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Free parking perk out of favor

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  February 3, 2009 01:04 PM

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In Boston, diplomatic immunity is getting a bit passé.

Yesterday's Globe reported how Boston city councilors have "mostly abandoned" their nine-year practice of having unpaid parking tickets dismissed. From 2000 to 2007, councilors were able to fend off 160 tickets they received while on city business, such as attending community meetings.

But the council was scared off in 2007 after Michael Ross paid back $1,000 in tickets he had dismissed over a four-year period. Ross was also fined $2,000 by the State Ethics Commission (read the archived article here). Last year, only about a dozen tickets were dismissed from four councilors.

Unlike treasury secretary Timothy Geithner and health secretary nominee Tom Daschle - who withdrew earlier today - Ross didn't get away with his "mistakes."

Neither do the rest of us.

(For more parking war stories, read our earlier post on the behavior of parking officials and Peter DeMarco's latest column on excruciating tickets.)

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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55 comments so far...
  1. amen

    Posted by Anonymous February 3, 09 03:43 PM
  1. They just found another way to be corrupt.
    I believe it was reported that they are just having someone on the city payroll drive them everywhere. No accountability here.

    Posted by edso February 3, 09 04:06 PM
  1. All local, city, state and government officials should have to pay fines on tickets that they receive just like everyone else. They are supposed to be leading by example. When a civilian does not pay their tickets they are basically following their "leaders". We taxpayers should not have to pay for their ignorance. If they do not want to pay fines then don't park illegally.

    Posted by Darlene Lawrence February 3, 09 04:40 PM
  1. Let them pay !!!!!!

    Posted by J February 3, 09 04:53 PM
  1. Hey, it only took Obama 20 years before he "remembers" the 20 unpaid parking tickets he collected in Somerville. It's funny how these government jobs jugs people's memory: Obama "remembers" his parking tickets out of the blue when he ran for president, Timothy Geithner "remembers" and amendeds the tax return when he was nominated for treasury secretary; Tom Daschle all the sudden "remembers" he didn't pay $120,000 in taxes. Look no further Harvard Medical School, this is the miracle cure you have been searching for to cure Alzheimer's disease.

    Posted by Cod Hunter February 3, 09 05:36 PM
  1. Care to share the details of the dozen tickets that were dismissed, and which four councilors are still getting this perk? How many non-connected people get 3 tickets dismissed in a year?

    Posted by james February 3, 09 06:38 PM
  1. Just be glad we're not in New York where UN employees get "Carte Blanche" for not only all parking tickets (hundreds of thousands of dollars each year), but diplomatic immunity for all crimes. Most NYC citizens want the UN to leave (They also pay no taxes on income earned in the US, yet use services).

    I'm actually surprised that the James Gang on Beacon Hill have not voted themselves a "Diplomatic Immunity" bill for lawbreakers .. er . lawmakers.

    Posted by John G. February 3, 09 06:52 PM
  1. It never ends here in Boston.

    How about an article about the decals the cops have on their personal cars to signal to each other not to stop/ticket this vehicle?

    Posted by southietransplant February 3, 09 07:25 PM
  1. They are not above the law. They should pay.

    Posted by cas February 3, 09 07:43 PM
  1. No free parking, no amnesty for owed back tickets. Collect NOW.

    I worked for a high tech company and the CEO and Directors never had their own space. Why? The CEO said we are all employees of this company just like the rest of you. We are no different.

    Posted by SS February 4, 09 06:56 AM
  1. @southietransplant

    You're referring to that black and blue striped sticker right? Does that actually mean anything though? Can't anyone get their hands on that sticker?

    Posted by Brad February 4, 09 07:05 AM
  1. Pay for parking. Better yet, carpool!

    Posted by Eric February 4, 09 07:12 AM
  1. We are -ostensibly- a government by and for the people. The people have to pay their fines and taxes regardless of whether or not they are in the government. More importantly, the likes of Taylor, Wilkerson, and DiMasi show that these fools have the money to pay.

    Posted by BostonOfficialsAreCorrupt February 4, 09 07:19 AM
  1. these are govt evil

    Posted by raju kumar February 4, 09 08:42 AM
  1. They may be paying them but I bet they are expensing them to their office, or campaign fund.

