Baltimore pols to Maryland Assembly and Baltimore City Hall a few years ago passed laws directed ONLY AT BALTIMORE---saying citizens in Baltimore were not to have the same access to Baltimore Grand Jury as all other counties in Maryland have. This was an illegal and unconstitutional law and must be VOIDED as such as its goal was simply to block all attempts of citizens already denied access to public justice from the dismantling of our STATES' ATTORNEY office from seeking this access through the GRAND JURY. This impacts our underserved communities and those seeking justice from unconstitutional and illegal policing, fraud, and corruption the most----but it is also what keeps Baltimore citizens from seeking access to justice from all of the corporate fraud and government corruption that ALL CITIZENS WANT TO END. If a candidate for mayor is not saying this----if all they say is AUDITS, AUDITS, AUDITS------they will not provide these solutions as they claim. CINDY WALSH FOR MAYOR OF BALTIMORE MAKES THIS THE CENTER OF HER CAMPAIGN PLATFORM ISSUES.
Below you see citizens in Baltimore working towards the reversal of these illegal, unconstitutional public justice laws. I will add David Wiggins as a strong voice for sound public justice issues although both Wiggins and Davis are Republicans and I do not support their voices on many issues. The Baltimore Democratic establishment-----those neo-conservatives running as Democrats and working to install policies written by very, very, very neo-conservative Johns Hopkins and Wall Street Baltimore Development AND ARE NOT DEMOCRATS----have these few decades installed all policies breaking down our public justice system AND WE NEED TO GET RID OF ALL WALL STREET GLOBAL CORPORATE POLS.
This Freddie Gray case was riddled with injustice from the start because the Baltimore State's Attorney----being the only one with access to Baltimore Grand Jury -----failed to challenge a medical examiner's report as to where the injuries to Freddie occurred----corrupting the case from the start. Now, Baltimore citizens thinking protecting police officers in these kinds of cases is worth having a dismantled public justice system and no access to Grand Jury MUST UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS WHAT HAS ALLOWED FOR NO ADDRESSING OF CORPORATE FRAUD AND GOVERNMENT CORRUPTION IN THE CITY OF BALTIMORE. You cannot want one------and not give the other.
The People Demand Access to the Grand Jury in Baltimore City
Published on Feb 6, 2014February 4, 2014 - Duane "Shorty" Davis before the House Judiciary Committee
How grand jury charges against officers in Freddie Gray case compare to the original charges
Six Baltimore Police officers were indicted on May 21 on various charges related to the arrest and death of Freddie Gray. The indictments came nearly three weeks after Mosby announced criminal charges against the officers.
Staff ReportsThe Baltimore Sun
Here's how the grand jury charged the six Baltimore police officers involved with Freddie Gray's arrest.A Baltimore grand jury returned indictments against six Baltimore officers charged in the April death of Freddie Gray after the charges were originally announced by the office of State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby The following are the charges brought by the grand jury. In some cases, they are different compared to the charges originally sought by Mosby, as noted. Also shown are the maximum sentences the charges carry.
This is how global corporate Hopkins and Wall Street have worked to slowly dismantle Baltimore's public justice system-----the class and race issues created the divide to do this----social Democrats shout----an injustice to one becomes injustice for all---and that is to where these US International Economic Zone policies lead-----
SHAKE THE CLASS AND RACE STANCES OUT OF BALTIMORE AND COME TOGETHER!
I am here to shout-----all Baltimore citizens know Baltimore is systemically captured with corporate fraud, misappropriation of revenue, and government corruption and has been in modern history. This is because the white collar and government corruption branch of our Baltimore and Maryland States' Attorney office is NOT FUNDED. THIS BRANCH BARELY EXISTS.
Here we see a rare appearance of that white collar branch focusing on street crime. It should not have to use these resources to handle these kinds of crimes----but if you are not spending them on white collar criminal and government corruption actions---why not.
It is the failure to fund these white collar units of our Baltimore State's Attorney Office that keeps the city from building the oversight and accountability and justice response to END THIS SYSTEMIC FRAUD AND CORRUPTION. A Mayor and Baltimore City Council would send those funds to do just that IF THEY WANTED TO ADDRESS THESE PROBLEMS.
Attorney general's office makes rare move into street crime
Justin FentonContact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Attorney General's Office makes rare move into street crime with Greenmount Avenue drug case
The Maryland attorney general's office has indicted 15 Baltimore men on drug conspiracy charges, signaling a novel push into prosecuting street crime by a state agency that has focused historically on white-collar and environmental cases.
Officials said the indictments capped a months-long investigation by the Baltimore Police Department and the attorney general's recently formed organized crime unit into drug dealing around the 2400 block of Greenmount Ave. in East Baltimore. Maryland State Police also provided assistance.
That area had been the target of a massive 2013 indictment brought by the Baltimore state's attorney's office against alleged members and associates of the Black Guerrilla Family. At least two of the defendants in this week's indictment were charged in that previous case.
