Thursday, March 08, 2007

Obama is in good company

Once upon a time, I lived in the fair city of Cambridge, Ma. And one thing that they do reeeeeealy well there is hand out parking tickets.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama got more than an education when he attended Harvard Law School in the late 1980s. He also got a healthy stack of parking tickets, most of which he never paid.

The Illinois senator shelled out $375 in January — two weeks before he officially launched his presidential campaign — to finally pay for 15 outstanding parking tickets and their associated late fees.

The story was first reported Wednesday by The Somerville News.

Obama received 17 parking tickets in Cambridge between 1988 and 1991[4 per year is about par for the course--ed.], mostly for parking in a bus stop [surprisingly poorly marked--ed.], parking without a resident permit [actually, this usually means they didn't see it because of snow--ed.] and failing to pay the meter [the ticket appears about 3 seconds after the meter expires, and I once got one before it expired; they assumed it would and preempted it--ed.], records from the Cambridge Traffic, Parking and Transportation office show.

He incurred $140 in fines and $260 in late fees in Cambridge in all, but he paid $25 for two of the tickets in February 1990.

Jen Psaki, a spokeswoman for the Obama campaign, dismissed the tickets as not relevant.

"He didn't owe that much and what he did owe, he paid," Psaki said on Wednesday. "Many people have parking tickets and late fees. [In Cambridge, this is an understatement--ed.]All the parking tickets and late fees were paid in full."

Now, I don't agree politically with almost anything Sen. Obama stands for, but in this case I'll have to defend him. Anyone who leaves Cambridge sans parking tickets either does not have a car, or has been there less than 30 minutes. There is strong, well founded suspicion that the city makes more money on giving out tickets than it does on taxes. And that is saying a lot. Good on you, Sen. Obama! You have proved to me that you really did spend time in Cambridge.


A Proud Infidel said...

This isn't about unpaid parking tickets long forgotten. This is about knowing about them and never feeling the need to settle the debt until he was preparing to run for the highest office in the land.

He knew, never felt the need to pay for them until now. That is a character issue. I posted more about it myself.

PS - Thank you for your service to this great country of ours. May God Bless you and your family.

max said...

1) You are certainly welcome. Nice blog, btw.

2) I agree it seems odd waiting until now to get them paid off, but the first rule of bad news in campaigns is to get it out there and put your spin on it before your opponents can. He did that well.

3) Cambridge parking tickets are basically a racket. That is why they are so cheap...they want you to pay and not fight it. I don't know anyone who never got a ticket, and I don't know anyone who didn't keep one as a memento of the time there.

Basically, though I disagree with him on a lot of stuff, from a purely pragmatic standpoint, he handled this one well. Better than the 'wasted lives' statement, and better than his church of worshiping blackness. Those will probably come back to bite him.