The Meter Lease Deal – A Daley Double Part 1

Part one of a seven part series.

GEEK EDITOR’S NOTE: We are very excited to welcome former Administrative Law Officer for the City of Chicago and the author of Stick It To Your Ticket to the pages of The Expired Meter.

Mr. Zeiger, after spending 15 years neck deep in the machinations of parking enforcement for the city, seems like the perfect person to bring perspective to Chicago’s parking meter lease deal. Without further ado, here’s the first installment in Mr. Zeiger’s multi-part analysis.

By Sheldon Zeiger, JD, CFP

What a great Chicago story.

It’s the kind of saga where urban legends are made. The details will make the hair on the back of your neck stand on edge. If this tale wasn’t actually true, there is no way anyone would believe it. What a fantastic moment. We have the unique privilege of watching Chicago folklore in the making.

The business transaction itself is bizarre, truly absurd. A sitting local government, mayor and City Counsel, decide to lease the income stream from the 36,000 parking meters on the streets of Chicago. This isn’t a straight up sale, but a lease agreement for 75 years.

So let me get this straight, the streets of Chicago are like Hong Kong and Morgan Stanley is like the British Empire. As far as anyone who’s alive and over ten years old is concerned, a 75 year lease is for all practical purposes a sale.

This is not like selling the naming rights to a public building or selling a public parking lot. It’s not even like leasing a toll road, where drivers have alternative routes.

A sitting mayor and aldermen actually sold our city streets! The very streets where you I live and have no choice but to park our vehicles everyday. If this doesn’t stretch the outside of the envelope for privatization of public assets, I don’t know what does?

It’s difficult to wrap your mind around how outrageous this transaction really is. Let me help you. Why doesn’t Mayor Daley lease or sell an entire neighborhood? It’s the exact same thing. I’d like to sell Hyde Park. We could even throw in the Museum of Science and Industry and the University of Chicago.

I’m certain that we could entice a large private equity firm or perhaps the Chinese government would entertain my Hyde Park lease proposal. I’d bet that the Chinese would consider Hyde Park’s lake front, real estate potential and the tax revenue from existing businesses. I’m also confident that the Chinese would pay dearly for possession of one of our country’s finer private colleges. Could we entice the Chinese to cough up say $40 billion for this real estate and intellectual capital? If this deal works, the possibilities are endless. We could resolve Mayor Daley’s fiscal budget deficits well into the next decade, which may or may not, cover the remainder of his term in office.

On December 4, 2008, the City Council voted 40-5 to lease the city’s parking meters to Morgan Stanley. The vote was taken two days after the sale was made public and finalized. The lease agreement was disclosed to the full City Council on a Tuesday, with a vote taken on Thursday. How could 40 sitting aldermen, in good conscious, vote for such a complex transaction, without proper review? Mr. Mayor, your not even transparent with your own City Counsel, how can the citizens of Chicago trust that your being honest with them?

Morgan Stanley through their surrogates Chicago Parking Meters, LLC and LAZ Parking took possession of the meters on February 13, 2008. Under the terms of the lease agreement, Mayor Daley and the City Council have allowed Morgan Stanley to raise parking rates every year until 2013.

THE DALEY ADMINISTRATIONS PERSPECTIVE

This lease agreement, almost, makes sense in a “Chicago” sort of way. Here is what happened from the cities perspective.

According to Mayor Daley’s recollection, he had been considering this deal for a couple of years. I believe him. He’s most likely been considering this meter deal since 2005, when he sold the four parking garages, the 9,178 spaces underneath Millennium Park to Morgan Stanley for a cool $563 million. You know the parking lots we built with public funds and had all those annoying construction problems we had to pay for, a few years back. Mayor Daley calls this current meter lease deal a “concession agreement”, I call it an “unconditional surrender”. He argues that the city made an informed financial decision in accepting Morgan Stanley’s bid.

Mayor Daley blames the lease deal on the worst economy since the Great Depression. He maintains that Chicago was in such a desperate financial condition that he had no choice but to lease our streets in order to plug a several hundred million dollar hole in his city’s budget. But/For the lease deal, he would have had no choice but to increase our real estate taxes. In other words, his rational for this monstrosity of a deal is his ever present and continuing city budget deficits. I have a few questions. Hasn’t Mayor Daley been the mayor of Chicago for 20 years? Isn’t it the mayor’s job, even in times of recession, to show fiscal restraint and balance the cities budget?

