Politicians not in office, but don't tell their number plates

Longtime State Sen. Marty Connor lost his reelection bid last fall, but you wouldn't know that from looking at the vehicle he drive.

Connor, an election lawyer in Brooklyn, has number plates reading "25 SD" - presumably referring to the 25th Senate District, which he represented for 30 years.

The former senator, who registered the number plates just days before his successor was sworn in, brushed off the suggestion that his number plates referred to the seat he lost in November.

"That's your conclusion," he said. "I don't have to tell you why I picked the plate."

Connor isn't the only former politician sporting number plates that appear to give an air of authority. Several former City Council members own cars with number plates starting with an official-looking "NYC."

June Eisland, 69, said she received the "NYC 49" number plates more than seven years ago when term limits ended her 22-year run on the City Council and she turned in her official number plate.

"There's a certain nostalgia for me," she said. "I have a great fondness and still get a great thrill when I walk up the steps of City Hall."

"I never gave it any thought after that day," she said, adding that she doesn't believe she receives any privileges because of the number plates.

The state Department of Motor Vehicle said both the "NYC" number plates and Connor's plate are simply number plates any driver can request for a fee.

"There are no special privileges that go with these plates," said DMV spokesman Ken Brown. "It's just a simple, personalised number plate that anyone could request."

The advocacy group Transportation Alternatives said that, for some government workers and elected officials, number plates that appear official are part of a "culture of entitlement."

"Official-looking number plates, to our eyes, are one of the most widespread ways that people skirt the law and manage to avoid parking enforcement," said the group's spokesman, Wiley Norvell.

Herbert Berman, who was a City Council member from Brooklyn for 26 years, said he asked for an "NYC" plate after term limits also ended his run about seven years ago.

"I'm proud of living in the City of New York," he said. "I have always touted the City of New York and I'm very proud of the city, and I wanted my plate to reflect that fact."

Berman noted the number plates give him no special rights. "It's not an official plate," he said. "It's a vanity plate."

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