Tuesday, April 07, 2009


Mayor Daley just announced that he's going to privatize dog parks.*

First, they privatized the Chicago Skyway bridge.

Then they privatized the parking meters. We are paying something like $4 per hour to park on our own streets!

Plans are in the works to privatize Midway Airport for $2.52 billion.

And now the dog parks.*

This privatization brings in a large chunk of money for the city, which uses it to cover budget shortfalls and who knows what else.

(What they don't use it for is covering potholes!)

People are up in arms about the parking meters; once they were privatized last month, the rates spiked to an all time high. Downtown, you get 7 minutes for every quarter you put in the meter. And now, there are roving bands of privatized revenue tyrants going around and ticketing like crazy - even in the snow.

The Tribune's John Kass recently wrote an excellent column about it, saying:

Downtown parking costs a fortune because Mayor Richard Daley rammed through a parking deal without much debate. The private company that bought the rights to the meters paid almost $1.2 billion for the contract that runs through the year 2084.

Some of the upfront cash went to fill budget holes, but much will be kept in reserve, so look for that gold to be leveraged into some Olympic arrangement. Chicago's parking meters carry the hidden Daley Olympic tax.

In a few years, it'll cost you $6.50 an hour to park on a downtown street. That's 52 quarters for two hours. You'll need more than a Fendi bag. You'll need a pack mule on steroids.

And yet still people vote for this mayor.

(You can hear a lively discussion about privatization from today's Eight Forty-Eight radio show here).

* * *

Annoying shock jock Mancow Muller is one of the few who wants to do something about it.

He says he's running for mayor, saying that the city has become "anti-human, costly, dangerous and corrupt.''

(Actually, it's always been that way).

I might even vote for him - if he were the only other choice.

After all, Mayor Muller sounds almost as funny as Dick Daley.

* * *

And now Chicago is trying to get the 2016 Olympics, which means more money for hooked-up cronies and bleeding the citizenry dry.

The Reader's Ben Joravsky explains it all here, saying:

Here’s the fundamental problem: We can’t afford the games. We’re broke—and I mean damn near destitute. The public school system is about $475 million in the red and the city’s facing its own deficit of at least $200 million. Just a few months ago Mayor Daley said he’d balanced the budget by raising fees and fines and slashing the city payroll, but already expenses have risen and revenues have dropped faster than anticipated. His aides have warned that more cuts could be on the way.

The Chicago Transit Authority, which runs our public transportation system, is busted too, in more ways than one. CTA officials are in the thick of their annual budget crisis, warning of fare hikes and service cuts that could affect traffic in every part of town. They don’t have enough money to replace the old buses or repair the tracks that are falling apart.

The International Olympic Committee folks were here over the weekend, being shown the wonderful sites on the city's south side - where long-time (read; African American) residents are certain city fathers are going to use it to make a land grab.

They are so certain of it in fact that only about 20 people came out for a pro-Olympics rally there on Sunday.

The IOC folks did get to see a lot of people at the Fraternal Order of Police protest against the Olympics, though. (They've been working without a contract for the past two years).

* * *

Remember when George W Bush was running for a second term, and everyone said, "If he wins, I'm leaving the country!"

Most didn't leave.

Remember the last presidential election, when people said, "If McCain wins, I'm leaving the country!"

They didn't have to make good on it.

But I say, "If Chicago gets the 2016 Olympics, I'm leaving the city."

I may actually mean it.

Once I vote for Mancow, anyway.


*I made up the item about the dog parks. It hasn't happened. Yet.


  1. Having left Chicago over ten years ago maybe my many years living there as a young adult have begun to fade. But how come whenever I go to Chicago I feel a longing? Like the sadness of missing a friend? And the city seems to get more beautiful each time I return. What about the great restaurants, architecture and music/theater scene? I always think of Chicago as a place where an artist can be honest.
    Maybe it is just that I am here and not there.

  2. an expired meter ticket costs $60. $100 if not paid on time and now they will boot your car after two unpaid tickets.
    the whole thing has become a big problem for employees and customers at my little restaurant on clark. no one has enough quarters and the 7-11 down the street will only give you a dollars worth, but who can blame them?