"Criminal organizations profiting from drug addiction are contributing to intolerable levels of violence in Baltimore," Attorney General Brian E. Frosh said in a statement Monday.
Local prosecutors, and to a lesser extent federal prosecutors, usually handle such criminal cases. Before 2007, the attorney general's criminal investigations unit handled charges related to misconduct in office, bribery, perjury, falsification of public records and criminal violations of Maryland tax law.
Black Guerrilla Family gang members dodge lengthy prison sentences
Then-Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler expanded the scope of his office's criminal division to take on gang prosecutions in conjunction with authorities across the state, though in a limited number of cases.
"We did help jurisdictions, but they would call us in and ask us to do that," Gansler said Monday.
"We were very concerned with going in and bigfooting any local jurisdictions."
With the creation of the organized crime unit in recent months, the attorney general's office is further expanding efforts to investigate and bring charges in street crime cases. It combines the existing gang and firearms units, and consists of five prosecutors, with plans to expand.
"Our attorneys have made a concerted effort to reach out and have dialogue with state's attorney's offices across the state, police departments across the state, and say, 'We're an extra set of resources that you can call on when you need us, and we'd like to help you take on these kinds of cases and bring these folks to justice,'" said David Nitkin, a spokesman for the office.
Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, president of the Maryland State's Attorneys' Association, which had some concerns about Gansler's office encroaching on their role, said officials now welcome the collaboration.
"These crimes can cross jurisdictional lines, and it certainly makes sense to have a statewide effort if there ever needs to be any crossover," Shellenberger said. "We view it as a very unifying development."
Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby's office said it has been in "regular contact" with the attorney general's office but declined to comment, citing a pending case.
Frosh's staff includes several former top city prosecutors. Deputy Attorney General Thiru Vignarajah previously led the major investigations unit for the city state's attorney's office under former State's Attorney Gregg L. Bernstein. The chief of the organized crime unit is Katie Dorian, who worked in the major investigations unit with Vignarajah, and other former city prosecutors left for the attorney general's office as well.
Bernstein's office announced a sweeping Black Guerrilla Family indictment in 2013 with great fanfare, charging 48 defendants. But as the cases came to court this year, many were dropped or resulted in plea bargains that brought little prison time.
Two defendants from the case are now charged in the new indictment by the attorney general's office. Keith Anderson, 36, whose charges of murder conspiracy and gang activity in the 2013 case are one of the few cases still pending, and Anthony Hunter, 30, who pleaded guilty to a gang charge in June and received a seven-year suspended sentence, are among seven people who have been taken into custody. Both are charged with cocaine distribution in the latest case.
According to the indictment, Anderson and Hunter were caught selling drugs to undercover officers in September.
During the attorney general's investigation, another man charged in the case, Sean Purcell, allegedly discovered detectives conducting undercover surveillance from a covert location and shouted at the detectives to go home.
"You ain't locking up anybody on Greenmount today!" he allegedly yelled, before throwing bricks and chunks of concrete through the window where the detectives were located.
"When confronted about his actions, Purcell stated that the officers were disrupting their operations and that the police were 'the enemy,'" prosecutors wrote in the indictment.
Purcell is charged with assaulting two police officers in connection with the incident, along with three drug-related counts connected to the sale of drugs to an undercover officer earlier in the investigation.
Aidan Smith, Anderson's attorney in the Black Guerrilla Family case, declined to comment. Hunter's attorney in the case did not respond to a request for comment, and Purcell did not have an attorney listed in court records.
Gansler said there are a "scarcity of resources" in the state, and the attorney general's office could be called on more often to help if it is successful. That, in turn, could stretch the state agency's resources.
Still, he said, "It's a very positive development when local enforcement works cooperatively with state law enforcement."
'Baltimore Parking Authority
Citation Payment Information'
I spoke at length about how the attachment of global corporations to all Baltimore City agencies capture all ability of oversight and accountability-----all addressing of fraud and corruption----all issues of public transparency----and all issues of public voice in public policy.
DISCONNECTING CORPORATIONS FROM OUR BALTIMORE CITY AGENCIES IS A MUST TO ADDRESS ALL OF THE ABOVE.
I wanted to take today to look at just one example of this to show how city agencies are infused with fraud and corruption-----and I call it RACKETEERING.
It is funny that try as I might---I could not open the webpage for Baltimore Parking Authority to see the details of which corporation/people are tied to that outsourcing of this massive city agency tied to a broad sector of services and much city revenue. I will use Chicago Parking Authority as an example because they are working the same way and may be the same entity tied to Baltimore Parking Authority. This is all tied to a dismantled Baltimore City public justice department that allows these corruptions to flow.
The Baltimore Parking Authority includes everything from parking lots and garages-----towing-----parking tickets and meters----and this speed camera system seems to be tied to this Parking Authority although I am not sure of that -----the webpage for speed cameras is filled with all of the Baltimore Parking Authority sectors ---that is how I make a connection
Citation Payment Information
- If your vehicle is currently booted or immobilized do NOT pay here. Instead, please call the Boot Release Line at 1-877-810-7907 to speak to an operator 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. (Call this number only for booted or immobilized cars.) If you pay on this website for a booted or immobilized vehicle, your car’s release will be delayed and it may be towed
- Citations for most parking, red light, and speed camera violations are available for payment on this website the next business day. (Hand-written citations may take more than 1 month.)
