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Dear PoP – “At large Council Member” Illegally Parks for over an Hour

by Prince Of Petworth July 2, 2010 at 10:30 am 68 Comments

“Dear PoP,

This is that corner of Holmead and Park Road, NW where you have to do a U-turn to get in to the Giant parking lot (in Columbia Heights). Illegal parkers at this location really irritate me, as they destroy visibility and impede travel.

Check out the plate on this gem. “At large Council Member” It was there for at least an hour as I shopped. Note the proximity to the stop sign, the fire hydrant and the clearly marked “no parking” sign. Why in all get out couldn’t he just park in the garage?!”

So which At Large Council Member drives an H3? Secondly, in the age of camera phones and the internet how can they possibly think this will not get out.  So I am publishing these photos at 10:30am – how long until we get an apology?  And if they were not ticketed I’d like them to donate the cost of a parking ticket to a Columbia Heights charity of their choice – sound fair?

  • Thor

    I have another question. Who pays for the car and the gasoline?

  • Johnny

    YEAH! because NONE of us have EVER illegally parked our car….

    • Ragged Dog

      Lead by example.

      Why have legal/illegal parking at all?

      • Ragged Dog

        On the other hand, it was a freaking hour. If a councilman needs to park illegally for an hour to get something done, I’m going to reassign myself to the “perks of the position” camp.

        When you find a guy parking illegally overnight for weeks on end, then I’ll have an issue.

      • JW

        Actually, I have never illegally parked my car.

    • ah

      Would you expect to get a ticket if parked like this?

      Would your expectations differ if you had DC Council plates?

    • I’ve parked illegally accidentally, but never intentionally. (e.g. the time I misread a street cleaning
      sign and parked on the wrong side of the road; I paid the ticket without complaint as I’d been in the wrong).

      So what’s your next excuse?

    • Anonymous

      I wouldn’t park like that.

  • dreas

    I can’t see Catania or Mendelson driving that car, so it leaves either Kwame Brown or Michael Brown…

    Anyone want to call their offices and find out? Kwame is at 724-8174, Michael is 724-8105. I need to stop procrastinating and get some work done.

    • dreas

      I called; it’s Michael Brown – his office confirmed that he does, in fact, drive a black Hummer but that he “wasn’t blocking the hydrant.”

    • Anonymous

      Catania does in fact drive a black SUV. Not a Hummer, though.

  • Anonymous

    It doesn’t matter that others park illegally on occassion. Elected officials should be held to a higher standard. Those that create our laws should be forced to abide by those laws. They seek the trust of the citizens and ask for our support. They are human, but actions like these reflect at best stupidity and ignorance that they are in the public eye or, at worse– the sense that they are above the law and entitled to special treatment. Either way, it is good PoP posted this to keep our elected officials in line. Well done. I want to know who this is!

    • Darth Fabulous


  • Ryan

    How obnoxious of the council member.Thank you for shaming this joker.

  • jcm

    The DC Council passed a law in 2002 that exempts them from parking tickets, so he probably didn’t get one, and if he did he probably won’t pay it.

  • DCRat

    They do it all the time. Elenor even reasoned that by her parking illegally and not getting a ticket, she freed up a parking space for residents. Even the fake Senator, who has no official functions, gets in on the act.

  • just another corrupt day in the district. Also, proving yet again that anyone who drives a hummer, especially in a city, is an a-hole.

    • ah

      You can’t make that conclusion any more than you can conclude anyone driving a car with DC Council plates is an a-hole.

      Oh, wait . . .

    • Keefer P

      Yippee, and speaking corruption, don’t forget to vote for Jim Graham

  • Ragged Dog

    I think they’re only supposed to do this for official city business, but it’s not like the ticket is going to hurt them.

    The public shaming is the only real power, and I’m not sure he cares what a bunch of gentrifiers think of him.

    • Ragged Dog

      Also, see my earlier post. It was a freaking hour. I don’t really mind this vs. paying a driver to shuttle him around all day.

      • TaylorStreetMan

        he could park in the garage (no need for a chauffeur – just common sense and common courtesy required), which is FREE with validation from the Giant.

        and what if in that one hour time span, a fire truck needed to get by to put out a fire at your grandmother’s house?

        It would really have to be illegally parked for “weeks on end” for it to be an issue for you?

  • That’s a particularly bad corner, and look how narrow the street is there. That wide Hummer is sticking way out into the travel lane. Also, not to demean a politician’s personal car choice, but why the hell do you need a gas guzzling Hummer in DC? Isn;t the DC government trying to lead the way towards a greener city (streetcars, bike-sharing, green roofs, Mayor Fenty’s Smart car)?

  • ma

    I’ve seen that car around parked illegally before, it was the first time I noticed those “at large” plates. Very interesting. I also hate when I see dip cars parked illegally, it messes up the flow of traffic and makes a much bigger impact than the person probably realizes.

