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‘Beat the Boot!’—commuters, renters clash with city on parking policies

April 21st, 2013 Posted in Arts and Life

By Katie Swain

LOGAN—Utah State University student Jeff Parker is rekindling a push for Logan City to change its policy regarding booting, the hated practice of attaching immovable metal “Denver boots” to the tires of illegally parked vehicles.

no-parking-sign-templateCommuter students and residents of the many apartment complexes that surround the university despise booting companies, but landlords and others say illegal parking takes parking spaces away from tenants who pay for them.

“Deep down, everyone hates booters,” Parker, an economics major said. “I think everyone’s in agreement there.”

Though it is far from the first time Logan City Council has heard requests for change, Parker has approached the council with his own plan to improve booting policies in Cache Valley.

Parker said his end goal is to amend the city code so that it protects renters from being unlawfully booted by creating an avenue to follow when problems arise.

Parker said he has personally been the victim of improper bootings, and the biggest issue he faced was having no one to assist him in resolving the problem.

The Cache Auto Booting Service (CABS), which contracts with the city of Logan for parking enforcement, declined requests to be interviewed for this story.

Parker told one of his booting horror stories on the “Beat the Boot” Facebook page: “Coming back to Logan during Christmas Break, I took my Mom’s Prius. It was snowing incredibly hard. As I was pulling into the parking lot, I stopped to call the number on the entry sign to get a guest pass. For whatever reason the sign had been knocked down. I pulled into my usual space and ran inside to get a winter coat. Within ten minutes, I walked to the second entrance where I knew another sign was posted. By the time I reached the sign, however, the CABS employee told me it had already been booted! When the booter arrived (30 minutes later), I told him the only reason I was booted was their sign was knocked down at the main entrance. He had known about it for days but didn’t fix it. Since I was a resident, he argued, I should have known the policy. They still charged me!”

According to Logan City Ordinance, signs with information on parking restrictions and booting fines are required for entrances 20 feet wide or less, with signs posted within 8 feet of all parking lot entrances, and clearly readable from the entrances. There also must be signs between parking stalls that are clearly readable from the stalls. For parking lot entrances that exceed 20 feet, all sign placement must be approved by the City of Logan.

“The booters were unsympathetic, so I approached the landlords and they said they had no power to take off the boot,” Parker said. “I approached the cops and they said it was a private issue and they wouldn’t get involved. So my thought is to put the power of removing the boot back in the hands of the landlord. That puts the responsibility back on their shoulders if the booting company, which they’ve hired, has messed up.”

Logan City Attorney Kymber Housley said the City Council is discussing concerns with booting policy. The council is considering amendments to the current ordinance and will act on the proposed changes during its meeting on May 7.

Some of these proposed changes include requirements of greater specificity regarding parking signs and that signs must “provide sufficient information to inform vehicle owners of parking requirements and restrictions and to assist vehicle owner in the prompt recovery of any vehicle booted.”

Darla Clark, a land manager for four apartment complexes in Logan, said she disagrees that more responsibility should be put on the landlords.

C--Users-ewinkler.ONELEGAL-Downloads-Denver Boot-resized-600“Students know the rules,” Clark said. “They all think they’ve been treated unfairly and they don’t want to take responsibility. The problems I’ve had in the past have just been kids who don’t read and don’t abide by the rules. I don’t think landlords should get involved in resolving that at all.”

Clark said she makes the parking rules and regulations for her apartments very clear to her tenants so they know exactly how to keep from being booted or ticketed.

“Students think that unfair booting is that they’ve been caught for breaking the rules,” Clark said. “I don’t have a problem with booting. If I didn’t do it, then my tenants wouldn’t have a place to park.”

One apartment complex resident said he used to hate the practice of booting, but when his parking lot started to have problems with people parking there overnight without a pass, he learned to appreciate it.

Adam Barkley, a former employee of Cache Auto Booting Services, agrees that booting is necessary because it ensures a parking spot for the tenants who pay for their parking slots.

“Is it more unfair to boot,” Barkley asked, “or to pay for parking and have it denied?”

Barkley also said that getting out of a boot is easy as long as there is evidence the boot was put on unlawfully.

“Keep in mind however, that lying won’t work,” Barkley said. “Whenever CABS boots a car, pictures are taken of the car, the boots, the signs, everything.”

“As for people who believe they are being treated unfairly, it’s useless to blame us,” Barkley said. “We just enforce the law. Apartment complexes and businesses outline what rules they want enforced on their parking lot, which they are well within their rights to do, and then leave the enforcing of those rules to CABS.”

Parker said the intent of the “Beat the Boot” Facebook page is to provide a place for students to, “Share your booting stories here!” and sign a petition; they can also share their stories of being improperly booted. This will enable Parker to gather anecdotal evidence to bring to the City Council.

