Chef Daley Serves Up A Dish Chicago Just Can’t Stomach

A big steaming plate of shit.

That’s what Chef Daley cooked up for us up back in December.

With a smiling face, and his trademarked stuttering delivery, he served up a $1.15 billion dollar parking meter lease deal that reeked worse than even certain rank areas of Lower Wacker Drive, utilized by the homeless, to vacate their bowels, on Summer’s hottest day.

It smelled then. It smells worse now.

Since December, Daley has been trying to feed Chicagoans his poo-poo platter of poor parking and privatization policies, while telling us how great it should taste.

First, he ladled bowlfuls of his crappy deal to the City Council. While many of them initially recoiled in disgust, Chef Daley force fed them his fetid stew until all but five aldermen, in just two days of alleged deliberation and without any real information, ended up chowing down.

Chicago motorists first began smelling something funny when the now quadrupled meter rates began showing up on meters. The stink grew worse when the shocking realization of longer hours of feeding the meters, and no more free Sundays or meter holidays.

A putrid smog of frustration spewed over the skyline from Daley’s City Hall kitchen, when the transition from city to the now privatized parking meter system, under the control of Morgan Stanley aka Chicago Parking Meters, LLC and their operations partner, LAZ Parking, went terribly wrong.

A rash of broken and intentionally vandalized meters, mislabeled meters confused motorists, meters overflowing with quarters because of the quadrupled rates and not enough personnel for quarter collections, and meters registering wrong times or no time, angered motorists in every corner of the city, who promptly turned their noses up at Daley’s disgusting dish.

That stench refused to dissipate after the city and the new lessee claimed they had fixed all the problems about three weeks ago. But just last week, a massive failure of over 250, or nearly half of the new Pay & Display pay boxes, leaving an even worse taste in the mouths of Chicagoans.

As more things went wrong with the meter transition, and the details of the hastily passed deal, came under the bright light of scrutiny, more and more people got angrier and angrier, and the stench grew to Biblical noxiousness.

A hurricane of complaints overwhelmed ward offices, along with a flurry of negative press and now the formerly meek and emasculated aldermen, suddenly, shockingly, removed their nose plugs long enough to begin their chorus of mea culpas and rationalizations. It seems the fear of losing an election somehow cleansed their political palate like a refreshing lemon sorbet, and emboldened most to now be critical of the deal they so willingly lapped up back in December.

Then this past Friday saw Attorney General Lisa Madigan, the somewhat effective EPA of corruption and malfeasance within Illinois, saw the cloud of evil smog over the city, and thought it politically convenient to begin sniffing around.

The only people that haven’t come around Daley’s kitchen to check for rat infestations in this meter deal is Patrick Fitzgerald’s U.S. Attorney’s office.

Perhaps, if we get lucky, perhaps the feds are peeking around the back door of the kitchen and they can help us take this piece of crap deal off the menu.

Then Tuesday, the Inspector General’s Office, after five months of looking around the Mayor’s kitchen, and taste testing Daley’s deal, weighed in with its scathing review of what Chef Daley has forced down our collective throats. No stars! The IGO’s report exclaimed.

But Daley, continues to claim this deal he cooked up is tasty and healthy for the city, because Morgan Stanley’s $1.15 billion dollar payment not only filled the budget gap, but allegedly insured a balanced budget through 2012, saved jobs, kept taxes from rising and gave the city a $400 rainy day fund.

Chez Daley’s current Maitre d’, Paul Volpe, and Sous Chef of this disgusting deal of fecal discharge, angrily responded to the IGO report, indignatly saying, “This transaction provided great benefit to Chicago taxpayers and residents, allowing us to continue providing vital services and avoid steep tax increases during this difficult economy,” Volpe said.”It is insulting to suggest the City Council made that decision irresponsibly and without proper information.”

Unfortunately, the reality is, Mayor Daley, Volpe and his administration miserably and disastrously mismanaged city finances, putting Chicago in such a weakened financial state, they had to desperately grasp for the first quick and “easy” money that came around. Morgan Stanley stepped in like one of those Payday Loan companies that populate the poorer sections of the city, and Chef Daley, ponied up the title to the meters, then took the money and ran. Fast.

Chef Daley and his sycophantic waitstaff, faced with the prospect of having a budget hole of historic precedence, decided to look for the easiest short term fix for their problem, without any regards for the long term, or if the parking meter lease deal was actually good for the city.

