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  Vorderbrueggen - "NO One Delivers Constituent Service Quite Like Richmond Vice Mayor Tom Butt
July 24, 2011

Richmond official spars with tow truck

By Lisa Vorderbrueggen
Friday, July 22nd, 2011 at 1:18 pm
Tom Butt
Tom Butt
N0 one delivers constituent service quite like Richmond Vice Mayor Tom Butt.
Check out Contra Costa Times reporter Karl Fischer’s story about how Butt stood between a tow truck and a resident’s soon-to-be-towed vehicle, then later spurred changes in city policy and may send the tow company on the first train out of town.
Here’s the top few paragraphs of the story:
Farmers markets rarely generate much in the way of police calls, but Richmond dispatchers know to take nothing for granted.
“I’ve got an emergency here in Point Richmond,” the caller reported. “This is Tom Butt. I’m the vice mayor of Richmond.”
Butt phoned while stopping a tow truck with his body last week at the Point Richmond Farmers’ Market. A police cadet would not cut loose an illegally parked car, though its owner beat the tow.
Now Butt wants justice, and possibly heads.
“Look, this is not about me. The victim here is the woman whose car was towed away,” Butt said this week, “because of a confluence of bad policy and rude behavior.”
Butt, who writes a widely read electronic newsletter, published more than 100 compliments received from subscribers after he chronicled the July 13 encounter. He also prompted policy change: Police will now let the car go if the driver beats the tow, Chief Chris Magnus said.
“I am fine with changing the practice, but we have to be fair to the tow operators as well,” Magnus said. “Everyone has their own ideas about what makes sense and what is fair.”
The incident had another outcome: Future city contracts will require sensitivity training for all tow truck drivers, both Butt and Magnus confirmed. Really.
Butt also hopes to ban the tow company from future city work. He will bring the request to City Council next week.
Click through to read Butt’s full forum posting.
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