As expected, the L.A. City Council voted 12-0 tod
ay to kill off -- once and for all -- the privatization of the city's parking garages.
It's become commonplace to trash the idea. In a complex budget process with few easy choices, it became an easy target. It was, indeed, a short-term fix to a long-term problem, and nobody could really say what the economic effect of jacking up parking rates would be.
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As we noted last month, the real problems with the deal were political and not financial. The idea came from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, whose clout with the City Council has ebbed almost to nothing.
And it faced concerted opposition from affected parties: merchants in Westwood and Hollywood. Had the city privatized its garages, it would have meant the end to free and subsidized parking rates. That meant the merchants would have lost a valuable city subsidy.
And so the poli-sci became somewhat simple: On the "yes" side was the mayor, who nobody is listening to anymore. On the "no" side was an organized business coalition, who the council very much still is listening to. Game over.