Rep. Mark Cohen: Just call him newsman

Most of us know state Rep. Mark Cohen's passion for weighing in on the news and issues of the day through prolific blogging and social media commentary. But that does not a member of the Fourth Estate make.

At least not when it comes to parking in Center City.

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So when a Commonwealth Confidential reader, who wants to remain unnamed, sent us this photo of Cohen's campaign car parked in a spot clearly designated for press on JFK Boulevard last week, we had to ask: what was he thinking?

Parking in many of those coveted spots (even on off-hours and on weekends, unless otherwise noted) requires a special placard - one that members of media organizations in the city must apply for through the Mayor's Office.

And the designated press spots around City Hall (in the area where Cohen's campaign car was parked) are particularly golden: placard-wielding reporters often trip over each other to get them. There are fines, too, if you park there illegally: $41, said Philadelphia Parking Authority spokeswoman Linda Miller.

For his part, Cohen said he wasn't the one who parked the car there on Saturday afternoon, around 3 p.m. - one of his campaign workers did. And that person, he said, is a circulation manager for the Philadelphia Sunday Sun. And has a press pass. And displayed it in the windshield.

O.K.

But when asked whether this person should be using a privilege specifically reserved for his day job for campaign work, the normally loquacious Philly Democrat had only this to say: "I have no idea."

UPDATE: Several hours after we posted this, Rep. Cohen sent us a message on Facebook to elaborate on his initial explanation for why his campaign car, dubbed the Mark Mobile, was parked in the press spot: the driver -- a circulation manager -- was on official assignment taking photos for his paper, he said.

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