Chapter 10.52


10.52.010    Definitions.

10.52.020    Franchise required.

10.52.030    Franchise fee required.

10.52.040    Revocation and suspension of franchise.

10.52.050    Records/reporting requirements.

10.52.060    Uniforms/identification.

10.52.070    Business license required/decal to be displayed.

10.52.080    Administrative fees.

10.52.090    Prohibition against gifts.

10.52.100    Violations – Misdemeanors.

10.52.010 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply, unless it is apparent from the context that another meaning is intended.

“Chief” shall mean the chief of police or his designee.

“Franchise” shall mean the right and privilege to perform towing services for the city of Gardena.

“Franchisee” shall mean the person or persons granted a franchise to perform towing services for the city.

“Operator” shall mean any person providing towing services within the city.

“Person” shall mean an individual, corporation, joint venture, partnership, or any other entity or enterprise.

“Towing services” shall include the towing, storage and impound of vehicles, as well as ancillary services such as jump-starts, lock-outs, and tire changes. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)

10.52.020 Franchise required.

A. No person shall perform towing services for the city unless such person has obtained a franchise from the city of Gardena, except as specified in this chapter.

B. The city council may award one or more franchises for towing services on such terms and conditions as the city council may establish in its sole discretion. If more than one franchise is awarded, services shall rotate among the various franchisees on an equal basis, to be established by the franchise agreement.

C. A franchise shall not be required for:

1. Operators performing towing services for other than the city of Gardena;

2. Operators performing towing services at the direction of the city when no franchisee is available or able to perform such services or cannot provide such services in a timely manner; or

3. An officer or employee of the city in the course of official duty.

D. A franchisee shall not transfer, sell, sublet or assign the franchise, nor shall any of the rights or privileges therein be leased, assigned, sold in whole or in part, nor shall title thereto, either legal or equitable, or any right, interest or property therein, pass to or vest in any person, either by act of franchisee or otherwise, unless written authorization for such transfer, sale, subletting or assignment is obtained from the city council. For purposes of this section, an acquisition by any person, group, partnership or other entity of at least ten percent of the operator shall be considered a sale, transfer or assignment. Any such transfer, sale, sublease or assignment shall immediately void the franchise agreement. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)

10.52.030 Franchise fee required.

Each franchisee shall be required to pay a franchise fee to the city. Such fee shall be in an amount set forth in the franchise agreement. Payments shall be made according to the schedule set forth in the franchise agreement. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997; Ord. 1611 § 1, 2001)

10.52.040 Revocation and suspension of franchise.

A. Should the chief determine that there is sufficient reason to authorize the suspension or revocation of a franchise, the chief shall issue a written order to the franchisee clearly stating the reasons for such suspension or revocation. Nonpayment of any franchise fee in full, with applicable late charges, within thirty days of its due date, shall be considered sufficient to suspend or revoke the franchise.

1. Unless the franchise supplies proof of correction to the chief within the time specified in the written order, the franchise may be revoked or suspended upon the date specified in the order.

2. The franchisee shall have the right to appeal the decision of the chief to the city council by means of a written request made within ten calendar days of the date of the order. The appeal shall be accompanied by an appeal fee. Failure to make a timely appeal shall render the chief’s decision final and conclusive. The filing of an appeal stays the order of the chief, unless subsection B of this section applies.

3. Upon receipt of a timely filed appeal, the city clerk shall schedule a hearing date which is no less than seven calendar and no more than thirty calendar days from the date of the appeal. The city clerk shall give not less than five calendar days written notice to franchisee and any other person requesting notification, of the time and place of such hearing.

4. At the hearing, the city council shall review the records and files of the chief relating to the decision. In addition, the city council shall permit any interested person, including the chief and the franchisee, to present any relevant evidence bearing on the issues involved in the suspension or revocation. In conducting the hearing, the city council shall observe the substance of the rules of evidence applicable in judicial proceedings in this state. However, the city council shall accept in evidence all reasonably reliable evidentiary material.

5. Based upon the evidence presented at the hearing, the city council shall determine whether the decision of the chief should be affirmed, modified or reversed.

