The Vanguard has a new home, please update your bookmarks to

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Yamada Campaign Boots The Mayor's Parking Story

By now, many of you will have heard the story about West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon's car getting booted due to a large number of unpaid parking tickets. For most of us, it is a funny human interest story. Some of us who shall remain nameless can relate to the story. So he pays his fine and gets his car back big deal.

The Mayor did not try to make excuses for himself either. Basically he admitted he had made a mistake. He would take the tickets, put them on his kitchen table, and forgot about them. Those tickets caught up to him yesterday in the form of the notorious parking boot. He learned his lesson and apologized.

For most of us a $567 lesson is a slap on the wrist and a reminder that we might want to pay those tickets or even avoid them in the first place, although I'm probably the last person in the world to make such claims.

That should have been the end of the story except for the fact that driving by and witnessing the booting of the Mayor's car was none other than Mariko Yamada's campaign manager Brian Micek. Yamada of course is running against Cabaldon for the 8th Assembly district.

Mr. Micek was quoted in the Sacramento Bee saying "he couldn't believe his luck."
"I said you gotta be kidding me. No way."
The unbelievable aspect of this--or perhaps very believable depending on your perspective--is the fact that the Yamada campaign is trying to make political hay out of this.

To the Yamada Campaign and Brian Micek this was a political opportunity.
"This is evidence that Mr. Cabaldon feels he doesn't have to play by the same rules the rest of us do."
Which is interesting because the reaction of Channel 13 News last night was the opposite, they basically said it was refreshing that the Mayor owned up to it and didn't try to make excuses.

So there it was late yesterday afternoon and I received a press release from the Yamada campaign on this issue. My reaction was--are you kidding me? They are trying to get political points off this?
Monday, April 14, 2008
Contact: Brian Micek
(916) 801-4257

West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon Gets the Boot
Unpaid Parking Tickets Result in Boot-Lock on Politician’s Sports Car

SACRAMENTO – Sacramento parking officials today booted the car of West Sacramento Mayor Christopher Cabaldon for a history of unpaid parking citations.

For a car to be eligible for the boot, the owner must have at least five parking tickets unpaid for 45 days or more.

Cabaldon’s black Nissan Z, littered with plastic water bottles, Starbuck’s cups and “Cabaldon for Assembly” campaign literature, was parked at the corner of 10th and J Streets in downtown Sacramento. Cabaldon is running for State Assembly District 8 in the June Primary against Yolo County Supervisor Mariko Yamada.

The goal of Sacramento's Vehicle Immobilization Program is to collect payment from the city’s worst offenders -- those drivers with the highest number of delinquent and unpaid parking tickets. The City of Sacramento is facing a $55 million budget shortfall and is expected to cut the city work force by 10 percent.

Cabaldon paid the tickets and fines and parking enforcement officers removed the boot. When they left, his meter had again expired.

And he sent pictures of it!

I hate to break it to the Yamada Campaign--this is not the political gold that you think it is. Yes, you caught the Mayor in an embarrassing moment, but the Mayor comes across okay in this. He was humble and apologetic. It is a funny story more than anything else. But no one is going to look at this story and believe that the Mayor thinks he is above the law or that he does not have to play by the same rules the rest of us do.

Now if the Mayor barged into Heather Fargo's office and demanded that she take care of the tickets or tried to use his position to get off from the consequences of the unpaid parking tickets--you would have a point. But him having to go in and pay a fine to get his car out of a boot is actually playing by the exact same rules as the rest of us--if you do not pay your tickets, your car gets booted. Lesson learned.

If anything having this story on the news last night probably helps the Mayor, as I said, he looked pretty good and honest on TV. Meanwhile it seems my mailbox has already had a few Cabaldon pieces in it, I am still waiting for my Mariko piece and waiting to see the Mariko signs pop up across town like the Cabaldon signs already have.

Meanwhile let us get back to the issues that mean something to us. Tell us how you are going to solve our education problem in this state or how you are going to protect the environment or fix our transportation system.

---Doug Paul Davis reporting