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.

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Fraudulent parking placards are rampant in NYC, but NYPD remains opposed to a bill that would require the city to include a barcode on placards to ensure proper enforcement. Testifying before the City Council transportation committee today, NYPD Assistant Commissioner Richard Schroeder cited “significant fiscal, operational, and technological issues that… cannot be resolved within the one year effective […]