    And I really hate seeing those blue and black stickers on cars signaling they are a cop or connected to a cop, too. I feel like smashing right into them sometimes, but I'm not a politician who could get away with it.

    Posted by slowly going down the hole February 4, 09 09:38 AM
  1. But..... its all in the name of the service to the people.

    Posted by GB February 4, 09 09:53 AM
  1. Rules and laws are made to be followed by everyone, if city employees don't follow them, why should I.

    Posted by Duke Nukem February 4, 09 09:58 AM
  1. City councilors may have their parking tickets excused if they receive a parking ticket while on city business. Isn't that reasonable? I would rather a city councilor be productive in a meeting than worrying about running to a parking meter and loading in quarters! If they are running out of meetings (that might go long) just to feed the meter .....then everyone would complain about that.

    Posted by backbaydog February 4, 09 10:08 AM
  1. City and State officials should never park in a marginally legal or illegal parking spot --nor should they do anything else they are not supposed to do! Government officials (including local and state police officers) should be held to a higher standards (they are keepers of the public trust) and should not be allowed to have any parking tickets dismissed. Even asking should result in summary termination! At least we have cleaned some criminals out of office recently - it's a start!

    Posted by ivegotpictures February 4, 09 10:18 AM
  1. Being a city councilor was a part time job until recently. Their pay has doubled in 10 years and they have drivers, staff and spokespeople and their duties have remained the same. Some still have other jobs. (Mr Flaherty)

    They vote on the budget. That's it. They vote no every year then make deals with the Mayor and then vote yes. It is THE SAME EVERY year.

    Posted by Anonymous February 4, 09 10:59 AM
  1. So let me get ths right-they want to have their tickets dismissed because they're on 'official' city business-well then how about dismissing the common people's tickets when they're on their 'official' business. What is it that puts a state workers status above everyone elses? It's a shame to think that Mass is in such huge debt, so they'll tax the hell out of us by increasing our tax rates, new taxes, new toll hikes while the $ is flowing out the back door. Then there's also the corrupt state employee's who took $ and now have to go on trial-how about we put'em in jail, sell their assets, and contribut this to the debt! And lets get off of paying cops $ to do a detail-boo hoo-I have to work two jobs to make ends meet. Just cause you're used to it doesn't make it right. Every other state mandates that the flagger be paid by the contractor. SO here's a little more $ into the debt. Let's see Deval get by on $50k a year, while having to pay for all of his expenses-we'll see how he really feels about pushing down the middle class. This state stinks.

    Posted by Dave February 4, 09 12:08 PM
  1. Doesn't some doccument in Washington D.C. say something about all men are created equal?

    Posted by RTM2 February 4, 09 12:15 PM
  1. This is why Democrats keep raising taxes and fees for the rest of us. They don't pay them so it doesn't matter to them. Why we keep tolerating this corruption is beyond me.

    Posted by egomaniac February 4, 09 01:49 PM
  1. @backbaydog(18): Are you serious? No, that's not reasonable. Every other person they're meeting with managed to find a legit parking spot, so I'm sure they can, too. If there isn't enough parking in a particular neighborhood, that's a problem for everyone, and they should use their political muscle to fix the situation for everyone, not just for themselves.

    Posted by James February 4, 09 01:52 PM
  1. This is why Democrats keep raising taxes and fees for the rest of us. They don't pay them so it doesn't matter to them. Why we keep tolerating this corruption is beyond me.
    Posted by egomaniac February 4, 09 01:49 PM

    Why limit your comments to Democrats. They are all crooks--even your beloved Republicans. The difference is the Democrats tents to be small time crooks. Parking tix, etc. Republicans get their ill-begotten money from military contractors and oil companies. Either way, all a bunch of crooks!!!

    Posted by bv February 4, 09 02:08 PM
  1. Typical Liberal. Do as I say, not as I do.

    Massachusetts people are amazing. Do you people just check the box marked with a "D"? Kennedy will die this year and go down as this heroric selfless person who dedicated his life to public service. How man Speaker of the House casualties have we had? How many times do you people fall for this stuff... Wake up people. Look at what we are turning this country into...

    Posted by Tim February 4, 09 03:03 PM
  1. I have to pay, they should pay. No debate.

