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Counter-intuitive

Thursday, Dec 12, 2013

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


22 Comments
  1. - Downstate - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:13 am:

    From the numerous teachers I speak with (both current and retired), their is an encroaching problem in our school system.

    Disengaged parents are creating disinterested children. A growing number of students are operating in home environments that are horrific - at best.

    Students arrive at school, having spent the evening trying to find food, keep warm or avoid a beating. They are only wanting to pass their classes so that they can continue to remain in the safe environment that is school.

    As a result, the actual instructional activity that takes place is seriously reduced. The top students are being held back, not by the lowest performing students, but by the parents of the lowest performing students.

    It’s a growing travesty in this nation, and not one that can be fixed with just more money.

    It’s called responsibility.


  2. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:20 am:

    I guess Bruce Rauner’s Daughter could have ask all her “former” neighbors if they felt challenged while she “lived” in Chicago and went to Payton Prep … ya know, when the Daughter would “go home” to Winnetka on the Weekends and stuff.

    I have yet to find any organization that has said, ever…

    “You know what, we have absloutley enough money to do what we want, heck we have more many here that things to use it on!”

    … so, yeah, not suprised even schools want more Dollars…always about the Dollars.


  3. - Suburbs - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    Chicago loves for us suburbanites to pay when we go to Chicago, right? As a suburbanite, I love the parking meters. Now one can actually find street parking in Chicago. When it was free, parking always seemed to be taken. Now that we have to pay for it, spots are available. It’s worth it!


  4. - Don't Worry, Be Happy - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:32 am:

    *Also totally expected*

    Actually, I’m amazed that this number is so low. Why would 35% of superintendents think that the current level of State support for education is sufficient, given that Illinois ranks dead last among the 50 states in State funding for education, and that we never come close to providing the dollar amount set by ISBE as a minimum foundation level.

    If I, as a public school parent, had a superintendent among that 35% I’d be appalled.


  5. - GA Watcher - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:34 am:

    School groups have been hyping the local sales tax idea for a few years now. It’s time may come after the next election. Whoever winds up being Governor is going to have to look at comprehensive reforms to the State’s tax structure and how public services are funded.


  6. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:50 am:

    === Back in June, the 32nd, 43rd and 44th Wards — which include Lincoln Park and Lakeview — filed requests to bring back paid Sunday parking. ===

    Boo hoo… If you live in one of these Wards or open a business in one of these Wards, you are doing so with knowledge that there isn’t any parking. If you bring back paid parking, guess what? There still won’t be any parking. The entire 44th Ward is in a zone parking area. Guess what? Still no parking.

    A lot of people in these Wards choose to live there because they can get around easily on foot. Many residents do not even own cars. I really doubt how much these businesses are losing customers due to the parking issue.


  7. - Timmeh - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:55 am:

    I remember school pretty well. There were only a few times when an assignment challenged me. Each time was more of a maturity issue rather than a difficulty issue.

    That said, just because something isn’t challenging doesn’t mean that it isn’t instructive. I had a class where the instructor always gave study guides before exams and the exams would be some multiple choice/fill in the blank questions and an essay or two. They weren’t “challenging questions”. You just had to learn the material and do some critical thinking.


  8. - Chris - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:58 am:

    “As a suburbanite, I love the parking meters. Now one can actually find street parking in Chicago. When it was free, parking always seemed to be taken. Now that we have to pay for it, spots are available. It’s worth it!”

    As a city resident, I love the new rates for the same reason. Only hate from me is for (1) the ridiculous absence of an earnout for the city as rates go up and (2) that little runt Daley spending almost all the proceeds up front for operating costs.


  9. - Arthur Andersen - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 10:59 am:

    Just one observation about that New Trier stat: having raised a few, I would say at least 76 percent of high school freshmen (9th grade) don’t have a clue. Survey them again when they are juniors and have been smacked by the wonders of calculus, physics, etc, and I bet the percentage gets higher.


  10. - Chris - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:00 am:

    “I have yet to find any organization that has said, ever…”

    Apple, Inc. is saying as much with it’s (non)use of its $140b+ in cash.


  11. - Thomas - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:05 am:

    That Trib story on the school survey is all over the map! In one of the lead paragraphs it says “thousands of teachers find their principals ineffective.” But then later in the story it says 82 percent of teachers find their principals effective. (Isn’t that a pretty high approval rating for any group of employees to give their boss?)

    That’s like starting a story on the 2012 presidential election by writing: “millions of Americans voted against Barack Obama.”


  12. - Knome Sane - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:33 am:

    I wonder if this survey is more along the lines of “do you feel stressed out by the workload you receive at school”. Some kids define “challenge” differently and some kids process stress differently.


  13. - John A Logan - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 11:44 am:

    First thing that comes to my mind is thank god I don’t live in Chicago. The idea of having to pay to park, especially that high dollar insanity to park, is something I don’t have to worry myself with. Just saying….


  14. - Belle - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 12:37 pm:

    I live in a fairly congested area of the City and constantly find it amazing how many spaces are available. Cars are even less evident in areas without the meters.
    If you consider a street that had the cheap meters but was always full of cars, even early in the AM; you cannot help but wonder where all of those cars are stored today?


  15. - Anonymous - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 12:54 pm:

    === First thing that comes to my mind is thank god I don’t live in Chicago. The idea of having to pay to park, especially that high dollar insanity to park, is something I don’t have to worry myself with. Just saying… ===

    Most of Chicago doesn’t have to worry about parking… the worst areas for parking are concentrated in probably 6-10 Wards. In my Chicago neighborhood, finding FREE parking is not an issue.


  16. - cicero - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 1:08 pm:

    It makes a travesty of democracy when boards are permitted to pack a ballot with insignificant questions in order to block a question that residents want on the ballot. This has been going on for years, and the IML loves having that power.


  17. - JimmyJazz - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 1:14 pm:

    The fact that metered street parking speeds the turnover in spaces is no secret, dirty or otherwise. It is the rationale behind metering — to make scarce street space available to more people. Yes, it adds to merchants’ traffic, but that’s because quick turn-over makes parking downtown more convenient for people doing quick in-and-out shopping or errand-running. The fact that some cities have seized upon meters as a revenue-generator is a separate issue.


  18. - Dirty Red - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 1:58 pm:

    Perhaps the most shocking thing in this post is that more than 1/3 of public education system administrators in Illinois believe funding for education exceeds or adequately meets district needs. Ron Swanson would be proud.

    Then again, it’s an online survey. I wonder how many administrators whose districts have shockingly low EAVs to work with were included.


  19. - DuPage - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 2:49 pm:

    With all the standardized testing going on, teachers are forced to “teach for the test”.
    Other subjects and creative assignments suffer.


  20. - Anon. - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 4:00 pm:

    ==Apple, Inc. is saying as much with it’s (non)use of its $140b+ in cash.==

    They’re using it, just not in a way that causes them to pay tax on it.


  21. - Demoralized - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 5:15 pm:

    ==It’s called responsibility.==

    That’s true. But it’s not as simple as that. You can’t force somebody to be responsible, and if they won’t be responsible you can’t take it out on the kid. I have no idea what the solution is.


  22. - DuPage - Thursday, Dec 12, 13 @ 9:59 pm:

    @GA Watcher10:34am, If schools get a sales tax, they could take over the “employer match” into the TRS.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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