A New Lawsuit Says Wilmington Is Running an Unconstitutional Towing and Impound Racket – Reason.com

A new lawsuit accuses the city government of Wilmington, Delaware, of running an unconstitutional towing and impound program that strips owners of their vehicles over petty ticket debts. 

The Institute for Justice (IJ), a libertarian-leaning public interest law firm, filed the lawsuit Wednesday on behalf of two Wilmington residents who say their vehicles were towed over improperly issued tickets and then scrapped after they couldn’t afford to pay off the accumulating fines and storage fees within 30 days.

The suit alleges that Wilmington allows two private towing companies it contracts with to wrongfully take and sell residents’ cars without providing proper pre- or post-seizure hearings, violating owners’ Fourth Amendment and due process rights. And because the value of the cars often far exceeds the owners’ debts, IJ argues the practice also violates the Eighth Amendment’s protections against excessive fees and fines.

“When they took my vehicle, it hindered me from being able to get around. I have a bad back. I can’t do a lot of walking,” Ameera Shaheed, one of the plaintiffs in the suit, said in a press release. “I needed that vehicle. It was my pride and joy.”

According to the suit, Shaheed’s car was ticketed six times while it was parked in a legal space outside of her home. While Shaheed was appealing the tickets, her car was towed and impounded. Because Shaheed, a grandmother of three who lives on a fixed income, could not afford to pay the $320 that the towing company was demanding for the release of her car, it remained impounded for more than 30 days, after which it was sold for scrap.

Although Shaheed’s car was worth more than $4,000, none of the proceeds from the sale were credited toward Shaheed’s debt. In fact, IJ says her debts have risen to $580.

According to the lawsuit, Wilmington does not pay the two towing companies that it contracts with for impound services and “scofflaw enforcement.” Rather, the companies keep the proceeds of any sales of any vehicles that are forfeited. The two towing companies sold, scrapped, kept, or otherwise disposed of at least 987 out of the 2,551 cars it towed in 2020, IJ says.

Civil liberties groups argue that abusive impound programs strip petty offenders and low-income residents of their transportation, often making it even harder for them to hold down a job and pay off their debts.

“The Constitution requires that any penalty imposed by the government be proportional to the crime. The loss of one’s car for ticket debt is unconstitutional,” IJ attorney Will Aronin said in a press release. “People depend on their cars to work, to visit family, and for all parts of their lives. Nobody should lose their car just because they can’t afford to pay a parking ticket.”

Reason reported in 2018 on Chicago’s uniquely punitive impound program, which soaked owners in thousands of dollars in fines and fees for a litany of low-level offenses and held their cars indefinitely until the fines were paid or they relinquished their cars. There were few to no accommodations for low-income defendants. Even in cases where owners beat criminal charges or were innocent, they were still forced to go through the city’s quasi-judicial administrative hearings court, where low standards of evidence and few procedural protections almost always ensured that defendants ended up in debt and bereft of their cars.

IJ also filed a civil rights lawsuit against Chicago in 2019, alleging that the city’s impound scheme violates the Illinois and U.S. Constitution’s protections against excessive fines and unreasonable seizures, as well as due process protections.

That lawsuit is ongoing, but Chicago passed some reforms to its impound program in 2020, following more investigative reporting by WBEZ and ProPublica Illinois. WBEZ reported that Chicago seized 250,000 cars since 2010, imposing $600 million in debt on owners. The news outlet also discovered that motorists’ debts were sometimes inflated due to a combination of computer and data-entry errors.

Some federal courts have struck down similar impound schemes on constitutional grounds. For example, in 2017 the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Los Angeles’ automatic 30-day impound law amounted to an unconstitutional seizure under the Fourth Amendment.

However, earlier this month The Orange County Register reported that, despite the 9th Circuit’s ruling, law enforcement agencies across California continue to use 30-day impounds for unlicensed drivers.

A spokesperson for the city of Wilmington said the city is reviewing the lawsuit but declined to comment further.

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I got up before you did to tell you I’m running for another term – HotAir

Does an 88-year-old incumbent have what it takes to run for another six-year term in the US Senate? Chuck Grassley got up early to start his run — both on the road and on the campaign trail. The seven-term Republican from Iowa wants to score his eighth term, but more importantly wants to give Mitch McConnell his best chance to take back control of the upper chamber:

Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican in the Senate, announced Friday on Twitter that he would seek an eighth term, relieving Republicans worried about a bitter primary fight that could put the seat at risk.

