Potential candidates focus on parking meter deal

November 10, 2010 (CHICAGO)

Only $76 million remain of the $1.5 billion the city received for privatizing the meters.

The research conducted by the candidates, as well as the anecdotal evidence, indicate that city voters are most angry about the Daley administrations 2008 deal to sell the parking meter system. A couple of would-be candidates for mayor made public outrage over the privatized meters their campaign themes for the day.

"One of the loudest messages we've been hearing is that the parking meter deal is a disaster," said Carol Mosely-Braun, former U.S. senator and candidate for mayor.

Mosley-Braun said the companies that leased the system for nearly $1.2 billion is now trying to sell it for $11 billion. She went on to say the City Council led by the Daley administration was "snookered and scammed." But if she's elected, Mosley-Braun said she will direct the city attorney to join lawsuits to alter the deal.

"I'm going to get this deal reversed. I'm going to get this deal out of the way and get a fair deal for the people of Chicago," she said.

Mosely-Braun has set up a campaign website focused on the lease. She indicated she might join the lawsuits before Election Day.

Another mayoral candidate, former City Colleges chairmain Gery Chico said the mayor and City Council have misspent the money paid for the parking meters and should not use most of what is left of it to balance next year's budget.

"The question is where did the money go," said Chico. "The fact we were told $400 million would be there and today's there's $76 million, there's something wrong with that."

Mayor Daley was not impressed by the indirect criticism from his would-be successors. He insisted that spending the parking meter reserve during a tough economy was a plus for city taxpayers.

"The other option was to dramatically cut services, which is unacceptable, or raise property taxes," said Daley.

Rahm Emanuel, like the other candidates, would not direct his meter deal criticisms at the mayor.

"Look, I think the key thing is what we're gonna do forward...okay?" Emanuel.

In another incident, someone threw an egg at Emanuel's entourage as the group prepared to leave 26th Street in Little Village where Emanuel toured Wednesday. No one was injured.

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