Councilman Blames His Handicap Parking Violation on Photographer of Incident

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Scott Matas Comes Unglued After Exposed for Blocking Two Disabled Parking Places

Councilman Scott Matas handicap parking

Photograph illustrating Scott Matas handicap parking from city of Desert Hot Springs video.

DESERT HOT SPRINGS, CA – A Desert Hot Springs city councilman found himself in an embarrassing moment at last Tuesday’s council meeting when confronted with pictures showing him parking across two handicap parking spaces at Wardman Park next to the baseball field.

The incident occurred over the summer and was captured in photographs taken by an unknown source of the blue Chevrolet pickup owned by Councilman Scott Matas seen parking horizontally across two handicap spaces, blocking handicap access to both parking spaces.

“Obviously people in my community want to embarrass me, and they did,” said Scott Matas, blaming the photographer. “It is true. That is my vehicle.”

Scott Matas was confronted at the council meeting during public comments by Radene Ramos Hires identifying herself as a personal friend of the late Councilman Gary Bosworth who was a strong advocate for handicapped access and was himself handicapped.

Hires brought with her a large picture showing the truck belonging to Scott Matas parked across the two handicapped parking spaces.

Councilman Scott Matas handicap parking

Disabilities advocate Radene Ramos Hires exposing Councilman Scott Matas parking violation.

During his council comments Scott Matas explained that at the time of the incident it was nearly empty with only three parking spaces occupied in the sixty space parking lot. The councilman said he was only there “for a few minutes unloading equipment.”  [He did not say that the nearest vacant parking space was only a few feet away from where he parked.]

Scott Matas did not react well to the situation, although saying he specifically remembered the incident, and that it was a mistake.

“One of my volunteers said you can’t park in the handicap and made a joke about it. Well, its not a joke. You should not park in the handicap,” Matas said.

During his council comments at the end of the meeting Scott Matas addressed the issue with harsh words for Hires.

‘Congratulations for Embarrassing Me’

“Congratulations for embarrassing me,” said Scott Matas. The councilman was caught in a pickle. On the one hand he was admitting his mistake while on the other hand he was not taking responsibility for his actions by blaming others for exposing what happened. Deflection is a toxic conundrum familiar to children and too many politicians these days.

Carrying on and taking credit for his contributions, Scott Matas said his time amounted to “hundreds if not thousands of hours of volunteer time for Little League.”

“I helped find $1.5 million dollars to help renovate that field and the soccer fields.” Scott Matas said, explaining he has been a member of the Little League for 15 years including service as coach, manager, umpire and board member.

Although adjournment of the council meeting turned off the lights of the Carl May ball field, that did not send Matas to the locker room. Late night play of extra innings brought Number One up to bat again.

Who’s to Blame

After the meeting Scott Matas went on a hunt to find out who had taken the picture.

After the council meeting, at 11:00 P.M. that night the hunt began with an email sent out to members of the Little League organization demanding to know who had taken the picture of his truck in the handicapped spaces.

His email ended by notifying Little League members that he was considering resigning over the incident and that he would reach a final decision and let everyone know by the end of the week.

The councilman again blamed his embarrassment on the handicapped activist who confronted him about his violation.

Meeting Started with Disability Proclamation

The meeting started off with the city approving a Disability Awareness Proclamation. Ruthie Goldcorn, a disability rights advocate with California for Disabilities Rights spoke in public comments about the need for better disability access for those with special needs.

City leaders, by and large, have been sensitive to those with disabilities. Councilman Scott Matas was first appointed to serve on the city council to fill the seat of Gary Bosworth, that well-loved council member who was wheelchair bound and who passed during his term.

Former mayor Matt Wyuker suffered a degenerative motor impairment, becoming immobilized while serving in office and requiring a wheelchair as well as assistance in communicating.

Ticket Fixing

The councilman’s comments were at various times apologetic while staunchly justifying that what he did was right because equipment had to be unloaded and no one was there when the violation occurred.

After repeatedly placing the weight of blame upon Mrs. Hires for exposing his violation, instead of paying the fine he declared how he will fix the ticket.