6. The decision of the city council shall be communicated in writing to the franchisee and any other person requesting notification of the hearing within five working days after the decision is rendered and shall state the reasons for the decision. The determination of the city council shall be final and conclusive. The written decision shall set forth that an action may be filed with the superior court of the state pursuant to Section 1094.5 of the Code of Civil Procedure within ninety days following the city council’s notice pursuant to Code of Civil Procedure Section 1094.6.

B. Nothing herein shall be deemed to prohibit the city from immediately suspending or terminating the franchise when conduct is deemed, at the discretion of the chief, to be a danger to the motoring public or to constitute a gross violation of the franchise agreement.

C. All notices and orders required by this section shall be in writing and shall be either personally served or sent by certified or registered mail. (Ord. 1553 § 1, 1998; Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)

10.52.050 Records/reporting requirements.

A. Each franchisee shall maintain all records relating to providing towing services for the city, for a period of at least three (3) years, including, but not limited to:

1. Vehicle impound report (CHP 180), made available by the city of Gardena;

2. Copies of registered letters to vehicle owners;

3. Charge sheets which list tow, labor and storage rate charges against each individual vehicle, and administrative fees collected on behalf of the city. Charge sheets must contain the vehicle owner’s or owner’s legal representative’s signature, be of a design approved by the Gardena Police Department and be available for periodic data collection;

4. Inventory list of personal property in vehicle impounded and stored;

5. Records of vehicles sold under authority of Civil Code Section 3074; and

6. Records of vehicles sold under authority of Civil Code Section 3072.

B. Each franchisee shall provide reports to the chief on or before the 5th calendar day of each month for the previous month’s activities. The reports shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

1. Total number of calls;

2. Location of calls;

3. Total number of vehicles impounded or stored;

4. License number, make and model of vehicle;

5. Date of release;

6. Person or firm to whom released;

7. Charges imposed and proceeds received; and

8. Total number of vehicles disposed of via lien sale from any car impounded or stored by authority of the city of Gardena to include total price and net price the franchisee receives for each vehicle disposed of by lien sale.

C. All required reports and records shall be furnished at the sole expense of the franchisee. Franchisee shall submit all reports and information required on computer disks, or by modem, in a former compatible with city’s computers, at no additional charge, if requested by city.

D. All reports provided pursuant to this chapter, or by a franchise agreement, shall be signed under penalty of perjury, by a responsible official of the franchisee that the report is true and correct.

E. All monthly reports shall be accompanied by the franchise fee payment amount established by the franchise agreement.

F. Failure to submit the monthly reports or franchise fee as specified herein shall be grounds for termination of the franchise agreement. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997; Ord. 1611 § 2, 2001)

10.52.060 Uniforms/identification.

All tow truck drivers of a franchisee must wear a distinctive uniform identifying franchisee by inscription on the uniform; the inscription shall include individual name identification of the tow truck operator. Additionally, each tow truck operator shall at all times while acting within the scope of his employment have in his possession an identification badge in a form prescribed by the chief. Such badge shall bear the name, identification number and photograph of the employee. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)

10.52.070 Business license required/decal to be displayed.

Each operator must obtain and maintain a current city business license and must display a current city-issued decal on each vehicle used in towing services operations. However, no business license fee shall be required to be paid by a franchisee in obtaining a business license. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)

10.52.080 Administrative fees.

Each registered owner or his agent whose car is impounded or stored by the city of Gardena shall pay an administrative fee in an amount determined by resolution of the city council, in addition to any service fees imposed by the operator. No vehicle shall be released without a valid release form from the city. Fees shall be collected by the Towing Franchisee as agent for the city.

A. The administrative fee shall only be imposed on the registered owner or the agents of that owner in accordance with Vehicle Code section 22850.5.

B. No administrative fees shall be charged for vehicles which have been stolen and recovered by the Gardena Police Department and stored solely for such reason.

C. No administrative fee shall be charged on a vehicle which was improperly impounded or stored. (Ord. 1611 § 3, 2001; Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)

10.52.090 Prohibition against gifts.

No franchisee shall give to an employee of the city, and no employee of the city shall receive from a franchisee, any gift or any item of value, including the performance of services or the provision of products, vehicles or parts at a rate not available to the public at large. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)

10.52.100 Violations – Misdemeanors.

Violation of any provision of this chapter constitutes a misdemeanor. Each day for which a violation exists shall constitute a separate violation for purposes of enforcement. (Ord. 1518 § 1 (part), 1997)