- Payments may not appear on this website for 3 business days. Payments take 1 to 3 business days to post, and this website reflects only posted payments. Unposted payments are not reflected on this website, which also may not reflect the $25 registration flag fee. Please call 410-396-4080 Monday–Friday (except holidays) 8:00am–4:30pm to verify your payment or confirm the amount due.
- If you have 3 or more unpaid tickets more than 30 days old, your car may be immobilized or impounded.
- Red Light and Speed Camera Citations with a violation date on or before December 31, 2012 are available at www.public.cite-web.com(External Link) (External Link). Enter your citation’s violation code and PIN number.
- Red Light and Speed Camera Citations with a violation date on or after January 1, 2013 are available at www.ip360BaltCity.com (External Link). Enter your citation’s violation code and PIN number.
- The CIty of Baltimore no longer faxes VR119 release forms to the Department of Motor Vehicles. All requests will be mailed within 2 to 3 business days.
Two issues I hear from people all the time in Baltimore are the lack of uniformity in rates, maintenance, and as this article shows----a breakdown in our Disability Parking standards. One can go from community to community to see different per-hour rates on meters-----meters that are broken often with people told they need to go several blocks to get special passes when this occurs----and the failure of the city to provide REAL ACCESS TO DISABILITY PARKING when these spaces now metered require all cars to pay. We all know that in the past DISABILITY PLATES allowed people to park as they needed in front of a store for example and not only pushed to expensive parking garages where handicapped parking spaces exist.
I showed last time that all over the nation these new electronic parking meters coming from a global corporation that also provides the batteries needed to operate these meters are reported having all kinds of problems around service failures, accuracy, and creating ticketing and meter costs citizens should not face. I was told these parking batteries do not last---they have to be constantly replaced by the same corporations tied to these meters at great expense to Baltimore City and that replacing them varies from community to community creating havoc for small businesses whose customers do not want to deal with all that.
REMEMBER WHEN WE ONLY HAD PERMIT PARKING WITH TWO HOURS FREE DURING THE DAY WHILE RESIDENTS WERE AT WORK? HOW EASY WAS THAT?
It is simply the drive towards revenue collection down the economic ladder that pushes these global corporate Parking Authorities to install this mess.
Parking Authority / Parking Meters
Since 2004, hundreds of EZ Park Parking Meters have been installed throughout Baltimore City, replacing thousands of single space parking meters. These kiosks can serve 5-10 vehicles and accept credit cards as well as coins, making it easier for parkers to pay for their parking and avoid a citation. But not every single space parking meter can be replaced with a multi-space EZ Park Meter. Some blocks have just two or three meters or there isn't enough curb space to place an EZ Park Meter. At these old single space meters, parkers still had to pay with coins. Some meters only accepted certain types of coins, which made it even harder to pay.
Early in 2014, hundreds of new single space parking meters that accept credit cards as well as coins replaced many of the old parking meters throughout Baltimore. Now, drivers can park in these areas with the same ease and convenience they have grown to enjoy since the debut of EZ Park Meters in 2004.
We hope these new parking meters make it easier for you to enjoy Baltimore, reducing anxiety that a parking citation may be awaiting you on return to your vehicle because you didn't have the right amount of spare change in your wallet or car.
Problems with EZ Park Meters can be reported using our online form below or by calling (443)986-9430 for 24/7 customer service.
Problems with single space meters can be reported by calling (410)396-1881.HolidaysYou don’t have to feed the meters on these days:
- New Year’s Day
- Independence Day
- Labor Day
- Thanksgiving Day
- Christmas Day
New areas will be added in phases in the future. Please go to www.morespace4all.com(External Link) to learn more about Project SPACE.
If your disability tag/plate is displayed and you are parking outside of the Phase 1 boundaries, you are entitled to park at an on-street parking meter for double the meter duration limit (not to exceed four hours) without payment.
Example: if the parking meter’s duration limit is one hour, you may park for two hours; if the meter duration limit is two hours, you may park for four hours; if the meter duration limit is four hours, you may only park for four hours.
Below you see the saga of outsourcing of the Baltimore Parking Authority and all of the Baltimore City Council pols and mayors who shout one thing and then do another as they move around in position. Yes, Jack Young is tied to what is the most corrupt Baltimore City agency out of many as corrupt. Yes, Sheila Dixon did support the leadership and these ties while Mayor as Rawlings-Blake pose progressive in wanting more information. Of course, Rawlings-Blake's administration has been far worse in all regards. We see the REVOLVING DOOR as they say of Wall Street and our Federal agencies tasked with protecting public interest right here in Baltimore City Hall.
There is Cole-----now head of Wall Street Baltimore Development being concerned about these issues----and now leads in this global corporate capture of Baltimore's agencies.
