Expansion of Vehicle Impound Law on Denver Ballot

I didn't realize Denver was having an election this November until I got my ballot in the mail. I almost didn't open it, but now I'm glad I did. The only item on the ballot is an initiative mandating police seize your vehicle if you are stopped and don't have a valid driver's license.

Aimed at undocmented residents (referred to as illegal aliens in the initiative), it has a far greater reach. Here's the text on Initiative 300.

What if you left your wallet at home? Unless you have have "convincing corrorborating identification," proof of insurance and a valid driver's license of record, your car will be impounded. If you have these things with you, you will get a summons and have ten days to bring your license to court. If you miss the ten days, your vehicle will be ordered impounded.

What if your license is expired? It gets impounded and you have 20 days to get it renewed. If your vehicle is impounded, you will have 30 days to post a $2,500. bond (and pay a $200.00 impound fee) to get it released. The city keeps the bond for a year, and if an unlicensed driver is found to operate your car, you lose the car and the bond.

Whose idea was this? Some guy named Daniel Hayes, who opposes undocumented residents and doesn't even live in Denver.

The Denver City Council has passed a resolution urging voters to reject it. For one thing, it will cost $1.6 million a year to enforce. Even the Mayor, police chiefs and county sheriffs oppose it. If you live in Denver, you need to vote. Vote No on Initiative 300.

Ethics Watch has followed Hayes' failed attempts to get the initiative on the ballot in Aurora and Lakewood. He spends thousands of dollars getting people to gather signatures.

It only took 3,472 signatures to make the Denver ballot. (Ruling here.)

A phone bank effort to defeat the initiative is underway. Given the probable low turnout for this election, it's important to get the word out.

On a related note, props to Rep. Jared Polis for opposing federal measure 287(g), granting broad immigration enforcement powers to local law enforcement agencies.

287(g) scares victims and witnesses of crimes to avoid contacting police for fear of being mistreated. 287(g) invites exploitation by those who know that they won’t be reported to police, because it combines the contradictory duties into the same police force.

What is the result? A sweep of terror that has frightened legal and undocumented immigrants into hiding, undermining both law enforcement efforts across our country. 287(g) programs undermine the spirit and text of the U.S. Constitution, and I encourage Congress to repeal 287 (g).

Final note on Denver's ballot initiatives: We sure have some nutty people here. Check out this intiative to create an Extraterritorial Affairs Commission to increase awareness of potential encounters with Extraterritorial Intelligent Beings and their vehicles, and to fund it with grants, gifts and donations. From the Denver Election Commission site:

Completed petitions for the extraterrestrial affairs initiative were turned in to the Denver Elections Division September 4, 2009. The Division completed signature verification on September 29, 2009, and deemed the petition insufficient. Proponents have until November 2, 2009 to cure the insufficiency by turning in additional valid signatures.

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    the cops already have discretion (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:33:37 PM EST
    to impound the car. This makes it mandatory. Read why the police chiefs and sheriffs oppose it, links above.

    Extraterritorial Rudeness? (5.00 / 2) (#18)
    by Bakunin on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 08:21:59 PM EST
    If all these ballot questions pass, the Extraterritorial Affairs Commission will not be happy to learn that visitors from other planets will immediately have their vehicles impounded for lack of driver's licenses - this is no way to treat our visitors from other galaxies! Is it too late to amend the impoundment rule to get around this problem?

    very funny comment (none / 0) (#21)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:54:47 AM EST
    I tried to come up with a connection between the two initiatives and didn't. Your's was very good.

    The initiative is very questionable (none / 0) (#1)
    by eric on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 04:57:53 PM EST
    because it is summarily imposing a penalty.  I am sure that police there like anywhere DO impound plenty of cars when they find an unlicensed driver.  If you have a friend with you that is licensed, or can get a friend over to get the car quickly, they will let the friend take the car.

    However, this proposal seems to go beyond the question of "what do you do with a stopped car and no one to drived it", which is the normal reason for the tow.  This is clearly meant to be a penalty.

    And its one helluva penalty... (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by kdog on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:05:19 PM EST
    holding your mode of transport hostage because you don't have a little card...only a tyrant could get down with something like that...good lord do some people hate freedom.

