• Oct 1, 2009
No one likes parking tickets. We would go so far as to say that everyone hates parking tickets. Well, everyone except for city governments and certain companies in the private sector that profit handsomely from them. How handsomely? Think George Clooney. For instance, the city of Chicago recently leased out its parking enforcement operations for the next seventy five years. Why? For cash, straight up. How much? One billion dollars.
And that's not even where the big money is. The real filthy lucre is in speeding. Again, and even more than above, the numbers are gross. Red light cameras alone generate four billion dollars per year. Good old hand written speeding tickets net their locales ten billion dollars per year. Makes you wonder how city governments ever functioned before Henry Ford. Not as lavishly, that's for sure. But, where there's tons and tons of public money to be made, there's graft. And corruption. And most of all, greed.

Take the case of two private parking companies, Dallas-based Affiliated and Duncan Solutions of Milwaukee. According to a report from MSNBC's Red Tape Chronicles, Duncan is alleged to have been reading Affiliated's email. And not just reading their email, but setting up dummy accounts to quite literally trick Affiliated employees into sending Duncan emails before routing the pilfered messages back to Affiliated via special servers. And according to Affiliated, Duncan engaged in this practice for over two years. Duncan, not surprisingly, denies all wrong doing whatsoever and is anxious to prove it in court.

Not that Affiliated is so sweet and innocent. There were 89,840 complaints against Affiliated in Washington DC in 2005 – the first year they took over parking meter operations from the city. The complaints were up, by the way, from 3,652 the year before. it doesn't stop there. When an Affiliated contract for fifty red light cameras expired that same year, it was discovered that twenty seven of the cameras weren't working. Can you image two better companies to entrust with the collection of public money?

[Source: Red Tape Chronicles | Image: Serge Burton/Getty]





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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 13 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      I'll take my chance with government, the elephant who inadvertently crushes the mouse while going about its normal routine, rather than private interest, the cat, who preys on the mouse and toys with it prior to killing it.
      • 5 Years Ago
      While I agree that the private sector can often do things more efficiently and cost effectively, I feel that it is totally inappropriate for private companies to handle law enforcement and traffic enforcement for personal profit. This represents a huge conflict of interests as these laws are supposedly in place simply to maintain law and order, not for the profit of anybody, public or private. We have the same issues here in AZ. DUI offenders pay about 1k a year plus installation fees to have a ignition interlock device put onto their car, all handled by a private for-profit company of course... and you wonder why the state made these devices mandatory for 1st time offenders about a year ago. One big cash register.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Americans.
      This is what happens when you let your country slip away from you.
      • 5 Years Ago
      So it is Profits First. Safety is only secondary.
        • 5 Years Ago
        You are being generous.

        I doubt safety comes into the equation at all.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Traffic accidents from speeding, running stop signs and other moving violations kill more people a year than murder/homicide.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The city is going to have to spend money to regulate this private affair anyway, or else this will get out of hand... I wouldn't be happy about it if I was living there.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The City of Chicago did not lease out the parking enforcement operation for 75 years, it leased out the revenue derived from the parking meters for 75 years. In exchange the city received 1.2 Billion dollars in up-front payment and a new parking meter system valued at over 40 Million. It also eliminated 4 Million a year in maintenance and upkeep of the old parking meter system. The city still continues to retain 100% of the parking ticket revenue.

      Any city that would give up even a portion of any law or ordinance infraction money is stupid beyond belief. It would literally be allowing those private companies to print money in the form of violations.
      • 5 Years Ago
      The problem is the conflict of interest between law enforcement and generating income. As with so many things, this is something that could be easily fixed if the politicians actually wantedit fixed, which they don't. That and the fact that the general population is far more concerned with who got voted off Big Brother than they are about their elected leaders raping them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Hey, we just got a license to print money!
      • 5 Years Ago
      As inefficient and ineffective as the public sector can be, publicly funded private contractors are always ten times worse.

      Government should either do things itself or not do them.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Oh great so we trade in the public denial of "no quota" for a private company who most likely has a quota. Yeah I dont see any problem here, none at all.
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