* The dirty little secret of Chicago’s high parking meter rates is that many businesses love them. Why? Because the meters create turnover. Potential customers don’t park a long time in front of their businesses, so the cars of more potential customers then replace them.
And while some hailed Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s renegotiated parking meter deal that included free Sunday parking, not everybody was happy…
Six months after the City Council passed a renegotiated parking meter lease, business leaders and aldermen in some wards say free Sunday parking has led to low meter turnover — which means fewer customers are able to park and shop in the neighborhoods.
Kevin Vaughn, owner of a handful of restaurants and bars, including Lakeview’s Mystic Celt and Vaughn’s Pub, said he was trying to find parking outside one of his businesses early Sunday morning and most of the metered spots were filled — a problem that began after free Sunday parking began.
“Eighty percent of the spots were filled at 8 a.m.,” Vaughn said. “In Lakeview, Sunday is the second busiest commercial business day of the week. Ultimately [free metered parking] is bad for business.” […]
Back in June, the 32nd, 43rd and 44th Wards — which include Lincoln Park and Lakeview — filed requests to bring back paid Sunday parking. Smith, Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) and Ald. Tom Tunney (44th) all voted against approving the renegotiated parking meter lease.
Waguespack said city attorney Stephen Patton has assured him that the city would draft an ordinance to bring back paid Sundays meters to his ward, but he’s still skeptical.
“Even though the city’s attorney has said he’d do it, I think they’re going to ignore it because they think the deal will just go away,” Waguespack said. “But it’s never going away. You’ve created a problem that will never go away.”
* Meanwhile, from the Tribune…
Across Illinois, sixth- through 12th-graders were asked some simple but revealing questions on a statewide survey: Does your teacher ask difficult questions in class? What about on tests?
Their answers were an eye-opener, with nearly 50 percent — almost 360,000 students — disclosing that they never or seldom are asked hard questions in their main academic classes, according to a Tribune analysis of state data.
As for exams, 42 percent said they never or only occasionally are given challenging test questions, raising concerns about the rigor of instruction at a time when students are supposed to be preparing for tougher state exams.
* But read down into the story…
At New Trier Township High School’s ninth-grade campus, nearly 76 percent of students said they felt challenged most or all the time in their main classes
So, a quarter of kids at New Trier, widely touted as the top public school in all of Illinois, say they aren’t feeling challenged by their core classwork?
* This, however, is totally expected, despite the fact that a 2011 Tribune poll found that 77 percent of Chicagoans believed that their school board should be elected…
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will be spared the potential political embarrassment of finding out whether Chicagoans would prefer an elected school board rather than an appointed one after aldermanic allies moved Monday to fill the March primary ballot with questions on taxi fares and gun control.
There’s room for three referendum questions per a state law meant to prevent overloading the ballot. But the provision also has become a tool that allows council members friendly to the mayor to block efforts viewed as anti-administration.
The council’s Finance Committee loaded up the March 18 ballot with advisory questions that won’t have the force of law. Voters would be asked if they want to pay higher taxi fares, ban high-capacity ammunition magazines and ban the carrying of firearms in all businesses that serve alcohol under the state’s new concealed carry law.
* Also totally expected. From a press release…
Nearly 65 percent of participating school district superintendents believe state funding for education is poor or in need of improvement, according to an online survey that will be released Thursday by Lt. Governor Sheila Simon’s office and Illinois State University. […]
Among the numerous findings of the survey were that 65 percent of respondents would support an increase in the income tax with or without a corresponding decrease in property tax, 75 percent of participants would support a local sales tax for the Education Fund voted upon by a district referendum and over 90 percent of contributors supporting a two year state budget cycle to improve fiscal planning. Respondents rated most services as being important to critically important, and gave ISBE and ROEs high marks in several areas, including leadership, communication, and responsiveness to requests for assistance. Participants indicated that they will need more support in the future for Common Core implementation, professional development, testing technology, and educator evaluations.