WBEZ | chicago parking meters http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-parking-meters Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Parking meter politics: would you rather ...? http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/parking-meter-politics-would-you-rather-107376 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/parking meter Kimberly Janisch.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">One Chicago alderman wants to kill Mayor Rahm Emanuel&rsquo;s plan to tweak the city&rsquo;s unpopular <a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-parking-meters">parking meter privatization</a>. That&rsquo;s the subject of a City Hall hearing Tuesday morning.</p><p>Emanuel&rsquo;s deal is this: free Sunday parking in most neighborhoods, in exchange for longer meter hours the rest of the week.</p><p>Alderman Brendan Reilly said he likes some parts of the mayor&rsquo;s deal, but he doesn&#39;t like that drivers in his downtown ward would have to feed the meters three hours longer.</p><p>&quot;I&rsquo;m inclined to vote no. I think this is not a good deal,&quot; Reilly said.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">He added, &quot;What we&rsquo;re arguing is, by saying &lsquo;No,&rsquo; we could send our legal team back to the table, to negotiate a settlement that&rsquo;s clean.&quot;</p><p dir="ltr">But Emanuel&rsquo;s top lawyer said picking out certain parts of the deal could sink it altogether.</p><p>That&rsquo;s what makes Alderman Michelle Smith a bit suspicious.</p><p>&quot;As a former litigator, I guess I could say if you can&rsquo;t separate it out, that means the other side likes it,&quot; Smith said.&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr">And Chicago aldermen are wary of giving the &ldquo;other side&rdquo; &ndash; in this case, the private meter operator &ndash; any more money than they already have.</p><p>If you were an Alderman and had the privilege to weigh in, which option would you choose?&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="400" marginheight="0" marginwidth="0" src="https://docs.google.com/a/chicagopublicradio.org/spreadsheet/embeddedform?formkey=dF94NEtKUDIzcGR4WE4xQ3QxR2ZERGc6MQ" width="620">Loading...</iframe></p><p>Alex Keefe covers Chicago politics for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a></p></p> Mon, 27 May 2013 09:59:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/economy/parking-meter-politics-would-you-rather-107376 At midterm, Emanuel still cozy with City Council http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-emanuel-still-cozy-city-council-107199 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/RS760_114218744-scr (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr">As Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hits his midterm Thursday in office, the city&rsquo;s 50-member City Council is also marking a milestone: two years under a new mayor.</p><p dir="ltr">At his May 2011 inauguration, Emanuel promised a new dynamic between Chicago&rsquo;s famously powerful mayor and the city&rsquo;s famously compliant City Council.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We don&rsquo;t a rubber stamp City Council, we don&rsquo;t want (a) Council War,&rdquo; then-mayor-elect Emanuel said in <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/aldermen/rahm-emanuel-explains-why-hes-forming-new-political-action-committee">March 2011</a>. &ldquo;I want a council that will be part of the reform agenda and be a partner in that effort.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Emanuel has enjoyed near-unanimous support from aldermen on his key agenda issues. But some aldermen criticize his style of dealing with some especially controversial issues, such as a recent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/legal-fight-settled-over-chicago-parking-meters-106877">amendment </a>to the oft-maligned parking meter privatization contract, and his plan to embark upon the largest round of public school <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-proposes-closing-53-elementary-schools-firing-staff-another-6-106202">closings </a>in U.S. history.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, a recent <a href="http://www.uic.edu/depts/pols/ChicagoPolitics/City_Council_Report_April2013.pdf">study </a>from the University of Illinois at Chicago shows the average alderman sided with Emanuel 93 percent of the time on divided roll call votes through February 2013. That&rsquo;s compared to 88 percent during former Mayor Richard Daley&rsquo;s last years in office.</p><p dir="ltr">And when you ask aldermen what they like about Emanuel&rsquo;s style, a lot of them point to his regular calls or text messages, whether to chat or discuss policy, as one marked departure from the Daley years that has made dialogue on hot-button issues easier.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;You know, he speaks strongly and carries a big stick,&rdquo; joked 12th Ward Ald. George Cardenas.</p><p dir="ltr">The face of Emanuel&rsquo;s agenda in the council chamber is longtime North Side Ald. Pat O&rsquo;Connor (40th). He is Emanuel&rsquo;s unofficial floor leader &ndash; that is, his aldermanic temperature-taker, nose-counter and - when need be - arm-twister.</p><p dir="ltr">O&rsquo;Connor held the same post under Daley, but says his job has been a lot busier since Emanuel took office two years ago.