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Off the hook: Police halt automatic towing for unlicensed drivers

Original post made on Feb 22, 2011

As it reviews case law on the matter, the Mountain View Police Department has implemented a moratorium on the automatic towing of vehicles driven by unlicensed drivers -- unless there is an immediate threat to the public's safety.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Tuesday, February 22, 2011, 10:01 AM

Comments (22)

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Posted by CopsAreProfessionalLiars
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:25 am

"most immigrants can't get licenses but are generally law abiding," Boyarsky said. "

Somebody PLEASE explain to me how you can be here ILLEGALLY, yet be considered as "law abiding"

IMMIGRANTS _can_ get licenses when they come here LEGALLY.
it's those that don't want to play by the rules that scream persecution! the loudest and are then catered too because it's "unfair" to them that they are breaking the law just by being here.
And we, as the true law abiding citizens, must do everything we can to make sure they are not penalized in any way shape or form, and let them off completely unaccountable for their own actions.


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Posted by Geoff
a resident of Sylvan Park
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

"Traditionally, immigrant rights activists have said that most immigrants can't get licenses but are generally law abiding," Boyarsky said. It is said that "they live here and work here and have to drive. Driving without a license is the only criminal thing they do. We are punishing them when they can't get a license."

Isn't there a reason illegal immigrants can't get a license? Like maybe because it's illegal? Maybe that's the point?

On the other hand, the tow truck companies are out of control with their arguments. If you need to tow cars that don't need to be towed to support your business, we shouldn't help you.

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Posted by Nick V
Mountain View Voice Staff Writer
on Feb 22, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Nick V is a registered user.

This is surely a hot-button issue. Click the following link and watch the video to find out what a random sampling of people milling about on Castro Street thought when asked whether they were in favor or opposed to this new policy.

Web Link

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Posted by BurnedByUnlicensed
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:30 pm

OK, so it costs $1000-1500 to get your car back? Well, it costs ME $1500 per year for automobile insurance. I have to pay for insturance to legally have a license and registere my car.
People who drive without a license (or insurance) just cost the law abiding money. I've had to pay deductables 4 times for unlicensed or hit and run (and presumably unlicensed) accidents.
I've got NO PROBLEM charging a BIG for getting a car out of impoundment driving by an unlicensed driver. The money should go to a fund to reduce the cost of insurance in California.
This is NOT victimless crime - we all pay the cost.

PS this stupid thing wants me to post a neighborhood, BUT I THERE ISN'T A NEIGHBORHOOD NAME FOR WHERE i LIVE. This is stupid.

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Posted by DJ
a resident of Waverly Park
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:55 pm

What the official policies are and what will actually happen are two different things. I was hit by someone in Mountain View who did not have a license, could not produce any insurance or registration. The other car in the accident had made an illegal left hand turn right in front of me. I hit the back end of the car which caused the car to run into a sign of a business. They were desperately trying to get their car untangled from the sign but could not. They finally gave up when the police came. When we were questioned about the accident, they lied and said that I had run a red light. The officer started to believe the other party until people who had witnessed the accident came forward and told what had really happened. So what was the end result? The police did nothing to the other party except to have a very old car which was now totaled towed away. They told the other party to just leave. Their identity was not checked because they told the police they did not have any identify papers & they were not given a ticket. Me and the business owner were just left to fix our own problems. When I called my insurance company, I could not give any details about the other driver, because there was none I could give. This is what happened to me in Mountain View.

