Did Joe Kelly Levasseur Abuse His Aldermanic Parking Privilege in the Past?
Manchester, NH — The revelation that a Queen City parking control officer filed a police report against Alderman-at-Large Joe Kelly Levasseur after he verbally abused her while writing a ticket for illegal parking has raised the question whether the incident illustrates a pattern of scofflaw behavior on Levasseur’s part. The altercation also has raised questions on whether Levasseur’s intimidation of city employees violates the City Charter.
Joe Kelly Levasseur parked his car in a disabled parking spot in February 2020, with the aldermanic parking placard on display on the dashboard. A passerby photographed the illegally parked car, and the placard, and posted it to Facebook.
In responding to the Facebook post, Levasseur — an indefatigable social media warrior — said that he wasn’t aware that he parked in a disabled zone.
It can be assumed that the alderman is not disabled, as his vehicle does not sport a disabled placard that permits parking in such spots, although that assumption could be in error. Alderman Levasseur may have assumed that the aldermanic parking placard allows him to park anywhere.
If he did, he was in error.
At the time of the Facebook post, this journalist made an inquiry to Manchester City Clerk Matthew Normand about the official policy on the use of the placard. This was Normand’s reply:
Thank you for your email. There are no codified rules related to a parking placard issued to aldermen but rather it is explained and understood that the parking placard provides them free parking in a legal parking space while on City business. If an alderman is not already permitted to legally park in an handicapped accessible parking space, the mere fact that they display a City-issued aldermanic parking placard does not exempt them from state law.
Joe Levasseur has twice claimed to be ignorant that he was illegally parking. The problem with Levasseur’s claims is the problem that plagues Levasseur: namely, his truthiness.
Truthiness, a word coined by Stephen Colbert, is described by the Online Dictionary as “the quality of seeming or being felt to be true, even if not necessarily true.”
Many observers of Manchester’s political scene would go further, when assaying the quality of a Levasseur statement, than equating it to truthiness. Some, such as his one-time nemesis Rich Girard, may hearken back to the conclusion of the State Attorney General’s Office, in its report on Levasseur’s charges against that the Manchester Police Department and former MPD Chief David Mara, and brand him a liar though, truthfully, the report merely said that there was “insufficient evidence to support Levasseur’s version of events.”
A professional mouthpiece, as a member of the New Hampshire Bar, one can’t fault Joe Kelly Levasseur, Esq., for using the “I didn’t know defense.” If it worked once, why not go on using it? In other words:
If ain‘t broke, don’t fix it.
Press reports of Alderman Levasser’s reckoning, though, intimates a feeling, that under the new Chief of Police, perhaps a system that was broken, regarding giving alderman and other powerful people a pass when violating the law, has been fixed.
Time will tell.