So just out of curiosity, whose fault is it that the City is broke in the first place? Isn’t the city’s share of the nation’s highest sales tax of 10.25% sufficient to balance your bloated budget? Could anyone please explain to me how selling our meters at a fraction of their value in any way shape or form improves Chicago’s long term financial condition?

I’m convinced that Mayor Daley made a rational business decision to sell the meters in Chicago. Once again when I say “rational” I mean “rational” in a Chicago sort of way. Prior to this lease deal, mayor Daley was well aware that the cities parking meters only generated between $20 – $25 million per year in revenues.

Daley and the aldermen know very well where the “real” money comes from regarding the 1.4 million vehicles registered in Chicago. Parking tickets-$164 million, Red-light cameras-$40 million, City Stickers and Permits-$150 million. Add booting, towing, storage, drivers license suspensions and the revenue from the remaining city owned parking lots-$50 million plus. This comes to a whopping $400 million dollars per year. This is serious money, even for Mayor Daley and the aldermen.

So, what was Mayor Daley thinking? What was his internal dialogue?

I believe that he was saying to himself, if someone wants to pay me $1.157 billion for $20-$25 million in annual meter revenue and I’m not going to be the one who takes the heat for increased meter rates and I get to retain the $400 plus million per year in enforcement and fees. Hum, what should I do?

It took Mayor Daley, Bea Reyna-Hickey at the Department of Revenue and Alderman Ed Burke, the Finance Committee chairman about 2 seconds to make that decision. Daley simply didn’t care about the meter revenue. This would almost be funny if the citizens of Chicago weren’t the schlemiels paying for all this nonsense. I think that Daley violated the law of unintended consequences. Given his hubris, it never occurred to him that there would be such an ugly public back lash regarding this lease.

In late 2005 and early 2006, negotiations were pending between Morgan Stanley and William Daley, Jr. In effect Morgan Stanley had acquired the necessary political clout in its hiring of New York City-based public finance banker William Daley, Jr.

William Daley, Jr. is the son of Mayor’s youngest brother William Daley who happens to be the Midwest chairman of JP Morgan Chase & Co. I realize that this family connection has absolutely nothing to do with why Mayor Daley is so obviously cozy with Morgan Stanley. There is absolutely no proof whatsoever of any direct correlation between selling the Millennium Park Parking Garage – America’s largest underground parking system and the leasing of the streets of Chicago to the same financial services firm. I’ve been informed that any appearance of impropriety and any potential conflict of interest are all entirely coincidental.

The only question I have is for William Daley, Jr. William, I was wondering if “public finance” was your first or second choice as a major, in MBA School?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Sheldon Zeiger is an attorney and certified financial planner practicing in Chicago.

Zeiger worked as an attorney within Chicago’s parking enforcement program since its inception in September,1990. For 15 years he worked as a hearing officer with the Department of Revenue, Parking Enforcement Division and as an Administrative Law Officer with the Department of Administrative Hearings.

During his tenure with the city he adjudicated over 100,000 parking tickets in person and by mail.

He is also the author: Stick it to Your Ticket The Unofficial Guide to Beating Your Parking Ticket in Chicago

21 Responses to The Meter Lease Deal – A Daley Double Part 1

  1. Scott Davis says:

    Great article Sheldon. Excellent info and insight.

    Incredibly, a recent New York Times article from December 5th,, 2009 revealed that the sovereign wealth fund of Abu Dabai is a 25% owner of Chicago Parking Meters LLC.

    http://nyti.ms/91SOky

    Also mentioned in the NYT article is the fact that Dubai has been seeking a bailout from oil rich Abu Dabai in light of their recent financial troubles…

    “… when the government of Dubai recently encountered economic troubles, the financial markets looked to Dubai’s cash-rich neighbors in Abu Dhabi for help. And in the case of the parking contract, the parking meter company projects a net income of about $58 million in 2010 , after this year more than doubling what the meters had brought in for the city.”

    On December 14th, 2009, Dubai got their bailout from Abu Dabai, to the tune of $10 Billion.
    On December 29th, 2009, Chicago Parking Meters Announced the 2010 rate increases.

    So, 1/4 of the profits from your parking meter charges in Chicago are going to fund Abu Dabai’s government and their reckless bailout of Dubai.

