Oakland Mayor-Elect Explains Why She Got The Boot

Not even the mayor-elect is safe from parking tickets in Oakland.

Incoming mayor and current Councilwoman Jean Quan had her car booted Tuesday in front of Oakland City hall for having 12 unpaid parking tickets totaling $1,440.

The booting comes as Quan and her fellow officials have taken center stage in recent controversial parking fiascoes in Oakland.

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The District Four councilwoman was part of a huge backlash from residents after council members approved a $2 an hour parking meter hike in 2009 and extended meter enforcement from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m.

The move pushed some to complain that it was technically illegal to drive and watch a movie in some parts of the city.

Then in February, Oakland parking enforcement officers claimed they were told by city officials --  not necessarily council members -- to selectively enforce parking tickets across the city.

Officers said they were told to issue warnings in affluent neighborhoods for some of the same infractions they were told to issue tickets for in some of Oakland's poorest areas.

This week, Quan learned first hand the cost of not paying those tickets. Within hours of the Chronicle's resident muckrakers Matier and Ross calling Quan about the unpaid tickets, the boot was removed from her car. The new mayor issued a statement where she admitted to the tickets and said she learned how far behind she was on the payments when her car was booted.

"Over the course of the last year my family and I have been extraordinarliy busy on my campaign," she said in a statement. "During that time we accumulated several parking tickets. My husband who has been handling the family's bill for the past year thought that we were reasonably current."

The Oakland Police Department told NBC's Jodi Hernandez that the booting is part of an enhanced effort to collect unpaid fines in the city. From January to October this year, the program has netted Oakland $2.1 million.

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