Monday, April 05, 2010

Parking wars - reactions

Bill Peduto used Facebook to link to this article in the Trib. Now it is a 'war.' OMG. Well, the first injury in war is often the truth. So, let's read and react.
Parking wars - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review:If Pittsburgh sells its parking system as Ravenstahl has proposed, you can forget about free parking on Sundays or after hours, since any profit-making entity will maximize its revenue from our garages, lots and street meters. It will be a 24/7 operation that will ignore the interests of residents and local and central business districts in the name of profit.

To be certain, Pittsburgh's mayor is not affering to sell the parking system. He wants to lease it, not sell it. I want to sell certain assets. The system is nothing that can be sold unless one wants to sell the whole Parking Authority. That would be well worth the discussion. However, in the plans put forth by the Pittsburgh politicians, the Parking Authority and its system still remains.

As to the 24/7 statement, think again.

I have suggested that the parking meters on East Carson Street be enforced in the evening and night hours. That would be a blessing for the residents and neighborhood too. Cars that are parked in illegal ways would get a ticket and towed, perhaps. As it is now, the city collects NO money from those that park along the busy streets when the bars are booming. Zippo. The meters are not enforced beyond 5 pm. And there are some parking lots where there is some late night enforcement -- but we should do the enforcement at all times. The extra money could go to clean up, for example.

I think that the free parking in 'sparkle season' or on nights or whenever the politicians pass the ordinance to make it free for some political favors that need to be returned -- has done plenty to prevent private developers from building parking in their buildings. Don't put parking in a new department store (i.e. Lazarus) -- let the city build it for you. Don't put parking next to a new office development (PNC First Side) -- rather insist that the city build it for you. Private money never wants to enter the marketplace and compete with government money. That's a risk that won't happen. So, government keeps its monopoly. Hence, Pittsburgh does not fix the problem of downtown parking.

The interests of the residents would include parking enforcement on East Carson Street on the South Side with around the clock enforcement of the meters.

What you don't want to do is create a situation where it's too expensive for people to park. You can actually price people out of coming into the city," Hairston says.
When it is too expensive to park, the people are priced out of their cars -- and put into mass transit. They might not be taken out of the city -- but just out of their car as a way to get to the city. People can walk, bike, bus, or not come if parking is too expensive.

Thousands of unwarranted tickets can be really bad. Who passes out the tickets? Is the government agent there to collect fees for the private operators?

This is one reason why it is important to NOT lease the city streets to anyone other than the city owner / operators. I think it makes sense to keep the city streets and parking on the streets and enforcement of the parking on the streets and at the meters in the hands of the public sector. Sell the garages. Don't sell the street parking. City control of the city streets makes good sense and better government. Priavte parking is a much different matter and should be done within the realm of private ownership and enforcement.

It is always good government to keep local what is local. The local pension funds should be controlled locally. I don't want the state to take over things that the state had no business starting. The folly of the locals needs to stay where it began and where it must end. As a state citizen, I don't want to see the state pick up the city's debt from the pension fund and make a take over.

Behind Ravenstahl's pitch to sell off this valuable asset is his misguided desire to keep the commonwealth from taking over Pittsburgh's defunct pension fund.

The state will find a solution. It will jack up our taxes. The state needs to deal with state matters -- like doing a budget on time for once in a decade.

The pinstripe patronage is not only a matter of local concern, but also of state and federal concern. Just to shift the burden to another segment does not elminate pinstripe patronage. Pinstripers contribue to many campaigns -- locally and beyond. Think again.

And the pension fund is something that he wants to keep so as not to lose all the pinstripe patronage that comes with the appointment of bankers and lawyers to service that fund. Those pinstripers, in turn, contribute heavily to the campaigns of those who feather their nests.

It is really that simple, since previous city administrations would have thrown a party for the Legislature if it had offered to take over the city's pension fund. By turning his back on good management, such as cutting and consolidating and downsizing, Ravenstahl has had to follow one bad decision with another: keep the pension fund and propose a divisive tuition tax or keep the pension fund and sell the parking facilities.
Selling the parking facilities puts an end to the folly. To lease them, as is the real plan, only sustains the folly into the future for generations to come.

Tax-exempt garages and lots will suddenly become taxable and parkers will be required to absorb the taxes on facilities that they have already paid to construct. And the ability of government to use the development of a parking facility to spark neighborhood development or partner with a library or community center to make those projects affordable will be gone forever.
Why in the world do we want to pay more taxes on our homes and less taxes or no taxes on land that is devoted to a surface parking lot. Foolishness in this article is HUGE.

The garages of the Parking Authority are not taxable. We have too many properties in the city that are tax exempt. We want to increase the burden of taxes on all the non taxable locations so that those who do pay taxes, such as home owners, can pay less. So, if the Parking Authority garages are sold, the land will be taxed. We win. That is great. This is exactly what should occur.

What will be gone forever is the need for homeowners to pay more taxes to the city treasury so that suburban parking garage users don't have to pay.

Not only should the tax exempt status for parking garages go away, but as the property changes hands a deed-tranfer tax can be collected too. We win again.

Building a parking garage with pubic funds has sparked neighborhood development -- like with Lazarus Department Store. It had a public parking garage right under the store. Some spark. That was a melt down.

Once the parking garages are sold, private developers can spark neighborhood development. That is where the real spark comes -- from private money, not governement money. Governement money is taken from the taxpayers and presented to others for their profits. That's wrong. Then they leave anyway.

But, regardless, if the city leaders want to build a parking garage in 2012 to spark development, say in Hazelwood, (yeah right), then there is NOTHING stopping them even if the parking garages were sold to private owners in 2010. Under Luke's plan, there would be a moratorium that prevented the building of any new parking structures in the city. That's just stupid to the Nth degree. Scrap that. The city should be free to enter into any deal it wants in the future without being sold down the river by Luke's plan of 2010 and a dumb lease contract.

I don't want to diminish the freedom of the city's residents, the city governement, nor the city's business sector either. Sell the garages. Be done with them. Let the new owners do what they wish. And, let the next administration do what it wishes. And likewise for the next generation.

As for the $200 million Ravenstahl hopes to raise, Chicago provides a cautionary note there as well. The Chicago inspector general said that the 75-year lease of parking facilities there, which netted $1.15 billion, was a lousy deal for the city since Chicago could have netted at least $2.13 billion by keeping and operating the parking over that same term.
So what. The job of city governement is to protect the freedom of its citizens, operate the courts, curb mass outbreaks of disease, maintain the roads.

And the stakes could not be higher.
BS again.

1 comment:

lee said...

"Chicago could have netted at least $2.13 billion by keeping and operating the parking over that same term."

You Replied: "So what. The job of city governement is to protect the freedom of its citizens, operate the courts, curb mass outbreaks of disease, maintain the roads."

I say: Hmmm...Doesn't that cost money???