Outraged posts appear on Parker’s Facebook page:

Garrett Snow: “Most ridiculous one ever: my plates expired, it was the weekend so the city offices were closed, AND THEY BOOTED ME FOR AN EXPIRED LICENSE!!!! In my own @&$% parking lot!”

Tyler Thiessen: “They did that to me too when I lived in the Forest Gate Apts. They’re a bunch of idiots. They also booted my roommate several times, when living there because he had trouble keeping the license plate from staying on and it would fall off when he drove. He spent probably $100+ for the several times they booted him for it. And when he consulted them on the rules of booting and how it doesn’t list anywhere where there is needed a current or renewed license plate they just blew him off saying it was in the rules.”

Parker says gathering these stories from angry booting victims will help city officials understand their frustrations with CABS and the company’s booting practices.

“Our intent really isn’t even to prove that these incidences have occurred,” Parker said. “We’re just trying to show from our perspective, a giant group perspective, that we’ve had miserable experiences and that the booters have done something improperly and we’ve had no one to turn to.”

Richard Orcutt, another USU student involved with “Beat the Boot,” said he wishes more people would contribute to their efforts.

Orcutt described some of his own negative experiences with booting: “I once was driving my friends car around because mine broke, and went inside my house for like 30 seconds and came out to find a boot in progress. The booter refused to take it off until I paid even though I was a resident and I knew the ‘code word‘. In the end he called CABS CEO, who I knew personally, and he made me pay half the boot. I also got a boot for ‘overnight parking’ at the institute, when my car had been there from 11:45 pm-12:15 am. Their signs failed to disclose they define ‘overnight’ as if it is there past midnight. I complained to the institute, and nothing happened.”

“There are no incentives for booters to treat people well, so they almost always treat people poorly,” Orcutt said. “I would like to see the system change so customer service and human decency becomes something booters strive for.”

Parker’s “Beat the Boot” page isn’t the only Facebook campaign to bring change to Logan’s booting policies.

Beat the Booters,” a similar group of 104 members, was started with much the same goal as Parker. “If you have ever been booted and would like to support a group dedicated to bringing down the booters, Please join this Group,” the site says. “We need your support, your testimonials and your enthusiasm for taking down a lucrative business that preys on college student’s [sic] and their social life. This is a time to make a stand and BEAT THE BOOTERS!

Like Parker’s page, this group encourages people to share their experiences with Logan booters. Some posts provide specific examples of booting incidents:

Aspen Wrigley Scoffield: “My first year in Logan not knowing anything about booting and certain parking areas I went to pick up my friend from his apartment and I just went to the door to get him and come back and BAM! Boot on my car. Yeah I was very upset so I am all against booting!”

towing009DanaAnne Burnham: “I had a friend who came over to drop off some notes for me because I missed class. She was there for like second and got booted. Not cool! Seriously!”

Aimee Perkins: “I had a babysitter come one day for 1 hour and when she left she had a boot on her car. I had to pay $80 for a 1 hour babysitting job!”

Tracy Barnes: “I hate Logan booters!”

Former USU student Trevor Blackwell also got involved with “Beat the Booters” with ideas of his own to improve booting policies, even to the point of eliminating booting altogether.

“I would like to see the Logan booters disappear,” Blackwell said. “It is a business with practices that do more harm than good for the community and unless they can prove otherwise they shouldn’t exist. At the very least I would like to see the city of Logan enact/reenact ordinances that protect their citizens from a business that preys financially on those in their community with very limited resources.”

Blackwell also suggested lower the maximum booting fines and preventing the booting of cars that are still running and not technically parked.

Currently, Logan City Ordinance allows for booting fees up to the state’s current maximum of $75 for an illegally parked car.

“I think the best way to run the booters out of town is for all the students of USU to refuse to renew their apartment contracts so long as their apartment complex employs a booting company,” Blackwell said.

Blackwell said the Facebook efforts could be the “tool that helps USU students starve the booters out of town,” but only if they are able to organize their actions.

Parker has already approached the council with his proposed changes and is working on refining his ideas before approaching them again. Parker said he was told his idea of putting more booting responsibility back into the hands of landlords needed to have specifics worked out better before anything could happen with it.

“The mayor [Randy Watts] invited me to come to a workshop, to further suss out some of the key problems and to find out some of the ways we can resolve this,” Parker said.


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  1. One Response to “‘Beat the Boot!’—commuters, renters clash with city on parking policies”

  2. By Dan on Apr 21, 2013

    good article but i like boots. I think everyone who has broken the law should get a boot. then no one would break the law. #simple

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