'Mayor Sheila Dixon supported the move to renew the contract of Executive Director Peter Little, but City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake opposed it. Rawlings-Blake complained that she had not received an audit of the parking authority before Wednesday's meeting'.
All of this creates a system of fraud and corruption with no public transparency and it reaches a level of conspiracy and racketeering. If Baltimore had a functioning public justice system that would be to where they would go in cleaning up the TAMMANY HALL that is Baltimore City Hall. When Baltimore Comptroller and candidates for mayor say they will audit the Baltimore Parking Authority----they have no data to do this----all data is created by this huge corporation tied to our parking agency and any attempts to audit that data DOES NOTHING.
Parking director's pact OK'dCity panel's vote comes despite requests for delay
November 26, 2009|By Julie Scharper | firstname.lastname@example.org
Baltimore's spending panel renewed a $123,000 annual contract of the embattled head of the parking authority Wednesday despite requests from City Council members to delay the vote to further scrutinize his performance.
Mayor Sheila Dixon supported the move to renew the contract of Executive Director Peter Little, but City Council President Stephanie C. Rawlings-Blake opposed it. Rawlings-Blake complained that she had not received an audit of the parking authority before Wednesday's meeting.
"I would like to make an informed decision about this contract," said Rawlings-Blake. "I think not having the audit report puts me at a severe disadvantage, and I've expressed that to the administration." OH, REALLY????
The mayor, noting that the parking authority's board of directors supports Little, resisted an effort from the council president to delay the renewal and, along with other members of the spending board, voted to immediately approve the one-year contract. Rawlings-Blake cast the lone dissenting vote. Dixon, who left the jury deliberations in her criminal trial on theft charges to preside over the estimates board meeting, effectively controls the five-member panel.
"We have a parking authority volunteer board, and that is approved by the City Council and the Board of Estimates," Dixon said.
Little has drawn criticism for his management of the residential parking permit program, which is intended to help residents obtain parking in the city's most most crowded neighborhoods.
Council Vice President Edward Reisinger, who represents some of the South Baltimore neighborhoods where parking can be most difficult, told the spending board that he has been "bombarded with phone calls with complaints from my constituents" about the management of the residential parking permit program. "We have never had this many problems," he said.
In addition, several parking authority managers wrote to the authority's board of directors last month with concerns about spending, hiring practices and a newly implemented software program. The employees urged the authority to dismiss Little. A group of 14 employees also wrote to the City Council with personnel concerns.
But according to authority chairwoman Patricia McGowan, most members of the parking authority's volunteer board are confident in Little's leadership.
Little, who was a vice president of Standard Parking before joining the parking authority five years ago, did not return a call Wednesday seeking comment.
Reisinger and Councilman William H. Cole IV have introduced a plan to move control of the residential parking program to another department.
Councilman Bernard C. "Jack" Young, the council's liaison on the parking authority's board, said that he voted against the renewal of Little's contract. "I just didn't think we should have moved ahead so quickly," he said after the meeting
Baltimore City loses $1-2 billion a year of revenue mostly to the corporate connections and then to the lower-level corruption allowed to exist.
Here you see the laws a functioning Baltimore State's Attorney or a Maryland Attorney General's office would use to address the systemic corporate fraud and government corruption in Baltimore. They would have done this decades ago had Wall Street Baltimore Development not been the driver of all these connections to our Baltimore City agencies. So, these crimes start at the top of the income ladder in Baltimore and are allowed to flow downward to our Baltimore City Council and public agencies. RICO does include white collar and government offenses.
People ask me if I fear being targeted for intending to dismantle all this corruption and I say this----a Mayor of Baltimore could not possibly pursue all of the graft that has occurred over decades and would not look towards low-level crimes in seeking justice. The bulk of these problems comes from those corporate ties to our agencies and the corporations driving these corrupt actions and that would be the focus for justice and to clean up our Baltimore City government. Just doing this will add a billion or two to our annual Baltimore City budget and
THAT WILL FLOW TO ALL COMMUNITIES FOR DEVELOPMENT, SMALL BUSINESS ECONOMIES, AND REBUILDING OUR PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS AS IN PUBLIC SCHOOLS, PARKS, RECREATION ACTIVITIES, PUBLIC ARTS AND HUMANITIES.
I am not Elliot Ness------I am someone wanting to make a functioning government of Baltimore City Hall.
Eliot Ness (April 19, 1903 – May 16, 1957) was an American Prohibition agent, famous for his efforts to enforce Prohibition in Chicago, Illinois, and the leader of a famous team of law enforcement agents nicknamed The Untouchables.
'Although its primary intent was to deal with organized crime, Blakey said that Congress never intended it to merely apply to the Mob. He once told Time, "We don't want one set of rules for people whose collars are blue or whose names end in vowels, and another set for those whose collars are white and have Ivy League diplomas."'
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
For the Meek Mill song, see R.I.C.O. (song).