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Posted by PH
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I have a class A license and it comes with all kinds of legal requirements and responsibilities yet those who don't have a license at all are driving around taking no responsibility for their behavior. Isn't it strange that on the one hand you have tremendous legal pressure and on the other there is increasing pressure to let them get away with not being held responsible? Driving is a privilege, not a right and it has defined legal requirements. Where does the stupidity stop? What else will we let the illegal person get away with? I know they have their issues, but it costs each legal citizen more to have them on the road. Many people can work without driving and there are no excuses for doing it without a license.
I feel that the police are correct to make judgement calls, but they need to make sure to look out for all of us when they do. I think most of us just plain feel like we shouldn't have to do the right things if others don't and it makes us feel like we are getting nothing for being good citizens while others do as they please.
The issue is just one of the problems we need to solve concerning illegal immigrants and we can't just keep sweeping it under the rug. Our government needs to get things sorted out and see to it that those who are legal citizens get the benefit of citizenship and those who aren't legal need to be dealt with on a one by one basis. We can't go on without taking care of this issue as it causes too much tension on all sides. How would it feel if you jumped through all the hoops to be a citizen and others just come here and get the benfits without going through the system?
The politicians need to get serious as the issue of driving without a license is just one of the illegal immigrant problems that the law abiding citizens are tired of see left unaddressed.

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Posted by Konrad M. Sosnow
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:27 pm

This is a public safety issue. The purpose of the written and practical portions of the drivers’ test is to ensure that California drivers have knowledge of the driving laws and the ability to drive a vehicle safely. Unlicensed drivers may not have knowledge of the driving laws and the ability to drive a vehicle safely. In any case, they don’t have insurance. The new practice of not towing their cars will allow them to get behind the wheel again sooner, thus endangering the rest of us. Our left-wing leaders are more interested in placating illegal immigrants than they are in protecting law abiding citizens.

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Posted by PH
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:31 pm

I just read DJ's post. I had a similar incident happen to me while driving a truck working in San Jose a few years ago. The other person drifted over into my lane and bounced off my truck. No one was hurt and I give credit to the other driver for stopping. It turned out that they had no license, no insurance and did not speak or understand English. They got to keep their car and this might have been the right thing for the police to do, but if they weren't driving illegally they might not have hit me as they might have had the proper training to drive legally. It could have been deadly if they had hit another car instead of my truck, the one much larger than a car and much easier to see.

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Posted by Thom
a resident of Jackson Park
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:12 pm

No license more than likely brings no insurance, no speak english, here illegally, making them a criminal. Don't want to offend the criminals by having laws. If someone is driving without a license there's a good chance he or she doesn't know the rules of the road. That alone makes all unlicensed drivers a safety issue to the community.

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Posted by Jay
a resident of Cuernavaca
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:14 pm

I don't understand why these people do not have drivers licenses. The reasons I can think of make me sick.
Maybe they didn't try to get a license as they are felons, too many DUI's, medical problem, bad eyesight or other problems. Maybe, and most likely they are illegal immigrants who do not know driving rules, cannot read traffic signs. Do we want people driving on our roads with these problems?
So a friend will pick up the unlicensed driver and drive him home, then what? He gets back in his car and keeps driving until he gets picked up again?
Makes no sense to me.
If the police pick up an illegal immigrant, they should turn him over to immigration authorities for immediate deportation. If this rule went into effect, we would have less people driving without licenses. I really don't understand why our cities are protecting these law breakers and ignoring its citizens.

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 22, 2011 at 4:23 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

I'll shout it out:



I think " The View " and the local government WANTS MV to be a magnet city!

The rest of you US CITIZENS had better shut up...

Or get " beat down " both physically, mentally or financially...

Legal immigrants: you had better decide who you support: ILLEGAL ALIENS or ALL the laws of this land.

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:33 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Interesting. My comment disappeared. After I had a chat with the managing editor, it reappeared. Funny how a little talk with the right people can have an effect....good or bad when it comes to freedom of speech in a TOWN SQUARE.

Back on topic AND discussed with the managing editor:

I've relayed my not so good experiences with this e-zines censorship on earlier hot button issues and my REAL LIFE issues as a patient using Mountain View services. Thes comments got deleted too.

From Denver:

When Denver voters in 2008 approved Initiative 100 [ NO LICENSE, GET TOWED my words ], they also approved a $100 land acquisition fee intended to be used to purchase or lease additional impound space. Denver’s impound lot holds 2,082 vehicles. But the lot is often near capacity, and space has always been a factor for the Denver Sheriff’s Department, which maintains the lot.

