Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Politics of the Parking Deal w/Update and Second Update

Yesterday, a number of downtown business owners came out against the Mayor's 50 year parking deal with ACS. Meanwhile Urbanaphile's Aaron Renn posted a reply to the City's response to his critique of the deal.

The failure of this deal can actually be summed up in one sentence: The City has not make a case why an outside vendor has to be brought in to the tune of as much as a $1.2 billion profit, when this is something - the modernization of the parking meters and bumping up the parking rates - that could be done by the City while keep 100% of the profit (as opposed to 20% under the ACS plan.)

While most of the focus has been on the merits of the plan, this blog concentrates on the political equation. Looking to the north, Chicago's parking deal, which is better than Indy's ACS deal in many respects, has made the current administration so unpopular it has ended the political career of an icon of Chicago politics, Mayor Richard Daily.

Yet those around Mayor Greg Ballard, have encouraged the Mayor to go down the same disastrous political road as Mayor Daily right before the election? Why?

It's actually quite simple. The profiteerers have taken over this current administration. They know this is a one-term Mayor and they're going to do everything possible to cash in before he leaves office at noon on January 1, 2012. While in most administrations you would have someone politically savvy at the top who would understand the ulterior motives of those advising him, with Mayor Ballard you have a political novice who has not yet figured out in almost 3 years that he has surrounded himself with a bunch of sharks, people who expect him to lose re-election and have no interest but their own welfare. The parking deal, which appears to be on its last legs, is just the latest, albeit the worst, example of people profiting off of of this politically-naive Mayor.

Harry Truman said it best: "If you want a friend in politics, get a dog." Truman understood that the people he was surrounded by might not have his best interests at heart and not to 100% trust them on what they're doing. It is a lesson that Ballard may finally understand the night of November 8, 2011.

Update: The Star is running a poll on the 50 year parking lease deal. Right now, the poll is 87% against, 13% for. Certainly an on-line poll is not scientifically accurate. Almost certainly 87% is an exaggeration of the percent against the deal. An on-line poll, however, can measure the intensity of one side or another that wouldn't be measured in a regular poll.. When you have 87% saying "no" that's a sign there is an intensity on the side of those who oppose the deal. Why is this important? It means to the "no" side it is a voting issue...those people will cast a vote based on the administration's position issue. For the other side, it's likely not a voting issue. Most likely Mayor Ballard (and Council Republicans) will get the full wrath of those people who oppose the 50 year ACS contract, but will get virtually no people voting for them because they supported the parking deal.

Second Update: I decided to take another look at the poll result at about 4 pm., finding the result had drastically narrowed from 87-13 to about 54-46. Then a funny thing happened. I got back on late Monday night and found out that the margin spread out again, this time by 69-31.

Hmmm, let me see if I can figure this out. You can vote an unlimited number of time on the Indystar website. There is a sudden surge of "Yes" votes between about 9 am. after I posted my observation until about 4:30 pm, when the numbers reverted back to a large spread. Could it be that city workers were instructed to repeatedly vote "Yes" while sitting at their work computers, and when they were off the clock, the "yes" voters were no longer around to cast their votes? Just a working theory...

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