"RICO" redirects here. For the Better Call Saul episode, see RICO (Better Call Saul). For other uses, see RICO (disambiguation).
Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act
Long titleAn Act relating to the control of organized crime in the United States.
NicknamesOrganized Crime Control Act of 1970
Enacted bythe 91st United States Congress
EffectiveOctober 15, 1970
Statutes at Large84 Stat. 922-3 aka 84 Stat. 941
Titles amended18 U.S.C.: Crimes and Criminal Procedure
U.S.C. sections created18 U.S.C. §§ 1961–1968
- Introduced in the Senate as S. 30 by John L. McClellan (D–AR)
- Passed the Senate on January 23, 1970 (74-1)
- Passed the House on October 7, 1970 (341-26)
- Signed into law by President Richard Nixon on October 15, 1970
RICO was enacted by section 901(a) of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970 (Pub.L. 91–452, 84 Stat. 922, enacted October 15, 1970), and is codified at 18 U.S.C. ch. 96 as 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961–1968. G. Robert Blakey, an adviser to the United States Senate Government Operations Committee, drafted the law under the close supervision of the committee's chairman, Senator John Little McClellan. It was enacted as Title IX of the Organized Crime Control Act of 1970, and signed into law by Richard M. Nixon. While its original use in the 1970s was to prosecute the Mafia as well as others who were actively engaged in organized crime, its later application has been more widespread.
Beginning in 1972, 33 States adopted state RICO laws to be able to prosecute similar conduct.
Under RICO, a person who has committed "at least two acts of racketeering activity" drawn from a list of 35 crimes—27 federal crimes and 8 state crimes—within a 10-year period can be charged with racketeering if such acts are related in one of four specified ways to an "enterprise". Those found guilty of racketeering can be fined up to $25,000 and sentenced to 20 years in prison per racketeering count. In addition, the racketeer must forfeit all ill-gotten gains and interest in any business gained through a pattern of "racketeering activity."
When the U.S. Attorney decides to indict someone under RICO, he or she has the option of seeking a pre-trial restraining order or injunction to temporarily seize a defendant's assets and prevent the transfer of potentially forfeitable property, as well as require the defendant to put up a performance bond. This provision was placed in the law because the owners of Mafia-related shell corporations often absconded with the assets. An injunction and/or performance bond ensures that there is something to seize in the event of a guilty verdict.
In many cases, the threat of a RICO indictment can force defendants to plead guilty to lesser charges, in part because the seizure of assets would make it difficult to pay a defense attorney. Despite its harsh provisions, a RICO-related charge is considered easy to prove in court, as it focuses on patterns of behavior as opposed to criminal acts.
RICO also permits a private individual "damaged in his business or property" by a "racketeer" to file a civil suit. The plaintiff must prove the existence of an "enterprise". The defendant(s) are not the enterprise; in other words, the defendant(s) and the enterprise are not one and the same. There must be one of four specified relationships between the defendant(s) and the enterprise: either the defendant(s) invested the proceeds of the pattern of racketeering activity into the enterprise (18 U.S.C. § 1962(a)); or the defendant(s) acquired or maintained an interest in, or control of, the enterprise through the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (b)); or the defendant(s) conducted or participated in the affairs of the enterprise "through" the pattern of racketeering activity (subsection (c)); or the defendant(s) conspired to do one of the above (subsection (d)). In essence, the enterprise is either the 'prize,' 'instrument,' 'victim,' or 'perpetrator' of the racketeers. A civil RICO action can be filed in state or federal court.
Both the criminal and civil components allow the recovery of treble damages (damages in triple the amount of actual/compensatory damages).
Although its primary intent was to deal with organized crime, Blakey said that Congress never intended it to merely apply to the Mob. He once told Time, "We don't want one set of rules for people whose collars are blue or whose names end in vowels, and another set for those whose collars are white and have Ivy League diplomas."
Initially, prosecutors were skeptical of using RICO, mainly because it was unproven. However, during the 1980s and 1990s, federal prosecutors utilized the law to bring charges against several Mafia figures. The first major success was the Mafia Commission Trial, which resulted in several top leaders of New York City's Five Families getting what amounted to life sentences. By the turn of the century, RICO cases resulted in virtually all of the top leaders of the New York Mafia being sent to prison.
They are taking what was basically free to citizens or at least low-cost and now they are raking in huge profits from our city agencies all to allow no corporate taxes and to boost corporate subsidy and profit.
Tying US cities to these global corporate Parking Authorities is done by Wall Street global corporate neo-liberals and Republicans----as in neo-conservative Wall Street Baltimore Development Corporation. These pols want the American people to believe that these deals pols are making in all US cities whether Wall Street financial instruments or these ties of our public agencies ARE SOLID CONTRACTS THAT A NEXT MAYOR CANNOT CHANGE and you know what? That is not true because-----elected officials cannot knowingly tie taxpayers and our government to deals AGAINST THE PUBLIC INTEREST AND OPENLY COSTING GOVERNMENT HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF DOLLARS EACH YEAR.
