Re: How Bob Castellini helped The Banks get on track
Where to begin on this...
It's a quick-cash grab because the city's elected officials are too afraid of angering any portion of their constituents by cutting their budget to a sensible level. The overwhelming majority of the dollars generated by the sale of parking will go to covering budget gaps in 2013 and 2014 (~50-55m of the proposed ~95m cash influx). The budget gaps, however, are structural in nature -- the city is projecting deficits indefinitely into the future because they have too much money committed (mostly in salary/benefits of city employees) and not enough tax revenue to cover. This means that once 2016 comes, the city will once again be facing the exact some problem that is leading it to sell off the parking rights now: a multi-million dollar budget gap. The parking sale is just kicking the can down the road and hoping that someone else comes up with a brilliant plan in the interim to fix the situation.
So to recap this point, even if you're in favor of the idea of the parking sale, the dollars that COULD be used to fund long-term, revenue-generating projects within the city are being outright wasted to pay for salaries and benefits right now that will provide no long-term return on investment. It would be much better if the city finally (after years doing everything possible to avoid it) finally did something about out-of-control spending that is occurring at city hall.
Also, quickly, on some of your other points:
- This lease impacts the entire city limits of the city of Cincinnati, not just the urban core downtown (although the only benefits to the city will be seen downtown -- screw you to the neighborhoods who also pay property taxes and earnings taxes in the city). This means if you rely on street parking in Oakley or Westwood, get ready for more meters everywhere, longer hours on those meters, and higher prices as well.
- On the issue of apartment / condo parking -- even if you get a space given to you by the terms of your lease (and I'd contest the idea that "most" places give you a free space -- I can counter your anecdotal evidence by saying, accurately, that "most" people I know who rent within the city limits are not provided parking as part of their rental agreement), you still have parking issues for friends visting, girlfriends/wives, etc. Want to have friends over for dinner? Feed the meter. Family visiting from out of town? Feed the meter. Girlfriend spending the night? Feed the meter.
- I'd also disagree with your point that "the city shouldn't focus on X group of people" -- the city needs EVERYONE to buy into downtown. When you jack up parking meter prices and install technology that allows for aggressive enforcement (they're talking about installing sensors that alert when a space is occupied and, presumably, can notify a meter maid instantly when a meter is expired and a car is still in the slot), you're going to create a hostile environment downtown. People will choose to spend their money elsewhere at places like Kenwood and Rookwood, where the parking is free and you can spend all day shopping without worrying there will be a $100 citation on your vehicle when you come outside.
This deal is bad all around, and I can't fathom a single reason to support it unless you're a city worker who might lose salary benefits or a job if they don't use this money to fix the budget gaps. Even if you like the idea because it's an opportunity to grow downtown and use resources to "jump start" all of these projects (not pay for, mind you, but "jump start" -- there's no guarantee that any of these things actually get off the ground), don't you want ALL of the money going to those projects and not just whatever is left over after the city leaders buy themselves 2 years of budget solutions?
23 Years and Counting...