More than a dozen tow truck operators told members of the Prince George's County Council this week that legislation designed to protect consumers from being gouged could run many of them out of business.

Several tow truck operators testified this week that they would not be able to operate if the council approves a measure prohibiting tow truck operators from charging more than $100 to remove vehicles.

"These are the prices of the '60s," said Charlie Walker, who owns Walker Towing in Cheverly. "One hundred dollars a car is unfair."

Council member David Harrington (D-Bladensburg), told the operators that the legislation, which was introduced by council member Camille Exum (D-Seat Pleasant), was created to solve some of the problems many of their constituents have had with tow truck operators.

"There is another side of this story," Harrington said. "We get telephone calls from the public who are dealing with people in your industry."

Adolphus Horne of Duff's Towing in Temple Hills said he also had concerns about the bill's requirement that operators be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to release a vehicle that has been towed.

Horne added that he has been assaulted by irate customers during regular business hours. He said the requirement would place tow operators in even more danger.

The council will hold a public hearing on the bill this month.

Surgery for Hendershot

Council member Thomas R. Hendershot was scheduled to undergo quadruple bypass surgery Tuesday morning.

Last week, Hendershot went to Prince George's Hospital Center for an angiogram and the test showed blockage, he said. Doctors told him to report to the hospital at 7 a.m. Tuesday for the heart surgery.

When he heard the time, Hendershot, who insisted his doctors perform the surgery at Prince George's Hospital rather than at Washington Hospital Center, argued with people in the hospital's admissions department.

"I told them I couldn't be there at 7," Hendershot said Monday afternoon. "I told them, I'll go vote and I'll be there."

Hendershot said he was told to arrive at the hospital as soon after 7 as he could. But he said he told them he was sure there would be a crowd at the polls.

Hendershot joked that the last thing he needed was to try to move to the front of the line at the polls. "Then people would say, 'There's that arrogant Hendershot,' " he said, laughing.

Hendershot's absence from Tuesday's council meeting ended, at least for now, the chance of passing a bill that would lift the pit bull terrier ban. Yesterday was the final day to introduce a bill in order for it to be taken up before the end of the legislative year.

Award for Ivey

State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey was honored last week by the Hamilton Fish Institute on School and Community Violence for his efforts to reduce violence in schools and among children.

Ivey received the institute's first Violence Prevention Award Friday during a luncheon at a Washington hotel.

In an interview, Ivey reiterated the themes of his luncheon remarks: "We need to use not only the stick but also the carrot. Enforcement alone is not the way to go, you also need prevention programs."

Ivey said he invoked Bill Cosby, who generated much discussion in recent months by saying that some African American parents were not taking enough responsibility for the behavior of their children. While he did not agree with the tone of Cosby's remarks, Ivey said it was a good thing that the entertainer opened the discussion. "I think we have to look at some of the cultural underpinnings of some of this criminal conduct," Ivey said.

The Washington-based Hamilton Fish Institute is named after Hamilton Fish, a former U.S. representative from New York who supported civil rights legislation.