Small towns make for big stories. Nothing better than local politics for amusing characters and drama.
Unfortunately I didn’t witness this story go down. Damn, I miss all the good stuff. The truth is elusive and I’m sure it is stranger than the second-hand fiction I will recreate here based on the neighbours’ “he said, she saids” and various biased newspaper reports, some examples here and here, all of which disagree on the facts and context. But here is the Not So Spanish version:
Picture the scene: Christmas parade, small children, twinkley lights, good cheer. Two local police officers sauntering through the crowd put a ticket on a car parked inside the parade route. While the officers are still on the scene, the city councillor in charge of parades informs the officers that the vehicle is actually an unmarked car belonging to the city. Official parade business, don’t you know. The officer replies something to the effect of, “What, do you think I’m stupid? This is your car, the street is closed, I am giving you a ticket”. Shouting and general unpleasantness ensue. The councillor’s parting jab is to demand the police officers give him a military salute since he is their superior.
Two hours later, the Mayor is enjoying a post parade beverage and cavorting with his citizens. And since it’s a small frigging town, the mayor spots the two officers from his bar stool. Mr. Mayor saunters out, drink in hand, and rips a strip off the officers for ticketing buddy’s car. The newspaper reports that “elevated voices were heard by the many parade goers in the area”. And to my eternal glee, my favorite detail of this entire story is confirmed in the union report. The mayor did not put down his beer while punctuating the Christmas glow with verbal aggression, in front of his voting public and their under-age children.
Now, the two police officers high-tail it over to the health center to get a blood pressure test and are placed on immediate paid leave of absence. Workplace stress they call it. Those small town christmas parades are killer. The traumatized officers charge the Mayor with harassment. Your move Mr. Mayor.
Upon realizing just how much shit has hit the fan, the Mayor reports the officers for subordination and lack of respect. The city councillor excuses himself from the situation saying that his foot hurts, duh, that’s why he can park anywhere he pleases. Even in front of his own parade. And everyone drives their cars home. Good chance their won’t be a road block tonight since the police officers are all at home lowering their blood pressure.
And the seasonal cheer has been packed up for another year. The city workers are taking down the lights and sweeping the parade route. The collateral damage articles are coming out. Some call for the Mayor’s resignation; this is yet another example of entitled politicians thinking the rules don’t apply to them. Others say the officers should resign, you can’t just run around putting tickets on important people’s cars, especially if they are filled with candy and are driven by drinking politicians.
I am still slapping my forehead for missing the show.