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Sunday, March 28, 2010

Trading Parking "Birthright" for a Mess of Pottage?

Chicago & Privatized Parking

In an effort to streamline unethical practices and boost illegal profiteering, Mayor Richard M. Daley announced sweeping new plans Monday to overhaul his city's "antiquated" system of graft.

According to Daley, Chicago's once-great fraudulent institutions have grown obsolete, and City Hall is no longer bilking taxpayers out of as much money as it once did.

"It's been business as usual for too long in Chicago, and now it's time to find more efficient ways to misuse authority for personal gain," said Daley, who has served as Chicago's mayor since 1989. "We must modernize our illegitimate activities right now, today, before it becomes impossible for public officials to act in my best self-interests."

--"City 0f Chicago to Modernize Outdated Graft Programs"; The Onion (3/27/2010)

So, a financially strapped government facing a yawning budget deficit enters into a deal -- brokered by Wall Street -- to sell its rights to a steady stream of cash payments in perpetuity for a one-time, lump sum payment.

Greece, right?

Try, the City of Chicago and its parking system.

Since striking the extremely unpopular deal last year, Mayor Richard Daley has been castigated for selling the rights to the parking system for a relative pittance.

Exacerbating matters: the private corporation now in charge immediately raised parking rates city-wide, and extended metered hours (they now include Sundays, till 9 p.m.!).

Except instead of parking meters -- which were all removed -- there are now kiosks in the middle of each block (pictured above) that dispense stickers with timed expiration dates.

What's the significance of that?

With no more marked parking spaces, you can squeeze in more cars. And it does away with driver #2 inheriting any "unused time" left on driver #1's meter.

Good thing Minneapolis is running a budget surplus, and won't be tempted by such short-term gimmicks!

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