Then the administration purposely withheld pertinent information and critical details of the lease deal, from aldermen and the public in order to push it through the city council as quickly as possible. Once passed, the money was sucked into the budget black hole, never to be seen again.

Chef Daley’s inedible meter lease deal filled his budget gap, and allowed him to sock enough money away, to finance his upcoming personal epic-sized bacchanalia in 2016.

The parking meter lease deal, is unique as, unlike the many Turd du Jour’s that the Daley Administration has served up before, none have been as repulsively fragrant or prepared so awfully or served in such a large helping.

Seared, souffled, sauteed, baked, fried, it doesn’t matter.

No matter how Chef Daley prepares his entree’ of crap, no matter how much parsley he uses when he plates this dish, no matter how many beautiful culinary adjectives he uses to describe this entree on the menu, it’s still crap.

20 Responses to Chef Daley Serves Up A Dish Chicago Just Can’t Stomach

  1. Illinois Patriot says:

    Well said!!!

  2. JohnD says:

    Geek: I don’t think you should beat around the bush. Instead, come right out and say what you believe.

    Seriously–WOW! This is really what needs to be said.

  3. Redd says:

    Daley talking about leasing beach volleyball courts for 10 billion dollars for the next 150 years to a consortium of investors operating under the name Chicago Volleyball Poles LLC. They would charge hourly rates for the courts and you will be able
    to use your credit cards in pole mounted fare boxes. Unauthorized use would be prevented by under sand spikes similar to parking garage exit spikes. Keep an eye on your toddlers at the beach.

  4. 1PBFOO says:

    Nobody has really figured out the math here…

    The city has gone on record saying that they earned $20 million/year from meter revenue–cash, not tickets. Subtract $4 million/year for meter maintenance, employees, etc. and the meters provided $16 million/year for the budget. So after we blow through the money, the budget will be $16 million/year short for the NEXT 75 YEARS–and that assumes no increased revenue from higher meter rates!I guess that hole will be plugged with even more ticketing…

    To add, even basic math seems to escape our “Dear Leader-Mayor”. $16,000,000 X 75 years = $1.2 billion–and that assumes no increase in meter rates! So, we gave away a MINIMUM of $1.2 billion in future revenue for $1.16 billion in present $$$. Let’s do a little more fun math. Let’s assume that, city-wide, meter rates increased by 50%. (Not a bad assumption since rates increased by 300% in cheap areas to 16.67% downtown). Revenue would go to $24,000,000 – $4,000,000 maintenance, so $20,000,000. So, $20 million X 75 years = $1.5 billion. Throw in some net present value calculations and we really got screwed…

  5. DoR Employee says:

    Brava!!!

  6. Justin says:

    I don’t know what’s up with 1PBFOO’s math, but a 50% increase on $20 million isn’t $24 million, it’s $30 million.

    And “throwing in some net present value calculations” doesn’t make the value go UP, it works the OTHER way. That is, a promise of $20 million next year is worth less than the certainty of having $20 million today in your sweaty little fingers. So say the discount (ie. interest) rate is 3%, then $20 million next year is worth approximately $19.4 million in cold, hard, shiny little quarters today. A promise of $20 million 2 years from now is worth the same as $18.8 million today. And so, you then add up these “discounted” values to find the Net Present Value of your future stream of income, and you’ll see that it’s actually much LESS than a straight product of 75 x $20 million. (Think Mega Millions lump sum payout: on a $30 million jackpot, they’ll either give you $1 million each year for the next 30 years, or give you roughly $17 million up front….. or -$2.3 million after taxes.)

    So the fancy math is really in the assumptions. I think your 50% increase assumption is too conservative, I would put it more like 100% just based on the majority of meters being outside of downtown. Then you have to assume an interest rate. The lower the interest rate, actually the LARGER the lump sum payment would be. (Just think, if interest rates were 0%, there would be no difference between $20 today and $20 one year from now — that $20 would not have grown with a zero interest rate). Back in December, interest rates (30-year Treasury) were about 200 basis points lower than they are today, roughly around 2.6% in mid-Dec. We also have to build in expectations about inflation (a particularly tricky one), at least when we think about the maintenance costs side of the equation. In theory, inflation in meter prices are a known variable, because they can be set.

    Okay, my assumptions of the December 1, 2008, do-nothing scenario: Inflation=1% annually. Meter net income=$16 million ($20-$4 million). Discount rate 2.6%. Net present value= $692 million.

    “WHAT?!” you say. Well, sonofabitch we DID get a good deal! We rooked those Morgan Stanley bankers for over $300 million! No wonder these guys need Fed bailout money, making decisions like that!”