  • TaylorStreetMan

    +1. Not to mention that an ordinary citizen parked here would have no doubt (given the number of police/ticket writers usually in this area) gotten a ticket.

  • TaylorStreetMan

    Shocker that someone driving a Hummer would feel entitled!

  • Calm down

    Calm down. People illegally park all the time. BFD.

    • HollyGoSmitely

      Dumbest comment of the day.

      • ah

        You quickly displaced it at the top!

      • Ragged Dog


        • Anonymous

          Not good to illegally park. There is usually a reason for it not being legal and anyway why should you park there when someone else cannot (because it is not a legal space).
          I don’t like it and it is obnoxious.

  • PSA

    the word “entitled” appears in blog comments a lot.
    so much so that it has little weight.

    • sparemonk

      for you, perhaps.

      • PSA

        maybe it is just me. but how do you know why someone did what they did? “entitlement”? that’s weak. everyone gets called entitled here.

        but i guess i’m entitled to my opinion.

        • sparemonk

          perfectly applicable here. as in ‘i’m a council member, so i’m entitled to do what i want, when i want, like park my big ass car in this illegal spot.’ not a stretch in the slightest, even if it’s not 100% clear that it was the council member’s attitude at the time. like taylorstreetman said, the point is made.

        • TaylorStreetMan

          putting two and two together, that’s how:

          council member who knows the law can’t touch him
          illegally parked for a long time in a way that is in total disregard for the safe passage of pedestrians and other vehicles in a very high traffic area
          a douche who feels like he can do whatever he feels like, scoffing at the “little people” who have to obey the law.

    • TaylorStreetMan

      pick another word, then. What’s your suggestion?
      I think the point is still made, regardless of how often people use the word…. or were you confused?

  • U street V

    I think it’s fair to say that this was done out of pure laziness (being 10 feet away from the lot and all). If I voted in DC, I surely wouldn’t vote for a lazy council member.

  • dreas

    So, Pop, any contact from Michael Brown or his office yet? It’s been over an hour since I called, told them about this post, they confirmed that it was his car, and gave a BS excuse. I got two calls from what appears to be a DC gov’t landline shortly thereafter but wasn’t around to pick up.

    Not that Michael Brown cares, but he’s certainly not getting my vote now.

    • B. W.

      Mine either.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Nope, no contact as of 11:59pm

    • ocho

      B/c he illegally parked? If thats your criteria for voting you probably need to stay away from the polls period.

      • TaylorStreetMan

        as much as this ticks me off, I gotta agree. I’d have to look at his voting record, platform, etc before I say I wouldn’t vote for him… but he’s sure starting off in the negatives!

  • SF

    The construction in that area is bad enough without people illegally parking Hummers in areas needed for moving traffic to make turns.

    I have waited in that exact spot for my wife to run into the Giant, but I wouldn’t leave the car unattended in case, say, a ladder truck needs to get around the corner. Not to mention, if I left it unattended I would fully expect a huge ticket upon returning.

  • Ragged Dog

    So the argument in favor of this is that the City Council/Mayor is not a 9-5 job and s/he is always out and about meeting with people in the community. If each Council person had to spend time finding a legal parking spot for every constituent meeting, nothing would ever get done. In some neighborhoods you could wait all day for a spot. How would you get any business done?

    The alternative, like Mr Graham, is to have a driver. I think I’d rather have them parking illegally for an hour than having a full time tax payer funded driver.

    • ah

      How about this: DC Council can be ticketed for illegal parking, but the ticket is dismissed upon providing an affidavit, also posted on the DC Council website (or at least available somewhere) that they were on constituent business at the time and what the business related to. Let them keep a log of their “constituent service” at the local Giant.

      • TaylorStreetMan

        I like it.

        Also, Ragged Dog, as I posted above, there’s no need for a driver at taxpayers’ expense.

        The metro is two blocks a way! He can *walk* his sorry ass over there if he’s worried about parking. Unless, of course, he’s too good to ride with the ordinary people on public transit.

      • DCster

        That’s a good idea. Certainly, up to 13 council members parking ‘illegally’ is not going to be the downfall of our city, but requiring them to justify their parking would alleviate some of the ‘holier-than-thou’ aspect of their exemption from parking rules. That sounds like something Mendelson might even sponsor (I’m not sure who else would vote for it, but it is an election year so…)

      • Lindsay

        I think that’s a great idea. Because in this case you have no idea if he was actually doing city business or just felt the need to run in for a 6 pack and then grab some fro yo.

    • Anonymous

      a driver?
      why is the alternative not to take metro and cabs?

  • TaylorStreetMan

    Suggestion: forward this post to the local TV stations and WP or whoever. Put this guy in the limelight and see what he has to say then.

