At the City Managers blog, under the topic of the State Baseball Tournament, a number of posters are asking questions about Monday's latest parking deal give away. This time the commissioners agreed (again) with the developers of Pineapple Square and the DTP to give the First Street lot (across from the City Hall parking lot) to private interests - the Isaac Brothers group. John Simon said this will only work if the lot is in private control.
I guess this means that there is not much need for the public retaining public property and managing it for the public good. Apparently the Isaacs and John Simon now determine what is best for the city.
Recently we have seen many examples of the commissioners not listening to citizens and we concluded that these commissioners believed they knew what is best for the rest of us. Now it turns out that the Isaacs and John Simon apparently know even better what's best for us.
So how well does private control of public parking work?
On Saturday at about 2 PM I took visitors to Bayfront Park to see the Season of Sculpture exhibit. There were no empty parking spaces in the entire bayfront lot (excepting that under Marina Jacks control) and there were at least 20 cars circling around looking for places. I finally parked across 41, near Ringling.
Meanwhile the parking spaces reserved for Marina Jacks were less than half full. In their parking area was an empty flat bed trailer, a car covered with "custom dust cover" and a number of trash bins with trash strewn around. Further, at the south end of this restricted parking area was a saw horse across half of the parking entry way that said "LeBarge Parking Only".
Isn't it nice that the citizens who pay for this park and the parking area are excluded so that a car can be stored long term under a cover, someone can store a trailer there, Marina Jacks has a close by area for trash storage and they don't bother closing the lids or pick up trash blown around, and parkling can now be saved for LeBarge customers. The lease calls for some level of parking for the restaurant. These uses are ridiculous - especially when citizens cannot find parking spots yet many are open behind threatening signs.
We do not need any more private control of public parking! And we do not need a 20 year lease extension with Marina Jack that will give us 42 more years of this nonsense!