Saturday, June 27, 2009

Ah, Toledo, How I Miss Thee

Living in the Chicago area has been a non-stop barrage of government so bad you sometimes can't tell the difference between corruption and incompetence. You have former governors in prison or awaiting trial. You have multiple suburbs voting overwhelmingly to leave Cook County and form our own, followed by the board president calling us uneducated ingrates who just don't understand how much they do for us (so far the list of things I've come up with is "collecting our taxes" and "????").

Recently the fun story has been Chicago leasing control of all the parking meters to a private company, a deal that was rammed through with less than two days of debate and before anyone really knew what it entailed (there's been a lot of that going in lately, it seems). They had a budget deficit of roundabouts $150 million, so they sold off control of the parking meters for a payment of $1.2 billion. Sound great, right? Sure, until you find out that the lease is for 75 years, or an average of $16 million per year. With approximately 36,000 meters in Chicago (so I hear - haven't been able to find an official count), that works out to $444 per meter per year, or just over a dollar per meter per day. Lemme put it this way: before this deal, a lot of the meters downtown were already at $3 per hour (other parts of the city were obviously less), and they were continually packed. Even without maintenance costs, they're taking way, way less than they would've made by holding on. The inspector general released a report saying as much, estimating that the market value for this lease was at least double what was settled on. So one of the aldermen responsible went on the radio to defend the lease (audio I would love to have right about now), and he made two very salient points. It doesn't matter how much money we're giving up long-term because we gots billz to pay now. And we really shouldn't matter how this will affect the city long-term, because none of us will be around by the end of the lease. Well, thanks for clearing that up! Oh, and did we mention that the mayor's nephew just happens to work for the company that bought the lease and stands to make millions in bonuses? Just a coincidence, no doubt.

So just when I start to think it can't get any more ridiculous, it's always good to see my former home Toledo make the national news. Because nobody, I mean nobody, can top the combo of incompetent, corrupt, and just plain crazy that is mayor Carty Finkbeiner. Just watch, and pray your mayor doesn't get any similar stupid ideas. (Which is worse - using garbage men to write illegal tickets, or using workers for a voter fraud and extortion organization to conduct a census?)

One more that isn't so much about bad Toledo government, but it did make the national news, so here you go. So a house is on fire, and the firement can't get into it because of a pitbull guarding it. The good news is it only took a few minutes to get past, but any delay if there was someone inside is too much. If it's me, I'm letting the pit bull drink from the fire hose, and be done with it (bonus vids: here and here). But that would no doubt upset the PETA folks (not the good ones from People for Eating Tasty Animals (keep being awesome), the insane ones), and pointing out that they could've used the axe instead or just shot the dog wouldn't satisfy them. But then again, I'm the crazy type that values human life, so what do I know?

1 comment:

ben said...

thanks for the highlight on Carty -- unbelievable...