The Politics Of Parking Meters
Candidates Make Meter Lease Deal Cause Celebre
But here we are, three years after Mayor Daley shoved his parking meter lease deal through the city council in 72 hours and three years of consecutive meter rate increases.
And Chicagoans are still angry, no…pissed about it.
Property taxes, public education, police staffing, budget deficits anyone?
Nah! Parking meters.
Every single major mayoral candidate still in the race has slammed the parking meter lease deal and some are trying to ride the issue straight into the Mayor’s office.
Carol Moseley-Braun came out swinging against the deal early in the campaign and vowed to find a way to repeal the deal and pay back Morgan Stanley (Chicago Parking Meters, LLC) the $1.16 billion it paid for the 75 year deal.
Gery Chico, also took a shot at the deal, but he was more upset with the fact the city spent all but $75 million of the meter proceeds in just two years and promised to make sure that $75 million was safely put aside, generating interest income for the city for years to come.
Even front runner Rahm Emmanuel, who has been literally miming his way through the election, broke his Harpo like silence to criticize the meter lease deal a few weeks ago.
But then, on the eve of the parking meter rate increases, City Clerk Miguel Del Valle jumped into the fray at a press conference with IVI-IPO, calling the lease deal “crazy”, voiced support for the IVI-IPO’s lawsuit against the deal and promised his own lawsuit to upend the deal if he were elected mayor.
Not to be outdone, today, the day after the higher rates began taking effect, Moseley-Braun held a press conference, doubling down on her original anti-meter lease position and says she will file a lawsuit against Morgan Stanley and cancel the contract if elected Mayor, claiming Chicago got “snookered” and “took.”
Later in the day, Chico, not wanting to lose his meter lease deal bona fides, excoriated Moseley-Braun for, according to the Chicago Sun-Times being “wild-eyed … reckless … irresponsible” for promising she could undo the deal. Like Moseley-Braun, Chico is also an attorney and says he doesn’t see a way to get out of the parking meter contract according to the Sun-Times.
In the meantime, the once lowly parking meter remains silent on the issue of its new found fame, content to suck down more of Chicagoans’ quarters each and every day for another 73 years.