  2. TheReader says:

    I have a hard time believing Sheldon is an expert on anything given his inability to grasp the difference between the words “your” and “you’re”. So excuse me for dismissing another nut job who throws out accusations that the City got a “bad deal” without backing it up with any facts. Or maybe it’s a bad deal because one can not write about transactions that goes well.

    Sheldon says there’s no there’s no difference between a sale and a concession, but there is a world of difference. But you have to know what YOU’RE talking about to realize that.

    Sorry Sheldon, you are way out of your league buddy. Stick to tickets my friend, because ignorance is not bliss in the real world.

  3. TheReader –

    Two issues with your post.

    1. Sheldon managed to make 2 typos in 1300+ words. You made 1 in 123 words. I would say that Sheldon pretty well kicked your ass in the typo/word department.

    2. I saw plenty of facts in his article. Calling him a nut job without proffering your own facts to refute his (yes, it is a FACT that Daley shoved through the deal in 2 days) just makes you out to look like a Daley shill. I’m convinced you’re a Daley shill and I’m pretty sure everyone else will see you that way, too.

    I was going to stoop to your level and call you an idiot and point out all kinds of other issues with your post but since you don’t see the similarity between a 75 year concession and a sale it would be out of your league to understand.

    Oh, screw it. I’ll stoop to your level. You are either a relative of Daley or some overpaid, clout hire. In either case you’re the clueless one.

  4. And to save you the time of searching for your typo:

    “…one can not write about transactions that goes well.” That should be go, not goes.

    And since you’re being childish enough to point out Sheldon’s typos I actually found another one in yours:

    “Stick to tickets my friend, because ignorance is not bliss in the real world.”

    You, my friend, are missing a comma. So, stick to sucking up to the Daley family instead of attempting to give grammar and spelling lessons.

  5. John Adams says:

    Well, since we’re all stooping, I hate to be left out.

    The Reader said:

    “Sheldon says there’s no there’s no difference between a sale and a concession”

    But although I bet one could go through Sheldon’s article and find more than just 2 mistakes I’m not going to do that. I’d rather put my energy into getting the gist of the article and seeing whet I can learn. But that seems like something sensible to do, and when one wants to merely prove their own side they often lose objectivity and common sense.

  6. The Dude says:

    Two typos? No, these are systematic grammatical errors, and they are not representative of the type of writing I would expect from an attorney.

    “A sitting local government, mayor and City Counsel”
    You mean council. I would call this an excusable typo, but the same mistake is made a few paragraphs later.

    “If this doesn’t stretch the outside of the envelope for privatization of public assets, I don’t know what does?”
    That question mark really doesn’t belong.

    “Here is what happened from the cities perspective.”
    It’s the city’s perspective. I stopped counting this error after three repetitions.

    “But/For the lease deal”
    This is wrong for so many reasons.

    These few examples are in addition to the several dozen comma, capitalization, and apostrophe problems, as well as the your/you’re issue. Sheldon, you surely have a great story to tell, and we want to read it. Don’t undermine your message with poor writing. I will give you a pass on this piece and just assume you were drunk.

    Let’s look forward to improvement in part two.

  7. TheReader says:

    The key difference, my friends, is that I’m not writing a seven part series. I’m not putting myself out to be an expert, I’m commenting in a reader’s forum. IF I were to write an article, I’d proof read it, I can assure you.

    And the larger point is this. When you don’t take the time to check for the MOST COMMON AND SIMPLE typos, it demonstrates exactly the type of research you do…NONE. Of course Sheldon hasn’t looked into the facts, he can’t even take 5 minutes to proof his work.

    Sloppy work, distorted views, no facts, continued whining from the ignorant. Basically, more of the same from the vocal minority.

  8. John Adams says:

    What are we, English teachers? Like I said, I knew we could find more than two grammatical errors in his article. But I prefer to try to listen to what he’s actually saying instead of just picking apart his grammar. Good thing this isn’t handwritten, we’d be grading his penmanship as well.

    It’s kind of like when you write a letter to your Grandma and she sends it back to you with red corrections all over it.

    Does anyone have any thoughts with substance about the actual article? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Anyone?