“I will look up what the fee is to receive a ticket for parking in the handicap,” said Matas. “I parked in two of them.  …I can’t say how much it is to receive a ticket but it can’t be more than $250. A Little League sponsorship is $500 so then I will personally sponsor a Little League team, and if that is not kosher enough to Mrs. Hires then she can name an organization and if I support it in this community then I will donate that money to it.”

“I think its right to do the bigger thing. I spent hours there that day giving my own time, my own sweat and a volunteer took a picture and it obviously got in the wrong hands. Mrs. Hires, you embarrassed me in front of this city council and in front of the city of Desert Hot Springs. I congratulate you because it is election season and people wanted you to do that. I’m sorry for that. But you did embarrass me. So, thank you.”

With all that being said, Councilman Scott Matas was finished.

V C Section 42001.13

Imposition of Fine Unlawful Parking in Disabled Space

42001.13. (a) A person who commits a violation of Section 22507.8 is subject to either a civil notice of parking violation pursuant to Article 3 (commencing with Section 40200) of Chapter 1 of Division 17 or a criminal notice to appear.

(b) If a notice to appear is issued and upon conviction of an infraction for a violation of Section 22507.8, a person shall be punished as follows:

(1) A fine of not less than two hundred fifty dollars ($250) and not more than five hundred dollars ($500) for the first offense.

(2) A fine of not less than five hundred dollars ($500) and not more than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) for the second offense.

(3) A fine of not less than seven hundred fifty dollars ($750) and not more than one thousand dollars ($1,000) for three or more offenses.

(c) The court may suspend the imposition of the fine if the person convicted possessed at the time of the offense, but failed to display, a valid special identification license plate issued pursuant to Section 5007 or a distinguishing placard issued pursuant to Section 22511.55 or 22511.59.

(d) A fine imposed under this section may be paid in installments if the court determines that the defendant is unable to pay the entire amount in one payment.

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Dean M Gray

Writer, Artist & Publisher at Desert Vortex News
Dean started in the newspaper business at the age of nine earning 90 cents a week walking 4 miles delivering a newspaper door to door. 500 miles later he began writing his way out of a paper bag and traveling uphill.

For over 40 years Dean has been published in a variety of small newspapers and magazines. As publisher he founded an alternative city weekly newspaper in 2008 and published over 200 uninterrupted issues over 4 years to over 20,000 readers via 800 locations (and online) before selling the business. Now online with over 4 million readers worldwide.

Dean is a Master Carpenter and the author of the biography of Hilda M Gray, desert homesteader. He served as Planning Commissioner for the city of Desert Hot Springs from January 2014 to January 2015 when he resigned.

Dean M Gray is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors and lives in Palm Desert, California.
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11 thoughts on “Councilman Blames His Handicap Parking Violation on Photographer of Incident

  1. He embarrassed himself twice. Parking in the wrong spot and his actions at the council meeting. Scott Matas. Get over your sense of entitlement, quit your hissy fit. You’re mad because you got caught. Belly up to the bar and pay your fine. You broke the law period.

  2. Is he truely volunteering or is he volunteering on the expectation he can cash in later on his volunteer time? His long winded diatribe about his volunteer hours makes it clear he views volunteering as something he can bank, to be spent later. In this case, to make a handicap parking violation ok. That’s not a volunteer. It is a serious character flaw. The right answer was to say he made a mistake, he was wrong and he won’t do it again. His volunteer hours have nothing to do with it. Acceptance of responsibilty for his bad behavior does not seem part of his moral character as proved by his little speech.

    Little League ball players are taught you don’t just do the right thing when the umpire is looking, you do the right thing all the time. Mr. Matas thinks it only a problem if he gets caught. Then Mr. Matas goes looking for the person that caught him, no doubt to exact some sort of retribution, blame others for his bad deed (who took that picture), and pouts in an email to the little league that he is going to quit little league. He is acting like a child taking his marbles home because he lost. Somebody better find the person that took that picture of me and stand up for me or I am going to quit.

