The Examiner is reporting this morning that not only was Bojangles successful in in passing his emergency legislation to get 7-year old kids drunk, he also squeezed by the parking meter fee increases. I completely agree that meter rates should go up -- it should not be so cheap to park on the street. But I am not clear as to why Bojangles was so dead set on getting this done ASAP, nor was Councilman Phil Mendelson. The Examiner reports that Mendelson also wondered what the rush was all about - and why we passed this increase with basically no analysis on the situation. I don't think we need some crazy in-depth analysis, but a study into the situation couldn't hurt. More importantly I think that a study into what needs to be done with the extra $8-10 million would be more important. It should be noted that Bojangles' bill has the additional funding from these increases will go towards social programs and housing projects that have faced serious cuts this year, not road improvements like normal meter-generated fees.
The best part about this entire thing is that Bojangles didn't have the support of a our favorite politician, Jack Evans. Evans wanted a piece of the pie, so he got Bojangles to drop the crusade against weekend parking rates AND give a little pet project of his $1 million. Somehow I would not be surprised if Evan's pet project fed money right into his campaign coffers. And Councilman Muriel Bowser brings up the point that Evans little pet project should not get funding just because he decided to support this measure - the project should have to compete on an even playing field like all other projects. I am just always shocked with how blatant and open Evans' corruption is, its almost amusing - except for the tax payers who are funding and supporting his corruption.
Whether or not this measure will get Fenty's signature is up in the air. The Fenty Administration has supported meter increases forever, but wants the extra money tied to road improvements - as they should be. (It's amazing - and scary - that I find myself agreeing with Fenty so much lately.) Because Bojangles designated the funding towards social programs and housing projects - which is stupid - I am going to guess (and hope) that Fenty does not sign this into a law. But then again he might just do it to avoid a fight with the Circus. The measure will be in effect for 225 days once signed - the Circus would have to act further to make it permanent.