    Well, tweak the meter prices a little bit, and it’s a whole different story. I mean, that’s what this is all about, right? If meter rates couldn’t be raised at the discretion of — by the way, who gets to determine rates? — then where’s the advantage of this deal?

    Anyway, lets look at what we know actually happened alraedy. Overnight, meter rates on average doubled, so our starting revenue is now $40 million, less $4 million maintenance, for a net income of $36 million in year 1.

    Now, let’s say that the cost of maintenance will follow expected inflation (as it stood in December) like any other goods and services, at around 1% annually — this is normal everyday stuff like labor and equipment. However, the juice in this whole deal is the ability to set those meter rates at a level that maintains a nice profit margin, right? So let’s say if general inflation is expected to average 1% annually, the powers in charge are going to manage the meter rates at a 2% annual increase. (This would make a rate of $1/hour today the equivalent of about $4.30/hour in 75 years.)

    Make these 2 changes in assumptions (starting net income of $36 million and 2% annual increase) and suddenly your Net Present Value approaches….

    wait for it…

    ….

    ….

    $2.2 Billion.

    So yeah, the conclusion of “we really got screwed…” is dead right. But it’s not borne by the mere multiplication of $16 million x 75 and applying an NPV formula. Come on, there’s no magic in that.

    The real magic is in the assumptions made, and whether they are realistic and fair.

    My opinion is that the assumptions made by those working out this agreement were biased heavily in favor of investors, and against the hardworking, highly-taxed, and now alienated, citizens of Chicago.

    Oh, and before I forget, that Volpe quote, “It is insulting to suggest the City Council made that decision irresponsibly and without proper information.” No, what IS insulting is that Volpe thinks any reasonable person will believe that it is possible to make a responsible, well-informed decision on a proposal of this magnitude and complexity, on a contract that probably ran into hundreds of pages of legal verbiage, within a mere 2 or 3 days, with Richard Daley breathing down one’s neck all the while.

    Mr. Volpe, as an agent of the citizens of Chicago, should have been asking the HARD QUESTIONS, pushing back on the assumptions being trotted out, and questioning whether or not the taxpayers of this city were in fact getting the very best deal that could be had. Though, if you ask me, it’s never wise to sell the cow if it means you then just have to turn around and buy the milk.

    Especially when you have only one cow.

  7. hilarious Joe says:

    Well I think the bottom line in all of this is that you could have had a room full of 50 double ph.d’s in mathematics and economics and it would have taken them a few weeks to wade through the math and various assumptions and variables involved to produce a coherent range of possibilities and recommendations and turn that into a detailed report. So how in the hell can the vote of the 42 (yea votes) aldermen come back in less then 48 hours be called anything but a “RUBBER STAMP”?!

  8. SS says:

    “But Daley, continues to claim this deal…allegedly insured a balanced budget through 2012, saved jobs, kept taxes from rising and gave the city a $400 rainy day fund.”

    Yeah, since when does City Council vote on a budget 3 years ahead of time?! Even if it were true, we are to believe that giving up the revenue for 75 years is worth it for 3 years of a balanced budget? History suggests we might have another recession or 7 or 8 in the next 75 years. Sometime over the next 75 years, they’ll have sold off everything and will actually have to do their jobs.

    Geek: I’m not sure if it was a error or purposeful jab, but I enjoyed the “$400 rainy day fund,” that should protect us for a millisecond!

    Justin: Thanks for going into some non-fuzzy math. Lord knows I’m not going to do it, but the calculations are even worse when you take into account not only increased fees but extended hours.

  9. borehamwood says:

    If this deal was supposed to have balanced the current budget and leave a $400M rainy day fund, how come city employees are still being badgered about taking more unpaid (furlough) days off etc?

    And how come none of our intrepid reporters never ask the question that many taxpayers are asking; if the city is this strapped for cash now, how can it possibly think about hosting the 2016 olympics???

  10. jackle says:

    Don’t forget to include Sundays and Holidays in those calculations.

  11. And don’t forget that meters are going bye bye in favor of pay and display boxes — bigger box for quarters means less labor to empty them, taking credit cards too, even less labor, non-union workforce, cheaper labor. So they’ll be saving a fair amount in the coming years.

    And isn’t Daley a supposed biking fan? I wonder if he has ever tried to lock his bike to a pay and display unit. I’m sure the city will get stuck paying for the bike racks to replace the lost bike parking from taking out all of the meters.

