Since the disastrous privatization of the parking meter system, the mayor is now considering privatizing more city services and special events. Nothing like compounding failure. The parking meter fiasco my have been a good deal for the city, in that it provided the mayor with a temporary cash infusion. It has been a nightmare for motorists, who must pay through the nose to park or pay an outrageous sixty dollar ticket. As the Tribune reports, the company, Chicago Parking Meters LLC, is making a decent profit and profits will soar once the parking rates rise- up to 406%- before leveling off to the rate of inflation.
Now the mayor wants to put the city up for sale to the highest bidder. Some aldermen are leery. Unusual for them, as any boondoggle or boodle gets them cash, one way or another. Remember, the parking meter deal was rushed through before any of the Aldermen could read the bill; or, in the case of the illiterate ones, have the bill read to them. Five Aldermen voted against it for various reasons.
Instead of running the city in an efficient manner, the mayor has admitted failure. After twenty years, he still cannot figure out a way to make things work in a responsible way. Like most politicians, he keeps blaming someone or something else- recession, lower revenues, Washington, Springfield, unions, the bogey man.
Of course the hundreds of millions of dollars per year lost through waste, fraud, corruption, and mismanagement are never mentioned. The Tribune estimated the city loses 500 million dollars a year through those four items alone. If the city was run in an honest, open, and efficient manner, there would only be a 150 million dollar budget shortfall this year, instead of a 650 million dollar shortfall.
The saying in Chicago is- if businesses ran their operations like the city, they would all go bankrupt. Unfortunately, we all suffer under the weight of a mismanaged city. Higher taxes on everything, new taxes, higher and rising fines, higher and rising fees, and decreasing poorly delivered services. The decimation of the Chicago Police Department is a perfect example.
It is time to get serious about cutting the budget. Using their own line against them, every city official should feel the pain- even the greedy and avaricious aldermen. The city has plenty of non-essential departments, commissions, and services it could cut, merge, or consolidate. Of course that would have a negative impact on what is left of the patronage, friends and family, and pay to play systems.
This being Chicago, the most thoroughly corrupt city in America, it will never happen.