Arena should apologize over police station parking demand, Northwest Side GOP chairman says
One of the best ways for politicians to learn how to cope with a crisis is to seek advice from others within the political realm.
It may be something 45th Ward Alderman John Arena will want to consider after a recent scandal over parking at a police station – ostensibly to give his 75-year-old mother an easier walk to Wrigley Field – has landed him in hot water.
According to a report in the Chicago Sun-Times, Arena walked into the Town Hall District police station on May 11 ahead of a Cubs-White Sox game and demanded permission to park in their lot, two blocks from historic Wrigley Field. The lot is normally reserved for on- or off-duty police officers.
Controversy arose, first after the story of Arena's parking demands, and later when a Facebook post showed a photo of Arena with three other men during the game and no elderly mother in sight.
Arena so far has issued no comment on his mother not being there.
Northwest Side GOP Chairman Matt Podgorski told North Cook News it's never right for elected officials to ask for special privileges.
"I think he should apologize for basically treating the citizens of his ward and basically everyone in Chicago as if he's better than them," Podgorski said. "He's not entitled to anything that we're not (entitled to)."
But lest observers think a parking spot is no big deal and that the media have made it seem worse than it is, Podgorski said bigger issues are at stake.
"So it's not a big deal, an alderman parking in a police lot," he said. "But when you put it into context with he wouldn't take 'no' for an answer, and he just does his own thing without really a whole lot of regard for what a majority of folks in his ward want ... then it does become germane to this guy's character."
Podgorski said that given Arena's staunch support for public transportation, that might be a more viable solution to Arena's parking woes.
"I think he should either pay for parking, like everybody else, out of his taxpayer-funded salary, or take an Uber or a taxi," he said. "It's not appropriate for anybody to ask to park at a police station but a police officer."