...to anyone who was reading my blog a decade ago.
From the Chicago Sun-Times:
Chicago parking meter investors rake in $13M in profit despite pandemic
The profit came out of $91.6 million in meter revenue in 2020, down 33% from the year before, a new audit shows. With 62 years to go on a 75-year lease, the private company has already recouped its entire $1.16 billion investment and $500 million more.
Allow me to repeat that for those in the back:
With 62 years to go on a 75-year lease, the private company has already recouped its entire $1.16 billion investment and $500 million more.
Parking meters in Chicago are a license to print money. A money-machine which we tax payers paid for. A money-machine which Da Former Mare of Da Great City 'a Chicaga sold off for pennies on the dollar after making sure some of his nearest and dearest made out like fat rats on the other side of the deal. A money-machine he sold because he needed fast cash to prop up his administration for one more year so he could beat his daddy's record.
All of which you would already know if you were reading this then-Chicago headquartered blog ("Castle Driftglass") back in the day.
From me in 2009:
The Clout Burglars
If you’re not from around here you may not know that the City of Chicago recently sold off its parking meter franchise to private contractors for a billion dollars and change. The deal was cut secretly, hurriedly (almost frantically) and for a fraction of what the meters are worth. And instead of allowing a decent, figleafing interval to pass to allow Da Mare to get all red-faced and pretend that He Din't Know Nuttin! the parking company instead jacked rates through the roof before the ink on their sweetheart contract had even dried, thus thoroughly fucking over the very citizens on whose behalf the deal had allegedly been rammed through, and stranding City Hall without a plausible alibi.
Which, for anyone who has not grown up under the pervasive, ethically smothering pall of the Chicago Machine, would raise some obvious questions. Like, f’rinstance, where in the Hell did an elected official ever get the balls to think he could hock public assets for a quick buck in the first place?
Because that is all this is: boosting something that you and I already paid for and fencing it like a hot car.
Outsourcing public services makes a ruthless kind of sense only when those services can be provided to the citizenry more efficiently and at lower cost. But a parking meter isn’t some high-end web design project or complex social program. It is a pure revenue-generator already; an iron box that exists solely to move money from your pocket into the City’s coffers. And without a coherent ethical framework or theory of government, the prudent outsourcing of a few services quickly becomes a mindless, piecemeal fire sale of every damned thing in a desperate rush to raise quick cash (and occasionally kneecapping a local union).
And that is exactly what is happening in Chicago...