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;We are more engaged with the City Council on a number of fronts than we were previously, in terms of my role,&rdquo; O&rsquo;Connor said.</p><p dir="ltr">Daley rarely called aldermen directly, but &nbsp;Emanuel&rsquo;s hands-on style makes rounding up votes easier, O&rsquo;Connor said.</p><p dir="ltr">Consider a recent City Council <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/churches-take-%E2%80%98leap-faith%E2%80%99-emanuel-water-deal-107089">meeting</a>, when aldermen took up a controversial plan to change the way the city charges nonprofits and churches for city water. When his proposal looked to be in danger, Emanuel himself huddled with aldermen and religious leaders near the City Council restrooms, seconds before the vote.</p><p dir="ltr">In the end, the churches got their reassurance, and every alderman voted yes &ndash; even O&rsquo;Connor, who vocally disagreed with the mayor&rsquo;s plan.</p><p dir="ltr">Still, O&rsquo;Connor bristles at the phrase &ldquo;rubber stamp.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;It&rsquo;s much better, in my opinion, to find areas where we can agree, and exploit them, and use those areas and try and limit the areas where we don&rsquo;t agree,&rdquo; he said.</p><p dir="ltr">But University of Illinois at Chicago political scientist Dick Simpson, a former independent alderman who now researches the city government, says the result is a City Council that is even more compliant than it was at the zenith of the Democratic Machine&rsquo;s power.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Well, what we ended up with is still a rubber stamp City Council,&rdquo; Simpson said.</p><p dir="ltr">But Simpson says that could change in the second half of Emanuel&rsquo;s term, as the city faces tough issues.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Aldermen are being caught between pressures of their communities, and going along with the mayor and having a nice chummy time at City Hall,&rdquo; Simpson said. &ldquo;At some point, over some issue, that may fracture the council.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">Heading into his second term, the mayor is already facing several issues that could peel away some of his City Council support.</p><p dir="ltr">He&rsquo;s pushing an amendment to the wildly unpopular parking meter contract, trying to anticipate summer gun violence, and facing the Chicago Public Schools board vote on closing 54 schools next week.</p><p dir="ltr">Even some of the mayor&rsquo;s City Council allies, like 27th Ward Ald. Walter Burnett, say they sometimes don&rsquo;t feel listened to, especially over school closings.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Sometimes when you go toward that target, and you just focusing, you miss all of the things on the side and in the back of you,&rdquo; Burnett said, referring to Emanuel&rsquo;s pursuit of school closings despite community opposition.</p><p dir="ltr">Simpson says the mayor will tweak his agenda if aldermen make enough noise, as they did about his initial proposal to <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/emanuel-backs-some-unpopular-budget-ideas-93778">cut library hours</a> and his changes to protest ordinances leading up to last year&rsquo;s NATO summit.</p><p dir="ltr">But Emanuel rarely changes direction entirely on big issues. And when it comes to opposition from everyday Chicagoans, Simpson says don&rsquo;t expect a phone call.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He&rsquo;s not very good at actual democracy,&rdquo; Simpson said. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s not good at asking people what should happen, and building a consensus. He&rsquo;s good at saying, &lsquo;This is what I did for you this week.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Alex Keefe is a political reporter for WBEZ. Follow him <a href="https://twitter.com/akeefe">@akeefe</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 07:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/midterm-emanuel-still-cozy-city-council-107199 Morning Shift: Don't follow leaders, watch the parkin' meters http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-09/morning-shift-dont-follow-leaders-watch-parkin-meters <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/MorningShift_CMS_tile_1200x900_19_1.png" alt="" /><p><p>The above Bob Dylan quote is apt as the City Council follows Rahm further down the parking meter rabbit hole. Plus WWACIED (what would a church in Elgin do), and your musical memories of mom.<script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/don-t-follow-leaders-watch-the-parkin-meters.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/don-t-follow-leaders-watch-the-parkin-meters" target="_blank">View the story "Don't follow leaders, Watch the parkin' meters" on Storify</a>]<h1>Don't follow leaders, Watch the parkin' meters</h1><h2>The above Bob Dylan quote is apt as the City Council follows Rahm further down the parking meter rabbit hole. Plus WWACIED (what would a church in Elgin do), and your musical memories of mom.