It's true, the city's top bootman admits, that the 1,250 automobile owners who have D.C. VIP license tags numbered from 1 to 1250 are less likely to have their cars booted than the common folk.
But, according to Fred Caponiti, public parking administrator for the D.C. Transportation Department, the VIPs are not immune from ticket enforcement. Like everybody else, they must pay off tickets before their tags are renewed each spring.
The VIP tags are assigned by the mayor and the City Council to friends, officials, civic leaders, contributors and others.
The low-numbered cars are no longer listed on the department's "boot lists" of scofflaws with four or more tickets unpaid, Caponiti said, because the VIP tags change hands often--sometimes more than once a year. In the past, more than half the placements of immobilizing boots on such cars were in error, he said, since they were "earned" by previous owners of the cars.
A new computer system with more timely information will restore the VIP cars to the boot list next year, Caponiti said.
The telephone interview with Caponiti followed the filing of a lawsuit in D.C. Superior Court in which an organization called BETTER and its president, Harry Katz, alleged that it is unfair for low-numbered vehicles to be ignored when other cars are booted. The practice, the suit contended, is "arbitrary and capricious and denies . . . equal protection of the laws."
When the current booting system was begun in 1979, it was announced that the main targets would be suburbanites and other out-of-staters.