Mr. Grassley, who turned 88 last week and would be 95 at the end of his term, sought to emphasize his fitness in disclosing his plans that will draw attention because of his age. A tweet showed an alarm clock turning to 4 a.m. and Mr. Grassley jogging in the early morning darkness.

“It’s 4 a.m. in Iowa so I’m running,” said Mr. Grassley, a habitual jogger. “I do that 6 days a week.”

In a separate release, Mr. Grassley, first elected to public office as a state legislator in 1958, said that he has been encouraged to run by Iowans as he toured the state in recent months.

“I’m working as hard as ever for the people of Iowa and there’s more work to do,” he said in a statement. “In a time of crisis and polarization, Iowa needs strong, effective leadership.”

That’s not the main reason Grassley’s back in harness for another campaign. Even with Joe Biden looking decrepit and practically guaranteeing the GOP a big night in the midterms, the Senate math still cuts against Republicans. Having Grassley in the race eliminates a risk for McConnell:

Republicans were hoping not to add another open seat to the list of those they already have to defend. Five Senate Republicans have already announced they will not be running for re-election next year, leaving open seats in Alabama, Missouri, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. The GOP will have to defend 20 seats altogether in the 2022 midterm elections.

In comparison, Democrats have to defend 14, a mismatch that would otherwise suggest that Democrats could take full Senate control. If they did, Chuck Schumer would finally be able to control outcomes on presidential nominations, especially in the judiciary. Grassley’s re-up helps, but it’s still dicey for McConnell:

Georgia and Arizona are going to be difficult for Democrats to defend, and the way things are going, perhaps even Colorado might be tough. The GOP also hopes that they can wrest Nevada away from Democrats and their non-entity incumbent Catherine Cortez-Masto  However, Republicans have a very tough fight coming up in Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin might be a reach too at this point. North Carolina is also nearly evenly split these days. It’s possible that we might end up with a wash, although Biden’s falling popularity is certainly one reason for the GOP to remain hopeful about their prospects for a red wave next fall.

Not having to defend another open seat makes that somewhat easier. Grassley’s doing McConnell a solid by running again and settling the issue in Iowa. If no one else retires out of his caucus, McConnell’s got about as much chance as he’ll ever get to win back the majority — but it’s still less than even-up.

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Liz Cheney’s New Fundraiser Makes You Wonder if She Has Just Stopped Running and Is Only Raking in Cash – RedState

I don’t think it is any great secret that Wyoming Republican Liz Cheney is in a lot of trouble. Much to her surprise, her ridiculous and vindictive vote to impeach President Trump for the January 6 “insurrection,” was met with anger and contempt by her home state voters and, surprisingly, by her home state GOP. I say surprisingly because usually, a state GOP is very hesitant in going after a member of Congress from their own party. In February, the Wyoming GOP formally censured her. In August, two county GOP organizations voted to withdraw their recognition of her as a Republican.

President Trump has endorsed a formidable challenger for Cheney, and that endorsement has reduced the primary field down to three real candidates. This is important because Cheney won her 2016 primary with 38% of the vote, besting the other eight candidates. It is also important because President Trump out-polled Cheney in 2020: 193,559 to 185,732. This indicates that Trump’s endorsement will have a significant impact, particularly when the state party apparatus will not be aiding Cheney.

So, if you were running for reelection and your own state party had disowned you, and there weren’t enough Democrats or Independents available to cross over to save you, what would you do?

Well, if you are Liz Cheney, you head to Texas for a fundraiser headlined by President George W. Bush and some of the people we grew to detest during his time as president: Karl Rove, Karen Hughes, and Harriet Miers. Also on the marquee is former Texas House Speaker Joe Straus, who epitomized the conciliatory, go-along-get-along, bend-over-and-grab-the-ankles brand of conservatism championed by President Bush.

I can’t think of anything less likely to appeal to Wyoming voters than this.

As so often happens, President Trump would be better served if he just kept quiet, but if he did that, he wouldn’t be true to himself.

This is not 2000 or 2004. At least in my view, George Bush is more likely to polarize GOP voters against Cheney than help her. Bush holding a fundraiser for Cheney in-state would have shown some courage, but Cheney going to Texas to raise money probably isn’t going to sell all that well.

I have to admit a bit of puzzlement about what the play is for Cheney — if one assumes that she is serious about running and not just about vacuuming as much cash as possible before her political demise.

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You know who’d be awesome running WHO? – HotAir

If you had “China-backed incumbent who botched a viral outbreak into a historic deadly pandemic,” collect your winnings at the Berlin OTB window. If you bet that Tedros Ghebreyesus would end up unchallenged for a new term at the World Health Organization after the scandals of COVID-19, you might end up owning Berlin.

