— Dave S (@daves_32) October 20, 2018
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Here are three symptoms to watch for when trying to determine if an elected official has been around for too long:
- They don’t believe the laws governing our behavior govern them
- They stop caring that we know the laws governing our behavior don’t govern them
- When it’s documented they’re breaking those laws in such a way that it becomes politically embarrassing they may reluctantly apologize, but know full well they’ll break those laws again
Jack Evans has hit this trifecta. Evans is the longest serving member in the history of the Council of the District of Columbia, taking office in 1991.
Last week, for at least the second time, a tweet showed Evans parked his car too close to a fire hydrant. The car was in a no parking area at a stop sign approximately eight feet from the plug on P Street NW at 32nd Street in Georgetown.
Some will see this is as a minor infraction. I make the case that, taken in context with his parking history, Jack Evans is selfish, arrogant and even dangerous. It’s clear his convenience takes priority over the safety of the people he serves.
“Fight Night” hydrant blocking
Four-years-ago Evans was spotted parking his car in front of a fire hydrant in the West End and heading to the nearby Ritz-Carlton to attend “Fight Night”. The picture from November 17, 2014 (below) actually earned a rare apology from Evans about his parking. He told Popville.com:
I want to apologize for parking in a fire hydrant zone on Thursday evening. To be honest, I didn’t realize there was a fire hydrant. That is, of course, no excuse, and I now fully recognize that was not a legal parking spot.
— Mike DeBonis (@mikedebonis) November 17, 2014
Evans has immunity from some parking infractions
Jack Evans is well known for leaving his car wherever he wants, parking restrictions be damned. Even though it’s piss poor leadership for an elected official to show such arrogance, the law is actually on the council member’s side when he parks in most no parking zones. Of course, that’s a law enacted by Evans and his fellow council members. It was in 2002 that they gave themselves the same parking immunity as members of Congress. Here’s what the parking regulations say:
Jack shows he cares … about himself
In DC you can’t legally park within 10 feet of a hydrant. So, even the law that exempts Evans from most parking violations would not excuse what we see in the picture from last week. The law also says, for Evans to be exempt from any violations, he must be on “official business”. Guess who lives just four doors from the intersection of 32nd and P NW and has been spotted by his neighbors parking in no parking zones near his home many times.
What all the pictures tell me is that Jack Evans really doesn’t give a crap about anyone but himself. Blocking a fire hydrant is an enormously selfish act. Jack Evans believes whatever he was doing when he parked too close to the hydrants was more important than the safety of anyone who lives near those hydrant or the safety of the city’s firefighters. Jack Evans couldn’t be bothered with walking an extra block or two to his home or to the hotel where he attended “Fight Night”. If a fire were to have occurred, we should all be comforted knowing Jack would be safe and warm inside his home or sitting ringside at the Ritz-Carlton.
It should be noted that Evans, who earlier in his career chaired the committee overseeing the DC Fire & EMS Department, has long been a supporter of DC’s firefighters. That’s what makes his hydrant parking so infuriating. A supporter of firefighters should know this is unacceptable.
Jack’s mail carrier blocks the same hydrant
Today (Tuesday), when I visited the neighborhood to measure the distance from the stop line where Jack Evans parked to the hydrant, look at what I found.
The man who delivers the mail to the Evans home also parks on the same fire hydrant as Jack. When I confronted him, the mail carrier saw nothing wrong with his parking. I guess if the man who represents this community on the DC City Council gets away with it, why shouldn’t everyone?
Besides his role on the council, Evans is also the current Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, AKA Metro. STATter911.com has called out Metro employees on numerous occasions for parking on hydrants. Now we know the problem starts at the top of the organization.
It isn’t just fire hydrants
The selfishness of Jack Evans is well documented beyond his occasional hydrant parking. Here’s another of his parking jobs from last year, again published by PoPville.com. Nothing says “Do you know who I am?” like leaving your car parked in a crosswalk so those in wheelchairs have to ride in the street for a block to get to the next sidewalk cut.
Earlier this year, Eric Kmetz confronted Evans on video after seeing Jack sitting in his car reading a paper while parked in another no parking zone not far from the council member’s home. That’s when Evans pointed out that his parking habits are anything but selfish, telling Kmetz, “If I park illegally, that opens up a spot for you.”
That statement shows me I missed one of the key symptoms of a politician overstaying their welcome. When they start telling us their self-serving–and even dangerous–actions are actually being done to help us, you know it’s time for them to go.
I don’t live in the District of Columbia and am under no illusion of any influence on the Ward 2 residents who vote for Jack Evans. Jack has been very popular with his constituents. Still, a real leader would not return the loyalty that has kept him in office for 27-years by putting their safety behind his own convenience.
(Note to Jack Evans: If you’re interested in explaining any of these actions, feel free to write a response to this post and I will publish it unedited.)