By Ted AYALA
When the Present family, owners of Crescenta Valley Towing Company, stepped into the Glendale City Council chamber on July 26, they thought that an injustice done to them was finally going to be righted.
“We thought the city would do the right thing,” said Hal Present, who founded the company 50 years ago. “We thought that they would finally be giving us our rightful share of tows.” Then when he touched upon the council’s ultimate decision on the matter, he added, “But they voted the other way. We’re still not sure what happened.”
Back in 2005, the future promised to be far more auspicious for Crescenta Valley Tow. The company had been one of three city towing companies to be awarded a five-year contract providing tows for the Glendale Police Department (GPD).
“This was going to be an exciting turn for us,” said Present. Crescenta Valley Tow would be given the city’s northern area to tow – an estimated 20% of all city tows. The other two companies, Gay’s Towing and Monterrey Tow Service, both from Glendale, would oversee the other two portions of the city, receiving an estimated 40% of tows each. But the numbers never added up.
“It’s not like we’re down only a percent or two from the estimates they gave us. We’re down by around 10%,” said Present. “This wouldn’t be such a big deal except for all the investments we made into improvements required of us.”
In order to qualify for the contract, Crescenta Valley Tow had to build an extra garage. The garage, which would be used by the GPD to obtain evidence from vehicles involved in crimes, had to be climate controlled. Improvements were also required to make the lot accessible to citizens with disabilities.
“We spent over $250,000 altogether on these improvements,” recalled Present. “It didn’t bother us at the time because we thought we’d make it up in the tows that we were to receive.” In addition to the improvements, CV Tow also did away with their AAA tows in Sunland and Tujunga in order to accommodate the GPD.
“Those tows accounted for about 50% of all our AAA tows. We wanted to give pride of place to [our tows for the GPD]. Again, the idea was to make it up in the tows promised by the city. But instead, we just ended up losing more business.”
Hopes to revise the tow partitions seemed to rise early this year when the city council, led by Dave Weaver, opted to review the tow boundaries pending study. However, those hopes were dashed last week when the council voted 4-1 to keep the boundaries as they stand.
“We were just shocked,” said Present. “I mean, one company has had to make do with 10%, while another one has swallowed up 49% of tows. How is that fair?”
Still, despite his anger over the decision, Present maintained how proud he is to work for the city.
“We’ve never had an incident with the city. While we’re upset that more consideration wasn’t taken of our position, we’re still glad to be a part of the city and to help the [GPD].”