That is conspiracy to defraud-----it is public malfeasance-------and we can end or rewrite any deal that creates these conditions for our Baltimore City.
Here is Wall Street investment banker Rahm----doing the same thing our Baltimore mayors are doing for the same reasons---thinking he has LOCKED INTO PLACE A DEAL.
KNOW WHAT? OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY----ENFORCEMENT OF FEDERAL EQUAL PROTECTION LAWS-----ENFORCEMENT OF REGULATIONS----MAKES GLOBAL CORPORATIONS WANTING TO SUCK ALL CITY REVENUE TO THEIR PROFIT DISCOURAGED.
How Mayor Emanuel locked the parking meter deal in place
Under Rahm's new agreement, the public will continue enriching private investors.By Mick Dumke @mickeyd1971 and Ben Joravsky @joravben
Chicago's parking meters are likely to bring in billions of dollars for private investors over the next seven decades.
Richard A. Chapman/Sun-Times
Four and a half years after Chicago sold control of the city streets to a consortium of investors, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the City Council are taking steps that would make sure the city is stuck with the deal for the next seven decades.
That's not what they're saying openly, of course. The mayor continues to stress that he reviles the deal, but there's nothing he can do to overturn it. The city doesn't have the ability to fight the deal in court, he says, and it doesn't have the money to buy the parking system back.
"The parking meter deal is particularly wrong," Emanuel declared recently. "That said, we are stuck with the contract."
Or, as city corporation counsel Stephen Patton noted in a letter to aldermen: "The only ground anyone has identified for [overturning the deal] has been rejected as a matter of law in a thoughtful and well-reasoned decision that relies on settled law."
There's only one problem with these assertions—they're not true.
As a result, you, the public, will help enrich private investors when you feed money into the meters for 71 more years.
While Mayor Emanuel was saying one thing to the press corps, he had city attorneys making an entirely different argument in court.The issue goes back to the 2008 meter privatization agreement rubber-stamped by the City Council at the urging of former mayor Richard M. Daley. It turned over about 36,000 parking meters for 75 years to Chicago Parking Meters LLC, a consortium of investors led by Morgan Stanley, an investment bank; Allianz, a German financial firm; and the government of Abu Dhabi.
In exchange, CPM paid the city almost $1.2 billion, which Mayor Daley said he would tuck away, using the interest to replace the $20 million the city collected annually from the meters. Instead, the city ran through nearly $1 billion of the payout within two years of adopting the deal.
As the reality of the deal sunk in, the public was outraged. CPM doubled the meter rates, then doubled them again, to $2 an hour in most parts of the city, and as much as $6.50 an hour downtown. Under terms of the deal, the company also billed the city for millions of dollars in "true-up payments" to make up for taking the meters out of use for things like road construction, street festivals, free disabled parking, and the NATO summit.
In 2009 attorney Clint Krislov filed a suit on behalf of the IVI-IPO, a public-interest group, challenging the constitutionality of the deal. Krislov argued that by granting CPM so much financial leverage over the use and placement of meters, it illegally gave away the city's power to set traffic and safety regulations. He asked that the deal be halted or reworked.
Mayor Daley fought the case from the outset. But in 2011, when Emanuel took office, Krislov had faint hope that the new mayor might be an ally. After all, as a candidate Emanuel had denounced the parking meter deal—as did most of the aldermen who voted for it. And just before his inauguration, Emanuel promised clear action.
"Know that I have people on the transition—and more than a person—working on this," Emanuel said. "I have some ideas and we're exploring them."
But while Emanuel was saying one thing to the press corps, he had city attorneys making an entirely different argument as they fought Krislov's lawsuit in court. The meter deal benefited the city, the administration claimed, by providing an infusion of cash and new meter pay boxes.
"Although the Concessionaire may also receive certain benefits as a result of the Agreement, this has no bearing on the fact that the City (and thus the public) will also receive the benefits noted," city attorneys argued in a March 2012 court filing. "Every contract with a private party has some terms that benefit the private party—otherwise, there would be no incentive for the private party to enter into the agreement."
The argument they made in favor of the deal was so forceful it might as well have been written by CPM's lawyers themselves. As a matter of fact, CPM's position was almost exactly the same: "The Agreement has materially improved public use and enjoyment of the System."
The parking meter company was represented by lawyers from Winston & Strawn, a well-connected firm whose partners include former Governor James Thompson and former U.S. attorney Dan Webb. Two of the three attorneys who worked to fend off the parking meter lawsuit were contributors to Emanuel's mayoral campaign.
And so the city effectively teamed up with Winston & Strawn to undermine Krislov's lawsuit. By arguing that there are good reasons the deal should stay in place, Mayor Emanuel gave up the city's leverage with the parking meter company.
It was a point that Judge Richard J. Billik Jr. cited when he ruled in favor of CPM's motion to dismiss the case in November.
Billik ruled that the true-up payments may be a boon for Chicago Parking Meters and the deal may be bad for the city, but it's not unconstitutional, "particularly in view of the position being advanced by the city itself."
