Monday, June 22, 2015

City Parking Perk

It comes with municipality and is a privilege of the political cla$$:

"More city employees now enjoying parking perks; Councilors’ ability to get tickets waived now given to 175 employees" by Andrew Ryan Globe Staff  June 15, 2015

Few aggravations bedevil Bostonians more than parking. But the pain is not always shared by city councilors, who have long enjoyed the privilege of getting tickets dismissed in the name of official municipal business.

Councilor Josh Zakim has taken advantage of the perk: He has had 14 tickets tossed since his first term began, in January 2014. Half of Zakim’s dismissed tickets were issued a few steps from his Back Bay condominium, often just after 8 a.m., when parking meters go into effect. Zakim said he was working.

Councilor Tito Jackson had nine tickets erased in 2014. The tally included five violations written after dark for parking illegally near Copley Square, where Jackson has used the Charlesmark Hotel bar for events, meetings, and to socialize, staff said.

Now, the parking privilege is being expanded beyond city councilors. The administration of Mayor Martin J. Walsh issued at the beginning of the year about 175 white parking placards that dangle from rearview mirrors and let councilors, their staff, and other city officials park — for free — where the average resident is forbidden, or must pay.

And the inequality yawns wider.

Park in a loading zone or no parking zone for an hour? No problem. Two hours at a meter? No charge. And resident parking restrictions are meaningless for holders of the placards.

“Maybe call it a job perk. Would you turn down a job perk? Do you have any job perks?” said Councilor Frank Baker, who used his position to void a violation issued when he had forgotten to affix his resident parking sticker. “I had one ticket done because I was well within my right to do it. . . . I don’t abuse that program.”

Yeah, fine, but that is the same sort of excuse that has enabled corruption and graft. 

Under the state public records law, the Globe requested parking ticket information for the past five years for the current City Council. The data showed that councilors’ tickets were dismissed at a rate three times greater than the general public.

Why should city officials have parking privileges not enjoyed by their constituents, who often have to find parking in neighborhoods where they might not have a parking sticker? The idea is to make it easier for Boston officials to do their jobs.

Written guidelines say the parking passes are supposed to be used only for “official city business,” which means “when an employee is carrying out the official duties of his or her employment and is not engaging in personal business.”

But sometimes, defining city business can be tricky. Attending a community meeting? That seems clear. But what about parking to pick up lunch in the North End during a workday? Or responding to constituent e-mail at home while your car is parked at an expired meter? That’s not so clear.

Then why not just strip them of it and eliminate the confusion? Make 'em scratch and claw like the rest of us?

Councilors and others with the parking perk still must abide by rules against parking on a sidewalk, blocking a hydrant, or using a handicapped spot.

The transportation department launched the placard initiative because the mayor is pushing community engagement, said Gina Fiandaca, the city’s transportation commissioner, and that means more city employees using their personal cars in neighborhoods.

The new placards may make detecting abuse harder.

Oh, no. Once again it is a self-serving system!

The license plates of placard holders have been loaded into handheld devices used by parking enforcement officers. So even if officers do not notice a pass dangling from a mirror and start to write a ticket, those handheld devices should alert them that a vehicle has privileges.

Letting you know who the ma$ter is?

That means it’s much less likely tickets will be written. And that means there will be no easy way to check if a councilor or other official is abusing the privilege.

Like they were able to "former city councilor Michael P. Ross," who is now a Globe columnist!


Sorry I couldn't find a related link. Looks like some lost their privileges though.


"In his radio appearance, Walsh took issue with the earlier Globe story. The mayor said television stations recently asked for a similar perk that would allow camera trucks to park in loading zones. “I don’t understand what the big deal was” about placards for city employees, Walsh said. “The press did make an issue out of it, and I thought it was ironic because we were able to get placards for the press to park.”

That's a really nice way to turn the issue on them and distract from the fact that he doesn't understand the problem with what feels like Nazi party privileges for "public servants." The imagery part is the narrative that Wal$h is somehow a creation of working people. That's how he won mayor.