Pretty lively council session today on whether to proceed with the scheme to raise $53 million by privatizing city garages. But the hand-wringing was really more than that - it was a reminder that L..A.'s disastrous finances will require desperate and unpopular decisions. Actually, the parking dispute is a perfect example of conflicting agendas: Businesses in Westwood and Hollywood say that turning over the garages to private interests will result in higher fees and lost business; city workers, including cops and firefighters, say that not leasing out the garages will result in additonal layoffs and furloughs. The lease idea was short-sighted from the start, but at this point it's probably the best of a sorry list of options - barely. But why has the city and council waited this long to carry out a plan that had been a key component of a budget they signed off on months ago? From City Maven:
Council President Eric Garcetti laid out the four options before council:
1. Go to market and see what companies will pay to sign 50-year leases on nine city-owned parking garages.
2. Go to market and see what companies will pay to sign 50-year leases on city-owned garages with limitations on what can be done in Hollywood, Westwood and downtown.
3. Walk away from the leasing plan but evaluate how to make more money from garages. This could include advertising in garages or increasing the hourly parking rates. The city would then borrow against these assets.
4. Furloughs and layoffs.
I'm guessing that they'll go for a combination of numbers 2 and 4 - and then pray it's enough.