Thursday, February 16, 2006

Chesbro's Abandoned Auto Bill

Here's one bill by State Senator, Wes Chesbro, I have a difficult time arguing with: His bill would allow counties to raise local vehicle fees by one dollar to help pay for abandoned vehicle abatement programs. It's left up to the individual counties to decide whether to raise the fee but I think we all know how our board of supervisors would vote. Don't we?

The one problem I have with this idea is that our supervisors would likely raise the fee whether it was needed or not. And who's to say if they might siphon off the money raised for more nefarious purposes?

But abandoned vehicles are one of my pet peeves. I'd really like to see something done to make the last owner of an abandoned vehicle be held more responsible rather than taking a dollar from everyone. What the heck do you do, though?

You sell a car to someone and go fill out the Certificate of Non- Responsibility (CNR), or whatever that thing's called, at the DMV. What if the guy you sold it to never registers it in his name? Then the car gets found abandoned years later and they end up coming after you and you thought you got rid of the car. It happens. I know someone it happened to.

Or, along the same line: What if someone wanted to dump a car, and goes to the DMV and fills out a CNR falsely saying he sold the car to someone and then dumps the car? How could you prove he never sold the car and just dumped it. No easy answer to solving the problem from that angle.

Libertarian though I may be, I can't help but wonder if it might help to nip the problem in the bud by getting rid of the cars before they're abandoned? You know how the cycle starts, you see it all around town:

Someone has a car that might or might not have a problem. For whatever reason it ends up sitting out on the street or in some part of their yard or driveway. It ends up sitting there for weeks, months, then years. Eventually it becomes junk, but the owner never feels like dealing with the hassle of taking the car to the auto wreckers. Eventually, the car ends up abandoned somewhere, perhaps in the same location it was left in and the owners have long since moved.

I was wondering (hold your sounds of astonishment) if they ought to come up with some ordinance on how long a car could be stored somewhere without being moved, although I'm sure they probably already have something along that line in effect now?

So, if a car has been sitting in the front yard of a house for six months, the tires have gone flat and it's obviously not going to be moved, the owner of the car (or the property) has to take it to the junkyard or the city or county will take care of it and charge the owner for it. That still leaves the problem of establishing the true owner of the car, though, which I guess is why we have this mess to begin with.

I hesitate to propose ideas like that since they'll likely only result in more bureaucratic hassle for all of us and we don't want anymore hassles with government, do we? Nonetheless, I wonder if we're doing all we can do with the problem now or if there's something more that needs to be done? Any ideas out there?

6 Comments:

At 2:06 PM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

The elephants in the living room (Humboldt County) are the Hoopa and Yurok "soverign" enclaves. The up side is that on the reservations the red tape involved to crush and remove these "sculptures" is substantialy reduced.

 
At 6:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

How does the DMV define an "abandoned vehicle"? I heard that if you don't pay registration and taxes on a vehicle within 30 days of buying a vehicle the DMV considers it abandoned and can have law enforcement take it.

 
At 8:26 AM, Blogger ΛΕΟΝΙΔΑΣ said...

A vehicle operating or parked on a public highway with fees due can be siezed by CHP. Parking on a public highway or street over 72 hours without being moved is considered "abandoned". Vehicles abandoned on private property are handled by the local police or sheriff under local ordnances. The costs of abatement to local jurisdictions are not inconsiderable and they are thus reluctant to enforce existing ordnances.

 
At 8:49 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Yeah. I'm not so sure that there aren't adequate laws to deal with it. It's just so expensive to deal with, thus Chesbro's bill.

Every now and then the local news will have a story on how much it costs. And it isn't just towing costs. The abandoned vehicles are used as trash recepticles by various low lifes so the tow truck drivers first have to haul them to City Garbage and empty them out.

It gets expensive.

That's why (sticking my finger down my throat when I say this) I'm suggesting maybe getting the cars hauled off before they get to that point.

I can think of at least two cars in Eureka that should probably be hauled off now before they end up being a bigger problem. One is on private property though.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger Anon.R.mous said...

I say we just drag the cars out to manilla and let them get stripped to nothing out there. I swear that I've seen a car stripped down in daylight in 8 hours out there.

 
At 8:45 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Call the local district office, they should be able to tell you.

 

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