</h2><p>Storified by <a href="http://storify.com/WBEZ"></a>&middot; Wed, May 08 2013 14:33:59</p><div><b>City Hall </b>-&nbsp;Aldermen received a copy of the new parking meter plan shortly before Wednesday’s City Council meeting leaving little time to dissect the details. Alex Keefe explains what they did talk about instead. <br></div><div><b>The Elgin/Joplin connection</b> - &nbsp;A Church in Elgin is building a new home for a woman whose life was upended by the Joplin, MO, tornado that struck in May 2011. Keith Duncan explains how they’ve been constructing the home in the Church basement. &nbsp;<br></div><div><b>Beckett</b> -&nbsp;Chicago-born actor and playwright Rick Cluchey met Samuel Beckett while imprisoned at San Quentin, and he brings their relationship to the stage in a new performance at Stage 773. <br></div><div><b>Music Thursday Mother's Day</b> - What song reminds you of your mom? &nbsp;Something she listened to when you were a kid? &nbsp;Something you listened to together? Celebrate the woman who made it all happen, and call and tweet us with your mother-music-memories.&nbsp;</div></noscript></p></p> Thu, 09 May 2013 08:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-05-09/morning-shift-dont-follow-leaders-watch-parkin-meters Legal fight settled over Chicago parking meters http://www.wbez.org/news/legal-fight-settled-over-chicago-parking-meters-106877 <p><p>Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Monday that he was able to tweak a deal to privatize the city&#39;s parking meters that has proven to be a national embarrassment even as he acknowledged that the city is stuck for the next 71 years with a contract he inherited and despises.</p><p>&quot;We cannot make this bad deal go away and make it into a good one,&quot; the mayor said at a City Hall news conference of the $1.15 billion, 75-year deal reached in 2008 by predecessor Richard M. Daley that led to Chicago having the most expensive parking in the country. &quot;But I think we did make it a little less bad for the next seven decades.&quot;</p><p>Emanuel, who called his proposal an effort to &quot;make a little lemonade out of a big lemon,&quot; said he was able to secure from Chicago Parking Meters LLC an agreement to stop charging for parking in the city&#39;s residential neighborhoods on Sundays. But to get that concession, Emanuel had to give one: Metered parking hours will be extended an hour until 10 p.m., as well as an additional three hours in the trendy near North Side.</p><p>Emanuel has been embroiled in a battle over tens of millions of dollars Chicago Parking Meters LLC has contended the city owes for revenue lost when streets are closed for festivals and other reasons.</p><p>On Monday, he said the company has agreed to settle for much less than it has demanded. Under the agreement, the city will settle invoices totaling $49 million for a two-year period that ended March 31 for a total of $8.9 million. The difference of about $20 million a year will total more than $1 billion over the life of the contract, Emanuel said.</p><p>&quot;I literally have millions of dollars of unpaid bills sitting on my desk that I have refused to pay,&quot; the mayor said. &quot;The company now knows that I&#39;m a different type of mayor, this is a different administration and Chicago has a different way of doing business.&quot;</p><p>The mayor said he will submit the proposal to the City Council, which must approve it to go into effect.</p><p>Chicago residents said the tradeoff won&#39;t help them much, but they don&#39;t blame the current mayor.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s going to make things even more of a frustration,&quot; said marketing executive Brian Hull, 30, envisioning feeding a meter during a late night party.</p><p>&quot;It&#39;s good and bad,&quot; said trader Pat Skelton, 54. &quot;If I want to come down and eat, I&#39;m going to pay more, but if my son comes over (to visit him in Wrigleyville) he won&#39;t have to worry about (paying on Sunday).&quot;</p><p>Both men said the mayor was trying to make the best of a bad situation he inherited.</p><p>And for all his tough talk, Emanuel admitted Monday this was the best he could do with a poorly negotiated deal that never should have been struck. It left Chicago with the most expensive meter parking in the United States &mdash; $6.50 an hour in the downtown business district. And, perhaps worst of all, the city has already spent all but a fraction of the $1.15 billion that was supposed to last decades.</p><p>&quot;We spent all of the money so we can&#39;t buy ourselves out of this deal,&quot; Emanuel said.</p><p>The company, which leases the city&#39;s 36,000 metered spaces, said it was pleased with the mayor&#39;s proposal.</p><p>&quot;In the best interests of the people of Chicago, CPM collaborated with the administration and believes that our willingness to work with the City demonstrates our desire to provide the most efficient and technologically advanced parking meter system possible for the City of Chicago,&quot; the company said Monday in a statement.</p><p>Conspicuously absent Monday was any mention of Daley. Emanuel, while taking the City Council to task for voting to approve the deal in just three days, did not mention Daley by name during his statement. He left the press briefing room without taking questions.</p><p>Daley has defended the deal, saying that had he not made it, Chicago would have been forced to raise taxes and eliminate many services.</p><p>Daley was traveling on Monday, according to his law office, and could not be reached for comment.</p></p> Mon, 29 Apr 2013 11:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/legal-fight-settled-over-chicago-parking-meters-106877