Endlessly spawning pot shops and freewheeling food trucks are getting company this week as the city attempts to crack down on upstart valet parking companies. Valid valets, along with restaurant and nightclub owners, are complaining that unregistered car-parkers cut into profits, reports L.A. Business Journal. Furthermore, the upstarts are accused of such illegal trickery as ripping up traffic tickets, price gouging, and using parking spaces in emerging and re-emerging hospitality zones without paying the city proper taxes. The finger-pointing now has The City Council considering ordinances that would force all valet companies to register with the city and apply for permits or else face closure and fines.
While we certainly hope that whoever has been passed the keys to our Gremlin has been screened or insured, there is another side to the issue, though upstart valets are afraid to go on the record and argue that the established companies are seeking to destroy fair competition. Adrian Moore, VP of the think-tank Reason Foundation, feels the proposals limit the improvised parkers from offering free-market alternatives. “It’s much easier to get to regulate the competition than to beat the competition,” Moore states. “They’re trying to create regulations that would benefit themselves.”
The city, on the other hand, argues that up to one-million dollars in tax revenues are being lost to unregistered companies and that without registering, patrons risk giving their cars to uninsured, unlicensed hires. Councilman Eric Garcetti tells the LABJ that, “We want to make sure that people who are playing by the rules aren’t at a disadvantage.”
What do you think? Should unregistered upstarts be allowed to compete for parking spaces and night-owl dollars? Are restaurant owners eliminating fair competition and fair pricing from L.A. nightlife? Have you ever had a disaster with a valet company, unregistered or not? We await your thoughts in the comments?
L.A. Puts Valets In the Hot Seat [Los Angeles Business Journal]