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Hilarious Joe-

    I was talking to an alderman, whom I will not name, and he says, even if there is a legal way to get out of this deal, it probably would not matter.

    That’s because Daley has 26 votes he can always count on, no matter what.

    Yes, rubber stamp is correct HJ.

  13. Greg says:

    Everyone is touting these pay boxes as for working to the advantage of the citizen, but one thing no one seems to be mentioning is this completely eliminates parking in a spot with left over time.

    In a metered space, if it had time left over on it, it didn’t cost you anything. With the pay box, it doesn’t matter if the previous car left with an hour to go – you still need to pay. So it creates a great opportunity of CPM actually getting twice the cash for the exact same time.

    Convienance for parker? No – just more profit for CPM.

  14. John Adams says:

    Greg Said:
    “In a metered space, if it had time left over on it, it didn’t cost you anything. With the pay box, it doesn’t matter if the previous car left with an hour to go – you still need to pay. So it creates a great opportunity of CPM actually getting twice the cash for the exact same time.”

    Of all the things said, this is what blew my mind. Depending on the timing, they may actually get 8 or 10 dollars for an hour of parking in 1 spot! WOW!

  15. Ticketmaster says:

    I would like to point out a few things.

    1. Greg Says:

    “In a metered space, if it had time left over on it, it didn’t cost you anything. With the pay box, it doesn’t matter if the previous car left with an hour to go – you still need to pay.”

    that is called piggy backing, and technically not allowed. Even if there is an hour on the meter, you should still drop a quarter in. As of right now, we really don’t enforce it. But we all know that things can change at a moments notice.

    2. The Pay and Display box’s create even more parking spaces. For example, if you take a block that has 10 meters on it, that is 10 spots. Now if you put in a P & D box in, and remove the poles, extra space is opened up, creating even more spots. So a 36k meter spots may actually turn into 40k+ meter spots.

    3. Even more disturbing, is the way more meters are still being installed. I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a collegue, who noticed more and more meters “suddenly appearing” at areas that traditionlly did not have any. I am wondering, was this taken into consideration on the calculations.

  16. candidates says:

    can we start advertising for new candidates to run against daley and all of the aldermen who support this insane daley meter deal?

    Maybe there are enough irate people that will decide it is better to die trying than for daley to kill them off with taxes, fees and parking tickets.

  17. Greg says:

    “that is called piggy backing, and technically not allowed. Even if there is an hour on the meter, you should still drop a quarter in. As of right now, we really don’t enforce it. But we all know that things can change at a moments notice.”

    It may technically not be allowed, but it is awful difficult to enforce, isn’t it? The payboxes pretty much guarantee more money than used to be collected.

    “3. Even more disturbing, is the way more meters are still being installed. I got a call a couple of weeks ago from a collegue, who noticed more and more meters “suddenly appearing” at areas that traditionlly did not have any.”

    What I am curious about is if these new meters have to be approved by the city, where they previously approved by the city with the contract, or does the contract give CPM the right to place meters anywhere they want?

    If the latter, what is to stop them from putting meters on residential sidestreets, so people have to pay for simply parking in front of their homes?

  18. Ticketmaster said:
    “2. The Pay and Display box’s create even more parking spaces. For example, if you take a block that has 10 meters on it, that is 10 spots. Now if you put in a P & D box in, and remove the poles, extra space is opened up, creating even more spots. So a 36k meter spots may actually turn into 40k+ meter spots.”

    Not bloody likely. Have you seen the way people park in neighborhoods where there are no lines or meters? There are some idiots who leave extra room to get their car out or prevent their bumpers from getting dinged. If it didn’t screw over the other citizens I would start doing it on purpose. I might anyway… I’ll make it so that 2 spots turn into 1 spot plus 2 spots for motorcycles or smart cars.

    Removing the poles also removes bike parking. Thanks for that by the way.

    But you keep drinking that Kool Aid. You seem to enjoy it a lot.

  19. Fred White says:

    I find it amazing that the cronies “Aldermen” and Daley are complaining the city is broke while at the same time Increasing the Aldermen’s budget over FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND per year PER ALDERMAN, or over TWENTY FIVE MILLION DOLLARS per year. They complain about being 30 Million in the hole and ask the employees to take off furlow days and give up their holliday pay to help balance the budget – THEN GO OUT AND SPEND 55 MILLION DOLLARD ON new Police vehicles whick get 50% less gas millage than the ones they had. IRRESPONSIBLE is the only word to describe this Administration.

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