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The Mechanics
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Daley Tue Jun 02 2009

Joravsky Gives Volpe Two Thumbs Up, In Quotes

Man, I love Ben Joravsky.

Volpe* was supposed to appear at 2:45. But he didn't show up until 3:18. Hey, what's the fun of being the mayor's right-hand man if you can't make reporters sit around?

But let me tell you, it was worth the wait. What a performance! Volpe deserved a standing ovation when it was over, and it was all I could do not to stand up and cheer. He kind of reminded me of Jimmy Cagney, with his spunky, pugnacious defense of his man (the mayor) and their parking-meter deal. Lips quivering, voice occasionally cracking, he expressed outrage bordering on disgust that Hoffman--or anyone for that matter--could even remotely suggest that things didn't work as well as they should in Chicago.

As for defending the deal, it's pretty clear that the mayor's central argument is that $1 billion in the bank today is worth more than anything 75 years down the road. He and his aides may need a new one--fewer and fewer people seem to be buying that line.

*Former CFO, Daley Chief-of-Staff Paul Volpe

As I stated earlier, we shouldn't let this become an issue of whether the amount of money was exactly right. The lack of a reasonable process--and the bidders' rational expectation that there would be no meaningful public scrutiny, given our Mayor's reputation as the CEO Mayor--means that there was no way we got the best possible price. There's no one magic number that is exactly what we could have sold ("leased") our publicly-built-and-maintained-for-generations parking meters for. That negotiations happened behind closed doors and a final product produced for an up-and-down vote means that the bidder was dealing with a handful of negotiators rather than contending with an inquisitive if not hostile City Council and the large constituency organizations and stakeholders who would have participated in a review process.

Here's what I wrote in December '07:

The mixed reaction to the auctioning of the Skyway has emboldened the mayor, who seems to think that selling things you and I own is the best way to guarantee a city that works for you and me. Who knows how much the mayor is willing to prostitute the public trust? Who knows when our legislators will realize that the myth of privatization efficiency is just that, and stand up for us when the mayor tries to auction off our property?

It's not that we left $1bn on the table; it's that we never had a shot.

 
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Good Luck / June 3, 2009 10:05 AM

...don't forget the JCDecauex deal for the bus stops - the city gave JC the license even though they were not the highest bidder and also required the city to pay for the power for the bus stop ad lights.

R.A. Stewart / June 3, 2009 11:00 AM

"Who knows how much the mayor is willing to prostitute the public trust?"

I think I know. Infinitely.

"Who knows when our legislators will realize that the myth of privatization efficiency is just that, and stand up for us when the mayor tries to auction off our property?"

I know I know that one. Never.

Ramsin / June 3, 2009 3:41 PM

Guuh. GL I forgot about that one--the JCD deal would have been a scandal in any other city of similar size. But after GF Structures and all the rest, feh.

RAS, those are the types of rhetorical questions you hope nobody answers, because you know the answers will just be depressing. Sigh.

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Feature

Parents Still Steaming, but About More Than Just Boilers

By Phil Huckelberry / 2 Comments

It's now been 11 days since the carbon monoxide leak which sent over 80 Prussing Elementary School students and staff to the hospital. While officials from Chicago Public Schools have partially answered some questions, and CPS CEO Forrest Claypool has informed that he will be visiting the school to field more questions on Nov. 16, many parents remain irate at the CPS response to date. More...

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Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

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It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Mike Ewing, mike@gapersblock.com
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