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Mobtown Beat

Otis Rolley’s Big-Ticket Issues

Photo: Rarah, License: N/A, Created: 2011:03:09 11:16:36


One of Otis Rolley’s critics says he has noticed a disturbing pattern in his behavior of late. The 36-year-old city planner and mayoral hopeful has racked up 16 traffic violations on his Mitsubishi in the last year, dating back to March 25, 2010. Of these citations, eight are for meter violations, five are for speeding violations caught by camera, and three are for parking in a no-stopping or tow-away zone, totaling $536 in fines. Another car registered to Rolley’s address, a Lexus, bears seven infractions dating back to Sept. 27, 2007, totaling $290; the most recent came in January.

Rolley’s citation record was pointed out to City Paper by Sean Tully in the comments section of the recent feature on Rolley (“According to Plan,” Feature, March 16). Tully, who works as a freelance reporter, has been keeping a close eye on Rolley’s traffic record via OpenBaltimore and posting about it on, as well as in the comments on The Baltimore Sun’s and CP’s web sites. In one of his comments, he proffers the question, “If Rolley can’t keep track of his parking meter, how will he keep track of a big city government?”

When asked about the number of tickets his car has been issued, Rolley takes responsibility: “I did get parking tickets, as most individuals who drive cars in the continental United States do.” He adds, “When I’ve gotten tickets because the meter ran over, it’s because the meter ran over. When I’ve gotten tickets for going too fast, it was because I was going too fast. . . . It is what it is.” He acknowledges being the driver at fault for all of the citations issued to the Mitsubishi and clarified that the Lexus on record is driven by his spouse.

Despite Tully’s accusations, Rolley argued that his traffic troubles are an indicator of his commitment, not an omen of legal disregard.

“It’s not that I’m ignoring the law,” he says. “To be frank, it often makes more sense for me to try to stay in that meeting and resolve some of the issues that are being [discussed] with me . . . [and] pay the $22 not to cut people off.”

Despite his obvious dismay at the attention brought by Tully’s allegations, Rolley acknowledges that parking violations are “a matter of public record.” As of this writing, Rolley has paid all of his fines, save for the most recent two, issued on Feb. 28 and March 4—neither of which are past due. A total of $40 is owed on the Lexus.

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