October 18, 1995
Web posted at: 1:25 a.m. EDT
From CNN affiliate KCBA
SANTA CRUZ, California -- He's fast becoming America's number one clown act, and Santa Cruz's top celebrity. Folks from all over are pitching in to support Mr. Twister, the clown who openly defied the city's now controversial parking meter law. (565K QuickTime movie)
He once was Santa Cruz's anonymous good Samaritan, feeding expired parking meters to keep motorists from getting ticketed. But in Santa Cruz, feeding your neighbor's meter is illegal unless you have permission from the car owner, so Mr. Twister has become an outlaw, and is on his way to becoming a cult hero.
In fact, Mr. Twistermania is booming everywhere except with the parking meter officers, who made it a point to stay out of the media's sight. Their bosses weren't talking either, except to say this clown act is costing the city money. (95K AIFF sound or 95K WAV sound)
The story's different on Mr. Twister's side of the street.
"It's hard enough just to get people to tolerate one another," said Mr. Twister, whose real name is Cory McDonald. "When you find someone doing something nice, you should support them. And when there are laws against this, it gets harder and harder." (213K AIFF sound or 213K WAV sound)
Kids who turned out to support Mr. Twister agreed. "He gives money to people," said one. "He's a nice guy. He doesn't just annoy you." Reminded that he's too young to drive, the boy said, "but I will eventually." And when he does, he hopes Mr. Twister will fill his meters.
But Mr. Twister's trouble are far from over. Last week he was slapped with a $13 ticket and cited for feeding other people's parking meters without their permission.
Mr. Twister has a court date, and his lawyer say's he's demanding a jury of his peers -- that is, if they can find enough clowns.
But it may not come to that. The mayor of Santa Cruz says she will support the repeal of the now-infamous parking meter feeding law. The city manager said he was seeking dismissal of the charge and a repeal of the ordinance.
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