Abu Dhabi Shares Profits From Parking Meters

In fact, a Chicago News Cooperative investigation has found that investment arms of the oil-rich Abu Dhabi government hold more than a 25 percent stake in the company that privatized the city’s 36,000 parking meters. German financial company Allianz also has a large minority interest, and the remaining 50.1 percent is held by partnerships assembled by Morgan Stanley.

The participation of Abu Dhabi’s sovereign wealth funds and other international investors exposes the level of sophistication of the money behind the city’s parking meter deal. Mayor Daley and other proponents of the contract argue that it is too soon to know if the parking investors will enjoy solid returns, but the players in the Chicago parking company are known for their acumen for profitable long-term deals.

(Full story here.)

Kudos to the Chicago New Coop in breaking this story wide open.

This deal just keeps getting worse and worse.  It’s clear that no one in city government knows anything about putting deal together.  Da Mare and the city counsel simply got played by professionals on this one.

This is a continuing example of why the city should not lease assets.  There is no one capable of doing the background work necessary to make sure these are good deals.  As such, all should be avoided.

Parking Meter Rates Going Up

The rates will soon go up for people parking in the city.  Electric pay boxes will begin charging $5 an hour in the downtown area, up from $4.25.And it will cost $3 an hour to park on streets outside the downtown area.  The rate increase will go into effect Jan. 1.  As part of the controversial deal to lease the parking meters, LAZ Parking were given permission to increase rates every year for the first five years of the arrangement.

(Source.)

This is a nice New Year’s reminder that everyone who voted for this is an incompetent buffoon.

The more the rates go up — the worse this deal is for the city.

It’s just that simple.  Not one person did the math on this.  My belief is that not one — not a single alderman — understands the concept of time value of money.

Your in Debt, Your Children are in Debt

Tribune ran a great story this week about how the city is hopelessly in debt.  The story is worth reading and can be found here; but what’s really interesting is a chart (actually a series of charts) attached to the story.  Here’s what you need to know:

  • Chicago’s cash debt is about $6,87 Billion or around $2,371 per person.
  • We know from previous stories that our past due pension obligations are apx. $7,000 per person

So your total CITY obligations are about $9,371 per person.  This naturally does not take into account continuing interest on the debt, the 2010 city budget, or ongoing pension obligations.

The people of this city have a choice, they can bury their head in the sand and continue to elect these numb-skulls or do what’s necessary to turn this place around.

We know from today’s previous story, that raising taxes will only scare people and job creating businesses away.  We need pro-business, pro-middle class tax policies and we need them now.

Yes Virgina, People Flee High Taxes

The results of the 2010 Census are coming in and show:

First, the great engine of growth in America is not the Northeast Megalopolis, which was growing faster than average in the mid-20th century, or California, which grew lustily in the succeeding half-century. It is Texas.

Its population grew 21 percent in the past decade, from nearly 21 million to more than 25 million. That was more rapid growth than in any states except for four much smaller ones (Nevada, Arizona, Utah and Idaho).

Texas’ diversified economy, business-friendly regulations and low taxes have attracted not only immigrants but substantial inflow from the other 49 states. As a result, the 2010 reapportionment gives Texas four additional House seats. In contrast, California gets no new House seats, for the first time since it was admitted to the Union in 1850.

There’s a similar lesson in the fact that Florida gains two seats in the reapportionment and New York loses two.

This leads to a second point, which is that growth tends to be stronger where taxes are lower. Seven of the nine states that do not levy an income tax grew faster than the national average. The other two, South Dakota and New Hampshire, had the fastest growth in their regions, the Midwest and New England.

Altogether, 35 percent of the nation’s total population growth occurred in these nine non-taxing states, which accounted for just 19 percent of total population at the beginning of the decade.

(Full story here.)

You cannot tax your way to growth and prosperity.  People will (a/k/a already have and continue to) leave high tax areas like New York, Massachusetts, California, and Illinois for low taxes places like Texas, Nevada, and Florida.  High debt plus high taxes means the loss of the middle class, jobs, and everything a city (or state) needs to survive.  In Chicago we have the trifecta, debt, taxes, and corruption.

We need real change and we need it now.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Disclosure

[T]he entire annual $32 million budget of the Chicago U.S. attorney’s office [is covered by collections.] …

The U.S. attorney’s office here collected from criminals and civil defendants three times as much money as it spent in taxpayer dollars this year, bringing in $99 million in settlements, fines, forfeitures and restitution in 2010.  …

About $10 million this year went to pay back private victims of crimes in the Chicago area.  …

The conviction rate this year hovered above 95 percent.

(Full story here.)

Wow!!  Excellent work on the part of Patrick Fitzgerald.

Ok Ms. Alvarez, Ms. Madigan, your up.