    Posted by Darth Vadar February 4, 09 04:32 PM
  1. If they are going to meet with constituents in a neighborhood other than their own, then it is reasonable to dismiss a ticket. For example, some councilors are "at large" and represent the entire city; it is likely that a councilor who lives in Southie may meet with constituents in Roslindale. Even for the councilors who are not "at large" they may represent more than one neighborhood (Southie and the South End), they too ought to be able to park for a constituent meeting w/o worrying about getting a ticket.

    Posted by Dave February 4, 09 04:50 PM
  1. we need more people to drop dimes on this corrupt behavior, there needs to be strict term limits otherwise the pols egos get the best of them and then they think they're untouchable, but they are because of the masses who support them to save their jobs if they're employed by the government, get jobs for their bobby or suzie, fix their parking tickets, approve their permits, whatever it is - its disgusting. no one has the [beep] to call them out and demand that there be an end to this -- ultimately its costing us money. seriously i wonder how they all sleep at night.

    Posted by jp native February 4, 09 05:15 PM
  1. take the T - next issue?

    Posted by jp native February 4, 09 05:18 PM
  1. You're referring to that black and blue striped sticker right? Does that actually mean anything though? Can't anyone get their hands on that sticker?
    Posted by Brad February 4, 09 07:05 AM

    If you have that sticker and say you're related to a cop you don't get a ticket.
    I try to tell myself that it's as bad everywhere else, but I just can't believe it anymore.

    Posted by Waiting for the Second American Revolution February 4, 09 07:09 PM
  1. How about an article on all the handicapped parking spots on Saratoga Street in East Boston? No way ALL those people are handicapped.

    Posted by Eastie Geno February 4, 09 08:41 PM
  1. No way!

    Posted by Bozo February 4, 09 08:41 PM
  1. Maybe the city will promptly fix all the potholes downtown with all the money I'm wasting on parking tickets? Seriously, why put a parking vendor machine right next to a "no parking" sign? Because the people who run this city are the same type of people passing the stimulus bill- sophisticated morons. Prey on those who "have" to give to those who don't...all in the name of change! I should just learn my lesson and take the T...ugh.

    Posted by Jeff February 5, 09 01:14 AM
  1. Yes James (24) I am serious - the city councilors should flex their political muscle to fix a parking issue ( I agree) It makes their job tougher if they have to run out and feed a meter! If you do not think it is reasonable for councilor's tickets to be dismissed....then do you think it is unreasonable that Comcast employees get free cable? Do you get any benefits from your job? If you want city level progress...don't impede it.

    Posted by backbaydog February 5, 09 08:48 AM
  1. very soon we will get IOU's for the taxes we have overpaid to the state and federal government BUT the polititcians will get money wired in... we are fast becoming a joke of a nation. WE allow these councilors, legislators, governors, DOR agents do what they want. we should vote all of them out of office and start again with honest, ethical representatives at every level

    Posted by army88 February 5, 09 09:28 AM
  1. Tell these clowns iif they want free parking just go to work for a big box store with a huge parking lot. Of course, they'll only get paid chump change like all retailers pay.

    Posted by Liz 54-1 February 5, 09 09:45 AM
  1. If on city business they should be reimbursed for parking meters, perhaps even issued city tokens that are traceable back to them, but they should need to feed the meters and otherwise live like the rest of us.

    Posted by OldStudent February 5, 09 10:22 AM
  1. They should have to drive around and locate a space like the rest of us. They drive on the same roads as we do. Where do they think that money goes? Everyone is so concerned about the economy and going green how about they take public transportation? Everyone has to get to work someway or another. They shouldnt be allowed to park for free. They are elected officials, that doesnt mean they are better than us. They represent us. Pay up!

    Posted by Anonymous February 5, 09 10:52 AM
  1. So, let's imagine.
    A city councillor is going to a meeting in a neighborhood she or he does not live in.
    There's a spot, resident only, available and the meeting starts in a few minutes.
    Is it OK for this city councillor to park in the spot, attend a meeting with community members, then if she or he gets a ticket, have it dismissed.
    I don't see why not. I'd like it to be easy for elected officials to keep in touch with constituents. Of course, if they abuse the system, the right should be revoked and fines, etc, should be assessed.
    There are certainly corrupt people in office; but there are also a lot of decent people it seems to me. No reason to make thier jobs impossible to do well.