Oh, wait … China owns Berlin, but we’ll get to that in a moment:

Germany said Wednesday it was nominating World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus for a new term, with diplomatic sources saying he appeared to be the sole candidate.

With Germany’s nomination secured, the 56-year-old former Ethiopian health and foreign minister appeared to be the only person in the race a day before the deadline for submissions on Thursday.

Tedros was elected as the head of WHO in 2017 and became the first African to take the helm of the UN health agency.

This part almost caused a spit-take:

Tedros is relatively popular because of his role in steering the WHO’s efforts to coordinate the tumultuous global pandemic response.

This firmly establishes that “failing upward” is an international phenomenon, nicht wahr? It would be impossible to review or even sum up all of WHO’s failures and cover-ups in the COVID-19 pandemic, but feel free to start with our tags for Tedros and WHO as a start. Under Tedros’ leadership, WHO constantly misled the world on China’s response to the first COVID-19 outbreaks; they passed along false information about its transmission characteristics based on China’s propaganda; and also obstructed any legitimate inquiry into the origins of COVID-19 until it was too late to make any definitive resolution of that question.

All of this and more was to be expected of Tedros, who owed his job to Xi Jinping and has been a reliable toady of Beijing ever since. Germany’s nomination of Tedros to a new term rather than China advancing it directly comes as something of a surprise, though. Why would Germany do Xi’s heavy lifting here?

Perhaps it has something to do with the bottom line. Guess which Western  country has a significant trade surplus with China? Three guesses, and the first two don’t count:

Table 1a shows the imports of goods from China by Member State. The three largest importers from China in the EU were the Netherlands (EUR 91 071 million), Germany (EUR 82 039 million) and France (EUR 35 993 million). Czechia (41.5 %) had the highest share for China in its extra-EU imports.

Table 1b shows the exports of goods to China by Member State. The three largest exporters to China in the EU were Germany (EUR 96 426 million), France (EUR 17 493 million) and the Netherlands (EUR 15 692 million). Germany (16.8 %) had the highest share for China in its extra-EU exports.

The trade in goods balance between the EU Member States and China is shown in Table 1c. It shows that three Member States had a trade surplus with China. The largest surplus was held by Germany (EUR 14 388 million), followed by Ireland (EUR 6 025 million) and Finland (EUR 571 million). There were 24 Member States that had a trade deficit with China. The largest deficit was held by the Netherlands (EUR 75 379 million), followed by Poland (EUR 20 268 million) and Italy (EUR 19 257 million).

That’s a healthy €14 billion-plus per year net for Germany’s economy. It’s possible that Germany wants Tedros to stay at WHO for other reasons, but … what reasons could those be, given the WHO’s performance over the last two years? The key beneficiary is Xi, and the best way to check motives is to follow the money.

Even with that, however, why is Tedros running unopposed? After all, each of the member-states in WHO can nominate a replacement and trigger an actual vote. Doesn’t the Biden administration have anyone else in mind for that job? Where are the other hard-hit nations such as Italy, the UK, or practically anyone else other than China? Returning Tedros to run the WHO only demonstrates what a useless organization it has become, and how weak international organizations truly are in demanding transparency and accountability.

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Democrats Running Scared Ahead of 2022 Elections and With Really Good Reason – RedState

Barring the kind of stupidity that only the national Republican party and its state affiliates are capable of, 2022 is shaping up to be something of a bloodletting for House Democrats.

Structurally, they are in a bad place. They have a 222-213 majority, which means a loss of 5 seats flips control of the House. In addition, seven Democrat seats are held by members who won in districts where Trump was the vote leader. This is important because, in 2020, House candidates generally ran in from of Trump. In fact, before the election, the party breakdown was 232 D to 197 R (plus five vacancies and Justin Amash, or six vacancies, YMMV). So despite being outraised by Democrats, polling showing a voter preference for Democrats, and losing the White House, the GOP managed to make significant gains.

Redistricting has moved seven seats from (mostly) Blue states to Red states. The GOP controls the redistricting in all the states where it gained seats; the losing states mostly have their redistricting under control of a bipartisan commission. (Great references on the process here and here.) This tends to mean that more pain will be inflicted upon Democrats in Red states than upon Republicans in Blue states. It also means that toss-up seats have a chance to be made more secure by changing district boundaries.

Unlike the expansive list of seats the Democrats targeted, they are going after 21 GOP seats this year rather than 39. This is the list; the critical thing to note is that GOP firebrands like Marjorie Taylor Greene are not on the list. It does not scream confidence.

