This isn't really for anything else but public record.
It's important that it is recorded. If for nothing else, the searchable text that will insure the proper dissemination of information. You'll see in a moment.
Last Wedensday was a busy day for us. With 4 HeliOS Project installs and a HeliOS Solutions appointment, my day started at 6 am. A boh reader and Linux guy named Jason had asked us to go out to Elgin Texas and install Linux on his mom's computer so HeliOS Solutions was happy to oblige. Fact is, due to circumstance, she was eligible for a new compter from The HeliOS Project so what turned out to be an install morphed into a very good day for this fine lady.
She got a great deal for a C-note I would say. Heck, it's a pretty good deal for anyone I would think.
Arriving at North Bluff Estates in South Austin, we found that two of our installs were across the street from each other. One location to unload the Rodeo for 2 installs was a good thing. We knocked on the door of the first install, introduced ourselves and unloaded their computer and got to work. About 20 minutes into the install I realized I needed a VGA to DVI adapter and stepped out to my car to get it.
Or where my car HAD been. Holy crap on a cracker, someone had stolen our vehicle.
I should have been so lucky.
It seems that the North Bluff Estates property management company has a policy that prohibits cars parking on the grass. That seems reasonable. Grass is hard enough to keep alive in the Texas heat without having to battle leaking motor oil and various toxic fluids that drip from older cars. In this neighborhood, that's about all there is. When I imagine someone parking "on the grass", I picture an entire car sitting squarely amongst the greenery, touching nary a bit of road surface.
Personally, I don't consider this "parking on the grass".
Fact is, rule or not; there is nothing posted at the entrance of the mobile home park about this rule, nor is there any such warning posted throughout the entire neighborhood about one's vehicle being towed away for said infringement. As well, if you are in an area that allows for towing off of personal property, you are required to have signs posted telling you where you can pick your car up.
Seems that less than six inches of tire sitting on a grass surface here is enough to get you towed to the automotive hoosegow.
See, I owned two towing companies here in Austin in the early 90's. Doing a quick check with the city of Austin, I discovered the rules of vehicle impounding have not changed. Again, you must post warnings of tow-able offenses and you must post signs in reasonable places telling you where to go to pay the ransom and pick up your recently-kidnapped car. This being "private property" may let them off the hook for this particular requirement...in fact, In thinking about it, I'm now second guessing my own knowledge here. Regardless, it's still sleazy.
They are seriously out of city ordinance compliance in other areas anyway. This is a matter I will personally bring up to the licensing board in the morning. In talking with a few of the older residents of North Bluff Estates, I found out that this place is bought and sold more than a US Congressman's vote and every time someone new buys it, they jack the rent up as far as the law allows. Because the population of this neighborhood is largely Hispanic, no one complains much about anything...many are not in a hurry to explain to law enforcement about their current citizenship status. Good hard-working people these folks are. We've done a lot of work in here in the past. I don't give a damn what language they speak.
What we have here is obviously a true and compassionate landlord.
So we had little choice. I spent most of the day borrowing the 200 bucks, trying to get the vehicle released. I made them stand there while I inventoried the contents of the vehicle. I wasn't in too much of a hurry to get it done. They couldn't care even less that we can't do installs for a week...we'll have to pay our debt before we do anything else. Once we do that, then we'll get back on course.
Making them witness me inventorying the contents of my vehicle wasn't much solace.
You ever seen the inside of my vehicle?
To equate it to a poorly kept computer parts facility would be kind.
A computer junkyard on wheels is probably more apt. I can almost see a dozen heads shaking in unison right now..the poor souls who have had to ride amongst the carnage within my car.
So anyway...all of this being said, the fine folks at North Bluff Estates couldn't care less about any of this. Here's where they should. We HAD 41 kids here scheduled to receive HeliOS Project computers during the last half of 2009.
They won't be receiving them from us.
I can't afford any more arbitrary impounds of our vehicle so some tow truck driver can make a quick 20 bucks. What's the next reason for impound? Bad paint job? mismatched tires? We've started making the calls and letter-mailings today, informing the un-chosen why they are un-chosen and our deepest regrets.
The people at North Bluff Estates simply do not care. Having been in the business, I would be interested to see the name of the person who signed the contract with the towing company...I mean just to see. I would never even come close to suggesting anything as unscrupulous as a kickback arrangement back to the management or anything.
The point of the matter is that they truly don't care.
They made it a point to say as much.
EDIT - We have made arrangements to do the installs in this neighborhood. A few of the suggestions in the comments have been accepted and acted upon. Thanks for the ideas...your instincts were correct, there are "residents" that will not allow our vehicles to be towed again.
Thursday, June 04, 2009
blather and mumbling provided by Ken Starks at 12:23 PM