    OK, I’ll get us started…

    Sheldon wrote:

    “It took Mayor Daley, Bea Reyna-Hickey at the Department of Revenue and Alderman Ed Burke, the Finance Committee chairman about 2 seconds to make that decision. Daley simply didn’t care about the meter revenue. This would almost be funny if the citizens of Chicago weren’t the schlemiels paying for all this nonsense. I think that Daley violated the law of unintended consequences. Given his hubris, it never occurred to him that there would be such an ugly public back lash regarding this lease.”

    As far as I can tell, this is the whole crux of the matter. This is why so many of us are so mad. It’s we citizens who are paying for this madman’s decision. He put the weight of the deal on our backs.

    The whole idea of parking enforcement as a business is wrong. It is not ethical to use LAW as a means to make money. The law is for the protection of the individual citizen from harm from other citizens, authorities, and government. And if one will really scrutinize the parking laws in Chicago, one will see that these laws have very little to do with protection of citizens from harm. Although there are INSTANCES where parking laws really DO help the citizen, the vast majority are put in place to set up the citizen for a fall so he has to pay money for his error.

    Has no one noticed that the arguments about whether or not this deal was a good or bad deal is the monetary gain? Has no one noticed that there was very little talk about how much this would improve parking in Chicago? Does anyone think that prior to this deal our Alderman’s letter boxes were full of complaint letters about how bad parking and parking enforcement is? Did anyone write a “Thank-you” card to Mayor Daley because they are so grateful for this new company and grateful that enforcement has increased and grateful for false tickets and wasted time and increased rates and increased hours?

    Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

    Now, after you guys get through running spellcheck on what I’ve written, do you care to comment with something of substance?

  9. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Guys,

    At the very least, I’m going to have to make most of the heat for the grammar/spelling issues. I was the one who “edited” it. Obviously, in my haste to get the post up, I let some of these errors slip through. I have to admit, pretty sloppy work on my part. Sorry about that. I’ll try to rectify the errors over the weekend.

    I’m blaming my 2-year old for my recent spate of sleep deprivation and exhaustion. My boy can’t verbalize a defense, so I feel I’m in good shape here. ;)

    But, despite my errors in editing, I don’t believe the mistakes should detract from Sheldon’s points.

    I say stop arguing grammar and debate the issues he raises. To me, even if you don’t agree with his POV, you should take him to task based on his arguments, not his spelling.

    Again, I agree, these mistakes are NOT acceptable and we will try harder to improve in this area.

  10. The Reader says:

    The issues. Elected officials had nearly a year to consider this transaction. We elect these officials to act in our best interests. Alot of misinformed people have spouted off about this transaction and alot of what they’ve said is flat out wrong. MOST of what they’ve said is wrong…or a matter of opinion.

    The issue is that when someone doesn’t take the time to take a deep breath and do simple things like proof read its and indication that their words are written in emotion not research. Part one of Sheldon’s article is full of insults and innuendo, short on fact or logic. Long on misrepresntation and opinion, short on details and conclusions.

    “Sold our Streets” no, they monetized the income stream from meter revenues. The City CONTROLS the street and calls all the shots. It’s either ignorance or lies, but it’s wrong. That’s the issue.

  11. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Reader,

    You contend the city has still retains complete control of the streets after the meter lease deal was signed.

    So, let me ask you these questions. In your opinion…

    1-What happens if an alderman decides he or she wants to take out a full block of metered parking? If so, what, if any, are the ramifications for the city?

    2-Can the city council change the meter rates back to 25 cents an hour? If so, what are the effects of this on the city?

    Looking forward to your thoughts.

    P.S. I will extend my standing offer to anyone who supports to meter lease deal to write a commentary supporting this point of view and we will publish it.

    Or perhaps you’d like to write a longer piece rebutting Sheldon’s piece.

    While I don’t agree with most of your views, I have no problem offering to publish a contrary opinion(s). Seriously, give it some thought. It’s an open invite.

  12. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Reader,

    One more thing. You contend the aldermen had over a year to consider the transaction.

    I think every single aldermen, except for Burke, would vehemently disagree with you on this. As do I.

    Everyone knew there was a bidding process going on for the meters. But no details were revealed until two to three days before the deal was voted on in the city council.

    Even during this 48-72 hour period, the administration refused to release data and information related to the deal that was requested by city council members.

    There is no dispute of this, because aldermen have gone on the record in the main stream press and have gone on the record with our website with that contention.