AZ-2 (open)
AZ-6 Schweikert
CA-21 Valadao
CA-25 Garcia
CA-39 Kim
CA-48 Steel
IA-1 Hinson
IA-2 Miller-Meeks
IN-5 Spartz
MO-2 Wagner
NE-2 Bacon
NY-2 Garbarino
NY-22 Tenney
NY-24 Katko
OH-1 Chabot
PA-1 Fitzpatrick
PA-10 Perry
TX-23 Gonzales
TX-24 Van Duyne
UT-4 Owens

House elections don’t occur in a vacuum. Only the most craven partisan or someone writing at The Bulwark or The Dispatch can deny that Joe Biden and gross incompetence will be on the ballot in 2022. There is Afghanistan, the border crisis, gas prices, inflation, and the force-feeding of Critical Race Theory to schools and the federal government. There will be the spin-off issues from the Wuhan “pandemic” of vaccine safety, vaccine mandates, lockdowns, and mask mandates. The kid-glove treatment meted out to the Antifa putzes will be contrasted to people incarcerated for nearly a year for walking into an open Capitol building. We will be talking about Biden’s obvious dementia (see Biden Is Not Going to Like What Americans Have to Say in New Poll on His Mental Stability) and inability to stay awake when meeting with world leaders and his playing footsie with the #BLM thugs and their “defund the police” fellow travelers.

As much as they don’t like it, Biden’s performance is going to be on every House ballot, and this is what that means to Democrat candidates.

Look at the numbers for the Democrat strongholds in Northern Virginia (NoVa), Richmond, Roanoke, and Norfolk. Not very good at all.

This is how fivethirtyeight.com sees it:

In years when the president’s party leads the generic-ballot polling average the September before the midterms, the party underperforms those polls by an average of 9.3 points. And that, in a nutshell, is why Democrats should be concerned about the 2022 elections despite their current lead on the generic ballot. This cycle so far looks a lot like former President Barack Obama’s two midterms (2010 and 2014) did for Democrats in that they lead generic-ballot polls by a few points in the September of the year before the election. But in both those years, Republicans eventually moved ahead in our generic-ballot polling average and won the election handily.

So, if Republicans outperform their early polling to a similar degree as they did in 2010 and 2014, they could win the House popular vote by 5 to 7 percentage points, which would very likely hand them control of the House (and probably the Senate too, since almost everyone votes a straight party-line ticket these days). Of course, though, that’s a big if; there has been a lot of variability in these historical trends, so a wide range of outcomes is still possible. But even if Republicans only improve their standing a little bit — something that is likely to happen, if history is any guide — it would probably still be enough to flip the House, considering that their control of the redistricting process in a plurality of states is likely to reinforce the GOP’s structural advantage in House races. Past trends don’t always hold true, but the smart money, at this point, remains on the president’s party losing control of Congress next year.

The generic ballot is Democrat-friendly, though. Right now, the GOP is down by 2.6 points. In 1994, the GOP was down by 2 points; they were down by 2.9 points in 2010 and 1.9 points in 2014.

Overall, 2022 seems promising for a working majority in the House and Senate for Republicans. Hopefully, enough ill-will has accumulated, and enough deadwood has been forced out in primaries that the new majorities will unleash a tsunami of subpoenas and investigations as a prelude to 2024. On the other hand, whatever majority we give them will be in the hands of Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy…now I feel like having a good cry.

“We have two parties here, and only two. One is the evil party, and the other is the stupid party. … I’m very proud to be a member of the stupid party. … Occasionally, the two parties get together to do something that’s both evil and stupid. That’s called bipartisanship.”
M. Stanton Evans

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It’s Climate Week Again, But the Calendar Is Running Out

It's Climate Week Again, But the Calendar Is Running Out

(AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

It’s Climate Week in New York City, an event that, as it has every autumn since 2009, features a series of speeches, awards, presentations, and protests that coincide roughly with the meeting of the United Nations General Assembly. I’m glad that it’s happening, but, as with the endless annual global climate negotiations (this year’s will be in November, in Glasgow), there’s a danger that we’ll come to think of the climate crisis as a standard piece of our mental furniture and as not what it actually is: a time-bound emergency that must be tackled full on, right now. The city has had Fashion Week since 1943, and the Toy Fair since 1903; but there’s clearly much more work to be done in climate than in couture or Candyland, and not nearly as much time.

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Mike Lindell Running Tests On Alabama’s Voter List — After Meeting With Governor And Secretary Of State

Good news for election integrity.

