Caught on tape: Councilor Huja cops handicap parking during Democrat candidate forum

| July 25, 2011 | 28 Comments

A Charlottesville City Councilor seeking re-election has been ticketed for illegal parking during a recent council candidate forum.

Satyendra Huja, a long-time city employee and one-term council member parked in a clearly designated handicapped area in front of Burley Middle School during last Wednesday’s political event. An eyewitness video (see below) shows Huja’s black Mercedes C320 (license: WAHGURU) blocking a curb-cutout ramp meant to provide access to the school for disabled persons parked in adjacent marked handicapped spaces. The particular spot Huja occupied was conspicuously marked to prohibit any parking. [story continues below]

When the forum was interrupted by a power outage, witnesses report Huja hurrying from the building to move his then-ticketed vehicle—ostensibly to prevent towing.

Although the designated handicapped area is a marked tow-away zone, a Charlottesville Police Department spokesman cited city code sections, which allow for but “do not mandate” vehicle removal under this circumstance. Huja was ticketed for violation of city code 15-133 but not towed.

In an email statement (copied in-full below), Councilor Huja says he “did not notice” the handicap signs surrounding the area in which he parked and did not knowingly occupy the forbidden space. Contradictorily, he then explains that he did not display a special City Council parking placard on his dashboard “because I don’t believe that allows me to park in handicapped space.” Pictures taken on-scene do show an unidentified photo / name card resting in the lower left-hand section of the councilor’s dashboard, but the origin and purpose of that document is unknown. While Huja has vowed not to repeat the error, his claimed ignorance of committing this infraction leaves his future prevention mechanism meretricious at best.

See Councilor Huja’s ticketed vehicle, a pictorial of the spot where he parked, and the adjacent signage:

July 23, 2011 statement of Councilor Satyendra Huja on his parking infraction:

I did park in the handicapped parking space by mistake. I was in a hurry and did not notice the handicapped sign. I did not have city council placard displayed because I don’t believe that allows me to park in handicapped space.

When someone told me I was parked in a handicapped space I moved the car during the power outage. I did receive a parking ticket which I have paid. I have never parked before in a city handicapped space and I do not plan to do so in the future. I am sorry this happened.

 

(Header photo of Satyendra Huja courtesy of Charlottesville Tomorrow)

About the Author:

Rob Schilling is founder of The Schilling Show Blog and News; host of WINA's The Schilling Show, heard weekdays from noon to 2 PM; husband; father; and community watchdog.
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28 Comments on "Caught on tape: Councilor Huja cops handicap parking during Democrat candidate forum"

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  1. Outraged says:

    An elderly very modest couple was seen walking up hill from the sports courts which are under construction. The wife was assisting her husband who shuffled his feet along in about 3 inch steps. The handicapped access was blocked by the Mercedes. They just wanted to get to the Democratic Candidates Forum where inside Mr. Huja was answering his transportation question. His funny line was about his alternative transportation being an elephant and a Magic Carpet.

    OUTRAGE

  2. Jane says:

    The behavior by a public official is inexcusable in occupying handicapped parking spaces. The evening was very warm. Mr. Huga put lives at risk. A person with heart issues may well have died because he/she was forced to walk too far. In blocking handicapped access, people in wheelchairs or those using walkers were put at risk.

  3. Outraged says:

    Notice the abundance of yellow paint on the handicapped access ramp. Perhaps he mistook this for his Magic Carpet?

  4. Ken says:

    I can’t wait till Ken Boyd gets a parking ticket, because I’m sure we’ll read all about on Rob’s blog.

    “I did not have city council placard displayed because I don’t believe that allows me to park in handicapped space” could have been better worded, but the charitable reading of it is that the reason he parked there wasn’t that he thought he was entitled to as a city councilor. But the Schilling Show, while it claims to stand for Christian values, is not about charity toward its political opponents. None of that love your enemy stuff for Rob. No, he looks for ways to shame and embarrass them. I hope you never need the benefit of the doubt, Rob, much less a little mercy. Like, say, on Judgment Day.