  • Anonymous

    He is not getting my vote b/c he drives a Hummer. A Hummer has got to be the stooopidist car a person can drive in the city. Even stupider than the king cab, Escalade “pick-up” with white leather seats and gold trim that I saw the other day.

    As soon as I finish the work that is paying my salary, I’m tempted to look into whether DC government pays the tab for his gas. If it does, I’m equally tempted to start a campaign to limit the reimbursement city employees (including council members) get to XX per mile instead of reimbursement for gas.

    If anyone out there in POP land is unemployed (or under busy) today, feel free to investigate for me.

    Back to work.

    • Cait B

      I suspect that they may adhere to GSA rules which govern at least federal gov contractors and – I assume, but someone may correct me – federal and other state, local, etc. government employees.

      Those rules allow for reimbursement per mile, not per gallon. Last time I checked it was $0.50 per mile, down from $0.505 when gas prices were consistently higher.

      Drive a super efficient car = free money in your pocket to cover “wear and tear.”

      Drive a gas guzzler and the reimbursement may subsidize the cost of gas, but not cover it entirely.

      Thinking of it in terms of reimbursement costs makes driving a hummer around the city seem like an even dumber choice, but ultimately wouldn’t have a financial impact on funds subsidizing the cost.

      And my two cents on the parking itself – that sort of obnoxious, inconsiderate behavior is not something I like to see from anyone, let alone someone who professes a desire to serve the public.

  • Anonymous

    I am STILL waiting for an apology.

  • WDC

    Particularly offensive given the large parking lot that’s RIGHT THERE!

    When that house on my street caught fire last winter, I watched the big fire truck try for what seemed like a very long time to maneuver around the illegally parked car at the corner of two very narrow streets. I had only used an illegal corner space once or twice before that, but since seeing the effect in case of emergency, I will never do it again.

    What’s sad is that Brown is probably admired by some constituents for driving a fuck-you car, and for showing his complete disdain for “the man’s” silly parking rules. Shows he’s got balls, you know?

    • Polytasker

      Man, that sucks. in that case I fully support not punishing emergency vehicles for playing bumper cars when necessary :)

  • I think it’s totally lame for council members to feel they’re above the law. I’m always seeing Graham’s VW Bug parked illegally parked across from Busboys and Poets.

    But illegally parked council member Hummers make me go red.

  • RD

    I love the H3 because it says “I want all the poor fuel economy of a much larger, more useful truck, but in a smaller package.”

  • DSel

    The H3 was pretty much the SUV that killed the Hummer brand. If his decision making process even approaches his car buying skills, he could be the next GWB.

  • Marlenas

    Wow, this is quite a news breaking posting. And, how many times has this happened with the Mayor, CM(s),and all the other DC officials? If they are conducting DC business, then give them the nod to park to do DC business. If this is not the case, then give them a ticket.

  • keep this in your back pocket and remember.


  • Ryan

    I don’t know whether council members are allowed to park illegally or not… but either way, I’m assuming the reason they have the special councilman plates are to discourage cops from ticketing them, pulling them over DWI, etc.

    If you were a MPD beat cop, would you want to throw yourself in the middle of the DC shit show by ticketing/pulling over a council member?

    Also, anyone who says it’s okay for council members to park illegally because they have important work to do is full of it. Everyone has important stuff to do. That’s the kind of subservient attitude that is dangerous for voters to have, and it’s how people like Barry get elected over and over again.

  • Steve

    I was definitely Brown. He was campaging in front of the Giant around 7:30 ish yeaterday.

  • 3rdStreetDesign

    Too funny. Like a month ago this Hummer made an illegal right turn at a red light posted no turn on red when he was in front of me on 4th in LeDroit Park. Glad to know it was Michael Brown. Read this: http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/articles/36371/bad-judgment

  • Nathan

    Technically, since the council passed a bill allowing them to park wherever they want (basically), this isn’t illegal. Annoying, but legal.

  • Anonymous

    Michael Brown,
    Your father was a great man and a hero of mine.
    You – not so much.
    He would never have done something so arrogant.
    Shame on you.
    We are still waiting on your apology.
    DC Voter

  • Anonymous

    Add this to your Horses Ass Awards list!

  • Bryan

    I don’t know why no one has gotten this through their heads yet.

    DC and US Government officials – Council members, parking enforcement vehicles, firetrucks – are allowed to park anywhere in the city. That’s precisely WHY they are given those license plates. In general, if they’re just parking in a “no parking zone” that is not at all illegal.

    Now, blocking a hydrant is sort of stupid, so I’m not going to comment on that or driving a Hummer, but as a general rule, there’s nothing wrong with a council member, mayor, police officer, or President of the United States parking in a no parking zone. Get over it.


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