    One alderman only got specific details of certain aspects of the deal after there were formal hearings, a formal request filed and after the threat of a story The Expired Meter was about to publish.

    There’s a difference between knowing a deal is in the works and the actual specifics.

  13. The Reader says:

    1-What happens if an alderman decides he or she wants to take out a full block of metered parking? If so, what, if any, are the ramifications for the city? — The EXACT same thing as before the transaction

    2-Can the city council change the meter rates back to 25 cents an hour? If so, what are the effects of this on the city? — The
    EXACT same thing as before the transaction

    This is the simple point the “Administration” has repeatedly tried to communicate, but for some reason…no…one…listens.

    Read the contract, understand the contract and the truth will set you free (but it won’t sell copy, so…)

  14. Peter Parker says:

    People forget that the one point two billion dollars the city received was an up-front payment on parking meter revenue that is yet to be collected. Sure the city could decide to lower rates, remove meters, reduce hours of operations and the like. However, since all of these actions would impact those parking meter revenues yet to be collected they have to give back some of that one point two billion dollars they received up-front. It’s pretty simple really and the same thing applies to all of those actions that affect the parking meter income stream for which the city was paid up-front. Otherwise the city could declare every Wednesday “Mayor Daley Hump Day” and make it a meter holiday or give every ethnicity and culture in Chicago their very own meter holiday complete with parade.

    As for Sheldon’s allegations of a “the fix is in” award to Morgan Stanley; I would be more inclined to believe him if the company with the largest check hadn’t won the deal. As the old saying goes, “opinions are like posteriors, everybody has one”. We can’t even get people to agree that when you’re sick you should be able to go to a doctor and not have to pay an arm and a leg if you don’t have insurance which costs you a thumb and a middle finger.

    Geek, you did such a great job on counting down the rate increase this year, how about a countdown clock on when the one point two billion will be earned back with interest? Risking the wrath of the grammar police; I’m the first to admit that “I ain’t no math Wiz”, but I peg the date somewhere between 2035 and 2040.

  15. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Mr. Reader…

    Your naivete is stunning.

    Unfortunately, it seems you have not read the lease contract.

    In the case of scenario #1, if an alderman says he or she wants to take out a complete block of meters, there are severe financial ramifications via the contract.

    The alderman has few choices. The first is to find other places in his or her ward to put up new meters to offset the lost spaces that will have a financial impact on CPM.

    Another, long shot choice would be to convince another alderman to install meters as a favor to offset the meters he or she needs to take out.

    The final choice is for the ward to absorb the financial payment to CPM out of a ward’s annual menu money. That would be money used by an alderman to repair streets, help schools, improve parks, etc. within their ward.

    In the second scenario, the city council could change the rates back. But the city would have to essentially pay back CPM for the difference between the new rates and the rates rolled back to the 25 cents per hour. In other words, Chicago would be on the hook for close to a billion dollars.

    So, sorry to say Reader, either you never read or don’t understand the meter lease deal.

  16. [...] Mr. Zeiger, after spending 15 years neck deep in the machinations of parking enforcement for the city, seems like the perfect person to bring perspective to Chicago’s parking meter lease deal. And, if you haven’t seen it yet, take a moment to get up to speed and read part one of the series, “The Meter Lease Deal – A Daley Double Part 1.” [...]

  17. TheReader says:

    Easy Geek, as someone who makes a livelihood criticizing folks, I assumed you be better at taking cricism. I can only imagine if I called you the names that you call others!

    Take a deep breath…you are wrong. No biggee, just try to understand why.

    City removes a meter that makes $100 per year.
    * Before the transaction, the City loses $100.
    * After the transaction, the City loses $100.

    The only difference is that after CPM has pre-paid the City the $100, so they are simply getting their money back.

    If I pay you $100 today for a magic box that gives me $1 a year for the next hundred years and you take that box away…how much should you pay me per year to make me whole. Careful now, think about this before you agree that you should pay me $1 per year.

  18. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Reader,

    Please don’t take my response as being huffy or defensive. I apologize if it came across that way. Because, you’re right, if I’m dishing it out, I should also be able to take it.

    It was not meant to be taken as anything but passionate response.

    But I’ve taken a few deep breaths and I still think you’re being naive on this.

    Your example is overly simplistic. Because, before the transaction, the city didn’t lose the revenue–it lost the opportunity for the revenue. The city didn’t have to go out of pocket to compensate anyone. Now they do.

