Could you have possibly predicted this outcome? The merchants have been screaming in Hollywood and Westwood about the need for “free” parking. The results? Read about it here. Wanda posted both the article from the Daily News and the LA Times on PT’s facebook page and got a lot of comments. Her comment about the Mayor, Villaregosa wanting to save his Mayorial behind is right on.
Here’s the story. Chicago got 500 million for four garages. Pittsburgh is looking to lease out theirs. Indianapolis has cut a deal. So the wizards here in LA figured, Why not? Lease out the best of the city’s garages on a long term deal, get 100 million up front, and put the budget crisis off for a couple of years. They wined and dined investors and got a dozen who were interested. Then they put in the ole bait and switch.
Having come under severe political pressure from local merchants, the city council changed the deal in such a way that the successful bidder was restricted in how much they could raise the rates AND were required to provide free parking in some cases. That went over well. In the end, no one bid. Funny thing. Business folk don’t really like to bet the farm when someone else holds all the cards. OK I mixed a metaphor. Get over it.
City councilman Bernard Parks (former police chief) has always been opposed to the deal. He says that the city should invest in the parking system, and make it pay. What a concept.
Of course now the city is threatening to close parks and fire policemen and fireman. The first thing they should do is get rid of about half the nincompoops who work for the city council and the mayor. My guess is that they could balance the budget in a heartbeat with that approach.
This is the city that can’t even collect the parking tax from ne’er-do-well operators who try to hide their revenue and couldn’t audit a garage under any circumstances.
Find a world class operator. Call in someone who knows something about off street parking and have them supervise the process. Give the operator an incentive to run a good garage. Step back and watch the revenue roll in. Naaa most of the world class ones don’t have personal connections with city hall.