    Posted by Ber February 5, 09 11:33 AM
  1. I agree, let them take the "T". I am sure most of their business is conducted within the city. If it is accessible by public transportation, they should be taking it. Case closed. If they means they have to work around the public transportation system then so be it. Let them look a the decay we have to on a daily basis. Let them deal with the RUDE "T" employees or wait in the freezing cold like the rest of us have to when the bus is 20 minutes late or there is a disabled train 4 days a week.

    Maybe then they will begin to understand the problems associated with our public transportation system. Why the hell should they have drivers anyway? Many CEO's don't.

    Posted by John February 5, 09 01:36 PM
  1. they don't need to get them at the meetings at city hall along with the hefty salary they all have parking spots they DO NOT PAY FOR Seventy grand a year and free parking not a bad part time job

    Posted by k February 5, 09 01:58 PM
  1. You're referring to that black and blue striped sticker right? Does that actually mean anything though? Can't anyone get their hands on that sticker?
    Posted by Brad February 4, 09 07:05 AM

    If you have that sticker and say you're related to a cop you don't get a ticket.
    I try to tell myself that it's as bad everywhere else, but I just can't believe it anymore.
    Posted by Waiting for the Second American Revolution February 4, 09 07:09 PM

    Yea. all my cop buddies have these stickers on the spouses car so they get a pass. it is unbelievable

    Posted by Anonymous February 5, 09 03:15 PM
  1. RTM,

    some document also frees federal elects from being charged with crimes (except for Class A felonies) while on federal business, on their way to federal business, or on their way from business. this is not something that is unique to MA. Keep complaining everybody . . .

    Posted by Andrew February 5, 09 03:58 PM
  1. Take the T like all the rest of the working people do.
    Oh yeah, that's right they don't work anyway.............
    pay the tickets - cheap bast*rds.

    Posted by RedSox13 February 5, 09 05:24 PM
  1. Their officials, don't rock the boat. I'm sure if it was you on the other end you would want them dismissed as well.

    Posted by Anthony February 6, 09 12:03 PM
  1. Since when is "city business" any more important than, say, the business of John Hancock or the local coffee shop? As I recall, one reason for Boston's indignance with the Crown was the quartering of redcoats on "official business."

    Posted by Gary Unger February 6, 09 04:20 PM
  1. I have a radical idea --- free parking for EVERYONE.

    Posted by Pragmatist February 6, 09 09:02 PM
  1. These are your leaders. They sacrifice to make rules for you. It is a difficult job. They should all have drivers and limos. Smarten up.

    Posted by ruler February 6, 09 09:59 PM
  1. I'll bet that Blagovich started the same way (not to mention Finneran and DiMasi.) They pass the laws it is hypocritical for them not to follow them. Holding office is not a privilege; it is a responsibility. At the least they should be held accountable for the rules they make.

    Posted by FRS February 7, 09 11:43 AM
  1. It's called leading by example and they are not. Enough said.

    Posted by walter cronkite February 7, 09 06:45 PM
  1. Here's something else to consider: Many City Department Heads and other big wigs get free parking at City Hall - this is considered a taxable benefit under Federal and State Law and I know...don't ask me how, but I do know for a fact...that they do not pay taxes on this benefit as required by law.

    Posted by jphound February 8, 09 01:18 AM
  1. I don't really mind free parking when on official business, but the way these people think is that they're /always/ on official business.

    I'm officially picking up a gallon of milk at the store.
    I'm officially returning this video
    I'm officially picking up my kids from school
    I'm officially having a quick drink at the pub
    I'm officially picking up 10 grand to pay my taxes

    Posted by nobody February 8, 09 12:54 PM
  1. free parking at city is a joke. try to make a truck delievery at city hall. you are told to park your truck on congress st. ( the truck gets a ticket ).city hall has a good size loading dock that could hold at least 3 trucks at a time. now you might ask why the trucks are told to park on the street, because all the hacks that work at city hall have all their cars parked in the loading area. could be as many as 20 cars.

    Posted by Anonymous February 8, 09 02:15 PM
  1. What I want to know is does the press still get to park for free in the underground garage courtiousy of Mayor Manino?

    Posted by Dolittle February 9, 09 11:39 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
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