The plaintiffs have since appealed.
Two months after Billik's ruling, Winston & Strawn held a fund-raising reception for Emanuel at which attorneys from the firm donated $22,500 to his campaign fund, according to state records. That's on top of the $67,000 Winston & Strawn firm contributed to his mayoral bid two years earlier.
The current meter debate began when Emanuel announced he wanted to amend the deal so that parking would be free on Sundays in most neighborhoods in exchange for extending meter hours from 9 to 10 PM in most of the city. CPM will also settle some true-up claims for less than they'd originally demanded.
City officials said the company decided it would rather agree to new terms than fight with Emanuel. "One of the reasons, I believe, is the impact of continuing litigation, and facing the steel will of the mayor," Lois Scott, the city's chief financial officer, told aldermen last week.
Yet the mayor's steel will wasn't enough to get CPM or its attorneys to show up when aldermen requested they testify. "CPM has legitimate concerns regarding the impact of any testimony on pending litigation with the City of Chicago," wrote a company attorney. "These concerns will remain regardless of the date of the hearing."
And the meter deal will almost certainly continue to siphon off the public's money for years to come. Given Judge Billik's ruling, once the City Council ratifies the core of the meter deal again, it will be even more difficult to challenge down the road. As Krislov says, "They're locking in a terrible deal that Chicagoans are going to have to cope with for generations."
If you do not realize that all of Baltimore's agencies are tied to global corporations doing the same as with these Parking Authorities-----as with our public water bills and all the corruption in charges, fees, and losses of housing. None of those processes were legal----leaving citizens with no oversight and accountability knowing all over the nation these same corporations are being found guilty of fraud and corruption----makes those tied to Baltimore City Hall and Baltimore Development Corporation as guilty of public malfeasance and again---
THESE DEALS CAN BE VOIDED BECAUSE THEY ARE TIED TO CONSPIRACY TO DEFRAUD AND PUBLIC MALFEASANCE.
This is what a functioning Baltimore State's Attorney office and a Maryland Attorney General's office would have been doing decades ago and they did not ------instead they dismantled and defunded all avenues to investigate----to prosecute------and to end this systemic corruption.
CINDY WALSH FOR MAYOR OF BALTIMORE WILL END THESE CORPORATE TIES TO OUR BALTIMORE CITY AGENCIES AND FULLY FUND A REBUILDING OF OUR BALTIMORE STATE'S ATTORNEY AND PUBLIC JUSTICE SYSTEM.
Tinley Park water meter report criticized as 'propaganda'
The water meter is shown in April in the home of Elaine Buck, of Tinley Park. (Erin Hooley / Chicago Tribune)
Joe Mahr and Gregory PrattContact ReportersChicago Tribune
Tinley Park water meter report draws criticism from residents, national expertIn the first answer to a scandal involving water meter inaccuracy and overcharging, a consultant hired by Tinley Park acknowledged problems with the meters but downplayed the significance — sparking immediate criticism of the consultants' methods and conclusions as the village faces what could be a costly lawsuit.
The 18-page presentation was portrayed by village administrators as confirmation that the problems are not widespread. But Village Manager Dave Niemeyer acknowledged that the village, even after the report, doesn't know the extent of the problems and is unwilling to immediately do random sampling to figure out the extent as recommended by the consultants. An originally planned second-phase investigation to study the issue more deeply has been paused because of a pending lawsuit.
"Believe me, there's no one who wants to put this behind us more than us, but certainly the litigation obviously complicates it and is drawing out the process," Niemeyer said.
Niemeyer touted the consultants as experts who did solid work, but the Tribune found they used looser standards for meter accuracy than ones a top national expert said should have been used. And several residents who've complained about the meters said they suspect the findings were skewed to protect the village's reputation at the expense of finding the truth.
"This (report) seems like a propaganda piece for the village of Tinley Park," said Donna Gerlich, whom the village previously acknowledged had a meter that overcharged her and her husband.
Another resident whose meter was confirmed to have problems, Angela Kaczmarski, said the report "seems biased toward keeping the village guilt-free."
The consultants, Chicago-based West Monroe Partners, said Tuesday they could not immediately comment and directed questions to the village. Niemeyer defended the review, which cost about $124,000, as an "honest assessment."
PDF: Full text of Tinley Park water meter assessment
The West Monroe report comes four months after a Tribune investigation found village officials knew for years their smart electronic water meters were regularly overstating how much water was going through them, yet did little to ferret out bad meters and ensure residents affected were fully refunded. Instead of alerting the public, officials initially downplayed the problem by falsely telling residents far fewer meters had overbilled residents than they had found and that all tested meters had passed industry standards, when they hadn't.
The scandal led to the ouster of the village's public works director and spurred a lawsuit that accused officials of "unfair, immoral, unjust, oppressive and unscrupulous" conduct. The plaintiff is trying to get court approval to include all Tinley Park water users as plaintiffs, which could make it a high-profile, and costly, class-action lawsuit.
