and Kirk blew him away on his own.

Sharimom said...

I thought Dan would have raised more with that Obama fundraiser.

This has got to hurt.

8th District Committeman said...

TA, I'm extremely disappointed that you would compare such a good guy as "Tow-Mater" with a skunk like Link!! ;-)

Team America said...

Yes, probably an unfair (to Mater) comparison, but the teeth are what sold it to me.

Jeff Brown said...

Why is it that every Company that Tows for the city has a bad reputation?