With the number of salvage yards in the SFBA ( I know, I worked that area ) the impound is a win-win for a PROPER POLICE DEPARTMENT!

The city gets the ILLEGAL DRIVER OFF THE ROAD and the PD gets the salvage auction revenue. If you want the car, pay up and show that you are legally able to drive!

That is how the system has workd in the past in the SFBA.

If you can't do the time, don't do the crime..

Breaking ( and abetting lawbreakers ) the FEDERAL LAWS ( the US Code IS THE LAW OF THE LAND!! ) is a crime.

It's a sad situation ( but not uncommon ) when there are lawbreakers on both sides of the badge.

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Posted by JD-MP
a resident of Monta Loma
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:56 pm

This is simply not fair to all of the licensed drivers who pay all of the required vehicle fees to have the privilege to drive here - If you are driving without a licence or current registration, you are breaking the law. Why give these law-breaking people a break? We all pay dearly for the ability to drive here. Let's continue to enforce these regulations & keep the unlicensed & unregistered vehicles off the streets. This is not an immigration issue at all.

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Posted by E-i-e-i Ohhhh
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Feb 22, 2011 at 5:57 pm

The staff writer of this news report threw oil on a burning fire with his irresponsible choice of words. "It's often the result of advocacy for immigrants who can't get licenses" is a prime example. It is illegal immigrants, not legal immigrants, who are the subject of community advocacy. The phrase "immigrants who can't get licenses" is going to be read by many as "illegal immigrants". And though that may be close, it could have and should have been stated more accurately.

By failing to identify the illegal aliens properly, the writer confuses the situation.

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Posted by Andrea Gemmet
Mountain View Voice Editor
on Feb 22, 2011 at 6:13 pm

Andrea Gemmet is a registered user.

@Punnisher: No one on our end removed your post or re-posted it after your call, so I'm not sure what the problem was. As I said on the phone, posts that comply with our guidelines aren't tampered with. Posts that don't comply are subject to editing or removal.

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Posted by Reconquista Flora
a resident of Rex Manor
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:38 pm

If you are here illegally, you should not be harassed. Big Capital loves cheap Labor. Government should be on the side of Capital. This is, after all, America.

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Posted by the_punnisher
a resident of Whisman Station
on Feb 22, 2011 at 7:52 pm

the_punnisher is a registered user.

Sorry, but the facts I described was how things were. Furthermore, many of my only contrary ( but proven with facts ) positions get removed.

As one of the admins of a fairly well known troll site, I have an idea what happened; we have to do it all the time for " the big four " because it is based in the US..

This brings up another hot-button issue: the " Town Square " problem.

As long as your staff deletes ( often without adding a WHY the post disappeared ) positions based on facts, are you truly offering a " Town Square " are are you becoming the equivalent of a " house organ " for the MVPD and people of their ilk. Say, the El Camino Hospital execs and the unions...

That is the elephant in the bathtub here at the " Voice ".


Back on topic:

Look at the big picture and ask:

Who pays the bills?

The licensed, insured and registered driver...

or the unlicensed, uninsured, unregistered driver?

This same question is being as in another fashion on a State and Federal level:


The bill is coming due and our credit cards are maxed out at ALL levels of Government.

The setup I described earlier worked pretty much as stated. I was there, I saw it happen. That is fact.

