Parking — The Chicago Way…
We are all familiar with “The Chicago Way.” As the Sean Connery character said in the Untouchables —
“They pull a knife, you pull a gun, they send one of yours to the hospital, you send one of theirs to the morgue — That’s the Chicago Way.”
Well Mayor Rahm Emmanuel is playing hard ball with Chicago Parking Meters (CPM). I don’t think that CPM executives need to be looking over their shoulders, but… Seems the company that bought the rights to on street parking revenues for a billion dollars a couple of years ago got to one of the paragraphs that Hizzonner’s predecessor, Mayor Daley, so quickly agreed to. When the city closes a street and makes it impossible for cars to park there, and thus pay CPM their dues, the city must compensate CPM for the lost revenue. The amount now due? $14 million.
So let’s quote the Mayor:
“Just because you send a bill, I’m not gonna ask taxpayers to pay it. There’s a new day here. I don’t know who they think they’re dealing with,” he said.
“First of all, I’m not gonna do it. Second of all, you owe information to justify it. And I don’t even think the information when you’re providing it is accurate. So I sent ’em a letter back. And let me say this: In the envelope wasn’t a check because I’m not doing it. We are not, just because you send a bill in, assuming I’m gonna have the taxpayers fork over money. They may assume that was how it was gonna work. But they’ve got another thing (sic) coming.”
I’m not sure who writes the Mayor’s lines, but it sounds like they could have come right from a Hollywood screenwriter. And from the Chicago Sun Times:
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration allowed the company to determine its own compensation.
Daley, his corporation counsel and two top press aides subsequently joined a Chicago law firm that took in $822,760 in legal fees from City Hall in Daley-engineered deals that privatized the Chicago Skyway, the city’s downtown parking garages and Chicago’s parking meters.
Now, that’s the other Chicago Way.