Chicago Tribune Report Says Meter Deal Remix Benefits Company

Friday’s front page story in the Chicago Tribune states Chicago Parking Meters, LLC will continue to dramatically benefit from Mayor Emanuel’s proposed changes to the city’s infamous 2008 parking meter lease deal.

The Tribune spills a lot of black ink looking at city numbers and making unsubstantiated projections.

In general, the Tribune breaks no new ground or comes to any conclusions which were already pretty much of the foregone kind.

The story tries to leave readers with the impression that it’s a huge surprise that Chicago Parking Meters, LLC, (the company which controls the parking meter system for the next 71 years and looks to make billions of dollars in the process) will continue to receive additional revenue for street closures and other events which impact meter revenue.

In reality, Mayor Emanuel’s renegotiated agreement does not completely eliminate any of these revenue possibilities but only and allegedly, reduces the city’s exposure to coming out of pocket for such events.

The Mayor and his staff has never made the promise of eliminating these extracurricular payments–just that it would reduce these payments by one billion dollars or more over the lifetime of the lease.

In our opinion, at least two of the Tribune’s claims seems over exaggerated.

The first is that payments to the company for overuse of drivers utilizing disability placards to park free at meters will generate an additional $216 million over the next 71 years.

The reason the Tribune’s numbers on this are incorrect is the state passed a law eliminating free disability parking at parking meters except for vehicles used to transport the most severely handicapped individuals–people who physically cannot interact with a parking meter.

It’s our opinion, this issue will essentially evaporate.

The other overstated metric is the newspaper’s estimates on revenues for mobile phone payments. The meter remix allows CPM to charge a 35 cent convenience fee for any transaction under two hours.

Considering there is no public data on usage of pay by cell options, nor any idea of how it will be accepted or utilized in Chicago, the Trib’s estimate on this seems highly suspect.

The newspaper is also naive to believe that the 35 cent convenience fee is without cost to CPM, which is what one infers from their numbers. CPM will have to pay something to one of the several companies which provides pay by cell services for their payment technology, so that 35 cents is not pure profit.

Read the Tribune’s full report, “Advantage, meter firm.”

10 Responses to Chicago Tribune Report Says Meter Deal Remix Benefits Company

  1. nonya says:

    well duh, tribune. did you think the meter company just gave up on the reported $20M a year based on rahm’s negotiating skills?

  2. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Nonya, etal,

    Exactly! DUH!!!!

  3. Jeff says:

    When it comes to mathematical proof for all his “head up the ass” schemes, the Rahminator is woefully inept. Just today, Crain’s Chicago published an article debunking the Wee Mayor’s latest claim — that a city-subsidized arena for the DePaul Blue Demons will be a money-maker:

    Either our Mayor is a pathological liar, or he keeps hiring the worst number crunchers available.

  4. Jeff says:

    When it comes to mathematical proof for all his “head up the ass” schemes, the Rahminator is woefully inept. Just today, Crain’s Chicago published an article debunking the Wee Mayor’s latest claim — that a city-subsidized arena for the DePaul Blue Demons will be a money-maker:

    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20130529/BLOGS04/130529794/depaul-basketball-attendance-well-short-of-mcpier-projections

    Either our Mayor is a pathological liar, or he keeps hiring the worst number crunchers available

  5. David says:

    While I am not a big fan of buying arenas and stadiums for professional teams, the numbers are not nearly as “unattainable” as you would suggest. In the pre-Horizon days, DePaul would consistently fill Alumni Hall to the rafters and be unable to meet demand (5300 seats). The Horizon is horribly inaccessible to the student body and many of the Alumni, expensive (it requires parking) and not at all close to the campus.) Based on DePaul’s history and its conference, it is not unreasonable to project a significant increase in fans. The downside is that if Northwestern improves its arena, and Collins delivers, DePaul could find itself the number 2 program in the City.

  6. Jeff says:

    While Depaul used to fill Alumni Hall, that was during its big winning years, some 2 decades ago. DePaul has only had one winning season in the last six years. Thus, its hard to imagine that:

    (1) the DePaul Blue Demons team will somehow draw more fans to a McCormick Place arena, by miraculously improving their performance;

    or that

    (2) DePaul fans will be any more eager to make the trek down to McCormick Place to watch basketball games, in an area without any significant restaurants, bars, or other nightlife presence.

    DePaul would have been better advised to build an arena on/near its campus in Lincoln Park, if it was truly interested in drawing more fans to see the Blue Demons.

  7. Jeff says:

    At the end of the day, Rahm’s arena project is not at all about a sports arena. The real purpose of floating this idea comes down to one word:

    C-A-S-I-N-O!!!

    What Rahm is doing here is maneuvering to get city and state tax dollars to buy land and build a Chicago casino near McCormick Place. A casino that will be run a City Hall-run board under Rahm’s control. If all this comes to pass, it will be the biggest city-run crime syndicate since Al Capone was running Cicero.