Mike Lindell recently met with Alabama Governor Kate Ivey and Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill for around 3 and a half hours.

He will now be able to run tests on Alabama’s voting list.

From AL.com:

MyPillow founder and Donald Trump adviser Mike Lindell plans to conduct “tests” on Alabama’s voter rolls after purchasing the list, said Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill, who along with Gov. Kay Ivey met with Lindell on Friday.

TRENDING: BREAKING: Armed Person Detained at J6 Rally is Undercover Agent, Pulls Out Badge (VIDEO)

Lindell, the founder and CEO of MyPillow who is Trump’s main attack dog in the former president’s battle contending the 2020 presidential election was stolen, is going to comb through the list of Alabama voters to determine whether the state has any ineligible people on it, including deceased residents.

Merrill said he doesn’t expect Lindell to find evidence that Alabama’s voter list, which is available for purchase by anyone, is tainted.

“We know we don’t put people on the voter rolls unless they’re qualified to be on the voter rolls,” the secretary of state told AL.com.

John Merrill said that he believes Alabama’s “election administration is the best in the nation.”

***To support Mike Lindell and benefit Gateway Pundit, use promo code TGP at MyPillow.com — and get up to 66% off!***

Merrill touted the meeting on Twitter and said that Lindell was “very impressed” by Alabama’s efforts to have a safe and secure election.

Merill told the Washington Examiner that the meeting with Lindell went very well and that they would welcome Lindell back to talk again.

The Washington Examiner reported:

Merrill told the Washington Examiner on Friday the meeting with Lindell went well and that “we’d welcome him back and talk to him again.”

Trump won Alabama 62%-36.6% over Joe Biden in the 2020 election.

***To support Mike Lindell and benefit Gateway Pundit, use promo code TGP at MyPillow.com — and get up to 66% off!***

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New Jersey electric vehicle program paused after running out of money

A program to dole out roughly $30 million to help New Jersey residents lease or buy an electric vehicle (EV) could run out of funds sooner than expected this year.

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (NJBPU) is pausing its Charge Up Program at 9 p.m. Wednesday. The program provides up to $5,000 to purchase or lease a new EV.

The second year of the initiative launched July 6, and the program has allocated funds to help New Jerseyans buy or lease nearly 9,000 new EVs in less than two years.

“New Jersey’s EV incentive program has been very successful,” NJBPU President Joseph L. Fiordaliso said in an announcement . “There is clearly enthusiasm for electric vehicles so while the program is paused, we are evaluating all options with the hope of reopening before the next fiscal year.”

Officials said they anticipated available funding for the fiscal 2022 iteration of the program would run out Wednesday. Dealers have until Oct. 15 to complete the application process for orders placed by 9 p.m. Wednesday.

It is not immediately clear whether more funding will extend the program before reopening the next fiscal year. Gov. Phil Murphy has established a goal of 330,000 EVs on New Jersey streets by 2025.

The program is funded with $30 million annually by the Plug-In Electric Vehicle Incentive Fund.

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N.H. lawmaker running for Congress calls for 2020 election audit

A Republican lawmaker and congressional candidate wants New Hampshire to conduct an audit of the 2020 presidential election results to check for voter fraud.

State Rep. Tim Baxter, a first-term lawmaker from Seabrook, says he plans to file a bill for consideration in the next legislative session calling for a forensic audit of New Hampshire’s 2020 election results.

“This is a pivotal moment for transparency and the future of the American political process,” Baxter posted on social media. “Only with a full forensic audit can we restore faith in our election process.”

Baxter has set up an online petition gathering signatures in support of his effort.

The conservative lawmaker is among five Republican candidates running for the U.S. House seat held by Democratic Rep. Chris Pappas.

He has criticized Pappas as a “radical Democrat” and chided him in campaign materials for not supporting an audit of the presidential election.

It’s not clear whether the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature will entertain Baxter’s proposal, which couldn’t be taken up until the next session that gets underway in January.

In the 2020 general election, Democrat Joe Biden defeated then-President Donald Trump by 59,277 votes out of more than 803,000 votes cast in the Granite State, according to the results certified by Republican Gov. Chris Sununu and other state officials.

There were no reports of widespread voter fraud.

The Trump campaign, which challenged the results in several other battleground states through the courts, didn’t file a similar challenge over New Hampshire’s results.

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“I’m Running Because Joe Biden Brought Me Here”

“I’m Running Because Joe Biden Brought Me Here” – Former Intelligence Officer Matt Shoemaker Is Running for Congress in Ohio’s 7th District

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