    If a cop finds a gun on you, (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:12:34 PM EST
    and you have no gun license, can the cop impound your gun?

    A (born in the USA white) guy I know owns a truck big enough to carry his 40' boat. He was recently stopped by the CHP to check his license, and, sure enough, he didn't have the right one. His truck and boat went straight to the impound, no 10 day grace period.

    If you don't have a license, how can a cop reasonably allow you to drive?


    It is more than a " little card" (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by nyjets on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:38:01 PM EST
    The card proves that you are allowed to drive a card. It is more than a little card. Without the card, you are not allowed to drive a car. It has nothing to do with hating freedom.

    And some people have their (5.00 / 2) (#7)
    by nycstray on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:24:13 PM EST
    "little card" taken away for a reason like, oh, habitually driving drunk etc.

    And their cars impounded too. (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by Fabian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:28:28 PM EST
    Petty tyranny everywhere you look!  </s>

    Tell me about it... (none / 0) (#22)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 08:40:40 AM EST
    it's an epidemic of tyranny!

    I figured that would rile you guys up...I'll never see eye to eye with y'all on the driving stuff.


    I'm not a huge fan (none / 0) (#23)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 12:27:08 PM EST
    of the automobile.  

    Jeralyn really cracked me up with that "His parents need to buy him a car." when she found out a new local blogger rode a bike.  Jeralyn is sweet, but she has some serious tunnel vision when it comes to transportation.  I've walked, ridden a bicycle even on the side of 55 mph roads, taken the bus, the subway, the train, even flown a few times.  (If you talk to certain folks, they'll tell you cars are the problem, not the solution.  Wild eyed radicals.)


    I've got no love for the blasted things... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:02:10 PM EST
    either Fabian, when I need a carton of milk I much rather walk around the corner or rock the old skateboard...but I find the public transport 'round here is too lacking to go without a whip, and the lacking public transport would end up about costing about the same believe it or not...the LIRR is a big rip-off, only to be used when I know I'm gonna get stewed:)

    I see a proposed law like this and all I can see are the hassles good people will have to go through to get their expensive property back, property their livelyhoods likely depend on, if their licence isn't in good standing, or they don't have one for whatever reason...not everybody without a good standing license is a chronic drunk-driver after all.

    And for what purpose exactly?  The illusion of orderly roadways? I really don't know.  It's a proposed "cure" without a disease to be found that I can see.


    It is the responsibility of the driver (none / 0) (#25)
    by nyjets on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 01:57:33 PM EST
    It is the responsibility of the driver to make sure
    that their license is in order. For that matter, it is there responsibility to have a license in order to drive a car. If there is a problem with their license, or they choose to drive without a license, any problems that person runs into is that persons own fault.

    Doesn't answer my question nyj... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:22:56 PM EST
    what good is seizing more cars gonna do?  If the city needs more revenue, which is what this kinda stuff is often really about, be honest about it and raise taxes...don't impound cars, thats Sherriff of Nautingham sh*t.

    If its about hassling the paperless, they've got enough hassles, trust me.


    what good is seizing more cars gonna do? (5.00 / 1) (#27)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:27:58 PM EST
    Makes it a lot less likely that unlicensed drivers will be driving because they won't have cars?

    Exactly (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by nyjets on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:30:25 PM EST
    That is exactly correct. If you do not have a license, you should not be driving a car.

    Well... (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:51:09 PM EST
    not having a crown doesn't stop the authorities from acting like tyrants.

    For what... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:50:03 PM EST
    1-2 days till the tyrannized get the scratch together to get it out of impound?  Wow...I feel so much safer already, unless of course I get pulled over and don't have my wallet.

    Can't get it out of impound w/o a licence. (none / 0) (#33)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:51:29 PM EST
    Thanks.... (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:54:04 PM EST
    did not know that...this is worse than I thought...the fine for driving without a license will be anywhere from 5 hundo to 50k in Colorado if this cr*p passes...lovely.

    Actually, I'm unclear (none / 0) (#37)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:06:05 PM EST
    as to whether or not the unlicensed can get their cars out of the impound yard, however, the Denver PD estimates the initiative would cost the city 1.6 million a year in towing and lot fees and they don't see the 'revenues' from the initiative to be nearly as much, which seems to be one of the reasons they don't support the initiative...