The controversy occurred amid a political sea change in Tinley Park, where a longtime mayor resigned, and several of his allies on the village board lost re-election bids to rivals. The new mayor, Dave Seaman, has led village officials in vowing an open and honest review of so-called "spinning" meters. Spinning is when the readings on a water meter rise higher and faster than they should.
Plaintiff in Tinley Park water meter suit seeks class action
The review released this week raised questions among residents and an industry expert.
The consultants concluded most smart meters "appear" to be within national standards, citing a summertime test that they said found 84 percent of those tested meters passed national standards.
But missing were specifics of how the other 16 percent failed. Meters can fail for overcharging and undercharging. A Tribune analysis found most of those meters overcharged. And that was based on the consultants using a "weighted" formula that allowed meters to fail some flow tests but pass overall. In one case, a meter failed one flow test by overcharging more than 8 percent, yet under the "weighted" formula was still considered accurate.
Tom Kelly, a Maryland water official who heads the industry's national committee on meter standards, told the Tribune on Tuesday that the national standards call for a stricter metric: failing a meter that overcharged at any flow test. Using that metric, the Tribune found more than 22 percent of the tested meters would have flunked, compared with just 9 percent flunked for overcharging under the consultants' standard.
Kelly said even a 9 percent failure rate is bad, but a 22 percent failure rate is "completely unacceptable."
"If the customers got ahold of that (statistic) … they're going to scream, and rightfully so. Fair is fair," Kelly said.
Niemeyer said he was confident in the consultants' work and, regardless, discounted the high failure rate as being tied to a sample that included many meters pulled for suspicions of overbilling.
He said a better measure would be random sampling of village meters — something long called for in national standards, and also recommended by West Monroe's report. But Niemeyer said the village hasn't decided whether to do that because of concern of how it might interfere with the village's defense of itself in the lawsuit.
The consultants also suggested the village had over-counted how many meters had spun, but didn't offer any data on how many meters they thought had spun, or were spinning.
The Tribune previously reported that the village noted at least 355 cases over the years of spinning meters, and that doesn't count thousands more entries of failures that lacked specifics on how the meters failed.
But the consultants said they "rarely observed" a meter spinning, and the spinning they saw was only when meters didn't have water going through them, and when water was put through them those meters actually under-billed. Village officials said the consultants suspected that workers sometimes misdiagnosed meters as spinning.
Also at issue is exactly how meters can spin. Assistant Manager Steve Tilton said the consultants believed the only way is by a meter spinning consistently in ways that always boost consumption readings without going back down. But one national expert has told the Tribune it's possible the meters spin intermittently too, based on records the Tribune provided him of meters with up-and-down consumption levels that passed some accuracy tests before later testing as spinners.
The consultants also questioned whether spinning meters actually lead to overcharges. The consultants said they separately reviewed 10 accounts of residents with suspicious meters and found "no direct correlation" between spinning and the amount of water on the customer's bills.
It's unclear which accounts the consultants were reviewing to find no correlation of spinning to higher-billed amounts. Niemeyer and Tilton said they didn't know, nor could they immediately provide records. And it's the finding that most frustrates residents previously profiled by the Tribune. At Gerlich's townhouse, she and her husband had consumption levels hover about 8,000 gallons per billing period until it began creeping up over five years until it hit 29,000 gallons in early 2011, when the Gerlichs complained. The village found the meter spinning and replaced it. Once the meter was replaced, the couple's recorded consumption returned to about 8,000 gallons.
"It's not like all of a sudden we were taking 10 showers a day. There's only two people in the house," she said. "Reading that report, it just infuriates me because it's just like they're saying 'Oh no, everything's fine. It's just your imagination.' "
Other residents, such as Laura Konieczny, criticized the report. The village replaced her meter after she complained it was overbilling her. She said the report seems skewed toward protecting the village.
The report offered no explanation of the cases cited by the Tribune. Instead, the report focused on how, in general, water bills were far higher because of rate increases imposed by the city of Chicago that have been passed on to residents, even as consumption rates, on average, have dropped. It said that, in general, the 93 homes that had smart meters replaced last fall didn't have any less reported consumption than homes without smart meter replacement. It even credited the village's smart meters for giving the village "more accurate metering," although the consultants chided "less than comprehensive management" over billing that "placed the burden of proof on the customer to address issues."
A big issue left unresolved is what additional refunds, if any, affected residents should get. The Tribune, in reviewing accounts, found affected residents repeatedly appeared to have been short-changed. The Gerlichs, for example, had their bills cut by $109 but could be owed $317 more, under a Tribune analysis.
The report offered no specific plan for refunds. Instead, it questioned the village's unclear refund policy while also telling the village that it should use its random sampling and engineering analyses of spinning meters to gauge how much meters spin, which can inform how much people should be refunded.
Among other recommendations, it suggested monthly billing, instead of quarterly, to better manage the system. And "to begin rebuilding trust with the community and utility stakeholders," it suggested an "aggressive communication campaign" that included, among other things, a focus group of residents "to assist with marketing and testing of system changes."