These Are the Pols That Get Parking Placards From City Hall (and Those That Don’t)

Marty Golden is special, but he's not alone.
Marty Golden is special, but he's not alone.

You get a placard. And you get a placard. And you get a placard …

When Streetsblog requested records on de Blasio’s teacher placard giveaway, along with a few pages of blacked-out emails City Hall sent us a list of people who have gotten placards each year since de Blasio took office in 2014 [XLS].

In the words of the NYT’s Jim Dwyer, a placard is “the holiest of government oils,” bestowing upon its possessor “license to park where unblessed mortals cannot.” That is, practically anywhere.

So who are de Blasio’s chosen ones? Many are city electeds you’d expect to receive parking perks, but there were a few noteworthy additions and exceptions.

Not surprisingly, every City Council member was offered a placard — except Laurie Cumbo in 2014, and Ydanis Rodriguez and Robert Cornegy in 2015, whose placards were “held for tickets.”

Interestingly, five council members declined: Manhattan reps Margaret Chin and Ben Kallos, Andy King of the Bronx, and Brooklyn’s Carlos Menchaca and Antonio Reynoso (though in 2017, Reynoso opted for a placard). Kudos to these folks for getting around the city like most members of the public.

Members of de Blasio’s inner circle who made the cut were First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Deputy Mayor Richard Buery, and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs Emma Wolfe.

All borough presidents — Gale Brewer, Ruben Diaz Jr., Melinda Katz, James Oddo, and Eric Adams (who succeeded unrepentant scofflaw Marty Markowitz) — were on the list. As was Public Advocate Leticia James, though her placard was also withheld for summonses in 2014.

Of the state legislators who represent NYC in Albany, four were allotted city-issued placards: disgraced Assembly Speaker Shelly Silver; Denny Farrell, entitled motorist and former chair of the powerful Assembly Ways and Means Committee, now retired; current Senate Deputy Minority Leader Michael Gianaris; and Senate GOP heavyweight Marty Golden, who arguably shouldn’t be allowed to drive a car, much less have a de facto license to park wherever he wants with impunity.

However, the shortlist on the City Hall spreadsheet conflicts with reporting by Politico’s Laura Nahmias, who obtained a list of placards issued by the mayor’s office to 54 state legislators in 2017, “47 to Assembly members and seven to state senators.”

More broadly, it’s worth asking how many officials who get placards actually need them to conduct the public’s business. Some council members clearly get by fine without them.

When the mayor hands out thousands of parking placards just so school teachers can avoid taking transit or finding a legal public parking space, it’s obvious that utility is taking a back seat to politics.

  • Vooch

    Marty Golden, the killer of a 74 year old women, who paid the family 3/4 of a million hush money.

    plus Marty bilks the taxpayer out of millions via his fake disability.

    Marty Golden the cheap hoodlum is a bum

  • Guest reader

    It’s worth noting that Ydanis Rodriguez, Robert Cornegy, and Letitia James, were all in office and presumably had placards when they behaved so badly those placards were taken away. Since you can literally park anywhere with a placard, I wonder what they did to receive summons?

    Laurie Cumbo began in office in 2014, the year she was denied a placard, but my guess is she probably had a placard from her former job as head of the Museum of Contemporary African Diaspora Arts. Remember, if you’re connected in NYC, you have a placard, even if it’s not a city issued one.

    NYC is in an awful fix: stuck between Republican city council members with generally bad ideas and Democrats who talk and grandstand, but don’t accomplish much beyond getting re-elected.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The awful fix is general. Most of the U.S. is a one-party state, even if it’s a different party in different places. (Same generation, however).

    That’s why the political/union class can get away with demanding higher taxes (with special deals for itself) in exchange for less in public services here, where taxes are already the highest.

    And the rich demand more and more tax cuts in places where taxes are already low, such as Oklahoma where per student school spending is down 28 percent (inflation-adjusted) over a decade.

    And why more and more goes to older generations, with the bills and diminished futures left for those to follow, everywhere in the country.

  • cjstephens

    While this won’t fix the problem right away, how about withholding your endorsement and your votes for any politician who requests a parking placard? Commenters here frequently gush over how wonderfully progressive some of these politicians are (cough, Letitia James, cough), but given their obvious abuse of the system, you still keep voting for them. I expect some people here have even written checks to support their campaigns. Stop. Doing. This. As long as you, the voters, are complicit in their abuse of power, you shouldn’t have the right to complain about their bad behavior. It shouldn’t be too hard to find candidates who are willing to follow the basics of human decency.

  • … there’s fire

    I’ve heard of retired judges who get placards for life. Just hearsay, but where there’s smoke….

  • MasonEagle

    There is NO legitimate reason whatsoever for politicians to have parking placards. None. They are no more important than anyone else in society. If anything, they should have their licenses revoked as punishment for inflicting their incompetence and corruption upon society.

  • Guest reader

    Thank you for this sanity. I recall this past year or the year before, Tish James tweeted a photo of her waiting for the bus on National Public Transportation Day. People gushed, “Tish is so cool.” Of course, she was back to her car and placard by afternoon. But, oh, she says such progressive things!

    Ydanis Rodriguez is a master of this too. He even cloaks speeches with big-theme language like justice and seeing a better world for his daughters that gets the Streetsblog crowd all weak-kneed. But what does he do as head of the transportation committee? Not much. And, as a driver? Well, he was bad enough to get his placard taken away.

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain

    There is no legitimate reason anyone should have a parking placard. They are bribes handed out to curry favor. Take them all away 100%. If someone is responding to an emergency and the ticketing agent is somehow not aware of it they can contest the ticket after the fact.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Streets around NYC schools are about to get more chaotic.

Reversing Bloomberg Reforms, City Will Reissue Tens of Thousands of Teacher Parking Placards

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Get ready for a lot more car traffic and illegal parking around New York City schools. The de Blasio administration is returning to a system that enables widespread abuse of parking privileges, with the Department of Education agreeing to hand out parking placards to any school employee who has a car and requests one, reversing reforms instituted during the Bloomberg administration.