    That bad moral example deserves a quick response. Mr. Matas should be told don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out. The behavior of Mr. Matas is not the kind of example that should be set for young and formative minds. Little League should use this whole affair as a learning experience to teach the kids how NOT to act. They might end up also teaching Mr. Matas that his behavior and his response is totally unacceptable. Mr. Matas needs to grow up.

  3. Matas blatantly raped the law & violated the disability community. Matas should be fined the maximum amount, he has 2 violations there, so that’s $500 for the first, $750 for the second. We don’t accept his phony offer of donation to the little league. No, make him appear before the judge. His antics are DISGUSTING. Make him resign from office. Any politician who is so blatantly full of him self that he would not obey disabled parking laws is scum. If he can’t honor the rights of the disabled by simply parking a few spaces away as is law, we cannot know how many other things he has done without getting caught.

    • Yes, I also wonder what else he has done that he has not been caught at?
      Perhaps Timmy Brophy would know. His business partner in Shamrock Cleaners.
      He does not deserve to be a council member of DHS. He started as an appointment just like Jan Pye. Guess that is how you get your foot in.
      He needs to be fined, on the record, not just volunteer to give the money to a charity he approves of. That is not the way it works in the real world outside of politics.
      Own it Scott!

  4. Enough already! It isn’t that he broke the law, it’s the manipulation and deflection of the consequences that piss me off. This is the same tactic that is used on bigger issues that affect the tax payers of this city of which Mr. Matas has no regard for other than how it would benefit him. His follow-up after the meeting is typical bully behavior and I’m sure he’s already justifying his actions with a “look at what you made me do” attitude.
    Please don’t reelect this guy or his little gang back into office. The attitude that you can “fix” a violation on your own terms is a dangerous one for a politician’s constituency. Regardless of all the “good” you do, you are not exempt from the law.

  5. IMr Matas should be embarrassed. its silly season and he got caught plain and simple and needs not blame others and pay up very plain and simple.
    He’s like another past council persons who avoided the fines and penalties of being stupid. That other councilman totaled his vehicle with no license or insurance. He even had the DHS police tow his vehicle so code enforcement officials would not see the said vehicle parked in a public place to avoid embarrassment. Yes all true.
    Council people are there as public servants to lead by example,not there to use it as an excuse or get of Jail free card
    Shame on Councilman Matas – or to early to say Ex-councilman Matas?

  6. Oh, poor Scott. It seems like everyone is picking on him and trying to embarrass him in front of the city council. Gee, that’s too bad.
    You broke the law and you got away with it. That is the real embarrassment that you should be aware of. Handicap parking is just what that means, parking for handicap people. But then you might be mentally handicapped and that would qualify you for handicap parking.
    You are just like Karl Baker when he had his car wrecked in Palm Springs. He had the police tow the car to their lot so code enforcement would not cite it and yet he had no insurance on the car and everyone covered up for him.
    Give it up Scott and pull out from the election before you make a complete ass out of yourself. Sorry, but I take that back, you ALREADY have made a complete ass out of yourself.

  7. Hello my thoughts just kicked in, here Mr. Matas is on the Riverside transportation commission
    and on the DHS Public safety commission, he should have acted better, known better, instead of being caught and embarrassed he should have said “guess i woke up stupid that morning” every body knows parking fines in handicapped places are $250.00 ea and more, that’s why we don’t park in them, even more so, he used two spaces!!! Maybe he should retake the DMV written test?

  8. So, instead of doing the RIGHT thing and apologizing PROFUSELY, this idiot is going to blame the WHISTLEBLOWER who turned him in? WOW, that’s like blaming the cops when you’re pulled over for speeding! FIRST, man up and ADMIT you did wrong! SECOND, grow a few and take FULL RESPONSIBILITY for your idiotic arrogant behavior! THIRD, IF anyone is out to “get you” it might be your bad behavior that you’d be focused on, NOT how you look to the voters in your community! Best way to overcome your stupidity? Do random acts of KINDNESS that overshadow your childish pranks! GOOD LUCK with that, by the way!

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