Mendoza: Advertising on City Stickers

The flip-side of Chicago’s 1.25 million city stickers would carry advertising to generate $15 million-a-year — enough to hire 100 new police officers and give motorists a modest break — under a plan proposed by the frontrunner for city clerk.

State Rep. Susana Mendoza (D-Chicago) wants to turn city stickers into money makers, much the way Mayor Daley has talked about letting private companies put holiday decorations and their corporate logos on bridge houses along the Chicago River.

(Full story here.)

I’m not sure of the idea.  Have to think about for a day or two.

But I do like Mendoza’s attitude:

“It really advertises me, if I’m elected. It’s a complete waste of real estate. We have an opportunity to open it up to corporate advertisers to raise $15 million,” said Mendoza, who’s running for city clerk with the backing of powerful City Council Finance Committee Chairman Ald. Edward M. Burke (14th).

“Nobody is talking about how they’re gonna bring that type of revenue to the city and it’s such a no-brainer. As clerk, I should not be the beneficiary of that very valuable real estate. Taxpayers should be the beneficiaries.”

Yes!!  Someone is giving the right answer.  Of course, with Burke involved everyone should be skeptical.  But congrats to Mendoza for realizing that everything on the city sticker belongs to the taxpayers.

Meeks unsure who’s a “Minority”

Mayoral challenger James Meeks scrambled Thursday to put out a political fire touched off by his suggestion that only African Americans should be eligible for city contracts set aside for minorities and women.

(Full story here.)

Of course the Reverend knows what a minority is.  It’s those who will vote for him.  No one else matters.

Aldcreature’s Son Get 100k+ job at Water

The son of former Ald. Bernie Hansen 44th has been promoted to a $103,632-a-year job in the city’s Department of Water Management — six months after he was put on unpaid leave for a DUI arrest that stripped him of the driver’s license he needed to do his job.

Paul Hansen was a $97,760-a-year assistant district superintendent in water management, the department at the center of the Hired Truck and city hiring scandals.

(Full story here.)

Had enough yet?

Bad Judge is Soft on Crime

Relatives of a teenager shot to death in Evanston in 2007 were angered Wednesday when a judge sentenced the killer to just 10 years in prison.  …

Cook County Circuit Court Judge Larry Axelrood also sentenced Wright to five years in prison for aggravated discharge of a weapon related to the crime. The sentences are to be served consecutively.  …

The day of the shooting, Pickett’s brother had been injured in an altercation with several other people, prosecutors said. Later that day, Wright went to the 1900 block of Dodge Avenue in Evanston — blocks from the high school — armed with a 9 mm pistol and shot Pickett three times after a second altercation between the two groups of teens.Wright shot at the other teens as they were fleeing, authorities said.  …

Wright has been in jail since his arrest shortly after the murder and with time served could be released from prison in as little as seven years.(Full story here.)

So kid’s in a fight.  Goes home and gets a gun.  Returns to fight some more.  Shoots one dead and at others.  10 years!!  What?!  Moreover, it was one-half the sentence that the kid could have received.  So my questions is, if premeditated murder of one and the attempted murder of others doesn’t warrant the maximum, the what does?

Judge Larry Axelrood, you just made the list of Judges we need to remove.

Trib’s Sad Story on Child Abduction

The man in the Chevy Impala tried to stop 15-year-old Lucero Blanco three times before he got out of the car and came after her on foot. …

After police picked the man up, mother and daughter both said they recognized his impounded 2005 Impala as the car that had trailed Lucero as she walked to school.  And both identified the stocky 30-year-old driver in a lineup at the Wentworth Area police station.  But like most suspected child abductors in Chicago and the Cook County suburbs, this man went free. …

Prosecutors decided they couldn’t press charges.   …  Even when a suspect was identified, police didn’t always present the case to prosecutors for felony review.  And prosecutors occasionally overruled the detectives and declined to press charges.  In the end, only 30 cases resulted in prosecutions, the Tribune found.   Of the 23 defendants with a completed case, just seven were sent to prison or jail.  Others received probation, or had their cases dropped or end in acquittals.

(Full story here.)

First, congrats and kudos to the Tribune for an excellent investigation.

Second, WHAT THE @#*! is wrong with the State’s Attorney’s office and Judges in Cook County?

Grrr….

These cases are hard to investigate.  The perverts change cars, neighborhoods, clothes they wear, and tactics making it hard on police.  But when the police do get someone, the SA’s office needs to push these cases to trial.  If there was ever a set of cases where no mercy should be shown is it not these?  And what judge gives probation to some waste of space that tries to lure a kid into a car?  How is it possible that this person retains their job as a judge?

The system is just so broken.  From top to bottom and side to side.  It is unbelievable that we cannot get convictions on cases where assholes are trying to abduct children.  Makes me sick.