  5. Al says:

    Ken, Your rant is unconvincing. The truth is your man has crossed a line. Citizens are closely watching. Huga acts, behaves as if he is above the law. The Schilling Show has exposed a concerning pattern. Mr. H is on board becaue he votes the way he is ordered to vote.
    As Huja made a stupid and glaring error, my first thought: How can anyone trust that Huga is capable to sensibly carry out the complicated business of city government?

  6. Donna says:

    The part of the story that intrigues me is the car. This man is a liberal politician right? In light of Coy’s show on 7/20 – how is it that the government is “giving” him enough to afford such a luxury? He must not be paying his fair share of taxes. Doesn’t he know that he should be paying more in taxes and pedaling a bike to meetings to save the environment? And if he was paying his fair share the food stamp program could be expanded. After all, those dollars are put right back in the economy.

    Really – if Coy’s show is on the podcast take a listen…

  7. Ken says:

    The truth is your man has crossed a line. Citizens are closely watching. Huga acts, behaves as if he is above the law. The Schilling Show has exposed a concerning pattern. Mr. H is on board becaue he votes the way he is ordered to vote.

    Apparently anyone who gets a parking ticket is acting as if he’s above the law. Or is it just people who pay them who are acting as if they’re above the law? And there is no pattern exposed in this post. If you’re referring to Huja’s supposedly voting as he’s told to vote, I will ask you to provide evidence for that. Oh I know, Rob was in the city council and he knows how the place works, which in fact means that he imputes the worst motives to all his political opponents and overlooks anything his political allies might be criticized for. And his loyal listeners lap it up, because he tells them what you want to hear. Rob’s is a “hate-free show” and I’m the King of Siam.

    As Huja made a stupid and glaring error, my first thought: How can anyone trust that Huga is capable to sensibly carry out the complicated business of city government?

    I guess no who’s ever had a parking ticket should ever be trusted to serve in government.

  8. Al says:

    Ken, There ARE witnesses to other parking or driving violations involving the same vehicle. Somehow you are missing something.
    The issue in receiving a ticket is not my only concern. Why do the words arrogant, clueless, and disrespectful come to mind in pegging Mr. H?

  9. Jane says:

    Mr. Huga should have offered a sincere public apology to handicapped individuals during the candidates forum. After all, Huga placed some people in harms way. He very easily could have made a relating annoucement while answering questions.

  10. Ken says:

    There ARE witnesses to other parking or driving violations involving the same vehicle. Somehow you are missing something.

    You are not clueing me into anything, nor is there any such claim made or evidence for it provided in Rob’s post. And as a conservative, did you vote for George W. Bush? If Huja’s bad parking has you so exercised, how could you vote for a guy with a DUI?

    And the man’s last name is Huja with a j.

  11. Al says:

    Ken, You have not properly done your homework. The evidence exists. The eyes of the community are quite keen and public reports have surfaced. It is your responsibility to properly do the research before you react. Wipe the sand from your eyes.

  12. Ken says:

    Actually, Al, it’s the responsibility of people making charges to present evidence for those charges. That’s how our legal system works, obviously, and outside of the legal system that’s just basic fairness.

    In any case, I see you’re unwilling to answer my other questions. Your jump from a parking ticket or tickets to arrogance, etc. is pure, ideologically-driven presumption.

  13. Al says:

    Ken, you have not adequately followed the media reports. Charlottesville citizens are speaking up in this case. It is not my job to hold your hand. Stay informed or don’t waste others’ time.

  14. Ken says:

    Hmmm, Google isn’t informed either, it seems. All I find is a reference to a speeding ticket that he himself mentions back in 2003. Ever sped, Al?

    My challenge stands. 1) Provide evidence of multiple infractions, and 2) evidence that those infractions make him “arrogant, clueless, and disrespectful.”