    In addition, the reason it was not looked at as a true loss in revenue. Because the city council, by the suggestion of an alderman, felt the city benefited in some way by taking out a meter (loading zone, handicapped parking, curb cut, CTA bus stop, etc.) that outweighed any revenue that would have been derived if the meter remained in place to collect quarters.

    Your trying to compare apples to oranges.

    Now, if meters need to be taken out for whatever public good, the taxpayer has to bear the brunt of payment for the ability to do so.

    Every alderman I’ve spoken to says their ability to make changes to the street where meters exist is hindered by this monetary threat.

  19. TheReader says:

    Apples and Oranges are both fruit aren’t they! The City never directly programmed the revenue from the meters. Better said, when they lost revenue from taking out a meter, they didn’t spend less, they found that money somewhere else. The taxpayer has always “born the brunt of payment for the ability to do so” because the taxpayer paid for it from another tax source. In my opinion, we’re talking grapes and raisins here.

    But I fully agree with your statement that “it was not looked at as a true loss in revenue”. And that’s exactly why the deal was a very good thing. Some alderman’s friend opens a shop on a street with meters. He asks his buddy to lower the meters or flat remove the meters in front of the shop. This shop owner also happens to contribute to the alderman’s election fund… Lo and behold, the alderman complies and none of the other alderman oppose the move, because they all want the flexibility to run their own little fiefdoms. So the residents of Chicago all pay higher taxes, because the aldermen want to be able to run 50 seperate cities as monarchs.

    The reason the aldermen are pissed is they are finally being held accountable for passing favors on to their friends (i.e. the people bribing them). The aldermen are finally being asked to, gasp, think twice and analyze the impact of their decisions before making them. The public good will still be served. I’ll now step off my soapbox, I’ve got a serious craving for some fruit salad.

  20. Mike says:

    Here is a copy of the email that Alderman Scott Waguespack sent to his constituents on 12/5/08 regarding the LAZ vote. He was one of the five that voted against the deal.

    ========
    Greetings!

    On Thursday, the City of Chicago signed a 75 year lease of our citywide parking meters with Morgan Stanley/Chicago Parking Meters LLC for $1.15 billion.

    I voted against the sale of this public asset because it was a bad deal for Chicago.

    On Monday, we received word from the Mayor’s Office that a deal was to be signed with Morgan Stanley. While I did receive the draft ordinance
    , no financial analysis was forthcoming, so my staff and I put together our own financial analysis to determine if the $1.15 Billion was a good deal or not.

    According to our analysis, the city would receive about $1.5 Billion if we sold as is.

    If we quadruple the prices of some meters, as Morgan Stanley will do on January 1, 2009, and increase again by 2013, our analysis shows that the actual value over 75 years is closer to $4 Billion.

    During the Finance Committee meeting on Tuesday, I argued that the city was not getting a good deal, and that at a minimum the Council should see the City’s numbers. They instead argued our numbers were wrong (without having seen them). I was then told I could see some numbers, but not before the vote. That refusal to provide financial data sealed my NO vote.

    Morgan Stanley and LAZ Operators will raise meters from $3/hr to $3.50 Jan.1, and to $6.50/hr by 2013. Neighborhood parking rates that are typically $.25/hr increase to $1/hr on Jan. 1 and increase to $2 by 2013. After 2013, the City must raise rates by a yearly inflation rate to meet contract requirements. The City still receives the increased revenue from enforcement, but the parking meter revenue stream is lost for 75 years.

    While the City receives a quick shot in the arm of $1.15 Billion, I believe the alternative; a long term revenue stream from well managed City owned meters would have been a better deal for parking meter users and taxpayers. Selling a major asset that is designed as an urban planning traffic tool while providing a positive revenue stream is simply wrongheaded.

    Furthermore, the fact that we fail to maintain a decent cash reserve for a city our size is awful, and I argued during budget hearings that the FY 2009 $1.5 Million reserve (one point five million) was further indication of the need for major structural reforms in the city finances. (This week’s snowfall cleanup cost us about $500,000 for one day, and it is not yet 2009.)

  21. [...] the late night demolition of Meigs Field.  It was obvious the quick fix, leasing the meters to a private firm for 75 years for $1.15 Billion in 2008, would cost city residents dearly.  But many may be surprised at the [...]

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