Privatize parking meters?

July 20, 2009
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City officials are considering several proposals to modernize and even privatize the city's roughly 4,000 parking meters to squeeze out more revenue. They’re considering a range of proposals, most of which include multi-space meters and credit card payments. Among the possibilities is a long-term lease of the meters to a private firm. Chicago netted $1.2 billion last year for a 75-year lease of its 36,000 meters, but the deal has generated a firestorm of criticism and a scathing report from that city’s inspector general. One estimate pegs the value of a long-term lease of Indianapolis’ meters at more than $100 million. The meters already add more than $3 million per year to city coffers, but proposals from private firms responding to a city request for information say that number should be much higher. City officials say any windfall would go toward sewer and road improvements. The full story from IBJ’s print edition is here. If the city gives up control of its on-street parking, would projects like the Cultural Trail even be possible? Would the higher rates drive away visitors? Thoughts?

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  1. By Mr. Lee's own admission, he basically ran pro-bono ads on the billboard. Paying advertisers didn't want ads on a controversial, ugly billboard that turned off customers. At least one of Mr. Lee's free advertisers dropped out early because they found that Mr. Lee's advertising was having negative impact. So Mr. Lee is disingenous to say the city now owes him for lost revenue. Mr. Lee quickly realized his monstrosity had a dim future and is trying to get the city to bail him out. And that's why the billboard came down so quickly.

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  3. Yes it does have an ethics commission which enforce the law which prohibits 12 specific items. google it

  4. Thanks for reading and replying. If you want to see the differentiation for research, speaking and consulting, check out the spreadsheet I linked to at the bottom of the post; it is broken out exactly that way. I can only include so much detail in a blog post before it becomes something other than a blog post.

  5. 1. There is no allegation of corruption, Marty, to imply otherwise if false. 2. Is the "State Rule" a law? I suspect not. 3. Is Mr. Woodruff obligated via an employment agreement (contractual obligation) to not work with the engineering firm? 4. In many states a right to earn a living will trump non-competes and other contractual obligations, does Mr. Woodruff's personal right to earn a living trump any contractual obligations that might or might not be out there. 5. Lawyers in state government routinely go work for law firms they were formally working with in their regulatory actions. You can see a steady stream to firms like B&D from state government. It would be interesting for IBJ to do a review of current lawyers and find out how their past decisions affected the law firms clients. Since there is a buffer between regulated company and the regulator working for a law firm technically is not in violation of ethics but you have to wonder if decisions were made in favor of certain firms and quid pro quo jobs resulted. Start with the DOI in this review. Very interesting.

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