Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – My proposition is very simple. I don’t have an issue or a problem with an incorporated city managing any property that they own and selling parking services. What I have a problem with and what I have suggested is what the city ought to do is get out of the business, totally out of the business of parking. Just get out of it. Fire the meter maids, get them off the damn payrolls, and pull all the meters up, or sell the meters to another city or town or vendor that wants to use them. Check out today’s transcript for the rest…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: I started this conversation today by innocently asking the question as to why people are opposing President Obama’s initiative to sell or to privative — AG, do you know what it is that he’s proposing? I still don’t understand it. I read that whole story twice now. Do you understand it?
AG: I thought it was to sell it off and get rid of the government aspect of that utility.
Mike: That’s what I thought, too, but after reading it — I went back and read it again. It doesn’t appear that that’s — the people that are opposing it are not of that opinion.
AG: There’s the simple line, two or three paragraphs in, it says “But in his new budget, President Obama ordered a strategic review of the TVA with an eye toward selling it to private interests.”
Mike: Right. We’ve been hearing all day, [mocking] “You don’t want to sell the TVA. We love it, love it, love it. This is the greatest thing that’s ever happened here.” My position on these things is always, I try to be as consistent as is humanly possible. Government shouldn’t be in the business of doing anything that private individuals and companies can do.
AG: I know there was a story a couple months back about, I think it was the City of Chicago and maybe New York as well and how they’ve sold their parking meters to a private company. I think it’s like a Danish company. It’s an overseas company. What happened was the state and the City of New York and the City of Chicago got this great influx of cash when they sold the parking meters over to a private company, but going forward you lose that revenue stream in the future. There’s a pseudo-relationship in terms of how much this company can hike the rates in parking meters. The city no longer has control over what these rates are. You ultimately have this private company that can say: We’re going to charge $2 for 20 minutes of parking on Eighth Avenue in New York.
What happens when the government does control some aspect? It’s not the same as a public utility in terms of parking on public streets, but kind of similar in the sense that the government was running it with the idea that they would keep rates lower. You didn’t necessarily have to seek out a profit for it, therefore the incentive to raise prices wasn’t there. When you do sell that utility, and I’m viewing parking meters as a utility, you then lose that ability in the future to control rates nearly as much, as well as lose a consistent income stream just for that one-time cash windfall to the city’s coffers.
Mike: I have actually argued with the libs that work in the City of New Orleans. I’ve gotten into on-air televised arguments on ABC 26 here in New Orleans over this. My proposition is very simple. I don’t have an issue or a problem with an incorporated city managing any property that they own and selling parking services. What I have a problem with and what I have suggested is what the city ought to do is get out of the business, totally out of the business of parking. Just get out of it. Fire the meter maids, get them off the damn payrolls, and pull all the meters up, or sell the meters to another city or town or vendor that wants to use them.
If the city is going to claim that space in front of that business is not part of the private property that business owns, my suggestion is that the city ought to lease, not sell but lease those in blocks. You want an equivalent of ten parking spaces in front of Canal Center on Canal Street? That lease is going to cost x-amount of dollars. You can charge whatever you want for people to park there, but you will pay us a flat rate. That way the city still gets the revenue. You see what I’m saying? They have no collection costs. They don’t have to pay anybody to go out there and harass the citizenry. They don’t have to collect the money when people refuse to pay. They don’t have to put the boots on the car. They don’t have to manage the tow yard. All they have to do is collect on the lease. Then it is in the hands of the same people that are running the shops that need the parking space in front to manage the parking, how much you charge for it.
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I guarantee you there will be competition, Andrew. There will be some restaurants that will say: Johnny Slim’s hot dog place down the street, they charge to park in front of their joint. You can park in front of ours. It don’t cost nothing. Come on in and get a steak. Of course, the steak costs five bucks more to compensate for the parking, but that’s competition. That’s competition. Problem solved and we don’t have any government chicanery going on. There are ways that cities can still benefit from some of these things like you’re talking about, like parking meters and the revenue derived from parking meters without being tyrannical and actually encouraging competition. Those are primo spaces that they would be competing for as well. That’s my take on that.
End Mike Church Show Transcript