    I'm really confused now... (none / 0) (#38)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:18:08 PM EST
    how could Denver lose money?...link.

    Tow fee, storage fee, and they auction it off if no one claims it...sounds like a revenue generator to me unless somebody is skimming.  

    And you only need ID and proof of ownership to get your property back, not a license, but I assume you'd need a licensed driver with ya if you don't or they'll just impound it again as you drive away.


    The city council's against it (none / 0) (#39)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:26:29 PM EST
    doesn't sound like it's a money-maker in their view.

    Good to be a tow-truck... (none / 0) (#40)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 03:32:20 PM EST
    driver in Denver I guess...do they make 100 bucks an hour?

    If nothing else this proposal might open up the city impound's books to figure out where all the money goes:)


    revenue (none / 0) (#29)
    by jondee on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:35:28 PM EST
    and endless oppurtunity to do some zero tolerance - wedge-issue-flogging grandstanding fer the folks at home.

    It's a two-fer!


    Revenue from what? (none / 0) (#31)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:50:38 PM EST
    Impound fees... (none / 0) (#34)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:52:01 PM EST
    they aren't gonna keep the cars, thank god, just hold them for ransom.

    The cars are impounded because the (none / 0) (#36)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 02:55:35 PM EST
    owner has no license. They can't get the cars out of impound w/o a license either. iow, little to no impound fee revenue collected. (Of which a big chunk goes to the owner of the impound lot and the owner of the towing company.)

    And I just found out I (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:52:37 PM EST
    need a library card to take the books home.  Tyrants!

    Remember (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by jbindc on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:57:59 PM EST
    You don't have a right to drive - it is a privilege our society bestows upon people who meet certain threshhold criteria.

    Striking directly (none / 0) (#4)
    by Fabian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 05:14:57 PM EST
    at the heart of our compulsively autophilic society.

    The next target will be cell phones - the thing people love almost as much as their cars.  

    A friend who is doing the 3-day walk (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 06:30:14 PM EST
    for breast cancer research Komen foundation just told me the walkers are forbidden from listening to music or radio or talking on cell phone while walking.  Penalty:  picked up on the course and no more walking.  Are the donations refunded?  No.  

    Really? (none / 0) (#11)
    by Fabian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:25:37 PM EST
    While I am not one to walk or ride wrapped up in my own little world, I do understand having something to listen to while walking.

    The phones I could do without.  When they figure out technology that keeps others from hearing the yakkers, then they can have them.  

    Kindergarten son went a half an hour pitching a fit because he couldn't have Mommy's camera (the kids have a Vtech to mess with) while we were walking in the metropark.  Three women passed us, phones to ears and each time I wanted I felt absolutely no shame if his noise inconvenienced them in any way.  Sooooo not my problem.


    She sd. it was for safety reasons. One thiing (none / 0) (#13)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:36:52 PM EST
    I learned--could never do that walk.  Too many rules.

    One thing I noticed (5.00 / 1) (#14)
    by Fabian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:47:25 PM EST
    while driving during rush hour today is that there is a lot of honking to alert people that the light is green - dammit!

    Cell phone use to blame?


    Texting--reading or sending. (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:50:15 PM EST
    Can we impound their cars? (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Fabian on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 07:59:25 PM EST
    Since they aren't using them - give them to a loving home kind of thing?

    My daughter did that a few years ago (none / 0) (#19)
    by Inspector Gadget on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 09:46:20 PM EST
    She ended up with severe injuries to her feet that required months of physical therapy. Her boss walked with her. She ended up with stress fracture to the shin bone. I have no idea why SGK can't make it a 6 mile hike...I would have donated the same amount of money.

    Pretty grueling, according to friends (none / 0) (#20)
    by oculus on Wed Oct 21, 2009 at 10:21:54 PM EST
    who have participated.  I also learned today if a person doesn't meet the minimum fundraising goal ($2500 I think) they are not permitted to walk.  But 3-day keeps the money donated.

    So a clerical error (none / 0) (#41)
    by AX10 on Thu Oct 22, 2009 at 09:06:54 PM EST
    could end up with a licensed driver losing their car.

    The  initiative law making process is a disaster.  Just look at California.