  15. Al says:

    Ken, I heard public comment within a media stream yesterday. The comment has been documented. No, I haven’t garnered a speeding ticket or a parking ticket in my life. I drive daily and I make the personal choice not to speed or otherwise break the law. Interesting Huja received a ticket in 2003. Looks to me he hasn’t learned a lesson.

  16. Ken says:

    Al, I didn’t say Huja received a speeding ticket in 2003. I said that back in 2003 he mentioned having once received a speeding ticket. And he mentions having had young kids at the time, so it was probably a lot longer back.

    And you answered me about your own driving but not about Bush (or other things). Didn’t his record disqualify him for the presidency? I mean, that’s pretty silly, but it’s by your logic, not mine, that a stupid and glaring error is disqualifying. Anyhow, I’ve made my point. You can have the last word if you want it.

  17. Jane says:

    My take: The George Bush argument is now over and not the issue here. Ken, why not mention Clinton? He surely betrayed the public trust. We should hold all of our public officials to the highest standard. In the case of blocking very visible handicapped access, Huja has not demonstrated making respectful or wise
    decisions. Huga appears out of touch.

  18. Ken says:

    Jane, please read carefully. I mentioned Bush’s traffic violation only in comparison to Huja’s comparatively minor one, and dismissed the idea that it disqualified him for the presidency, an office immeasurably more important than Huja’s. Of course Clinton betrayed the public trust, but not by getting a traffic ticket, and the issue Al raised is whether a traffic violation renders Huja incapable of being a wise city councilor. In fact his parking in a handicapped spot is hardly a betrayal of the public trust, unless you leap to the unfounded conclusion that he did so thinking he could get away with it.

    But what are the chances he thought a parking violation would go unnoticed at an event potentially drawing a large number of people? And what are the chances he thought he could avoid getting a ticket at an event sure to draw the city police? What are the chances he’d risk an almost certain ticket and almost certain embarrassment? No, common sense suggests that he just wasn’t paying attention. Have you never made a dumb mistake because you weren’t paying attention?

    To presume instead that Huja’s ticket shows disrespect is poor and uncharitable reasoning, and is typical of Rob’s reasoning about his political opponents. What Rob engages in day after day is character assassination.

  19. Jane says:

    Now now Ken. You are behaving as a spoiled brat! Grow up. You obviously have an agenda and also too much time on your hands. Rob didn’t write the comment?? I made the post. Makes no sense to bash Rob?? Rob has great skill and success in bringing a message to all of Charlottesville. The “other side” is certainly getting under you skin. I find myself laughing at your childish chatter. Bye bye Kenny.

  20. Ken says:

    Jane, the belittler just belittles him or herself. People who can rebut an argument don’t need to resort to insults.

  21. Al says:

    All, Read the last comment submitted by Ken.
    (Labeling another as a “belittler”) Ken you have just provided the best example ever in “the pot calling the kettle black”. Look in the mirror Ken.

  22. Ken says:

    So you can’t tell the difference between criticizing and insulting, Al? (I knew someone would try that one). I don’t believe you.

  23. Al says:

    Ken, You are losing your shirt on this blog. At this point I see no reason to further engage with you. I feel as if I’m dealing with a cranky/whiny child in responding to your rage.

  24. Ken says:

    Rage? I expect you’re projecting, Al, and projecting in a tiresomely common way. One’s ideological opponents are always “childish” and “angry” and other such derogative terms which are always asserted, never shown, and are presumed to somehow, God only knows what it is, to settle the question. I am a “spoiled brat,” according to Jane, never mind any attempt to tie that to anything I said. I have an “agenda,” which is apparently bad, as if Rob doesn’t have an agenda for lower taxes and smaller government.

    I invite you and Jane to respond to the content of my criticism; tell me why what I posted at 9:37 is wrong, or else we can agree to disagree. Insults never settled an argument.

  25. John says:

    Wow! Looks like Ken SCHOOLED Jane and Al.

  26. Watchful Eye says:

    Luxury car. Personalied license plate. Since it was YOU who had the downtown mall bricked, why don’t YOU walk??

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