Council puts brakes on pensioner parking plan

A proposal to give car-owning pensioners a "golden pass" that would allow them to park their cars free anywhere in Tel Aviv has fallen flat on its face.

A proposal to give all of Tel Aviv's car-owning pensioners a special "golden pass" that would enable them to park their cars free anywhere in the city has fallen flat on its face during a council vote, reports Yediot Tel Aviv. The head of the council's pensioners' faction and the holder of the city's transport portfolio, Moshe Tiomkin, proposed the idea, and while several councilors supported it, others were opposed, saying it aims to advance the pensioners' party politically and is "inappropriate" in the year before municipal elections. According to the report, while many Tel Aviv pensioners who own cars are already entitled to "golden passes" - awarded to residents in certain areas of the city - an estimated 40 percent of car-owning pensioners live in areas that do not entitle them to the privilege. Tiomkin proposed extending the "golden pass" to every resident over the age of 70 with a valid driver's license and a car registered in their name. Mayor Ron Huldai supported the proposal, but deputy mayors Arnon Giladi, Doron Sapir and Pe'er Visner opposed it. "This is a populistic step aimed at advancing the pensioners' party in an election year," Giladi said. He said Tiomkin's idea would not help the elderly in impoverished neighborhoods "because they don't own cars," but was aimed at winning the favor of the wealthy elderly. "The parking system in the center of the city is in a state of total collapse, and Moshe Tiomkin, who holds the traffic and parking portfolio, is not succeeding in finding solutions for residents," Giladi said. He added that if all the city's pensioners deserved "golden passes," then so did the city's business owners, who contributed "so much" in municipal taxes. Tiomkin denied that his idea was "populistic" or motivated by the coming elections, saying it was a valid issue. "We are speaking about the residents who built this city … we should behave in a respectful way towards them," he said.