Legislators' parking spaces often seen in public places | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Legislators' parking spaces often seen in public places

Posted By on Sat, Jan 24, 2015 at 7:32 AM

click to enlarge RED FLAG: There's a downside to prestige legislative license plates. Improper parking is a red flag to people with cell phone cameras.
  • RED FLAG: There's a downside to prestige legislative license plates. Improper parking is a red flag to people with cell phone cameras.

click to enlarge REP. JIM SORVILLO
  • REP. JIM SORVILLO
A reader sent this photo of Rep. Jim Sorvillo's car in a handicapped parking place outside a Hobby Lobby a few days ago.

It got posted on KTHV's Facebook page and went wild, prompting a story on KTHV. Sorvillo, didn't respond to my request for comment, but he and his wife told KTHV it was she, not Sorvillo, who'd used the space. Sorvillo said he was not going to make any excuses for poor judgment and said he hoped the event would spur greater discussion and awareness about handicapped parking.

His wife, however …. 

 Sorvillo's wife was out of town on Friday, but explains what happened over the phone. She explains, "There really was a parking space there and it was not a handicap and when I did I had to keep backing up because I entered it the wrong way. So I backed up several times and then I just thought oh I'm just going to run in for one minute. I hate that this has been made such a big deal as far as for my husband because that's my car."

Despite the photo circulating social media Sorvillo wanted to take the time to clear up the allegations, apologize and move forward in the best way possible. He says, "You know if it opens up the conversation that we can improve the access and make it easier, we want to improve everybody's life."

The reader who alerted me scoffs at Mrs. Sorvillo's initial excuse, particularly that she'd barely parked over the line in a legal space. He notes that the picture shows the car wasn't backed into the space . He said use of striped zones adjacent to marked handicapped spots — provided for access to vans for people with wheelchairs — is "rampant."

It is clearly parked in the striped zone to the right of a marked handicapped space. If it had been my van parked in the space to the left, I would have been unable to drop my ramp and enter the van - I would have been blocked from my own vehicle.

Moral of the story. Those vanity legislative license plates — not that anyone would ever think they'd get special treatment on account of displaying one — are red flags to the public. NOTE TO READER: It is a given that improper parking in handicapped spots is improper. You'd hope that was a moral that didn't need a teachable moment. On the other hand ….

A tip for new lawmakers: Years ago steps were taken to close motor vehicle records to public inspection that allowed matching of license plate numbers with vehicle owners. The legislative license plate list is, however, a public record. Going incognito sometimes is safer.

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