Alderman Hairston Goes To Pittsburgh?
Warns Steel City Against Parking Meter Lease Deal
Alderman Leslie Hairston (5th) was out of her Chicago office Thursday.
Ms. Hairston decided to spend the day in, of all places, Pittsburgh.
The alderman, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, was in town at the behest of Pittsburgh City Councilman Bill Peduto, to share her views on Chicago’s experience with leasing its parking meter system with the Pittsburgh City Council.
Pittsburgh, like many major American cities struggling with massive budget deficits, is considering leasing its parking garages and parking meter system ala Chicago, to raise much needed funds.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Ms. Hairston, who flew to the Steel City on her own dime, warned their city council of the pitfalls of privatizing the city’s parking garages and/or parking meter system.
Ald. Hairston, one of only five aldermen who opposed Chicago’s lease deal, spared none of the bloody details of what most view as a fiasco for Chicago.
The Daley Administration, according to reports, declined to send a representative to speak at the meeting.
Hairston’s visit comes a day after representatives from Morgan Stanley infrastructure investment group tried to convince the Pittsburgh city council not to vote for an independent, outside evaluation of these assets.
A stance that angered many council members according to the Post-Tribune article.
In concluding her appearance Thursday, Ms. Hairston told the Pittsburgh council, “You all should be complimented for having the guts — and I do mean the guts — to take this on and to challenge it and to question it.”
Council members were pleased with Ms. Hairston’s insights.
“I’m really glad you made the trip,” Councilman Patrick Dowd told her.
Pittsburgh, if it ultimately decides to move forward with privatization believes its combined parking assets could raise about $200 million. Chicago leased it’s parking meter system for $1.16 billion in December, 2008.