GALVESTON — Mayor Lewis Rosen was in a rush Thursday morning, trying to reach the groundbreaking ceremony for the city’s new downtown transit terminal.

He made it on time and was “very honored” to be there, but when he returned to his white Chevy Suburban, he found that he wasn’t getting back to City Hall right away.

Rosen’s SUV was booted by parking attendants Thursday after he failed to pay the $5 fee required in the lot at 25th Street and Santa Fe Plaza. City public information officer Elizabeth Rogers also had her car booted.

Rosen was good-natured about the incident.

“Being very thoughtful, I decided not to park on the street and not to take up the spots of the older people who were parking (for the groundbreaking ceremony),” Rosen said. “I just didn’t see the sign.”

The lot is across the street from Shearn Moody Plaza, which is home to a number of county offices, including child protective services and the probation department. The lot has been privately owned since last summer, when it was taken over by GTP Parking. 

Rosen said he was able to get out of the situation without paying the $5 fee or any extra penalties.

A GTP Parking spokesperson said the company uses discretion in collecting fees. Normally, the company charges $100 to remove a boot or $300 if a vehicle is towed. The spokesperson said the lot is checked about every 10 minutes because of high use.

Rosen has been a major proponent of paid parking in the city — especially on Seawall Boulevard. He said that he has also heard complaints about problems with the kiosks downtown, and that if it is an issue, it will be considered by the city council in the near future.

“I think that we’re going to be addressing that issue to make sure that we make those operating properly,” Rosen said.

Rosen might soon be able to find more convenient parking spots on the west end of downtown. The transit terminal that broke ground Thursday is planned to include 170 new public parking spaces.

Contact reporter John Wayne Ferguson at 409-683-5226 or


(18) comments

Lars Faltskog

I'm a bit disappointed. Not setting a good example by 1. lack of time management by rushing around - and, 2. using the "being in a rush" as an excuse to be non-compliant.

Good for him that he "got out of" paying. Bet most of us regular folk wouldn't be as lucky. As I say, "Here in Topeka, the flies are a buzzin'."


The mayor should have been ticketed and paid the fine, if nothing more than for public relations. Now it appears it was his political status that made them drop the fine. What did he tell them not to get ticketed? Was Rogers let go as well? Sends a not so great message to the everyday person in Galveston.

Mike Meador

Great! The Mayor, himself, got to skate without paying for the boot? I'm going to take my copy of this when I go to park and I think I shouldn't have to pay either, at least one time!

Benton Sullivant

I'm against paid parking downtown. It is a big tax on downtown workers and residents. Locals pay the vast majority of this tax, not the once-in-a-while tourists. And for the "free wi-fi", what a joke. Those machines can't even communicate with themselves in a timely manner, some can't process coins, often the receipt function does not work, and If you put in a quarter to run in a store 6 minutes later a guy in a blue shirt is standing by your car staring at his watch to ticket you the very second it runs out. And as for public safety, if a partier leaves his/her vehicle downtown overnight because they took a cab, an orange invitation will be on their windshield in the morning. Downtown Austin lets you pay in advance for the next morning to deter drunk driving. And a boot? Pretty extreme for a parking meter violation.

Marine One

I'd begin by saying that rules are rules, and they are there for everybody, not just a select portion of society.
I'd end by saying that maybe our elected public officials that are expected to run this city, attend events, meetings, ribbon-cutting ceremonies should be issued a window sticker/plaquard in order to attend official functions to exempt them from penalty for that event only.
Government officials are reimbursed for fuel/maintenance while using their personal vehicle for business, the same applies for parking garages, tolls, etc...

Dede Edwards

Pay the fine and the $5.00 parking fee. You should be fired for using your title to get out of the fine. You didn't see the sign. Okay, get an eye exam and new glasses while you are paying your fine.

Stephen Murphy

It's not like Rosen can't afford to pay. He lives in one of the most expensive homes on one of the nicest lots on Offatt's Bayou. He should have paid the fee and the fine, mayor or not.

Lars Faltskog

Yep, GalvTex - it really sends a wrong message, and the more I think about it, the more it's stuck in my craw. Either way, I DON'T think a mayor or any city official needs to be "exempt" from paying for parking. Most of the time, they're about to do just what Rosen was about to do - be a figurehead at a groundbreaking ceremony.

Having them get free parking is ENTITLEMENT. Bad example to set. He should pay for parking like the rest of us, or pay up if he gets a ticket. If he's in a rush, then he can get one of his secretaries to drop him off. Then, while he's at the ceremony, she can go pick up his 'to go' lunch. Geez - some people live a life of luxury and entitlement.

Rich Gray

Geez Mayor, is $5 that important to you?
Pay the fine!
Any other citizen would have had to!
'I didn't see the sign' is the oldest one in the book.
Set a good example sir, 'cause the one you did set is just plain wrong!

Steve Fouga

Of course he wouldn't pay the fine. That would ruin the image he's worked so hard to craft during his first year in office.

Island Bred

It's good to be king...........If there are so many ground breakings and ribbon cuttings for Galveston why is she financially struggeling?

I understand the sticker idea by BOI and somewhat agree with it but is he abuses the postion of Mayor by slithering out a fine and a ticket (afterall he is the friggin MAYOR - he should KNOW about Galveston and not have to rely on signage for anything) imagine what he would do with a parking permit. His cousins would be borrowing his car to park. On the other hand I can see this little man hailing a cab and charging it to the city next time or ordering up a city vehicle with a driver just to make a point.

Either way with Rosen at the wheel Galveston is screwed.

George Croix

A private owner of a private parking lot, or any other privately owned business, can ingratiate himself with anyone he wants. You got the gold, you make the rules.
Other customers are free to take note of it, too.
To me, though, a five buck fee, and 100 bucks for a boot removal, seems like a small price to pay for a few ounces of personal integrity, and a demonstration that our leader(s) do not consider themselves above their constituents. We're all in this together loses something in the translation, when we are are demonstrably not.
Local, regional, state, national.

Marine One

Tsk tsk tsk.....humorous how many 100 pct law-abiding, rule-following citizens that chime in...
I sure wish the parking police would take over the city's code enforcement job. Good Lord, with their attention to detail and hard core perspective of their parking duties, this city would sparkle and shine. Might even show up on Google Earth!

Blanca Bell

Didn't see the sign, whatever. Everyone knows that a private lot or garage is pay per use.

Lars Faltskog

TO: 1960BOI posted at 12:36 pm on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 -

Well, BOI, I am 100% in the camp of "law abiding". I like peace of mind so I don't want to go about life worrying about paying for excessive traffic fines, delinquent mortgages, and the various other self-damaging extra-curricular life activities that some seem to engage upon.

I'm gettin' kinda angry reading about what the mayor did here. Aside from it involving modern technology, i.e. reminds me of a storyline in Bonanza where the crooked town mayor got off scott free stealing, embezzling, or roughing up townspeople who didn't agree with him. In this case - first, it's a parking ticket he hornswoggled himself out of. Who knows what's next??

Wonder if it will make the TV news. Who knows, maybe an entry in the "bum steer" awards.

Zen Sailor

What's ironic is that this guy got elected to "run the war against all of those lowlifes that felt "entitled" because they had nothing and needed help it seems that due to his wealth, or stature, or both, he feels "entitled" and is apparently comfortable being treated as such...What do we classify this as: arrogance or ignorance?

Stephen Murphy

@1960BOI - Please, spare us the condescension, which, by the way, reminds me why I rank politicians below used car salesmen and telemarketers.

Eve Monteith

Hopefully, Rosen will get "the boot" next election.

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