A vote to allow parking passes at City Hall for City Councilors revolved around whether it would create a special privilege for the elected officials, or if it would make it easier for the councilors to conduct business for their constituents.
The motion introduced by Councilors Giovanni Recupero, Damali Vidot, Norieliz DeJesus, Todd Taylor, and Enio Lopez to all a City Hall parking pass for councilors passed by a 5-3-3 vote with Councilors Leo Robinson, Calvin Brown, and Brian Hatleberg voting against the motion, and three councilors absent Monday night.
“There are some of these things that I think are just about basic fairness, and I think there might be some sort of misconception about what it is we are asking,” said Taylor. “I was here not too long ago … on city business, and I go back out and I have a ticket because I’ve been there for longer than 30 minutes.”
Taylor said councilors spend a lot of time at City Hall doing city business, and he did not believe it was fair that they would have to worry about moving their cars or getting a ticket while conducting business.
“Look, we’re not here to take up space and lounge around, we’re not staying here all day, we are coming in and we are conducting our business and then we are leaving,” said Taylor. “I don’t think it is fair that on top of that, we have to pay a parking ticket because we’re in here taking care of business. I’m not advocating for special parking places for us, just a regular City Council sticker that precludes us from being ticketed in City Hall.”
Lopez noted that he and Recupero had advocated for the parking stickers for councilors in the past, with Lopez adding that he has also been ticketed while meeting with people at City Hall for council business.
“I’m a big believer that we shouldn’t be special, particularly on parking,” said Hatleberg. “I get it, parking is a pain in the neck for everyone in the city and almost every place in the city. I guess I fall on the side that if it is a pain for the people, it ought to be a pain for me, too.”
However, Vidot countered that councilors are voted in to do the business of the residents.
“It’s not as if all of us are going to be here at one time during City Hall hours, it’s very sporadic when we come up here to the City Hall business,” she said. “I would never want special treatment as a City Councilor … but, I should not be penalized for trying to do the job that I was elected to do by the residents of the community.”