The Hirt family has been proud to call Crescent City their home for 42 years. The Fourth of July weekend showed us another side of our city and how visitors are treated. Our son returned home to vacation over the Fourth and attend his high school's 25th reunion. He went to the Deck Party, met up with friends and left his car where he parked it, near the Cultural Center. Although there were signs indicating vehicles would be towed if left there, he did not see them. He planned to retrieve the car the next morning.
Well, the car was towed, and he immediately attempted to retrieve it. He found the police station closed. He then went to the sheriff's office, where he was nicely treated and helped in finding out what happened and where the vehicle was held. He went to Northcrest Towing and the owner kindly told him he wished he could help him but he could not release the car without a police release. He suggested talking with Police Chief Doug Plack for help. Since the police station was closed for the weekend, our son could do nothing more before Monday morning.
Monday morning he waited for Chief of Police Doug Plack to arrive at work and was told abruptly that there was nothing he could do and that our son had to pay a $150 "city administrative fee" which could only be paid at the water department (thanks to City Manager Eugene Palazzo). The Water Dept. person seemed puzzled but gave him a receipt for the fee and told him to go back to the police chief. Once there, he finally got a release order. At the towing company he was charged $340 for storing the vehicle for three days. (Three days in which he had tried to get someone to take his money to release the vehicle.)
Why was there no plan in place for someone to be able to retrieve a vehicle? How can it be lawful to withhold a person's car from them for three days when it is not part of a criminal investigation? Why was there no kindness and understanding shown by our police chief? (After all, this was a mistake, not a deliberate violation. He was willing to pay the fine and then expected to be able to retrieve the car.)
What a way to treat visitors! If our son had been here as an out-of-town visitor with no family, he would have been stuck in a small, unfriendly town without a vehicle for three days.
What a message! Welcome to Crescent City, visitors. Now, give us your cash and go home. Is this the same town that wants to attract more tourists?
I am angry and disappointed over our son's treatment in this matter!
Renate Hirt is a Crescent City resident.