While Mayor Karl Dean is trying to generate some feel-good press with his latest photo-op bolting down parking meters for private-public homeless relief, news of synchronous parking meter dust-ups in other cities risks reopening old Metro budget wounds from last January. Last winter the Mayor's Office considered privatizing all parking meters to help pay for Music City Center construction. It also made clear that the Mayor deems it a viable future option, which Mr. Dean will not rule out because he would consider any "serious proposal."
Last January the proposal the Mayor's Office deemed "serious" came from Morgan Stanley, one of the brood of bailed-out banks who boorishly brought us to the brink of oblivion. You'll remember that the Mayor's Office was already making deals with the devils of Goldman Sachs, another Wall Street fencing outfit, to find financing for construction of the Music City Center. So, the idea that Morgan Stanley is "serious" only means that they are serious about making Nashvillians the mark in the next confidence game designed to separate us from our tax revenues.
Morgan Stanley was already playing Chicagoans for fools thanks to Democratic Mayor Richard Daley, who traded short-term recession relief in his 2008 municipal budget for long-term blood-letting in which Morgan Stanley walks away with increasing parking revenues tied to the Consumer Price Index for 75 years. Yet, our own Mayor Dean is willing to consider serious offers from self-serving Morgan Stanley, perhaps on Windy City terms. The latest Morgan Stanley chump is the city of Indianapolis, which has handed the bankers the revenue potential of its own public space for the next 50 years under otherwise Windy City terms. However, Morgan Stanley paid Indianapolis only a fraction of what they paid Chicago. And the bankers could walk away with $1.2 billion. They are glorified racketeers, shored by government bureaucrats.
So, when Karl Dean invites the Wall Street bankers next budget time to make serious proposals and play Nashville for meter chumps, how much lower will bailed-out Morgan Stanley set the bar to pay to set us up to take billions of parking revenues from future generations? While Mayor Dean did not finance Music City Center construction with privatized meters this year, next year he may do it just to bolster the General Fund from the hits it takes from the new convention center costs. Hopefully, today's spotty philanthropy of bolting a meter will not lend the Mayor's Office aid in that endeavor.