May 15, 2012
Honorable Michael R. Bloomberg
Mayor of the City of New York
New York, NY 10007
Dear Mayor Bloomberg:
I write to oppose your Administration’s plan to privatize nearly 40,000 parking meters across New York City. As we have seen in cities like Chicago, privatization can lead to higher costs for drivers and small business owners at a time when they can ill afford it. The pitfalls of this proposal far outweigh its benefits—and we must prevent it from advancing any further.
Privatization risks exposing out small businesses and residents to:
Higher Costs: I am particularly concerned by your Administration’s refusal to come clean about potential rate hikes accompanying privatization. Given the experiences of cities across the country, struggling business owners and residents in New York have every right to worry about higher costs--and no reason to trust in the current process to protect their interests.
Disruption and Waste: Given the City’s poor track record with CityTime, the overhaul of 911, NYCHA’s “NICE” computer software and malfunctioning water meter readers, I fear that the ill-considered roll-out of yet another new technology could lead to significant disruption and spiraling costs for taxpayers. Current oversight of these projects is simply not sufficient.
Loss of Accountability: Ceding authority over parking spaces and meters to a private company would place a matter of City policy into the hands of a private company, and reduce the system’s accountability to the people who use our streets every day. If achieving better performance from our streets and parking are the objectives—and they should be—privatization is not the way to achieve them.
Our streets are not assets to be sold, nor are parking spaces simply a revenue tool. They are an essential public good that millions of New Yorkers rely upon. I urge you to halt this process now, before walking any further down the path of privatization.
Bill de Blasio
Public Advocate for the City of New York