Much like my other comments that have been deleted. ECH, Santa Clara Social Services, Rota-Care. I was there. I REPORTED what I saw. The comments disappeared. OFTEN.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Castro City
on Feb 23, 2011 at 8:44 am

I know many illegal immigrants who drive here in Mountain View. I tell them all that it is not a smart choice. Regardless, two of them I know have been pulled over by the police in the last several years. Each of them (both from Mexico) called me and asked me to drive their vehicle home, a few blocks, which I did, and then they proceeded to continue to drive the same vehicles the next day. I drove them for them only because I wanted to see them not lose the value of the car. I told them to sell it for what they can and start using public transportation. Regardless of my advice, both continue to drive without a license. One of them, a female, has been in two accidents. The other, a male, does like to drink. And that worries me. Both do work. Both have kids in MV schools where they are doing very poorly. Both have false identities with bogus SSNs and make use of free medical care mostly at the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center. I think the problem is that they've both learned that one can easily get away with breaking laws here, breaking leases and other contracts, not paying bills, but rather changing address and identities and that nothing will become of it because after all they are illegal anyway. In the end I still believe them to be kind and decent people but the State has set a loose standard the meaning of such terms as laws, citizenship and public responsibility that they've grown accustomed to living this way. Meanwhile, I do agree that those of us here legally and citizens are indeed carrying their weight.

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Posted by lindaloo
a resident of The Crossings
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:54 am

I heartily agree and endorse this new policy; it hits very close to home. Please allow me to relate my experience of the summer of 2009.

One lovely summer afternoon I was driving home and was stopped by one of Mountain View's finest near the intersection of San Antonio and California street. I was baffled; couldn't imagine what I might have done. Apparently, I had rolled through a stop sign earlier. OK, fine. The cop was preparing the to write the citation when he took a look at my license which had, unbeknownst to me, expired a few months earlier on my birthday. This came as a shock and surprise to me; I had no idea - and had not received a renewel notification.

At that point, the officer returned to his car, called for back-up, instructed me to get out of my car and unload my belongings, as my car would be towed.

Suddenly, I felt and was treated like a criminal. I was a 54 year old woman, had never been arrested, had a clean DMV record. My registration was up to date and I had insurance.

Anyway, I was left standing in the street, a mile or two from my home, surrounded by my belongings and bags of groceries I had just purchased. Luckily I had my cell and could arrange for a cab to take a cab home, my first expense of $25.

The very next day, I took another cab ($50), to the Redwood City DMV and got my licensed renewed.

However, this was just the beginning of a very expensive and humiliating process. There were towing charges, storing charges and a visit to the tow yard, fines and a visit to the MVPD and, oh yes, a full day in traffic school. All told, I was a good $800 poorer and very inconvenienced. This, because I moved to Mountain View from Stanford a few years before, the license renewal wasn't forwarded and I didn't know my license had expired on my previous birthday (how often does one look at one's own license?).

I was left scratching my head and wondering. Do they really have nothing better to do and are they really that desperate for $$ to shake down middle aged citizens who are law-abiding.

I am delighted that this is happening and I hope it will help others who might be in a similar situation as I was.

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Posted by ann
a resident of another community
on Feb 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

two years ago i was sitting at a stop lite on shoreline...and a reckless driver...hit me and another car....the two of us that got hit....showed our license and insurance to the mt. view police officers..the guy who hit us...had no current proof of insurance...and the mt. view police let him drive the badly damaged car was dragging a front fender on the ground and the frame was hitting the right front tire...sparks were flying as he drove off....i asked the officer....why are you letting him drive that car away...he said ...he only lives a few blocks from here...the officer would not show us the man's paperwork....said we could get a copy later...the officer was clearly protecting the the mt. view police have been implementing this policy for quite awhile now.....IT IS WRONG...and as a law abiding citizen i am fed view is turning into mexico view...and as to reconquista flora above.....there is no such thing as cheap labor....we are all paying dearly for your so called cheap labor....

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Posted by Old Ben
a resident of Shoreline West
on Feb 25, 2011 at 11:09 am

American citizens should stop carrying their documents and insist on equal treatment under the law.

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Posted by Sly
a resident of Shoreline West
on Mar 1, 2011 at 10:15 pm

Wait till a unlicense driver gets into a accident with NO insurance, injures someone. Then maybe and only then will the city of MTN view wake up, as far as the tow fees, maybe you shouldn't be breaking the law & then you won't have to worry about it. Oh hey I think I WON'T re new my license next year and save me some money. MTN view WAKE UP!!!

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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