Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) is one of five aldermen who, in late 2008, voted against Mayor Daley's plan to lease the city's parking meter system to a private company for 75 years. This week, she took her show on the road, flying to Pittsburgh (on her own dime) to warn her Steel City peers against making a snap decision on a similar privatization deal. Hairston warned the council members that they won't escape public outrage once private operators jack up parking rates, telling them: "You are the ones whose feet are held to the fire."
Apparently, Morgan Stanley -- the lead investor in the Chicago meter deal -- is trying to convince Pittsburgh officials that an independent, outside evaluation of leasing parking garages, and possibly meters, would scare off investors. Unlike Chicago's sheepish council, they're not buying it though. For that, Hairston praised them: "You all should be complimented for having the guts — and I do mean the guts — to take this on and to challenge it and to question it." (H/T The Expired Meter)