July 6, 2005


The Dispatch/Argus has a curious piece about parking enforcement at the new parking ramp in downtown Moline. (Which is yet to be completed but apparently allows parking nonetheless.)

The reserved spaces are so far only marked with plastic covered pieces of paper until permanent signs can be put up. They sent out a photographer to get a shot of one such sign. It seems that one or two people have experienced people parking in their leased spaces. (Horrors!) So the Dispatch decided this was a story.

Hey, slow news day. You'll have that. One might suspect it was the space of someone with the paper which was taken, but who knows?

"Hmmmm. What have we got for today?"
"Well, someone parked in my parking spot. Let's get a reporter and photographer on that."
"Will do."

At any rate, the story discusses this non-issue and explains how complaints from the two people who had discovered their leased spaces taken resulted in emergency action from the city to start fining these outlaws. (there was no ordinence allowing fines in the new ramp apparently.)

But near the bottom of the piece is this interesting passage:
Revenue manager Keith Verbeke said the city has a parking committee that has been working for more than two months to come up with solutions to parking issues in downtown Moline.

It recently made recommendations which include the new ramp, which it forwarded to Moline Centre Partners' parking committee. The organization, made up of downtown business owners, approved the recommendations on the committee level.

This morning, the Moline Centre Partners board of directors will review the recommendations. If they are approved, the recommendations will be taken to the city council for its approval.
So let me get this straight...

The city has a committee, which may or may not consist of paid or elected members, which worked more than two months to come up with "recommendations" regarding downtown parking regulations.

But it then gives over it's power to an an organization of downtown business owners and waits for the OK of some committee of this organization.

It passes the committee, but now the city must wait until the "Board of Directors" of this organization decides if it's ok with them. Only if this group of unelected business owners then approves, will it then be sent to the council for their presumed rubber-stamp approval?

How in the world is that right? We now have unelected business owners directly controlling taxpayer financed city assets? Private "boards of directors" now have veto power over city regulations before they're even put before the council? How did the cart get in front of the horse?

I hope there's some logical explanation here, because something's definitely wrong with this picture as it appears.


At 7/06/2005 6:44 PM, Blogger theheadusher said...

I find nothing wrong with resereved/leased parking, but why are City leaders leasing the best spots?

It makes a lot more sense to lease the upper two floors rather than the bottom two floors to private interest. This solution seems more agreeable than forcing downtown patrons to park so far away from the exit and enterance.

Given that taxdollars funded this project, I pray the City quickly moves quickly to corrects this apperant oversight.

Perhaps the Dispatch should dive into this issue and reveal who got these VIP parking spaces!

At 7/06/2005 8:03 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I believe you may have mis-read the story HeadUsher, although that's understandable considering the too often garbled writing in the Dispatch.

Here's the relevant quote: "However, after receiving two complaints from lease holders in the past two weeks, the city engineer took advantage of a different ordinance and issued a temporary regulation on Friday restricting parking on the second, third and fourth levels from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. The temporary regulation still allows the first level to be unrestricted public parking."

It appears that it was always intended for the first level to be open to all and the upper levels to leased parking. (Though of course it's not clear, which is typical of Dispatch work.)

At 7/06/2005 8:06 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

And... what about the main issue here? How does a private business group end up getting to have veto power over how the city sets up and regulates it's own parking garage?
Sounds like BS to me.

At 7/07/2005 6:45 AM, Blogger maybesomeday said...

This is simply status quo for Moline. In the final analysis, the ability to move projects like this one into the City budget are the main reason that the Republicans worked like hell to beat Pat O'Brien in his bid for Mayor.

Pat would have at least asked a few questions about such projects and not just sat as a rubber stamp like the dufus they have in the seat now.

At 7/07/2005 12:00 PM, Blogger diehard said...

The Dispatch likes the status quo in Moline. I'm sure thier reporters are bored stiff with the new mayor and coucil.
But the fact that O'Brien, an unapoligiteic liberal Democrat came so close to winning in Moline even after they{the Dispatch} interjected themselves in the Mayoral campaign like they have never done before has got to make them 2nd guess their right wing slant. After all they are in buisness to sell newspapers and the customer is always right even if you are trying to brainwash them!


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