  8. David says:

    Jeff wrote:

    While Depaul used to fill Alumni Hall, that was during its big winning years, some 2 decades ago. DePaul has only had one winning season in the last six years. Thus, its hard to imagine that:

    (1) the DePaul Blue Demons team will somehow draw more fans to a McCormick Place arena, by miraculously improving their performance;

    My comment:
    One of the reasons that their performance is down IS the move to Rosemont and out of the City. DePaul used to dominate recruiting in the City of Chicago. Give DePaul a facility IN this City of Chicago and they might well again start to dominate recruiting. The draw at Alumni Hall was because they were winning, in part, but in part they were winning because of Assembly Hall. With the exception of Northwestern, all of the other Chicago schools play in rinky-dink conferences that do not bring in the big name opponents and the big name recruits looking for visibility. DePaul plays in whatever name is now giving to the conference with Georgetown, St. Johns, Notre Dame, and the like.

    The good news is that one of us is going to be proven right.

    Jeff wrote:
    (2) DePaul fans will be any more eager to make the trek down to McCormick Place to watch basketball games, in an area without any significant restaurants, bars, or other nightlife presence.

    My comment:
    A lot more “nightlife” is closer to McCormick Place.

    Jeff wrote:
    DePaul would have been better advised to build an arena on/near its campus in Lincoln Park, if it was truly interested in drawing more fans to see the Blue Demons.

    My comment:
    The problems are multiple:
    1. land cost is high in the DePaul area.
    2. Parking is scarce.
    3. Wrigley Field has shown that the neighborhood can’t really handle the traffic now. Adding in additional traffic in the winter would be simply insane.
    4. The Neighborhood would not tolerate it.

    Does DePaul have a little work to do to make it work? You bet. Buses from Campus to McCormick Place would help a lot. But UNlike Rosemont, you can get close to McCormick Place on the CTA. Its a bit of a hike from Roosevelt Red Line or Chinatown/Cermak Red Line to McCormick Place, but its not impossible. Add in a shuttle using the McCormick Place buspath and it becomes a lot more reachable.

    On a side note, it must be very sad to be you seeing conspiracies under every rock and stone and in every move by Government. The funny thing is that WE THE CITIZENS are the Government and the primary purpose of Government is, and continues to be, the common good. And most government employees do work for the common good and do this out of a sense of public service. The idea that this area is, somehow, tied to the idea of “getting land” to build a Casino is, frankly, paranoid. The City already has more than enough land to build a Casino if it were to get an approval. If anything, using extant land for an Arena, reduces the need/available land for a Casino. Is a Casino a bad idea? Sure. Not because it will be a “city run crime syndicate” (that’s rampant paranoia), but rather because Casinos, as a whole, and gambling as a whole, are a horrible blight on society.

  9. Jeff says:

    David:

    Note that many news reports of late have speculated that the real agenda for the McCormick project is to clear the way for a Chicago casino next to McCormick place (what better place to put up a building to fleece a captive audience of out of town visitors):

    http://www.suntimes.com/news/cityhall/20088232-418/exclusive-emanuel-to-announce-300-million-depaul-stadium-plan-for-mccormick-place.html

    Money quote:

    ____________

    “This month, attorneys with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority have intensified discussions with landowners in the immediate footprint of the proposed development citing the arena as the main reason for the city’s interest.

    Already, however, conversation was swirling over whether the intense interest by the city was tied to a future casino development in the area. The city would not comment on any aspect of the proposal.

    ‘If I was a betting person, I would say McCormick Place is where you’re going to find a Chicago casino, said an official who has taken part in development discussions. I would guarantee you that’s where it’s going.’”
    _____________

    My problem here is not with government. My problem is with people such as the current occupant of the the 5th floor at City Hall, who uses government power for corrupt and self-serving purposes that benefit the connected few, rather than the city as a whole.

    Lastly I see nothing but corruption on a massive scale, if Chicago is to be to given a casino, overseen by a board of directors hand-picked by Mr. Emanuel. What better means to dish out secret favors, pay off crooked bargains, and siphon off cash to God knows where.

  10. The Parking Ticket Geek says:

    Hey Jeff,

    I don’t gamble, but don’t have any issue with people who do. I have no problem with casinos.

    However…in many cases casinos are used as a last resort or are created when there’s no other type of industry or cultural available.

    To my mind, if local, county and state governments eased off the high taxes and regulations, and made the area an easy place to do business, the local economy would grow and there would be no need to resort to gambling as a source for tax revenue. A healthy economy would do the trick.

    As it stands, Illinois is losing businesses to other states and the unemployment rates continues to grow or at the very least stay level while states like Texas, Wisconsin and Indiana are attracting all sorts of industry and creating all sorts of jobs. Google just announced Motorola Mobile (which used to be based here in the Chicagoland area) is building a smart phone production plant in Texas. 2000 jobs!

    Our politicians make it so difficult for people to start businesses and difficult for people to spend money here (ie: high sales tax, high gas taxes, high parking taxes, red light cameras, etc.).

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